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If you’re in a hurry and just want to find out what the best puzzle for toddlers is, I’d recommend the Melissa & Doug Large Farm Jumbo Knob.
Puzzles have remained a popular game in households worldwide, and there is no reason to think this will change. For toddlers, however, they represent more than simple entertainment, they can help shape a brain and contribute to their education.
From basic motor skills to learning the alphabet or new vocabulary, the best puzzles for toddlers are designed for all ages, tastes, and learning abilities.
Here are the toddler puzzles I will be reviewing:
Table of Contents
Benefits of Puzzles for Toddlers
Crucial developmental milestones happen between one and three years old. Toddlers start developing sensory and social abilities by grabbing objects and playing with others. At this age, they’re also beginning to understand opposites, shapes, and colors.
Puzzles represent an educational tool that should help him or her build self-confidence. Plus, putting the pieces together should enhance fine and gross motor skills. It’s a fun method to work on coordination while inducing problem-solving.
They’re also a great tool to connect with your child, assisting them in developing language skills and memory. Puzzles should also keep toddlers away from screens!
Choosing the Best Puzzles for Toddlers
Browsing in a children’s toys section can quickly become overwhelming and frustrating; here’s what to look for when searching for a puzzle:
- Difficulty level.
- Educational aspect.
- Material used.
- Size and storage.
- Your child’s safety.
- Matching your child’s interest.
Make sure to select a puzzle with an adequate difficulty level. This should avoid discouraging your child on the one hand or boring them if it’s too easy.
For one-year-olds, puzzles typically come with knobs or pegs, making the pieces easy to grab and move. It’s also critical to look at the size of each piece. The smaller they are, the more challenging they’ll be to handle.
Also consider the number of pieces, as some games come with as little as two parts. Others, however, have over 20 pieces and are designed to be completed on the floor. Toddlers over two years old are generally able to handle eight-piece puzzles and more.
If you’d like to add an extra dimension to the activity, some puzzles are made with cubes, introducing toddlers to the 3D concept.
Games are fantastic ways to teach children. They combine play and learning, creating unique moments and memories. You’ll find that most games bring a focus on at least one educational aspect, among which are:
- Learning the alphabet.
- Identifying animals.
- Shape recognition.
- Spelling and reading.
Many puzzles for this age are made of sturdy wood. It’s a natural, robust material, usually able to resist throws, bites, and rough handling. They’re typically heavier and more expensive than plastic or cardboard ones, but should also be more durable.
Puzzles made of foam can be a good alternative and prevent potential accidents caused by sharp edges and throws. A few models are built with plastic material. They’re durable, but some of them can contain harmful compounds.
Size and Storage
If you have a dedicated playroom, the puzzle size may not be a concern. When you’re struggling with space, however, evaluate the size of the game to set-up, but also to store.
Two-piece puzzles can be easily stacked up to fit into a small box. Extra-large models, however, need to be completed on the floor or a large table. One puzzle may not seem like a big deal on its own, but when added to another dozen games, every inch counts.
Generally speaking, the number and size of the pieces will determine how much room you’ll need to account for.
Your Child’s Safety
Most parents look to combine education and fun activities to keep their little ones busy. Yet, safety always comes first.
Not only are puzzles containing large pieces more accessible for kids to grab, but they’re also safer. At this age, they tend to bring every nearby object to the mouth. Make sure that the pieces aren’t small enough to be a choking hazard to prevent incidents.
Have a close look at the pieces’ shapes and edges. Puzzles with smooth and well-sanded sides and corners are safer for your child. Once the time comes, and your little one can play independently, you won’t have to worry about injuries.
Toxic compounds can be as dangerous for kids as sharp edges. They’re generally found in plastic or on stickers or paint covering the wooden pieces. When your little one bites on it, these tiny harmful particles can enter his or her body.
Matching Your Child’s Interests
All in all, you want your toddler to play with the puzzle. This is whether you’re looking for some downtime or to interact with your child.
Even at an early age, they can show preferences, interests, or simply a curiosity for certain objects. Choosing puzzles with airplanes, animals, or your child’s favorite cartoon character can be enticing.
My Top Toddler Puzzle Reviews
We’ve looked at all puzzles and options available for toddlers, assessing quality and safety as well as customer feedback. Here are our top choices:
Melissa & Doug is an awesome toy company trusted by many parents. With 30 years of experience, they’re bringing expertise into their products. This farm jumbo model is a classic, and might be ideal if you’re looking to purchase your kid’s first puzzle.
It’s primarily made for children over one year old. Some users found the puzzle engaging even a year or two past this age.
It comes with eight large pieces, each containing a big wooden knob for those little fingers to grab. This should ease your child’s task at putting it together but also removing each piece once the puzzle is completed.
Each object represents an animal from the farm: a cow, goat, chicken, duck, pig, sheep, and horse. You’ll even find the farmer and his bucket.
This matching puzzle should help your little one with hand-eye coordination and teach new vocabulary. The colors are bright to keep the game fun and inviting while improving visual skills.
Farm puzzles are ageless, often passed from one generation to the next. Kids seem to enjoy the illustrations to the point that they keep their favorite animal piece with them wherever they go. Many users report having an enjoyable time teaching animal sounds to their little ones.
We like that each character is designed with rounded edges for your child’s safety. Even the knobs are smooth enough to prevent injuries. It’s made with extra-thick wood for a long-lasting product able to withstand shocks and throws.
Keep in mind, however, that heavy chewers may damage the pictures quite easily. It’s best to have an adult supervise the activity.
If your toddler is ready to leave the knobs behind and take on a further challenge, this should be a toy worth considering. This one is made of 15 individual puzzles, each containing a featured animal, split into only two pieces. The animal’s head is on one side and the tail on the other.
It’s perfect for kids with little patience needing a faster reward. Young toddlers won’t feel frustrated by not finding the right piece, building self-confidence along.
To start with, only use two or three animals or mini puzzles. Even with only a few of them, your toddler will have to use colors and shapes to select the right match. He or she will learn animals and color names.
As your child gets familiar with the shapes and starts mastering the game, increase the number of animals to choose from. With a total of 15 puzzles, the game can become quite challenging when using them all.
Although your child won’t have the assistance of convenient handles, each piece is easy to grab for little hands and fingers. They’re large—around 5 by 5 inches—so you shouldn’t have to worry about choking hazards. Bigger pieces also mean that you won’t be as likely to lose some of them.
In case they get chewed, the round edges shouldn’t trouble your child. Although the parts are made of cardboard, owners mention that they’re happy with the puzzle’s quality and durability.
If you’d like to add diversity, this product comes in other designs, such as dinosaurs, farm animals, food, colors and shapes, vehicles, and more.
If you’re looking for a unique gift or one that’ll last and won’t be left in a closet, this product might be what you need. The puzzle is exclusively composed of letters—up to nine— to form your child’s name.
The manufacturer recommends it for older toddlers, around three years old. Yet, younger toddlers tend to be the ones using it the most. Regardless of age, if you feel that your little one is too young to put the letters together, it makes a great decorative object in the nursery.
Each letter comes in vibrant and various shades, encouraging color and letter recognition. This is a great method to teach toddlers how to spell their name. Some reviewers even purchased several units to fit the entire alphabet.
This American company took necessary measures to ensure your child’s safety. The letters are made of sturdy wood and contain non-toxic paints.
I also like that they’ve paid attention to detail. Each letter is colored all around, not only on the front side. Plus, pieces are large—3 by 4.5 inches—and rounded to avoid accidents.
Keep in mind, however, that some of the letters—such as the “E”—are asymmetrical. They need to be turned around to fit properly. While some users report it as a downside, it can add a bit of challenge to the game!
If you liked the look of the first product but wished it came with different designs and shapes, here’s one you may like. Instead of animals on the farm, this puzzle comes with various means of transportation: a helicopter, plane, and six different vehicles, including a police car.
It might be the ideal puzzle for a toddler showing interest in anything that rolls or flies. The manufacturer recommends its use for two-year-olds and older.
This Melissa & Doug product brings quality and safety to your child’s playroom. Smooth angles and thick wood should make the pieces durable and safe for your toddler to play with. The illustrations are painted inside the empty frame, assisting your little one in finding the matching piece.
The pieces are more detailed than other games. The blue police car displays a star, and a white ambulance features a red cross. Not only will you be able to teach your child the names of various transportation methods, but also colors and shapes.
Although it may not be intended, this puzzle also offers great versatility. Reviewers report that this puzzle makes for an excellent addition to storytelling. The eight pieces seem to often end up off the puzzle frame, in a racing game.
The wooden parts also come with small pegs, helping your little one fine-tuning motor skills; a step up towards real puzzles! Don’t fear, the pieces are still large, avoiding choking hazards.
It’s also light—0.65 pounds—which makes it easy for young kids to handle and carry. Parents are thrilled to have their kids play independently.
Lastly, this game comes at one of the lowest price points. Users love the quality they receive for the economical cost.
This might be a good puzzle for any child learning the alphabet. As you can guess, this game contains 26 pieces.
They’re designed extra-thick to allow easy grabbing and placement inside the frame. Each letter is 1.5 inches tall and, therefore, safe for older toddlers to handle.
All the letters are painted with a vibrant color to make learning more entertaining. It enhances hand-eye coordination, dexterity, and matching skills. Not only will you be able to teach the alphabet in a fun way, but you may also practice color-naming.
Owners mention that most letters—except the “T” and “P”—can stand up on their own, a feature kids seem to be particularly excited about. For parents, letters can then be used individually to introduce spelling, taking learning to the next level.
It’s recommended for three-year-old toddlers, but younger ones are creative and can also play with it in their own ways. A popular alternative is building a tower by stacking the flat letters one above each other. This creates so much joy when it all comes apart!
The game doesn’t contain toxic materials such as lead. Plus, it’s designed to meet ASTM standards to ensure your child’s safety. It’s also built with solid wood for better durability.
This puzzle is the newer version, which mainly differs by offering letters that are slightly more rounded than the previous one. Colors also come with little variances in a more pastel tone.
Just watch out for hungry pets or misplaced letters as the manufacturer doesn’t offer replacements. You’ll need to purchase an entirely new set.
Learning how to spell is a challenging step for most kids. It isn’t always simple and often calls for frustrating moments. This puzzle should bring entertainment to this crucial educational step.
The game includes 10 three-letter and 10 four-letter words. Each piece contains a single letter, forming a word when putting the cards together. The card also provides an illustration of the given word, making matching simpler for toddlers.
Pieces are big enough to identify and read the letter clearly. The large size also makes it easier to grab and use for little hands. Overall, reviewers are thrilled that kids tend to learn the spelling concept within a couple of days.
If your child only has a short attention span and little patience, only use a couple of puzzles at a time. They’ll have a more limited number of choices available, making the game less challenging.
With time, take a few more puzzles out, so your little one will have more pieces to choose from. Most users seem to use five at a time successfully.
If you’d like to spice up your child’s spelling learning process, this product comes in a few other formats. Teaching single letters—ABCs—is only the starting point. Other puzzle types include upper and lower cases, words vs. pictures, or matching split words.
The manufacturer recommends the game for children over four years old. Because each card contains the image of the spelled word, it can be used by youngsters using the drawings only. The puzzle should then remain challenging for many years to come.
Parents regret that supervision is required to prevent their children from destroying the game. In addition, keep in mind that there are no separators in the box. You’ll need to sort and find the right pieces before using them.
Simple outlines are often the easiest ones to put together. This puzzle comes with nine basic shapes, including a triangle, circle, cross, star, square, rectangle, pentagon, and rhombus. This makes a fantastic first puzzle, and your little one should get a basic understanding of simple geometric figures.
The puzzle is designed for one-year-olds and can generally be used for up to four years old. It’s made without BPA, phthalates, and lead, plus it’s approved by both ASTM and CPSIA agencies, ensuring your child’s safety.
Each shape is thick and large, and users aren’t afraid that their toddler might swallow one. Although the puzzle is designed for kids’ safety, watch out for pets too as dogs seem to devour pieces.
This is the second version of the same puzzle. It features smoother edges and thicker shapes for easier and safer use. The frame is also 0.3 inches thicker for better durability, yet, it remains at one of the lowest price-points compared to other products.
Each one showcases a different shade. You’ll be able to teach your child pink, red, orange, green, purple, yellow, dark blue, and light blue colors. Overall, this puzzle should help enhance visual and spacial abilities, along with motor skills and imagination.
The pieces are made of sturdy wood. Not only do reviewers appreciate the quality, but they also enjoy how effortless they are to clean.
Empty shapes on the frame are left blank, which can make the matching task more challenging. Some parents got creative and painted each one the same color as the piece. Both adults and kids were happy with the result!
This adorable product offers six individual puzzles with images appealing to the eye and made of high-quality material. Each one features the design of an animal: a bee, owl, butterfly, crab, bear, and ladybug. If you have several kids at home, you should be able to entertain up to six toddlers together.
Each puzzle is composed of four or five thick pieces, meant to fit your little one’s tiny hands without the risk of choking. This game seems easier than it is, and reviewers enjoy that it challenges their child. Indeed, it’s mostly aimed at kids three years old and older, but many users still find it engaging for children up to five years old.
With adult supervision and assistance, however, many parents were able to introduce it to younger toddlers. At one or two years old, they may not be able to complete the puzzles alone, but parents report they’re definitely intrigued by the colors and shapes.
The vibrant and colorful images should attract your child’s attention and promote hand-eye coordination. Each image is carefully detailed to encourage imaginative play and observation skills. For the youngest ones, it should strengthen their grip and improve fine motor skills.
Because each puzzle is compact—5.8 by 5.8 by 0.6 inches—users appreciate that they’re easy to throw in a bag when on the go. They make a perfect toy to bring on vacations or the road.
Not only is the product made of robust wood, but it also contains non-toxic water-based paint. Although you may notice a slight smell when opening the box, it should quickly dissipate. Parents are happy with the product’s quality, which can resist many chews and bites.
If your child needs a little extra push to play with puzzles, this model should be convincing if they’re a PJ Masks fan. It comes with very unique and distinctive features, which could make this puzzle a sensational gift.
First, it showcases a picture of the famous characters from PJ Masks, a popular cartoon for many toddlers. This aspect alone should get your child excited to complete the puzzle.
It’s built with foam material rather than wood or cardboard. Not only does it make the pieces easy and safe to play with, but it’s also comfy for the feet once constructed. If your toddler is a professional thrower, your furniture should also feel more secure.
When finished, the puzzle is larger than most other products—13 by 24 inches—which kids seem to love. Although it could fit on a large table, it’s meant to be put together on the floor.
It could make a perfect soft floor mat or accessory for a kid’s bedroom. One that should make your toddler proud when inviting friends over.
While this puzzle is fun to make, it remains challenging for your little one’s developing brain. It contains 25 large pieces, yet is still suitable for tiny hands. Most parents mention that after a couple of trials, toddlers aged two to three years can manage the puzzle alone.
The foam is durable, and some kids could fold and chew on the pieces without causing irreversible damage. Parents also like image quality, which includes vibrant colors. Plus, reviewers enjoy that the puzzle mat is easy to clean.
If you’re worried about safety, this toy meets CPSC requirements.
If you like the concept of floor puzzles, but you’re not a huge fan of foam material, this puzzle might be a good alternative. The 24 pieces are made of extra-thick cardboard, which is simple to put together. They’re also easy to undo when it’s time to place them back in the box.
This Melissa & Doug puzzle should get your little one moving around to position each piece in the right spot. Indeed, once constructed, it measures a whopping 2 by 3 feet.
Because of its large size, it’s meant to be put together on the floor, as even large tables may be too small. Parents mention that this might be one of the most exciting aspects of the puzzle.
Although much more massive than other puzzles, each piece is designed to handle small hands perfectly. The manufacturer recommends this game for kids three years old and older. It can make a fun activity for younger kids as well, but they’ll require some guidance and supervision.
Has your child mastered domesticated and farm animals? It may be time to introduce him or her to more exotic ones. This puzzle features a friendly-looking elephant, monkey, giraffe, crocodile, and snake. It also displays a palm tree, moon, mountains, and bananas to induce storytelling and build up your child’s imagination.
The puzzle is designed to encourage critical thinking, curiosity, and confidence. It makes a great game to play with friends, which promotes communication and team spirit. Parents love using it during birthday parties.
The colors are vibrant and fun and can provide great entertainment. It isn’t for nothing that Melissa & Doug has been rewarded the top brand recommended by parents, for both creativity and learning.
If your child is developing an affinity for vehicles, this might make a perfectly suited present. The game comes with four mini-puzzles of a car, boat, plane, and a police vehicle, plus there’s an animal pack available also. The latter even features eyes, sirens, trees, and clouds to introduce new vocabulary.
They’re made of solid wood that should be able to withstand tough handling. Keep in mind, however, that the frames aren’t painted to match the pieces. Young toddlers will likely need assistance to complete the puzzle.
On another note, shapes are rounded and well polished to avoid injuries and minor cuts. Skyfield also chose materials free of BPA and containing non-toxic water-based paint. Your child should stay safe, even when pieces end up in their mouth.
Each puzzle contains four or five pieces, which maintains the challenge while building self-confidence. Each vehicle is painted with vibrant shades, encouraging sensory skills, and great for learning colors.
Individual models measure 5.8 by 5.8 by 0.6 inches, and all puzzles together weigh about 1.1 pounds. This means that your toddler should have no difficulty moving it around without your assistance.
We love that the toy comes with a fabric bag to hold all the pieces and frames together. It’s convenient to store when not in use and avoids losing pieces. Parents also find it ideal for transporting, whether when staying at grandma’s or to play in the park.
In addition, the puzzles are packaged in an elegant red box, making it a beautiful, educational, and fun gift altogether. Many reviewers didn’t expect it and were happily surprised.
If you’re looking for a different type of puzzle, this one should satisfy your needs. It teaches the alphabet, yet in a unique way.
The puzzle comes in a rectangular box and includes 26 thick wooden animals. Each figurine displays a letter, from A to Z, lower cases on one side, and upper cases on the other. The shapes fit one into each other alphabetically, to create a final compact puzzle.
Not only does it teach letters and ABCs, but each animal comes in a different color, some even have patterns such as dots. This might be a great conversation starter.
Parents love that the animals included in this puzzle aren’t basic ones. Your little one should then deepen his or her knowledge about the animal kingdom. You’ll find an octopus, a whale, a hippo, a zebra, and even a unicorn!
If you’re concerned about our environment, the puzzle is made with eco-friendly and sustainable rubberwood. The paint is water-based and non-toxic, keeping your toddler safe.
Parents report that kids often use individual pieces to build a pyramid, trying to balance out the different elements. Many toddlers also tend to keep their favorite one close, wherever they go. While they make a fantastic tool for role-playing, losing a single one will result in an incomplete puzzle set.
The puzzle itself is better suited to kids three years of age or older. Younger ones, however, can use the pieces for free play and learning animal names. As they get older, you’ll be able to introduce the puzzle and alphabet aspect of the game.
This puzzle is also available in a food, farm, or space version, in case your toddler already has plenty of animal toys.
This is a puzzle suitable for all toddlers, from one to three-year-old kids. If you have more than one child around this age, this game should fit them all. You’ll only need to adapt the amount of supervision and difficulty level.
For the youngest ones, the puzzle provides fun illustrations of various classic animals. Teach your child to recognize a mouse, cat, dog, chicken, cow, rabbit, bird, butterfly, or even a frog. Below each animal is an empty space to place the puzzle piece corresponding to the number—from zero to nine.
One step further, each numbered piece contains a set number of drawings indicating the type of food this animal eats. For instance, painted inside the “number 2” piece—placed under the picture of a cat—you’ll find two fish. Under the rabbit, the “number 9” puzzle piece comes with nine painted carrots.
It encourages your child to learn numbers, but also to count. On top of introducing animal names, the game also teaches what each of them eats. This improves your child’s dialect.
Your little one gets to practice fine motor skills but also work on observation, logic, and mathematical skills. It also makes an excellent tool for parent-child interaction. For older kids, you can use the numbers for addition and subtraction.
In addition, the puzzle is designed to keep your toddler safe and healthy. All pieces are carefully polished to prevent small injuries and don’t contain harmful chemicals. Each one is made of high-quality European wood.
Finally, each number measures about 2.44 by 1.6 by 0.27 inches. They were designed to fit in small hands while preventing choking hazards.
If your kiddo doesn’t like classic puzzles, this one may attract his or her attention. The first element toddlers seem to notice and enjoy is the fact that the cubes are magnetic. The force is strong enough to attach two cubes together, which will fascinate your children.
This set of cubes can create six different wild animals such as a lion, crocodile, hippo, giraffe, a tiger, or more. The 3D cubes develop problem-solving skills by offering four possible placements for each one. The child needs to evaluate the colors and shapes to identify the proper fit.
Kids around one year old might simply use the blocks to stack them up and to develop fine motor skills. Older ones, however, can use the cubes as they’re intended to: as a puzzle. It usually only takes a few pointers for toddlers to start playing with it independently.
Because many combinations are possible within the same game, it should keep your toddler busy for some time. Once the lion is completed, let’s give the crocodile a try!
“Magnetic” might trigger concern in some parents. In fact, the cubes are made of environmentally-friendly ABS plastic. No toxic materials are used, and you shouldn’t find any sharp edges.
The images placed on each cube are clear, and users are impressed by their quality. Colors are bright to keep your little one engaged and entertained. You might even be able to introduce new exotic animals to your child.
Reviewers particularly appreciate how easy the cubes are to clean. Thanks to the large size, they also don’t have to worry that their child may swallow one.
This game comes with four sets of puzzles. Each one is built to promote logical thinking and develop hand-eye coordination. Some require sorting the pieces by shape or color.
The game combines all types of shapes, from triangles, rectangles, circles, and squares. The pieces are either yellow, blue, red, or green, which allows parents to teach basic shades to their toddlers.
Each puzzle represents a different challenge, two of them being a little easier: the two models without the pegs. Users tend to start with these, before gradually making their way up to the most difficult ones. Parents tend to alternate the games weekly to keep up the challenge.
While many reviewers initially thought they might be too easy, these puzzles were able to stall even the oldest toddlers. Users mention it still entertains four-year-old kids.
This toy is suitable for kids 18 months and older. Pieces are big enough—even the smallest ones—to prevent swallowing one. Yet, they’re tiny enough to be easily grabbed and moved by our little ones.
The game meets ASTM—International’s Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety—requirements for toys. This agency is considered a “gold standard” for toy safety, evaluating small elements, chemicals, and other harmful hazards often found in games.
Pieces are also shaped rounded and smooth, ensuring your child’s safety. Plus, it doesn’t contain toxic compounds.
Lastly, the pieces are made of sturdy wood, and parents are impressed by the quality. The manufacturer even offers a 100 percent satisfaction warranty.
Putting Pieces Together
The best puzzles for toddlers are the ones that are age-appropriate and will stimulate, entertain, and educate your child. After a thorough review of the top products available, Melissa & Doug Large Farm Jumbo Knob is our winner.
Not only is it a classic in the puzzle collection, but it also teaches animals and colors. It’s made of sturdy and safe wooden materials to handle many throws, chews, and uses. The pegs also make it easy to use, even for the youngest toddlers.