Puzzles are back with a vengeance (they never really went anywhere but now we’re super into them). In the US more people enjoy puzzles each year than any other board game. Admittedly, our younger selves thought puzzles were lame. The idea of spending hours trying to fit pieces together to create a picture of a bridge over a pond in a forest surrounded by squirrels was just not a party. But, as we all know, kids have transformed us into new people who’ll do anything to spend quiet time with the family (keeping them off of their personal screens and begging us to make more slime). And now, they have us online searching for the best family puzzles.
Let’s be real, we’re pretty much down for anything that keeps these kids occupied long enough for us to finish the last 15 minutes of Good Girls or to finally tackle that self-waxing project we’ve been needing. Not to mention the problem-solving skills your kids pick up trying to match colors and patterns on those teeny puzzle pieces. Did we mention this was all for family fun? Instead of leaving the kids to their own devices (fighting over pieces, hiding pieces, losing pieces…you get it), you’re all meant to join in on this concentrated fun.
Puzzles are a great way to incorporate self-care into your day, too. Not just a source of entertainment, putting together puzzles can help to decrease anxiety (for all of you). Plus, if you accidentally step on a few pieces that don’t make it back into their box, you won’t stop and question your entire life as you do after stepping on a Lego.
Here are a few all-hands-on-deck puzzle situations, that’ll get everyone off of their phones to *piece* together a family fun night (#sorrynotsorry).
Life as a busy mama doesn’t leave much free time to enjoy the great outdoors or visit some of your favorite trails or national parks. Just because you can’t go physically, doesn’t mean you can’t visit virtually. Your junior rangers will enjoy piecing together this puzzle featuring some of their national park animals. No lions or tigers, but there are bears, raccoons, and squirrels. Mama Angie gave it a 5-star review saying, “…My kids really enjoyed this puzzle and we talked about the animals on it.” It’s a nice activity to do before a road trip to a place where you may see these animals lurking. Have your children learn a few facts about each animal — what they eat, where they like to sleep and where they hide in the forest. They can make a list of the animals, and bring it with them the next time they’re exploring the great outdoors.
Take a deep-sea dive into this 2-in-one puzzle. Children will love analyzing each puzzle piece featuring bold colors and beautiful artwork filled with all kinds of sea creatures. Only 64 pieces, putting this puzzle together is only half the battle, the real fun starts after you fit together the last piece. With more than 40 things to find, sit back and watch your kids put their observation skills to the test and search for some of their favorite marine animals. Have them imagine that they’re marine biologists searching for rare species swimming in the deep blue sea. You could create a fake submarine from a box or a laundry basket to add more to this imaginary storyline. After they find each sea creature, they can spend what’s left of their screen time finding out what these ocean dwellers look like in real life. Maybe there’ll be a marine biologist in the fam!
What’s better than a new fun puzzle? Try a new fun puzzle that you can create yourself. BIC’s Geo-Fun Color Your Own Puzzle Activity Kit comes with everything you need for hours of family fun. Inside the kit, you’ll find 20 cone coloring pencils, 8 BIC intensity fine liner pens, 4 BIC Gel-Ocity quick-dry gel pens, and four ready-to-color puzzles. With this new twist, your puzzles will be unique to your family. You can use any combination of colors you want or you can even try to use color themes like neon, pastels, or earth tones. You can split up the puzzles, too. Give each group a time limit and come together to present your masterpiece. The piece-ibilities are endless. Not only do you end the night with a project worth framing but now you have a new host of pens and colored pencils to create more family fun art in the future.
Blast into space with a glow in the dark puzzle that is out of this world. This colorful puzzle features the artwork of planets, stars, astronauts, spaceships, and more. Field questions about the galaxy to spark your child’s curiosity about the world beyond. How many rings does Saturn have? Why do astronauts float? What else can you find in outer space? This puzzle has won the Family Choice Award and the Tillywig Best Family Fun Award so you know it’s a winner. Theme the evening with a space bedtime story or a special astronaut meal for a night time snack. The finished puzzle measures around 18”x12” so you don’t need to clear off an entire table to complete it. After building with your little aliens, let them use their finished masterpiece as a nightlight for bedtime. You might even get them to be excited about going to sleep. A mom can dream, can’t she?
Flock to this 500 piece puzzle for a challenging and fun activity. You’ll notice there seem to be quite a few repeating colors but don’t let that ruffle your feathers. It might take a while, but you and the rest of your family will be filled with pride once you finally complete this puzzle.
This puzzle is ideal for children 9-years-old and up to age 99, as Ravensburger likes to tout. The soft click technology helps these pieces click together seamlessly. “At only 500 pieces, it took me 3 days just when I had time to sit down, and I am so pleased with the quality of it that I am going to use a fixative and hang it on my wall,” said Carole Lombard. “It is a cheery kind of puzzle to brighten up a dreary day.”
Show me a child who isn’t head over heels for Disney Pixar movies and I’ll show you a dark and troubled soul. A larger project to tackle, even your teenagers will come back to the table to piece together this Disney Pixar puzzle that is sure to feature at least one of their favorite films. You can even split up this task by assigning each of the kids their own movie to piece together. One can be responsible for finding all the pieces for A Bug’s Life, and the other can be responsible for Monster’s Inc. After it’s finished, pick one of the movies from the puzzle for your next family movie night. For added fun, let whoever finishes piecing together their assigned movie first, pick which movie the family watches. Whoever finishes second picks the next and so on. Your puzzle-mania will turn into a movie-a-thon — more fun, more family.
Level-up your puzzle game and blow your kid’s minds with Ravensburger’s 3-D puzzle. You didn’t think puzzles had to stay on the floor, did you? Great for your 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders, this pop-up masterpiece clicks into place with ease, that’s right, no glue required (you’re welcome). Three-dimensional puzzles can take a little more effort than the usual floor puzzles which is why 180 pieces are a pretty good amount to give your kids a challenge without getting too frustrated. The easy-click technology allows the kids to hear the click when pieces fit together. For children having a harder time, on the flip side of the puzzle pieces, there are numbers. With a little counting, your child will have an easier time and the puzzle will start to come together. After building, spend a little time cruising over the world and sneak a geography lesson into your family activity — two birds, one stone.
Take a trip down memory lane with this massive puzzle. Give your kids a history lesson on the classic toys that were a part of your childhood — some of which can still be purchased today. Hungry Hungry Hippos, Chutes and Ladders, Twister and Tiddledy Winks — building this classic board game collage puzzle will introduce your children to a list of vintage games that you can all play together for more family fun activities. Use this puzzle as a starter conversation on the olden days which depending on how old they are, could be just ten years ago. “Bought this for a Christmas gift for my nostalgic wife. The whole family started in on it,” said Amazon reviewer, Rick. “The old games depicted in the puzzle were fun to recall and explain to the kids why they were fun.” Use #ThrowbackThursday or #FlashbackFriday when posting a photo of the finished project on your social media platforms.
Be warned, completing this puzzle might give you and the kids a sweet tooth. Pop Rocks, Jujubes, Mike and Ikes, and more, this puzzle is a sweet time for young and older candy lovers. You might want to pull the grandparents in on this one as it has some truly vintage candy pieces that they may remember eating when they were children. You can even discuss the price difference of candy then and now. The size of the completed puzzle should be around 24 x 30 inches. The pieces are thick making them easy to pick up and put down into place. Staring at these pieces won’t help you fight your cravings or keep your kids from begging for something sweet even though you’ve already given them everything they could possibly want including a piece of your soul. All in all, this puzzle should still be a fun and tasty time.
Is your child Disney-obsessed or just you? Either way, this 3D puzzle is a magical option for you and your children. Take your puzzle building off of the floor and have your loyal subjects help you to construct this fairytale castle for a royal addition to your kingdom aka your living room. Discover more than 100 characters from Disney films that you’ll find lurking around the palace. Naturally you’ll find Rapunzel throwing her hair out of the tower window waiting for someone to climb it. You can find Prince Eric dancing with Ariel while she tries out her new legs. Watch out, there may be some evil villains wandering the palace grounds, too. After it’s clicked, check your movie library to make sure you aren’t missing any of these Disney classics or add them to your watchlist on Disney+. If your child has any princess dresses or Disney costumes, you can also pretend to be a part of the kingdom.
This isn’t just your ordinary world puzzle, this map is covered with beautiful, colorful flowers and butterflies. “The colors are vibrant and it presents enough challenge without being too difficult,” said the Puzzle Professor. The images of the butterflies and flowers display a vintage look as they hover over a map of the world. This bestselling puzzle comes with an insert where you can learn more about the artist Wendy Gold and her collage artwork featured on the puzzle. Life of Becky says, “Overall, this puzzle was super fun and definitely didn’t cause any boredom. I have now purchased several Galison puzzles and they have not disappointed – I recommend them to any other puzzle addicts out there like me!” Once it’s finished, you may want to keep it together or glue it and put it in a frame as added decor for your home.
Still looking for things to keep your kids occupied long enough to wash off yesterday’s makeup? Check out these other toys.