How To Choose The Right Puzzle Board for Children?

Puzzle Board

For decades now, puzzle board games have been one of the best ways to entertain kids of all ages. In fact, more than entertainment, puzzles make an excellent learning tool for kids as they foster many skills, including cognitive skills, motor skills, hand-eye coordination, problem-solving, are to name some.

Mental health experts often suggest parents introduce puzzles to their kids as early as toddlers. Though they may not finish the puzzle, young kids can learn by turning, flipping, sliding, and wriggling puzzle pieces into an appropriate position. As the toddlers pick up and arrange those pieces, they develop muscle control in their fingers.

Incidentally, a puzzle teaches the kids about the concept of the whole. Kids learn that each piece is a fraction of the entire picture. It also helps the kids develop crucial skills like shape recognition, focus, patience, self-esteem, and a sense of achievement, which will play a significant role in other areas of their lives as well. 

Involving kids in puzzle board games earlier in their lives enables them to develop memory skills and figure out strategies to complete the puzzles. Moreover, the experience of finishing the puzzle will allow your child to accept challenges, deal with frustrations and come up with solutions. 

Puzzle Board

Jigsaw puzzles can make an excellent start. But with so many jigsaw puzzles available for kids online, it could be overwhelming to pick the right one. So, the key here is finding a suitable age-appropriate puzzle matching the kid’s interests.

Here are some practical factors to consider that will help you zero down your puzzle board games search. 

  • Check the Puzzle Type:

Puzzles typically fall under two categories, namely inset; and jigsaw puzzles. Inset puzzles come in large wooden puzzle boards with bulky pieces that don’t interlock like jigsaw puzzles. Knob and peg puzzles are a few examples of inset puzzles. However, inset puzzles also come as chunky puzzles that have no knobs. 

You can go for these inset puzzles as they act as a simple yet efficient learning toy for toddlers. Since jigsaw puzzles come in various sizes and difficulty levels, they are not suitable for younger kids. 

In short, inset puzzles are a great way to introduce puzzles into your toddler’s life. Eventually, as they grow, kids will develop an interest in puzzles and solve jigsaw puzzles seamlessly. 

  • The number of Puzzle Pieces:

Of course, the number of puzzle pieces does matter. For instance, a 12 piece puzzle will be too easy for a first-grader, whereas a 400 piece puzzle will be beyond their abilities. So, the key is to find a relevant puzzle where the number of pieces in a puzzle meets the child’s skills. 

The older they are, the more puzzle pieces they can solve. If you choose a difficult puzzle with more pieces, younger kids may find it challenging and probably give up. Hence, considering the number of puzzle pieces goes without saying while selecting the puzzle board games for your kids. So, choose wisely, and you can increase difficulty levels gradually. 

  • Puzzle Concept:

Puzzle board games often come in various themes and concepts. For instance, they come as scenic pictures, landscapes, ocean views, cartoon characters, and more. Some kids may like cartoon-themed characters, whereas others may pick a beautiful ocean with sea creatures. So, choose the concept that goes with the kid’s personal interests. 

Picking themes of their interest will naturally encourage the kids to solve those puzzles. That is why you find many cartoon-themed and dinosaur-themed puzzles in the market. Of course, a preschooler will prefer to work with dinosaur puzzle board games over other concepts. Hence consider their topic of interest also before choosing the puzzle board games for your kids. 

  • Size of Puzzle Pieces:

Puzzle pieces come in different sizes. As a rule of thumb, younger kids will need bigger pieces as they can comfortably work with. Large, thick, and sturdy pieces are easier for their tiny hands to pick and assemble. You might have encountered some puzzle board games mentioning the age as 3+. It is because board puzzles of small pieces may cause choking in toddlers who generally put stuff in their mouths.

  • Material of Puzzle Pieces:

Puzzle games come as portable puzzle boards made of wood, cardboard, and foam. Cardboard may warp and quickly tear if it is not of high quality. So, it is better to avoid cardboard puzzle games. On the other hand, foam pieces can seamlessly interlock when compared to cardboard. But, foam puzzle boards are not advisable for toddlers due to choking hazards. 

So, obviously, the wooden puzzle board wins the toss. But, as always, inspect any toys before giving them to children, and wooden puzzle boards are not an exception. If the edges are chipped or not properly sanded, it may pose a risk to kids. 

  • The Shape of Puzzle Pieces:

Jigsaw puzzle pieces are typically six various shapes, ranging from no tabs and four blanks to four tabs and no blanks, therefore arrange the jigsaw by shape as well. Some jigsaw puzzles contain only square pieces, while others contain a variety of forms, but they are always held together by tabs and blanks.

Most Jigsaw puzzles come in rectangular shapes with classic interlocking pieces. But, of course, some puzzles come in unique shapes relevant to that specific puzzle topic. For instance, world map puzzles come in the shape of various countries. 

The square or rectangle border provides the outline and predictable edges as the irregular shapes are not straightforward to anticipate. Such rectangular or square puzzles are suitable for younger kids, whereas non-rectangular floor puzzles can make the game more fun, exciting, and challenging for older kids to assemble.

Puzzle Board for Child

Age Appropriate Puzzles:

Now, how to find the most suitable puzzle for your kid’s age? Let’s discuss:

  • Puzzles for Babies(Up to 1 years old):

Babies around 6 to 8 months will enjoy seeing colors and touching shapes. The best puzzle option for these babies is inset puzzles with very few pieces. Knob puzzles will work very well for these babies as they can easily hold and try assembling them. You can go for bright colors as babies will enjoy seeing them. Finally, always look for puzzles for any choking hazards before handing them over to the baby. 

  • Puzzles for Toddlers (1 to 3 years old):

Parents can switch over to jigsaw puzzles slowly from inset puzzles during this time. Start with 5-16 piece puzzles featuring large pieces. Make sure the image is simple, bright, and clear. You can buy wood or cardboard puzzle games for toddlers, whereas foam is not advisable due to choking hazards. Images of animals or images of habitats like jungles, mountains, deserts, or oceans are ideal for toddlers. Peg puzzles also make a quite good option for these young kids. 

  • Puzzles for 3 to 5 years old kids:

Kids can solve a 24-piece jigsaw puzzle when they reach around 3 years. Interestingly, a 4-year-old can handle 48 pieces of the puzzle. So, you can choose puzzles of high-contrast images with bright colors and outlines. You can opt for any material, including cardboard, foam, or wood, provided it is sturdy. 

Kids of this age seemingly enjoy rectangular floor puzzles and working on the ground. So, go for rectangular puzzles as that will give them a sense of accomplishment as they finish. You can pick any concepts like transportation, cartoon characters, or mythical creatures. 

  • Puzzles for 5 to 8 years old kids:

Kids can take up to 180-pieces jigsaw puzzles with fairly small piece sizes. You can start with 80 pieces puzzles initially and increase them to up to 180-pieces steadily. These kids also love to work on floor puzzles. You can buy them different themed floor puzzles like space, dinosaurs, animals, ocean, cartoon characters, and more. 

Irregularly shaped puzzles will excite kids, and they will find it challenging to work on them. You can buy a variety of jigsaw puzzles for these age group kids as they will want variation. 

  • Puzzles for 8 to 11 years old kids:

Kids of this age generally lose interest in jigsaw puzzles, most likely. However, you can keep up their interest by providing exciting and challenging puzzles for their ages. A 200 piece puzzle can be a good start for these older kids. You can choose images like an extraordinary piece of art, scenic landscapes, and intricate designs. Irregularly shaped puzzles, specifically 3- D are ideal for older kids as they provide a certain difficult level and interest. 

Wrapping Up:

Feel free to use this blog as a quick reference while choosing the right puzzle for your kids. Puzzles can foster a kid’s cognitive and motor skills while boosting their self-esteem. But, as parents, you need to pick the right puzzles that suit their age and match their interests. With the right puzzle in hand, you can inculcate an excellent hobby of puzzle-solving while reaping many benefits. Of course, an exciting and challenging puzzle game can stimulate and kindle the brain, aiding prompt solutions. 

Grateful House is a puzzle and accessories brand that focuses on bringing innovative and high-quality puzzles that you and your family will enjoy. Here are some of the mind-blowing puzzle board games from Grateful House. Check the Grateful House to explore various portable puzzle board games, wooden puzzle board games, inset puzzle games, jigsaw puzzle games, and more. 


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