10 of the best puzzles for children

Our pick of the most challenging and fun jigsaws, puzzles and logic games to entertain and educate – tried and tested by children

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It’s great playing with noisy toys that do exciting things but it’s also good – and brilliant for fast-developing children’s brains – to sit down to a old-school puzzle toy and have a go at piecing all the bits together. From toddler to teen, puzzles and jigsaws make for nimble fingers and logical minds.

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Here’s our pick of the best kid’s puzzles, as rated by our child testers…

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1. The World Atlas & Jigsaw, £9.99

GOLD winner, Best Puzzle/Jigsaw Toy, 2018 MadeForMums Toy Awards

Age: 5 to 10

What it is: A beautifully illustrated, 300-piece jigsaw of the world map that comes with a 32-page picture atlas full of facts and famous sights. There are 100s of animals, landmarks and attractions to spot on the jigsaw and look up in the atlas.

Why we love it: There are so many layers of enjoyment and learning here. There’s the actual piecing together of the puzzle, the learning about the geography of the world, what animals live where and what famous landmarks you’ll find around the globe and then the enriching experience of referencing the Atlas once you have pieced together all the different countries.

What our child testers made of it:

  • ‘I really liked putting this jigsaw together. I was very interested to learn where all the countries are around the world. I liked the colours. It took me nearly 2 days to complete it because I had to stop and start a few times but I wanted to finish it. I can’t wait to go back to school and tell my friends about it!’ Abbey, age 8

Available from: WHSmith


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2. A Day at the Farm – Schleich Puzzle and Play, £8.99

JOINT SILVER winner, Best Puzzle/Jigsaw Toy, 2018 MadeForMums Toy Awards

Age: 4+

What it is: A 40-piece puzzle, depicting a bright and colourful farmyard scene. Comes with 2 collectable farm animal figurines.

Why we love it: This jigsaw is high quality – and we just love the animal figurines and how they give the whole thing an added dimension of fun.

What our child testers made of it:

  • ‘I love playing with my jigsaw. I like the colours in the box where my puzzle goes: that’s where the animals live too. My toy makes me happy.’ Ariana, 4
  • ‘The puzzle is well made and a good size for small hands. The bonus animal figures went down a treat, really capturing my Jackson’s imagination.’ Becky mum to Jackson, 3

Available from: Amazon


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3. Thomas & Friends Tile Playset, £19.99

JOINT SILVER winner, Best Puzzle/Jigsaw Toy, 2018 MadeForMums Toy Awards

Age: 3+

What it is: An 8 jumbo-piece puzzle that forms a train track for a motorised Thomas the Tank Engine. The track pieces can be configured in up to 50 different ways. Requires 1 AAA batteries.

Why we love it: We like that it comes with instructions for 6 simple tracks to get you started – and, of course, the little Thomas train makes this so much more than a jigsaw.

What our child testers made of it:

  • ‘The individual jigsaw tiles were perfect for little hands and Aviana loves how fast Thomas goes. The fact that sometimes it derailed off the track and onto our floor made it even more entertaining as she had to chase after it!’ Ellie, mum to Aviana, 3

Available from: Bladez Toyz and Argos


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4. Look and Find Number Jigsaw, £8

BRONZE winner, Best Puzzle/Jigsaw Toy, 2018 MadeForMums Toy Awards

Age: 3+

What it is: Two 10-piece number-activity jigsaws, 1 showing the numbers 1 to 10 with a picture by each, and the other showing a colourful summer scene featuring the pictures in the 1-10 jigsaw. Together, they encourage kids to learn to count.

Why we love it: The chunky puzzle pieces are beautifully illustrated, and we like how the 2 jigsaws work together.

What our child testers make of it:

  • ‘Rose can complete it on her own and enjoys the sense of achievement in doing so. Fun and colourful, so very engaging for little ones. A great present.’ Jennifer, mum to Rose, 3
  • ‘A good-quality product for what it is a pretty fair price.’ Gwydron, mum to Oliver, 3

Available from: Orchard Toys


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5. SmartGames Little Red Riding Hood, £19.99

Age: 4+

What it is: A brain-teaser puzzle for preschoolers, based around the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Set includes a game board, 5 road puzzle pieces, 3 trees, Red Riding Hood, the Wolf, Granny’s house, and a booklet of 48 make-a-path-to-get-Red-Riding-Hood-to-Granny’s-House challenges to figure out. Comes with a little picture book of the Red Riding Hood tale.

Why we love it: This fun puzzle game is brilliant at fostering logical thinking and spatial awareness. Our child testers were completely engrossed in working out how to get Little Red Riding Hood safely to Grannny’s House, promising to go to bed after ‘just one more go’! We like how the challenges get harder as you work though the booklet. Won Gold in our 2017 Toy Awards.

Available from: SmartToys and Amazon


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6. Ravensburger American Flag Sneaker 3D Puzzle, £14.99

Age: 8+

What it is: An 108-piece plastic puzzle that creates a 3-D model of a sneaker that you can then use as a pen holder. The pieces can be put together by sight or using guide numbers on the back. No glue or tools required. Measures 21.3cm x 8.7cm x 13.4cm when complete.

Why we love it: It’s challenging and rewarding. Our child testers loved the fact that solving the puzzle created a pen holder for their desk, earning it our Silver award in our 2017 Toy Awards. The guide numbers on the back of the pieces are a great idea.

Available from: Amazon and Smyths


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7. Orchard Toys Giant Railway, £13.99

Age: 3+

What it is: A large floor puzzle with 22 interchangeable pieces that turn into a play train track once you’ve fitted them together. Comes with trains, people, stations, level crossings – and a cow.

Why we love it: The pieces are brightly coloured and big and sturdy, and can be fitted together in umpteen different ways. Our testers loved spreading their train track out over the floor, while all the grown-ups were super-impressed with a jigsaw that offers so many extra minutes of play value once you’ve slotted it all together.

Available from: Amazon and Ocado


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8. Trefl Baby Classic: Safari, £8.90

Age: 2+

What it is: A box of 4 animal-themed first puzzles, each made up of 2 to 5 pieces.

Why we love it: Our testers were excited by the lovely, chunky pieces and nice bright pictures. We all thought the puzzles were perfectly pitched, difficulty-wise, for older toddlers.

Available from: Amazon


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9Trefl Little Explorer Educational Clock, £4

Age: 4+

What it is: An educational puzzle, themed around learning to tell the time. You use pictures, cards and a clock with moving hands to play 16 different clock games. Comes with an instruction booklet.

Why we love it: The puzzle pieces are clear and colourful, and there’s a good variety of games to play with them. Our testers got pretty excited about building a clock with hands that move around!

Available from: Amazon

10. Tidlo ABC Chunky Puzzle, £20

Age: 3+

What it is: A pleasingly chunky board puzzle, with colourful pieces to help preschoolers learn the alphabet.

Why we love it: The pieces are easy (as ABC!) for little hands to lift out, revealing a pretty picture beneath to help children associate letters with objects. It’s strong and well-made so this classic puzzle can be passed around the family from toddler to toddler.

Available from Amazon and Mulberry Bush

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