Mr. Bee recently wrote a post about how great jigsaw puzzles have been for Charlie (and us!), so I wanted to do a review of some of the puzzles and puzzle brands we've purchased in the past couple of months.
1) Melissa & Doug Fairy Fantasy 48 Piece Jigsaw - Melissa & Doug make many different types of puzzles, some wood, some cardboard. This puzzle comes with its own wood tray which is kinda cool, but it doesn't come with a box (we keep the pieces in a ziploc bag), and the wood pieces start to splinter. I actually prefer cardboard pieces for jigsaw puzzles because they tend to fit better together than wood, which makes it easier for little hands. Maybe Charlie isn't that into this puzzle because it has a princess theme (we got it in a bag of used toys I bought), but this puzzle doesn't get as much rotation as our other ones.
2) Gruffalo 4 in 1 Puzzle - This was the very first jigsaw puzzle we bought Charlie a couple months before he turned 3 because he was so into The Gruffalo book. This was an excellent first puzzle for Charlie because he was already into the Gruffalo, and because it came with 12, 16, 20, and 24 piece puzzles so that Charlie could gradually increase his skill. Even though these puzzles are too easy for Charlie now, he still enjoys putting them together regularly. Since he loved the Gruffalo puzzle so much I also bought him this Thomas the Tank 3 in 1 24 piece wood puzzle, but the quality wasn't that great. I thought Charlie would love it because he loves Thomas, but perhaps it was too easy to put together since the characters were so recognizable (unlike his other puzzles) that he quickly lost interest.
3) Melissa & Doug Deluxe Construction in a Box Jigsaw Puzzles - This was actually a favor that the venue for Charlie's first birthday party gave out. There are 4 wooden 12 piece puzzles that come in a little wood box. To make sure you don't mix up the pieces, there is a triangle, diamond, square or circle on the back of each of the pieces. Charlie still enjoys putting this puzzle together regularly. I think he feels a sense of accomplishment without having to think too hard, and he likes that there are 4 puzzles. This puzzle is a great way to get perhaps your 2 1/2 year old started with puzzles. Melissa & Doug carries them in different themes as well.
4) Mudpuppy Roadside Robots 63 Piece Puzzle - I love this puzzle! The colors are beautiful, the pieces are made of thick cardboard, and the pieces are a nice size for a 3 year old's hands. Charlie loves all the detail in the fun different characters, and because there are so many distinct colors and patterns, Charlie was able to do it by himself relatively quickly. I would definitely purchase more Mudpuppy puzzles in the future!
5) Djeco Dragon's Castle 54 Piece Puzzle - This is another beautiful, high-quality puzzle with large, thick pieces similar to Mudpuppy. I love that each puzzle comes in a high quality, uniquely shaped box (though the puzzle itself is square/rectangular).
Although we don't own any puzzles from Crocodile Creek, Charlie did play with one on a playdate last weekend. They are extremely similar in size, quality, design, and even the box shape to Djeco's puzzles. They have a lot of 36 piece floor puzzles which are great beginner puzzles, and we'll probably revisit the brand once again when Charlie is up to 100 pieces because they have some nice larger piece puzzles.
6) Melissa and Doug Underwater 48 Piece Floor Puzzle - This is the second puzzle we purchased after the Gruffalo puzzle. It's made of thick, oversized, cardboard pieces. The large size is great because Charlie could see all the detail so clearly. This is a really fun puzzle that he loves putting together, and it even sparked an interest in fish! The only problem is that it's so big it has to be done on the floor, which can be hard to do when you have a little sister that likes destroying puzzles! Melissa & Doug have a variety of similar floor puzzles in different themes, and I think they're a great puzzle for your preschooler.
7) Ravensburger Little Knight 60 Piece Puzzle - Ravensburger is one of the most popular puzzle makers, and I have a feeling we're going to be buying a lot of their puzzles once Charlie moves up to 100 pieces. The pieces are made of cardboard and smaller, less glossy, and less thick than that of Mudpuppy and Djeco. But Charlie really enjoys putting this puzzle together because there is so many interesting things going on in the picture.
Charlie turned 3 last month and he can finish his 60 piece puzzles on his own right now. The next level up is 100 pieces, but I think that might be a little difficult for him to do alone right now because the individual pieces start to get smaller and smaller, which make the details and patterns harder to see.
We can't emphasize how much we love puzzles because they encourage Charlie to play independently, while he's doing something educational. Now if only he'd stop asking us to sit next to him while he's doing his puzzles all the time...
Does your little one enjoy puzzles? Did you enjoy them as a child?