Puzzles are a favorite in my house, and they are a problem in the form of a game or toy that requires kids to think and come up with ways to solve or complete them.
As a mother, I cannot recommend puzzle activities enough as they not only allow our kids to have a good time 🤩 doing them but also make them think 💭 and arrive at solutions.
There are many kinds of puzzles that you can introduce your kids to, like –
- Jigsaw Puzzles
- Word Puzzles
- Number Puzzles
- Logic Puzzles
- Puzzle Games
Fascinating Puzzle Activities for Your Kids
Puzzles are an engaging activity for kids to keep them occupied, and they are also beneficial for our kids in many ways.
I recommend you encourage your kids to engage in these puzzle-related activities more often as a form of entertainment and to foster their skills.
Puzzles are not only fun but also help kids improve the following –
- Hand-eye coordination,
- Problem-solving skills
- Spatial awareness,
- Concentration abilities
- Pattern-matching abilities and
- Shape matching abilities.
In this blog post, I have compiled a list of puzzle activities that are super fun for your kids to do. 😁
Word Search Puzzles
Let me start the list with my son’s favorite kind of puzzle – the word search 🔍 puzzle.
You can print out a template or make a word search puzzle 📑 with the letters of the words hidden in the grid format for your kids to find and circle.
The words in the puzzle can be included based on a specific theme, like fruits, farm animals, colors, flowers, food, movie characters, and so on – the list of topic themes you can use for word search puzzles is endless.
I guarantee your kids will enjoy word search puzzles, and this activity will also help them learn new words 🔠 and improve their vocabulary over time.
I found a word search puzzle book at my nearby bookstore with various themed word searches for my son to do, much to his joy.
Word Wheel Puzzles
I recommend you make your kids try their hand at word wheels , a literary puzzle, which can help your kids improve their vocabulary.
As the name suggests, you can print or draw a wheel with a main letter 🔤 in the center and segments around it having eight letters at random.
Your kids can try to come up with as many words as possible with the assigned main letter, which has to be featured in every word they think of and with a combination of the other letters.
Crossword puzzles are another literary puzzle that my son loves doing regularly, and it has been a practice since he was young.
You can print templates or draw the crossword 📝 grids based on themes for your kids to fill in the words across and down to complete the puzzle based on the associated question-based hints given.
The words in the crossword puzzles can include topics like animals, parts of the body, fruits, vegetables, food, plants, sports, and so on.
Completing crossword puzzles can help your kids improve their vocabulary, spatial awareness, and thinking skills.
Jigsaw puzzles are one of my son’s favorite pastimes, and we love sitting together at the dining table to piece together jigsaw puzzles 🧩.
You can introduce your kids to jigsaw puzzles from when they are young by making them assemble the ones with a smaller number of pieces and later move on to the ones that have more puzzle pieces to complete the whole picture.
Through this activity, your kids will be able to learn to identify patterns 💠, which are essential for this type of puzzle.
I believe that the best part about jigsaw puzzles is that there are a variety of pictures and designs catering to our kids’ interests. They also come in a variety of sizes, which kids can do depending on their abilities and age.
Jigsaw Puzzles Sensory Bin
I would say that this activity is a combination of a jigsaw puzzle activity with an added sensory experience to nurture your kids’ senses through touch.
What you can do:
- You can make a sensory bin 📤 by filling a large plastic tray or bin with rice 🍚, which is a dry sensory material that is perfect for this activity.
- Then, take two of your kids’ jigsaw 🧩 puzzles, jumble the pieces of the puzzles together, and hide them well in the rice in the bin.
- Now, kids can search for the hidden pieces in the rice and sort them to assemble the two puzzles on the surface next to the sensory bin.
Through this activity, your kids learn to complete the jigsaw puzzles by understanding the colors, patterns, and shapes of the individual puzzles to complete the whole picture.
Additionally, when they run their hands through the rice, it offers a calming effect.
Maze Puzzles with Paper Plate and Straws
I recommend you let your kids play a maze puzzle, which can be easily done at home with just a paper plate 🍽️ and a few straws.
Steps to do:
- You can choose a sturdy white paper plate in a medium or large size to use for the base of the maze.
- As an art activity, you can make your kids paint 🎨 and decorate the front part of the paper plate using their creativity and imagination.
- Then, kids can cut a few straws into shorter pieces of different sizes.
- Kids can arrange the straws to glue them on the front part of the paper plate and mark the start and end points to create the maze.
- You can give your kids a small marble and let them attempt to get the marble from the start to the endpoint, passing through the straw maze.
My son loved playing with this maze puzzle, and we ended up designing many paper plates, with each of them having different maze routes. It also helped him improve his hand-eye coordination as a result.
I encouraged my son to draw the layout of the maze he was thinking of and then made him arrange the straws accordingly to make it easier.
Maze Puzzles with Lego Pieces
Lego is one of my son’s favorite things to play with, and we used his Lego blocks and bricks to create a maze puzzle for him to play with.
Steps to do:
- You can use a large Lego baseplate, which is a flat plate, to create the foundation of the maze.
- Then, arrange the combination of Lego blocks, bricks, and tiles that come in various sizes on the baseplate with turns and dead-ends.
- Decide the start and end points and give your kids a marble for them to attempt to get through the routes of the maze.
The best part about this game is that it is almost a two-in-one activity, where your kids can play with their Lego blocks and bricks to create new patterns 💠 of mazes with their creativity and also use their skills to try and complete the maze successfully.
My son, apart from using regular Lego blocks and bricks, also uses Lego figurines🚶🏽♀️, mini flowers 🌸, and other extras to create the maze.
Tangram puzzles consist of a set of 7 geometric pieces, which include –
Five triangles 🔺 (2 small triangles, one medium triangle, two large triangles),
a square▪️, and a parallelogram.
Your kids can complete the puzzles by reworking all these seven geometric pieces into different shapes like a house, fish, cow, swan, and so on, to name a few. These geometric shapes have to remain flat on the table without overlapping ❌ each other.
These tangram puzzles can help your kids improve their spatial skills and develop their math skills and are also so exciting for them.
Rubik’s Cube Puzzles
The Rubik’s cube is a popular physical game puzzle that requires kids to complete the combination on each side presented with the colors in the 3-D cube ◾️.
You can give your kids a mini Rubik’s cube that they can try to solve by rotating the faces of the cube. The main goal of this cube puzzle activity is to transform each side of the 3-D cube into a singular color.
Although I have to admit that I cannot solve the full Rubik’s cube successfully, the fun lies in consistently trying despite the outcomes.
I love watching my son come up with ways to do it, and I believe that this puzzle is a lesson in patience for our kids and also helps them improve their hand-eye coordination and work on their reflexes.
Sudoku is a number-based nine️⃣ puzzle that your kids can try to solve.
The Sudoku grid is divided into squares ◾️, where your kids have to fill numbers in the squares in different combinations such that each row, column, and box has the numbers from 1-9, which would be 1-4 or 1-6 for the kids version.
There are Sudoku puzzles for your kids, too, where the numbers of squares are 4 or 6, and they have to work with numbers within that series rather than the standard 9.
You can give your kids these basic sudoku puzzles meant for kids to work their brains 🧠 and make them think of ways to fill the grid.
Picture Puzzles with Craft Sticks
Craft stick puzzles are fun and simple for kids to do, and they also allow your kids to showcase their artistic tendencies 🖌️ while also arranging them in the right order to complete the puzzle.
Steps to do:
- You can place 10-12 craft sticks together in a row to create the base of the puzzle.
(You could even use more or less craft sticks as you wish, depending on the size of the puzzle you want.
I started with 2-3 craft sticks when my son was little and slowly increased the number to 12)
- Then, cut two strips of washi tape according to the length required and secure the sticks by sticking the washi tape strips on the back portion.
- Now, make your kids draw their designs (geometric, animals, shapes) on the front portion in such a way that it covers all the craft sticks, and kids can paint them with various colors of acrylic paint.
- After the paint dries, remove the washi tapes, separate the craft sticks, and let your kids piece them back in order to complete the puzzle.
While doing this activity with smaller kids, you can label 🏷️ the craft sticks by writing the numbers on the front of each of the sticks to make it easier for them to complete the puzzle by arranging the numbers in order.
When doing this activity with older kids, you can label the craft sticks by writing the numbers on the back of each of the sticks to serve as a reference you can check.
Picture Puzzles with Paper Art
Another idea is that you can recreate the above puzzle as an art-based activity by replacing the craft sticks with your kids’ art 🖼️.
You can give your kids square or rectangular sheets of paper 📝 and encourage them to create art by drawing and painting a picture that covers the entire page.
Then, you can cut them into equal-sized paper cut-outs to make your kids piece them back together to complete the puzzle.
Shape Formation Puzzles with Post-It Notes
Shape puzzles with Post-It notes 🗒️ are easy to do and are perfect for kids who are learning about shapes.
This activity helps them identify the shapes based on the fragments of the shape outlines that they are given.
Steps to do:
- You can take square post-it notes that are of medium size.
- Then, arrange two or four Post-it notes together to form one large square grid.
(a two grid is perfect for toddlers, and a four grid for older kids)
- Then, draw a shape covering all the Post-it note pieces, scramble them, and place them on the wall for your kids to assemble the pieces of Post-it notes together to form the shapes.
Shape Formation Puzzles with Paper Cut-Outs
I also wanted to share the above activity with a variation using paper 📄 squares or rectangles, which you use in place of the Post-It notes to curate it to the measurements of your choice.
Steps to do:
- You can draw and cut out medium-sized rectangles or squares.
(the rectangles are for toddlers, and the squares are for older kids)
- For the rectangles, draw a line in the middle of the rectangles to divide the paper into two equal-sized squares.
For the squares, draw lines through the middle of the squares – horizontally and vertically, so that the squares are further divided into four equal-sized squares – the paper should resemble a grid.
- Now, draw the various shapes on each paper grid covering all the segments and cut them into two or four pieces.
- Kids can arrange the pieces to complete the shape puzzles.
Shape Recognition Puzzle with Cardboard
This shape 🔴 recognition puzzle activity with a DIY board is so easy to make at home and so much fun for your kids to learn the shapes.
Steps to do:
- You can print templates to trace shape outlines on the back part of a medium-sized piece of cardboard with equal spacing between the outlines.
- Now, use a utility knife to trace along the outlines of the shapes, cut and carefully remove the shape pieces from the cardboard, and keep them aside.
- Glue the back portion of the cardboard with the shape cut-outs with another cardboard having similar measurements to make the base.
- You glue an old bottle cap to the middle of the shape pieces to serve as knobs to make it easier for kids to hold and lift the shape pieces.
- Test whether the pieces fit in the shape outlines correctly.
To do this activity, instruct your kids to pick the shape pieces using the bottle cap knobs 🎛️ and place them in their correct shape cut-outs on the board after they recognize and match the shapes to complete the puzzle.
I made my son paint 🎨 and decorate the shape puzzle pieces as an art activity before we added the bottle cap knobs, and you can do the same with your kids, too.
Silhouette Recognition Puzzles with Household Object
You can try this activity with your little ones to let them match the silhouettes of the various common items found around the house 🏡.
Steps to do:
- You can choose a handful of household objects, like scissors ✂️, keys 🗝️, clothespins, bottle caps, toys 🧸, etc., and arrange them on a sheet of paper.
- Then, trace along the edges of these household items with a black pen 🖊️ to create outlines, and place the chosen household items to the side of the paper.
- Kids can pick up the household items one by one and place them over the correct silhouette outlines.
I did this when my son was young, and I would sometimes set a time limit for him to complete the puzzle as a challenge.
Object Recognition with Play Dough Imprints
The above activity was too much for my son to do, so I tried another variation with play dough clay.
Steps to do:
- You can roll a ball of clay with a rolling pin into a sheet of considerable thickness.
- Choose a handful of common household objects like scissors ✂️, keys 🗝️, bottle caps, safety pins, toys 🧸, and so on.
- Press them into the rolled sheet of play dough clay to create sharp imprints of the objects.
- Then, place the household objects next to the play dough sheet for your kids to pick them up one by one and place them into the correct imprint.
Number Recognition Puzzles with Cardboard
The shape recognition puzzle with a board was a success when I made my son do it, so I recreated the same but replaced the shapes with numbers 🔢.
Steps to do:
- You use a stencil to trace the outlines of numbers from 1 to 10 on the back part of a piece of cardboard with equal spacing between the outlines.
- Then, use a utility knife to trace along the edges of the numbers, cut and carefully remove the number outline pieces from the cardboard, and keep them aside.
- Now, glue the back portion of the number cut-out cardboard over another cardboard of the same measurements to make the base.
- You can glue an old bottle cap to the middle of the cut numbers to serve as knobs to make it easier for your kids to hold and lift the number pieces.
- Instruct your kids to pick the number pieces using the bottle cap knobs and place them in their number cut-outs on the board after they recognize and match the numbers to complete the puzzle.
My son painted and decorated the number pieces before we added the bottle cap knobs to them, and he enjoyed the process.
These puzzle activities were great for my son, and I’m happy to share that he had a lot of fun. He was able to learn new things, think critically, and improve his skills when doing these puzzles.
I hope you enjoyed reading the list of puzzle activities for your kids to do and that you found a few puzzle-related activity ideas for them to try.
Please let me know in the comments if you have more puzzle activities to share or any questions for me to answer – I would love to hear from you! 😊
I’m a former teacher with a background in child development and a passion for creating engaging and educational activities for children. I strongly understand child development and know how to create activities to help children learn and grow. Spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and volunteering in my community.