Home Career 28 Best Puzzles for Kids of All Ages and Abilities

28 Best Puzzles for Kids of All Ages and Abilities

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Puzzles are a great way to build important skills, and they have a place in every playroom and classroom, from preschool through high school. Here are our favorite puzzles for kids from age 2 through high school. You may even find a few that end up on your puzzle board.

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The Importance of Puzzles

Puzzles are more than just creating a picture out of tiny cardboard pieces. They’re great for kids’ development. Working on a puzzle:

  • Develops children’s problem-solving and critical-thinking skills
  • Develops hand-eye coordination
  • Helps children with pattern recognition
  • Helps children develop fine motor skills
  • Helps children with memory
  • Reinforces that we scan left-to-right, for younger children
  • Teaches kids not to give up

How To Buy Puzzles According to Age

Kids progress from “chunky” puzzles to 100-piece, 500-piece, and more puzzle pieces. Here are general guidelines:

  • Ages 2 and 3: Start with puzzles that have just a few pieces and build from there. By age 3, kids may be able to do 20-piece puzzles on their own or with some help.
  • Ages 4 and 5: Kids this age can do jigsaw puzzles with up to 50 pieces by themselves or with support.
  • Ages 6 and 7: In early elementary school, kids can start working on puzzles of up to 120 pieces.
  • Ages 8 and 9: Older elementary students can work on puzzles from 250 to 500 pieces, depending on their development.
  • Age 10 and over: With enough patience and persistence, and maybe some help, kids 10 and over should be able to solve any puzzle.

Read more: Why every classroom needs puzzles, and top picks.

Who Makes the Best Puzzles?

There are lots of companies that make puzzles, but when it comes to puzzles for kids, there are four companies to start with:

Melissa & Doug

Melissa & Doug, the #1 kids puzzle brand, designs puzzles for kids from age 2 through elementary school. Their puzzles are bright, developmentally appropriate, and come in all kinds of topics that are of high-interest to kids.

Buy it: Melissa & Doug Puzzles at Amazon

Ravensburger

Ravensburger is master of the jigsaw puzzle, with puzzles that attract every kid (pink horses, dinosaurs, construction sites!) and high-quality pieces that will last through multiple puzzle sessions.

Buy it: Ravensburger Puzzles at Amazon

Think2Master

Think2Master is all about the super-detailed puzzles, with jigsaw puzzles that double as a search-and-find and puzzles that depict photo-realistic scenes.

Buy it: Think2Master Puzzles at Amazon

MudPuppy

MudPuppy is a toy company that also makes jigsaw puzzles. Their puzzles have beautiful, modern designs and focus on science and educational topics, from geography to biology and more.

Buy it: MudPuppy Puzzles at Amazon

Puzzles for Preschoolers

When kids are first discovering puzzles, they’re learning the basics and practicing fine motor coordination. Start with peg puzzles and work up to 48-piece jigsaws.

1. Chunky Pet Puzzle

puzzle with pet pieces for kids to match
Amazon

Chunky puzzles with large pieces for little hands are a good first puzzle experience. Choose a puzzle that interests your child, like this pet-themed Melissa & Doug puzzle.

Buy it: Chunky puzzle at Amazon

2. Two-Piece-Matching Puzzle

Liron two piece puzzles with wild animal theme
Amazon

Two- and three-piece puzzles help kids learn how to match one part of a picture with another and how to click those pieces into place.

Buy it: Liron Wild Animal Puzzle at Amazon

3. Individual Puzzles

animal puzzles for young children by skillmatics
Amazon

Puzzle sets that include small puzzles with a few pieces, like this farm animal set from Skillmatics, allow kids to try more difficult puzzles without getting overwhelmed.

Buy it: Step-by-Step Puzzles at Amazon

4. 12-Piece Jigsaw

dinosaur 12 piece puzzle
Amazon

Your child’s first jigsaw puzzle will probably be 12 pieces, like this Mudpuppy dinosaur puzzle. We love that this one has its own case that makes it easy to keep all the pieces together and store a bunch of 12-piece puzzles in the same bin.

Buy it: Mudpuppy puzzle at Amazon

5. Floor Puzzle

floor puzzle with an ocean theme
Amazon

A floor puzzle—a puzzle with extra-large pieces that children do on the floor—is a great way for kids to collaborate and move around while building it.

Buy it: Ocean floor puzzle at Amazon

6. Unconventional Floor Puzzle

train floor puzzle for kids
Smyths Toys

A floor puzzle that has an unconventional shape, like this train puzzle, is a fun way for kids to experiment with puzzles.

Buy it: Train floor puzzle at Smyths Toys

7. Magnetic Puzzles

magnetic puzzles with animals on them
Amazon

Puzzles with magnetic backs are helpful to keep pieces together, which minimizes frustration as kids learn how to put puzzles together.

Buy it: Magnetic Puzzles at Amazon

8. Floor Puzzle Game

parent and child putting a puzzle together on the floor
Amazon

This puzzle is a floor puzzle and a game. When the puzzle is finished, kids can use a deck of cards to find different things in the puzzle or listen to clues about what to look for.

Buy it: Floor puzzle game at Amazon

9. Puzzle Track

boy playing with a puzzle that also has a track for a car on it
Amazon

When this puzzle is put together, it creates a track for a boat. There are other tracks in this set for cars and other vehicles.

Buy it: Track Puzzle at Amazon

10. Find-It Puzzle

puzzle with cards to find images on the finished puzzle
Amazon

When this puzzle is finished, kids can use cards to search for different things like a kangaroo in Australia or a polar bear in the Arctic.

Buy it: Where in the Wonderful World puzzle at Amazon

Puzzles for Elementary School

Elementary school–age kids can handle 60-, 100-, and even 250- and 500-piece puzzles. Their options for puzzles are ever-expanding. These puzzles are great options for kids as they move through elementary school.

11. 60-Piece Puzzle

When kids are ready for more than a 48-piece but not quite ready for a 100-piece puzzle, a 60-piece puzzle is just the ticket.

60 piece puzzle for kids
Amazon

Buy it: Race car puzzle at Amazon

12. United States Map Puzzle

puzzle of the united states
Amazon

Puzzles like this one of the United States with pieces for each state reinforce geography skills as well as hand-eye coordination, problem-solving, and the other puzzle skills.

Buy it: United States puzzle at Amazon

13. Search-and-Find Puzzle

puzzle with images to find once the puzzle is built
Amazon

This puzzle has a built-in search-and-find game with images around the border that kids can find in the puzzle—great for elementary schoolers.

Buy it: Mudpuppy Search-and-Find puzzle at Amazon

14. Solar System Spy Puzzle

puzzle of the solar system with a magnifying glass
Amazon

Another take on the search-and-find puzzle, this solar system puzzle comes with a magnifying glass and cards with images that kids can find once they finish the puzzle.

Buy it: Solar System puzzle at Amazon

15. Glow in the Dark Puzzle

glow in the dark unicorn puzzle
Amazon

A glow-in-the-dark puzzle is perfect for a sleepover or quiet nighttime activity where kids can finish it and turn off the light to see the image light up in the dark.

Buy it: Mudpuppy Glow in the Dark puzzle at Amazon

16. Sea Turtle–Shaped Puzzle

puzzle shaped like a sea turtle
Amazon

A puzzle shaped like an animal is fun and more challenging to put together.

Buy it: Sea turtle puzzle at Amazon

17. Puzzles That Come to Life

puzzle that comes with an app to animate the puzzle images
Amazon

These puzzles come with an app that kids can use to learn more about the dinosaurs that they put together piece by piece.

Buy it: Animated puzzles by ANI Puzzle at Amazon

18. Just for Fun Puzzle

puzzle with images of doughnuts
Amazon

Yes, kids love to learn by putting together puzzles. But there’s also a time and place for puzzles that are just about fun images, like this donut puzzle.

Buy it: Donut puzzle at Amazon

19. World Tour Puzzle

puzzle of the world with stand-up animals to place on continents
Amazon

Another fun twist on a geography puzzle, this one becomes 3D when kids place animals on each continent they’ve put together.

Buy it: World Tour puzzle at Amazon

20. Globe Puzzle

globe puzzle for kids
Ravensburger

Once kids have mastered flat puzzles, they can try a globe puzzle like this one from Ravensburger.

Buy it: Globe puzzle from Ravensburger

Puzzles for Middle School and High School

In middle and high school, kids can do most any puzzle. The trick is finding a puzzle that’s just the right balance of challenge and fun.

21. New Perspectives

world puzzle for older kids
Amazon

Puzzles of the world are still popular with older kids, but this time give them puzzles that present the world, or any topic they’re interested in, in a new way.

Buy it: 1,000-piece world puzzle at Amazon

22. Detailed Puzzle

puzzle with different birds on it
Amazon

Older kids can do puzzles with lots of details, like this 1,000-piece bird puzzle.

Buy it: Think2Master bird puzzle at Amazon

23. 3D Puzzle

harry potter themed 3 d puzzle
Amazon

Three-dimensional puzzles are an awesome next step in puzzling, especially this 3D rendition of Diagon Alley from the Harry Potter series.

Buy it: Diagon Alley 3D puzzle at Amazon

24. Another 3D Puzzle

3 d empire state building puzzle
Amazon

Just because 3D puzzles are so cool, here’s another one. This Empire State building puzzle is a more advanced 3D puzzle.

Buy it: Ravensburger 3D Empire State Building puzzle at Amazon

25. LEGO Puzzles

1000 piece lego puzzle
Amazon

Puzzles that build on a child’s interests are the most engaging, and there are LEGO puzzles for every interest.

Buy it: LEGO puzzles at Amazon

26. Mandala Puzzle

mandala puzzle
Amazon

Putting together a mandala puzzle can be as soothing as staring at the mandala when it’s finished.

Buy it: Mandala puzzle at Amazon

27. 2,000-Piece Puzzle

2000 piece puzzle
Amazon

It doesn’t matter what the picture is, a 2,000-piece puzzle is going to be difficult.

Buy it: 2,000-piece Ravensburger puzzle at Amazon

28. All-White Puzzle

all white puzzle 1000 pieces
Amazon

And for the most committed puzzle enthusiasts, the all-white puzzle.

Buy it: All-white puzzle at Amazon

Plus, check out the best gifts for STEM-loving kids.

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