For Parents: How to Choose the Right Jigsaw Puzzles for kids

To stimulate the interest of playing jigsaw puzzles, parents can play with them together and offer hints when needed.

We all know that puzzling is a fun game for individuals, family and friends. It is also a perfect toy for children, but choosing the right jigsaw puzzles for kids has a lot to consider, more than just looking lovely.

For adults, puzzling helps you stay away from the chaos, like the pandemic, or take a break from all the electronic devices. Same for the young generations, you do not want them to spend too much time on their screens.

Moreover, it is greatly beneficial to the health of both young and elder people in so many ways.

Be Cautious When Choosing Jigsaw Puzzles for kids

However, before you load up some websites and try to order some jigsaw puzzles for little ones, there are a few important things to pay attention to first. You want to bring the best out of these amazing toys for your boys and girls, don’t you?

The right puzzles for the right ages are absolutely crucial. It would be sad to see your children throwing the puzzles around, like darts. Or, having the whole box abandoned after an hour, and then found most of them damaged or missed the next day.

There are several things to notice in purchasing jigsaw puzzles for kids at any age, noticeably safety concerns for toddlers (maybe about 3 and under). It is so important to know how to puzzle safely and joyfully…

Tips on Picking the Right Jigsaw Puzzles for Kids

Possibly Swallowing the Pieces

The first concern of jigsaw puzzles for toddlers is obviously the small pieces. They are usually tiny cardboards, and babies just like to grab anything and put it into their mouths. Therefore, puzzles of regular sizes are not recommended for 3-year-olds or younger.

There are puzzles designed for toddlers, which are much bigger in size and made of plastic or wood.

Safety is the Priority

Before you buy, make sure that the materials and paint (or ink) used are within the safety protocols. Remember, even if not necessarily chewing it, toddlers still like licking or kissing the pieces. In this regard, bigger brands may be more reliable in producing jigsaw puzzles for kids.

Smaller Number of Pieces is Easier

If you are confident that the kids are old enough and stop attempting to eat the puzzles, you may start buying them more regular puzzles. Let’s start with sets of smaller amounts of pieces. You know, all children have a short attention span and will lose patience and give up very quickly.

A 500-piece could be overwhelming to beginners, even for adults. So, better start low and avoid scaring them away! Please see the table below for reference.

Bigger in size

Bigger pieces are obviously better. It can hopefully avoid toddlers from swallowing into the stomach and is also easier for them to pick up with their tiny hands.

Thicker than Normal

Likewise, the thicker the pieces, the easier your kids can hold them with little fingers. Jigsaw puzzles for kids are often manufactured this way.

Jigsaw puzzle is a perfect toy for toddlers to bond with parents. Bigger pieces are better for small fingers.
credit: Karolina Grabowska

Colors are More Engaging

Having more colors will probably boost the interest of children, or at least attract more attention. Vibrant colors and lively images should likely keep them more engaged.

Irregular Shapes are Better

Even if the size is not a concern, playing normal puzzles is still tough for kids. They are of similar shapes, and children have no patience to test which works here and there. So, to make the game more fun, try puzzles of irregular shapes. They are different shapes and are easier to identify.

Made of Robust Materials

Cardboard is a fragile material, especially in the hands of children. Even if they do not try to eat, they may not resist the urge to lick the pieces, touching with their wet hands, or spill some drinks over. In case you are worried about durability, consider buying plastic or wooden jigsaw puzzles instead.

Themes that Children are Fond of

Jigsaw puzzles for kids are usually about cartoon characters or some bedside stories. The other popular themes are animals, cars, space, and dinosaurs. Make sure they are cute and loveable!

Boys Love Transportations

This is a niche that most boys are crazy about. For some reason, they are just addicted to buses, trains and the like. Children are so curious about anything in their surroundings.

Personalize Your Own Jigsaw Puzzles for Kids

Should you run out of ideas for buying new puzzles, why not customize a unique version with your own design? You can print a puzzle with some photographs and add a line of message.

Building a puzzle of some familiar faces is going to make anyone more attached. Let’s print a puzzle on each birthday, to record his/her growth every year.

Extra Lessons

Kids like to explore, and their interests are often stimulated by TV shows or books. Say, after watching a science documentary, your children may start asking about the earth and the world. Get them a world map puzzle, and then explain about oceans and continents in the process. Doubling the fun in playing and learning!

Girls are playing jigsaw puzzles and learning vocabulary. A perfect toy for fun and lesson.
credit: Karolina Grabowska

Age vs Pieces

The following is a rough guide about the ages and number of pieces:

Age RangePieces Recommended
1 to 2 years old 1 to 3 pieces
2 to 3 years old 4 to 10 pieces
3 to 4 years old 12 to 40 pieces
4 to 5 years old 40 to 50 pieces
5 to 6 years old 60 to 150 pieces
6 to 8 years old 200 pieces or more

The above is for reference only. As suggested, parents need to be extra cautious in shopping for puzzles for children under 3.

By the way, you could go +1 or -1 for their ages though. For example, if a jigsaw puzzle is set for a 5-year-old, you may still give him or her a try, once they are over 4. Give them a hand if required.

Keep The Puzzles in Good Condition

Once they are well over a set of jigsaw puzzles, it may be a good idea to share with others or donate to people in need. Always try to keep them in good condition!