by Nato Craft April 19, 2021 6 min read

The article" Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles And Children Well-rounded Development" helps you to clearly understand a few significant advantages of allowing your children to play jigsaw puzzles. They bring kids a good chance to sharpen patience and perseverance. Moreover, social skills, visual perception and cognitive skills around organization and strategy are developed by practicing working on puzzles. 

However, you might find it difficult to choose a suitable puzzle for your little kids because there are hundreds of options in the market nowadays. How many puzzle pieces are perfect? Should you choose a 100- pieces puzzle? Or is fewer pieces better? And what the themes children love? Please notice that if you buy the wrong one, making a child too difficult, it may cause frustration and boredom as they try to complete it. Or worse, your baby may not feel interested in this educational toy. They even would hate the experience and never try playing a jigsaw puzzle again in the future. 

The essential thing to gift a child a suitable puzzle is finding the appropriate level of difficulty for each age. In addition, the preference of children and safety are your significant concerns. If you choose the right puzzle topic your baby love, it can be a source of satisfaction and development while having fun.

Below are a few aspects which you have to consider choosing an appropriate one.

 Table of contents

1. The types of jigsaw puzzles

2. The themes of puzzles

3. The number of puzzle pieces

4. The piece sizes

5. The material of puzzles

6. The shape of puzzles

1. The types of jigsaw puzzles


The market has an abundance of puzzle types, however they could divide into two main groups regarding children. They are inset and jigsaw puzzles. In each group, there are three categories: Knob, chunky and peg puzzles (belonging to the former), and frame, floor and 3D puzzles (belonging to the latter group).

The material of the inset puzzles is typically wood, but sometimes foam. They include large and bulky pieces which are non-connecting each other not interlocked as other normal jigsaw puzzle. Besides, this puzzle comes with a board or frame which the pieces fit on. Such simple toys are especially helpful as the first puzzles for the kids are older toddlers and preschoolers.

In terms of jigsaw puzzles, all pieces are interlocking together and feature a full range of sizes and the degree of difficulty. They are perfect for experienced children or kids beyond the toddler years as the difficult level of jigsaw puzzles is more than that of the inset group.

2. The themes of puzzles

Choosing a topic of puzzles heavily depends on kid’s age and personal interests. If you give two puzzles, one of cartoon characters, and another of a beautiful landscape, it is sure that the average preschooler will prefer the former puzzle, despite other characteristics the puzzle may have. Besides, some of over 10-year-old children might choose more sophisticated topics such as works of art, ocean scenes and buildings.

If your babies work on puzzle topics they really love, the image might be a great motivator and even inspire little ones to finish a puzzle that is more challenging.

3. The number of puzzle pieces

The puzzle piece count is one of the most important factors you need to consider when buying a puzzle for your kids. With a frame puzzle of 12 pieces, a child aged between 5 and 6 might finish it in under 5 minutes. However, they fail to complete a 500-piece puzzle as it is probably beyond their abilities.

The fewer the number of puzzle pieces is, the easier players complete. Thus, toddlers should work on puzzles with fewer pieces which help them to become familiar with such learning toys. As they get older and used to puzzle pieces, they are able to resolve more complicated puzzles with more pieces.

4.The piece sizes

Like the number of puzzle pieces, the pieces of puzzles also have a wide variety of sizes. The hands of your kids are so little and stiff, so they manipulate and assemble the large and thicker pieces easier than the tiny pieces. So the younger your little ones are, the larger the pieces you should seek.

Besides, you probably come across some puzzles with a tag that says toys for ages 3+, or similar. Its significance is that the puzzle is designed for children aged 3 years and up. Because the toddlers and babies who typically like putting everything in their mouths might be choked on small puzzle pieces, manufacturers have specified the age restriction.

5. The material of puzzles

Manufacturers use three main materials to produce puzzles, they are wood, cardboard, and foam. Puzzles made of wood are perfect for your children. They are usually inset puzzles or frame puzzles. However, you have to examine piece edges carefully before let kids to explore the puzzle because there can be a danger if the edges of puzzle pieces haven’t been properly sanded.

Regarding of cardboard puzzles, they easily warp and tear especially when its quality is poor. This causes your children frustration of working on them as the pieces of puzzles are not interlocking each other. In contrast, puzzle pieces made of foam can stay together with ease, but you should not buy them for toddlers because your baby might be at risk of choking from small parts.

6. The shape of puzzles

The jigsaw puzzles of children are mainly ribbon cut puzzles in shape of rectangle. The such traditional puzzles featuring consistent pieces are perfect for your babies who are novice players. Square or rectangle shaped puzzles provide players with borders and a defined space which they will work inside.

However, you might come across some puzzles featuring unique shapes related to the themes of the puzzle or consist of whimsy shaped pieces. For example, a puzzle is in shape of a butterfly or a dog. When your children grow up, a non-edge puzzle or variation in piece shapes might attract the interest of your kids more. They find it more challenging and fun to assemble.

When you select carefully puzzles, your kids will have hours of fun and learning. Below is a summary guide to help you to choose right puzzles for your kids' age.

Puzzles for children aged 6 months to 3 years

When your babies are around 6 months of age, or they can sit up on their own, they might begin with very simple puzzles having very few pieces. Inset puzzles of 3 pieces, large and chunky are the best for your little ones. Gradually, babies get familiar with chunky, knob inset puzzles to jigsaw puzzles. Between the ages of 2 and 3, kids can start playing with more pieces, about 5-16 large pieces as they gained little experience with jigsaw puzzles.

The suitable materials for this age are wood and cardboard. You should pick puzzles with pieces large enough to prevent your little ones from a risk of choking. In addition, the ideal themes are of animals, geometric shapes, and habitats like jungles, oceans, mountains.

Puzzles for children aged 3 to 5 years

At this stage, your kids can try to work on a jigsaw puzzle of 24 to 48 pieces in moderate size. Irregularly shaped pieces also make them interested. You can choose three materials for preschoolers as long as its quality is good. In terms of topics, kids at this age-group prefer themes of animal and cartoon characters.

Puzzles for children aged 5 to 11 years

Children at this age are elementary school students who are good at distinguishing the shapes of pieces. You can give a puzzle with more pieces (80 and 125 pieces) for them. After having gained experience, you continue to challenge them by a 180-piece jigsaw puzzle featuring fairly small piece size.

At this point, children personal interests are expanded from landscapes to fascinating works of art, however they also start to lose interest in jigsaw puzzles. You can keep their motivation up by giving them irregularly shaped puzzles that provides just the right amount of challenge.

You can consult our suggestions, and please take note that the degree of complexity and the number of pieces might vary depending on the individual child's ability.



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