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15 Best Puzzles for Toddlers

High-tech gadgets and interactive toys are great and all—but when it comes to educational play, puzzles are hard to beat. Why? A humble wooden puzzle helps develop children’s fine-motor skills, while encouraging them to problem-solve and think creatively.

Ready to start your search for the best options? Here, you’ll find the best brain-boosting puzzles for toddlers, from simple wooden shapes to animal-themed activities and more.

Benefits of Puzzles for Toddlers

“The learning benefits of puzzles are seemingly endless, as they touch on many developmental skills,” says Jana Sarno, BCBA, a board-certified behavior analyst and the chief clinical officer of Hopebridge Autism Therapy Centers. If you’re looking for educational toys that encourage concentration, problem-solving and tactile learning, you can’t go wrong with a puzzle. But that’s not all they offer—toddler and baby puzzles can introduce your little one to colors, shapes, numbers and everyday vocabulary, preparing them for preschool down the line. What’s more, they can help kids advance hand-eye coordination and other fine motor skills, Sarno adds. They also make for a fantastic rainy-day activity for the whole family, but don’t be tempted to intervene too much—kids will get a greater sense of accomplishment from solving a puzzle solo.

What To Look For in Puzzles for Toddlers

The best puzzles for toddlers are age-appropriate, educational and, most importantly, fun! Look for colorful picks that introduce your child to early learning STEM concepts like numbers, letters and shapes. While shopping, consider your child’s developmental level to find a puzzle that’ll stimulate their growing mind and motor skills, advises Sarno. She suggests beginning with puzzles with pieces that are chunky and easy to grasp; some may even have pegs to help little hands hold onto them. If that’s the case, start your child off with jumbo pegs before advancing to small peg puzzles.

Has your tot mastered baby puzzles? Move on to beginner jigsaw puzzles. As your kiddo’s skills progress, graduate to options with more pieces. “By increasing the number of pieces per puzzle, a child is able to achieve success before challenging them again,” explains Sarno. Remember, babies and toddlers have a natural tendency to put things in their mouths, so always choose puzzles with large pieces to reduce the risk of choking.

Best Puzzles for Toddlers To Shop

Whether you’re looking for a big out-of-this-world floor puzzle, a chic personalized wooden design or something in between, we’ve got you covered. Below, shop our favorite puzzles for toddlers at any developmental level.

Overall best toddler puzzle

Mudpuppy Level Up! Puzzle Set

Image: Mudpuppy

This adorable puzzle was highlighted in our Best of The Bump roundup of the best toddler toys, where our parent product tester praised its affordability and durability, as well as the way it engaged and challenged her daughter. The set includes four puzzles with various levels of difficulty, allowing kids to start small (one puzzle has just 16 pieces) and progress as they feel more comfortable. The puzzles are made from large cardboard pieces that are easy to hold, and each features a sweet cartoon theme.

Age rating: 3+ years | Number of pieces: 16 to 28

“Your kids will love these—and it will challenge them, which is great.”

  • Four puzzles in one set
  • Different levels of difficulty
  • Inexpensive

Best puzzle for one-year-olds

Skip Hop Zoo Park Pals Puzzle

Image: Amazon

Puzzles for toddlers should have chunky pieces that are easy for little hands to manage. Case in point: the Zoo Park Pals puzzle for babies 12 months and up. It has eight grabbable pieces that stand upright to encourage imaginative play. The colorful park scene features an array of animals that’ll excite and delight your tot. Plus, drawings etched on the board help kids in need of some extra clues.

Age rating: 1+ years | Number of pieces: 8

  • Pieces double as toys
  • Sturdy pieces
  • Affordable
  • Colors may fade over time

Best puzzle for 2-year-olds

Wee Gallery Pets Beginner Puzzles

Image: Maisonette

Next up is one of the most whimsical puzzles for 2-year-olds by Wee Gallery. The cute set includes six characters inspired by pets of all shapes and sizes. Each critter is made up of two large jigsaw pieces, so your little one can complete the puzzles with confidence.

Age rating: 2 to 4 years | Number of pieces: 12

  • Pieces may bend over time

Best puzzle for 3-year-olds

Melissa & Doug Dinosaurs 4-in-1 Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles

Image: Melissa & Doug

The best puzzles for 3-year-olds are those that allow them to build on their blossoming cognitive and motor skills. Take this set, for instance. It comes with four colorful dino-themed puzzles, each made up of 12 pieces. Better yet, the wooden storage box makes cleanup a breeze, and even doubles as a tray where your tot can lay pieces as they put pictures together.

Age rating: 3+ years | Number of pieces: 12

  • Included storage
  • Four puzzles in one kit
  • Puzzles can be assembled on storage box

Best wooden puzzle for toddlers

Cucos Wooden Cutting Puzzle

Image: Amazon

This wooden fruit-themed puzzle from Cucos has a fun twist: Toddlers can use the included wooden knife to “cut” each item. The puzzle features four pieces of fruit—a kiwi, strawberry, orange and apple, that stick together with the help of velcro. The pieces can be assembled in the wooden puzzle or pulled out and played with as-is, giving you plenty of mileage out of one toy. At about 7 x 7 inches, the puzzle is that just-right size for little hands.

Age rating: 1 to 5 years | Number of pieces: 9

  • Multi-purpose toys
  • Kids can “cut” each piece of fruit
  • Sturdy pieces

Best personalized puzzle for toddlers

BusyPuzzle Personalized Name Puzzle with Animals

Image: Etsy | BusyPuzzle

Gifting for little ones isn’t always a piece of cake, but name puzzles for toddlers are surefire winners. This sweet design from Etsy features several smiling animals and can be customized with your kiddo’s name. Not only will this toy improve their motor skills and hand-eye coordination, but it will also help them learn the letters of their name!

Age rating: 1+ years | Number of pieces: Varies

  • Highly customizable
  • Helps children learn to spell their name
  • Cute animal theme
  • Longer names can get pricey

Best floor puzzle for toddlers

Melissa & Doug Solar System Floor Puzzle

Image: Melissa & Doug

Older toddlers will love this large floor puzzle. Made up of 48 pieces, it will offer an age-appropriate challenge that further nurtures problem-solving skills and hand-eye coordination. When put together, the thick, sturdy pieces will reveal an out-of-this-world image of the solar system. Watch your kiddo’s face light up as they show you what they’ve accomplished!

Age rating: 3 to 6 years | Number of pieces: 48

  • Large size
  • Educational
  • Challenging—but not too tough
  • May be too hard for younger toddlers

Best wooden alphabet puzzle for toddlers

B. toys Wooden Alphabet Puzzle

Image: Target

It’s never too early to practice your ABCs! This top-rated wooden puzzle for toddlers has colorful, easy-to-grab letters that fit into grooves illustrated with friendly characters. Call out each letter as they play to help them grow familiar with the alphabet. Your little scholar can use this puzzle from 18 months on.

Age rating: 18+ months | Number of pieces: 27

  • Helps toddlers learn letters
  • Pieces are easy to grasp
  • Sturdy design
  • Letters can fall off board

Best shape puzzle for toddlers

Lovevery Friends of All Shapes Puzzle

Image: Target

We’re big fans of Lovevery—a play company that creates thoughtful toys for every stage of baby’s development. Designed for littles 16 months and up, this wooden puzzle appeals to a child’s love of repetition. Pictures of real people hidden behind each piece will help your kiddo recognize faces, while matching the correct shape to each slot on the board. Plus, you can download a free play guide to get the most fun from this toy.

Age rating: 16+ months | Number of pieces: 6

  • Pieces are easy to grasp
  • Sturdy construction
  • Free play guide
  • May not be exciting enough for older toddlers

Best counting puzzle for toddlers

Tender Leaf Toys How Many Acorns Puzzle

Image: Amazon

Made from sustainable rubberwood, this cute puzzle offers a fun way to build math skills. Help the squirrel count his acorns by matching the correct piece to each segment of the board. The corresponding colors and dots will help kids crack the code. If you’re searching for a gift for an 18-month-old, this option is a surefire winner.

Age rating: 18+ months | Number of pieces: 11

  • Sturdy pieces
  • Fun design
  • Promotes counting skills
  • May not challenge older toddlers

Best animal puzzle for toddlers

BeginAgain Animal Parade A to Z Puzzle

Image: Amazon

There are plenty of animal-themed puzzles for toddlers on the market, but this option takes the cake. The unique design doubles as an alphabet puzzle, and is made up of 25 vibrant wooden animals which can be played with individually, stacked into a tower or connected together—the opportunities for open-ended play are limitless! Parents will also love how each is made from all-natural rubberwood and finished with non-toxic water-based stains.

Age rating: 2+ years | Number of pieces: 25

  • Pieces double as toys
  • Uses non-toxic stains
  • Unusual design
  • Puzzle isn’t intuitive for younger kids

Best STEM puzzle for toddlers

Fat Brain Toys Bugzzle

Image: Amazon

Get their gears turning with this STEM puzzle toy. Just choose one of the 40 picture cards provided to solve. It’s then up to your mini-engineer to fit the right pieces into the smiling bug-shaped board to create a matching pattern. Your little one may find it challenging at first, but with a little help along the way it’s sure to delight them in no time.

Age rating: 3+ years | Number of pieces: 18

  • Involves matching
  • Different ways to play
  • Adorable design
  • May be too challenging for younger toddlers

Best sensory puzzle for toddlers

Melissa & Doug First Play Wooden Touch and Feel Puzzle

Image: Melissa & Doug

Designed with newly minted tots in mind, this touch-and-feel wooden puzzle features several sensory elements for little ones to explore. It’s made up of four easy-to-grasp, animal-shaped pieces and a brightly colored board. Watch your kiddo smile as they discover the different textures, engage in pretend play and recognize themselves in the center mirror.

Age rating: 1+ year | Number of pieces: 5

  • Multiple ways to interact
  • Different textures to explore
  • Pieces are easy to hold

Best musical puzzle for toddlers

Melissa & Doug Sing-Along Nursery Rhymes Sound Puzzle

Image: Melissa & Doug

This musical puzzle for toddlers is inspired by classic nursery rhymes. Sing along as your tot lifts each piece to trigger the music and reveal the pictures underneath. If you need a refresher—flip over the board and read the lyrics on the reverse side. Each wooden piece also has a plastic peg that’s easy for 2-year-olds to grasp as they play.

Age rating: 2+ years | Number of pieces: 7

  • Plays nursery rhymes
  • Lyrics attached to pieces
  • Easy to use
  • Volume can’t be adjusted

Best Montessori puzzle for toddlers

Chuckle & Roar 4-in-1 Montessori Learning Puzzle

Image: Amazon

Last but not least is a Montessori toy that’s designed to teach children in several areas while being fun to use. This 75-piece puzzle focuses on counting, colors, shapes and numbers to give children plenty to do, and built-in storage to boot.

Age rating: 3+ years | Number of pieces: 75

  • Four-in-one puzzle
  • Bright colors
  • High interactivity
  • Lots of pieces to keep track of

How We Chose the Best Puzzles for Toddlers

To help you find the best toddler puzzles for your kiddo, we browsed options from an array of trusted retailers and chose our top picks for every chosen category. When sourcing items, we kept several aspects in mind, including quality and durability, age-appropriateness, style and, of course, safety. We read user reviews to understand what parents loved (and didn’t love) about each puzzle, and didn’t consider anything with less than an average four-star rating. To make sure we highlighted products that are safe, educational and fun, we chatted with a behavior analyst to understand essential features for parents to keep top of mind.

Interested in learning more about our editorial process? Read about how our team develops and reviews all articles here.

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