We all have fond memories of pulling apart and putting back together puzzles when we were kids.  Knob puzzles, block puzzles, wooden, cardboard, personalised, favourite characters – with their bright and colourful designs, jigsaw puzzles make wonderful gifts suitable for all ages. Tash Ferguson shares why, in a world full of flashy techno-toys, you shouldn’t overlook the traditional puzzle as a gift idea.

There are many benefits for gifting puzzles. They make fantastic educational gifts, without appearing to be educational. Puzzles are durable, fun, inexpensive and great for dexterity. They work both sides of the brain and are great for concentration and focus. Jigsaw puzzles are one game that you can’t cheat at – the puzzle piece either fits or it doesn’t!

There are also social benefits to jigsaw puzzles as more than one child can play with them, promoting cooperative play and stimulating conversations.

With so many jigsaw puzzles to choose from, how do you know you’re gifting the right puzzle for the right aged child?

When it comes to selecting a jigsaw puzzle, the complexity of design determines age appropriateness.  As a guide, here are some suggestions:

Ages 2 to 3 – 4 to 12 pieces

Ages 3 to 5 – 12 to 50 pieces

Ages 5 to 6 – 50 to 100 pieces

Ages 6 to 7 – 100 to 200 pieces

Ages 7 to 8 – 200 pieces

Ages 8 to 12 – 300 pieces

Ages 12 and up – 500+ pieces

The beauty of selecting a jigsaw which may be a little harder is that a child will grow into it and/or be challenged by it!

It’s easy to find puzzles that feature favourite hobbies or themes. For one to three year olds, knob puzzles with farm themes are always popular. Floor puzzles are great for ages two to five and dinosaurs, unicorns and fairies are perennial favourites for three to seven year olds. For older kids ages seven and up, geographical and topical puzzles like space and sports themes are sure to be winners.

Inexpensive, reusable and educational, jigsaw puzzles continue to be a great source of entertainment for young minds. We all played with them, our parents played with them and now our own kids can enjoy the many benefits they offer. The next time you are considering a gift, don’t overlook the humble jigsaw puzzle – a fun learning tool to sharpen young minds.

About Tash

Tash is a mum of two, working in the corporate world and trying to stay on top of mount washmore. Her weaknesses include shopping for children’s gifts and books, weekend markets, wine, and orange flavoured dark chocolate.