If you’re still puzzled (yes, I went there) over what to get some of the kids on your list, keep reading. Whether it is a small wooden puzzle for little hands to manipulate, or something larger and more complex that gets the entire family involved, a well-made puzzle is a great plaything that will never require batteries or a wi-fi connection. And if your kids prefer their play to be more open-ended, we’ve found four options with multiple solutions so that their finished product doesn’t have to look the same way twice.
Nene Imagination’s Puzzles Without Borders: Penguins and Friends (shown at top) features three different interlocking shapes that can go together in any number of cool kaleidoscope patterns. Each piece is made of chunky foam with a magnetic back, making this a great front-of-fridge toy that even little hands can manipulate into new patterns. Made for ages 4+, kids will need to think about how to make each piece fit into the next before they step back to admire their latest creation. ($21.99)
The beautifully-made, brightly-colored 72-piece wooden pattern puzzle by Grimm comes with its own octagon-shaped tray to hold all the triangular pieces. Or just let them spread them out on the floor and see what they create. At just over six inches across, this is one toy that won’t take up too much room but will also look pretty sitting on a coffee table when complete. For ages 3+, or kids who won’t be trying to snack on the smaller triangular pieces. ($35, available at The Wooden Wagon)
One of our long-time favorites, P’kolino, has a few playful and colorful wooden puzzles for kids as young as two years old. The double-sided puzzles offer even more design options and the pieces are big enough for little fingers to grasp and put in place. Choose from a bug, flower, monkey, or robot puzzle, either single or double-sided. (from $14.99-$19.99 at P’kolino)
With 64-pieces in different shapes, colors, and patterns, future designers will love to put together the cardboard tiles in the enclosed tray found in eeboo’s Design Tiles. I like that this puzzle is made from 90% recycled gray board and colored in soy-based inks. Kids as young as five will just like this “anything goes” design puzzle. ($19.99)
You’ll find more favorite puzzle gifts for kids in our archives.