Have you ever tried to shop for a puzzle for your kids? Then, you already know how overwhelming it can be to decide on a particular variant due to hundreds of options. How many pieces do you need? What the topic should be? What about the materials? In fact, there are many questions that you can hardly answer if you do not have enough experience. In this blog, we will try to answer the most frequent of them.
The first thing to focus upon is the type of puzzle. Despite the fact that there are lots of versions on the shop shelves, they all can be reduced to only two key types: inset puzzles and jigsaw puzzles. The first type is made of wood and sometimes foam and consists of rather bulky pieces that interlock in a considerably different way than jigsaw puzzles do. However, the key difference from the second type is the presence of a frame or a tray in which one should fit all the pieces. The most popular examples of this type are peg and knob puzzles. So, if you are in search of a learning tool for a small kid, an inset puzzle is a perfect choice. Unlike inset puzzles, jigsaw ones have interlocking pieces that come in a great variety of difficulty levels and sizes. Such puzzles are more suitable for children who are already beyond their toddler years as they are considerably more difficult.
Another criterion is the number of pieces. If you have a 5-year-old kid, it will be boring for him or her to play with a puzzle consisting of 9-12 pieces, while a puzzle of 500 pieces will hardly evoke their interest being too complicated. Just watch your child carefully when he or she is assembling the puzzle and decide what complexity he or she can handle to increase it gradually.
Remember about the topic. The ideal topic is the one that meets your child’s interests. Some kids love animals, some prefer cartoon characters, some love nature. Just show your kid some pictures on each popular topic and see which one will take his or her interest.
One of the crucial aspects is the size of pieces. The key rule here is the younger the child is, the bigger the pieces should be because they are easier to manipulate and put together, taking into account that motor skills are not well-developed yet.
As far as the material is concerned, we would strongly recommend you to opt for cardboard, wood, or foam. Wooden puzzles are ideal for small kids as they are hard to break. Foam pieces are easier to interlock, while cardboard pieces are safer if the child accidentally swallows one.
Probably, one of the most important things is to choose the image type that suits your child’s age. No matter whether it is a cartoon character, a landscape, or any other image, it should not have too many identical pieces. For example, a young child will have difficulty coping with one-colored trees and will quickly lose interest.
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