Cool concentration puzzles for kids

Puzzle types

Kid’s puzzles are a special category of puzzles. They have been created for children from around 4 or 5 years old, with the purpose of stimulating their imagination and creativity. For this reason, kid’s puzzles feature simplified shapes and cartoon-like images which appeal to younger children. Who generally have a very short attention span. At the same time, it is important that these simple pieces allow them to easily assemble the puzzle into a recognizable image.

Kid’s concentration puzzles can come in various shapes and forms: there is a whole world out there of games and toys based on assembling pieces together to create a specific shape -animals, vehicles, sports equipment… You name it! Those types do not require kids to learn how to read or understand numbers, so they are perfect for toddlers and very young children.

The first type is the shape sorter puzzle. This game usually consists of a boxing bucket (or even a box itself, without the bottom!) with different shaped holes. The object of the game is to fit all pieces into their corresponding slots. Which can be anything from animal shapes (birds, cows…) to geometric shapes (triangles, circles…). If you have never seen such a toy, here’s an old example:

The second type is the matching puzzle. These usually consist of wooden boards with exposed parts of jigsaw puzzle images on them -so your kids will have to reassemble the exposed image by fitting in all its missing pieces. This was and still is a very popular board game for children:

The third and last types are puzzles made out of magnetic tiles or blocks:

This kind of toy tends to be more suitable for slightly older children, around 5 or 6 years old.

How to introduce kids to puzzles?

As mentioned before, introducing kids to concentration puzzles requires us to distinguish between two types of puzzling: toys and games. If we’re talking about the “educational” category of puzzles. We’re basically referring to standard puzzles meant for young children (between 4 and 7 years old). This is the type that interests us here!

The first step in knowing how to get your kid interested in these concentration puzzles is by understanding what kind of image might catch their attention. Therefore, you should always pay close attention to what he/she likes and dislikes!

  • Kids tend to enjoy colorful images with large objects, like animals or vehicles. In general, dramatic scenes are less appreciated than cheerful ones.
  • Placing the animal/vehicle against a plain background is preferred over placing it within an environment (e.g.: Farm, jungle)
  • Geometric shapes are not very interesting for kids under 5 years old since they have no special significance to them. However, once they reach the age of 6 or 7 this might become more relevant and thus be an option worth exploring!

Once you know what type of image your kid likes, go ahead and try introducing him/her to puzzles. Choose images that have open fields and an interesting object -for instance: a picture with a single animal in it. You can also try different shapes for the pieces. Or even mix two images into one puzzle! Just do whatever you think might be fun for your kid.

The next step is preparing for this experience. Don’t simply expect your child to sit down at a table and start assembling the puzzle by him/her. You should prepare things beforehand so that he/she won’t get frustrated or bored when trying out this new activity.