I love a good jigsaw puzzle.
I remember doing a lot of them as a child, but then years went by without doing any.
Then, when Star was born, my mom brought a puzzle with her when she came to help out and my two older girls spent ages working on it with her.
Ella, who was five, really caught the puzzle bug and started doing them almost daily. Our house in Arizona had an unused dining room and she almost always had a big puzzle going on in there which she’d work on for hours while listening to her audiobooks.
At night, after the girls were in bed, I’d often turn on my own audiobook and work on it for 30-45 minutes to wind down at the end of the day instead of looking endlessly at my phone, especially if Bart was traveling for work.
Since then, we’ve built up our collection of jigsaw puzzles and my little girls love doing simple puzzles as much as Ella and I like working on a big complicated one.
(Bart and Ani are both somewhat neutral on puzzles. They’ll do them here and there, but don’t seek them out).
Now, with so much time at home, we’ve had a puzzle going since the day the world shut down and it’s been a nice project to work on over several days, often while listening to some podcast episodes or an audiobook, sometimes just chatting.
If a jigsaw puzzle sounds just right for your family right now, here are some of our favorites for various ages.
Jigsaw puzzles for kids
I love these little wooden puzzles from Melissa and Doug. We’ve had this set of pet puzzles since Ella was 2 and they’re just finally starting to get battered and we bought Tally a farm set for Christmas. They also have vehicles and dinosaur sets. All four of my girls have LOVED them and been able to do them independently from about 2.5 or 3. For less than $12 for four puzzles, it’s a great deal and they are super durable.
I also love the Melissa and Doug giant floor puzzles. We have this horse one that my mom gave one of my girls for their birthday a few years ago and currently Tally and I do it together on almost a daily basis.
Any time I mention puzzles, people tell me that I can get a jigsaw puzzle from the dollar store and we’ve bought our fair share from there, but I’ll warn you that they are just not as fun. The pieces don’t snap together well and they’re harder for kids to do because of that and they don’t stay clicked. Also, because the pieces are so flimsy, they get bent or torn quickly. In my opinion, it’s worth it to spring for a better puzzle that will last you for years.
Petit Collage also makes BEAUTIFUL floor puzzles. We have this space one and my girls love it (so do I, honestly), and they have a whole bunch of other ones, all equally striking. They have big pieces and they’re durable.
The DJECO puzzle sets are also really great – my in-laws gave one of my girls the Cinderella one years ago and we still use it at least once a week. Tally can do it on her own during quiet time, now that we’ve done it dozens of times together.
jigsaw puzzles for adults
My #1 favorite puzzle brand is Ravensburger. We have a whole slew of them and you can order them from Amazon or usually pick them up at Target. They’re super high quality and last forever and come in sizes from 35 pieces up to 9000 (do I have any interest in trying a puzzle this big? No).
My favorites are the 500 and 1000 piece sizes.
A 500 piece jigsaw puzzle, you can do in a few hours (Bart, Ella and I did this one in just under 2 hours earlier this winter), 1000 pieces might take you a day or two or three (it always depends on the pattern – last week, Ella and I did a 1000 piece puzzle that took us about five or six days because it was such a complex design).
We also did our first Galison jigsaw puzzle at Christmas when we got it as a gift (it as this one) and it was delightful. They have the most whimsical happy designs and they’re very affordable.
And one last kind of jigsaw puzzle that’s clever – Cobble Hill makes family puzzles where one side of the puzzle is big pieces, the middle is medium pieces and the other side is small, so the whole family can work on it together. We have this Noah’s Ark one and it’s delightful – Ella and I have done it multiple times since Bart’s parents gave it to us as a gift several years ago.
Whew – who knew I had so much to say about puzzles? Any other favorite brands or types? I’d love to hear!
I’m a fan of jigsaws – like you, I did lots when I was a child – my favourite was a round one of Henry VIII and his six wives – then I didn’t do any for years – this last year or so, I’ve gone back to them. I can fit a 1,000 piece jigsaw on our coffee table, although I do have to watch out for an inquisitive puppy!
PS: I wrote a post about rediscovering jigsaws here, if you’d like to see: https://thiswestlondonlife.com/2019/01/30/a-puzzling-hobby/
Theresa Link says
Ravensburger sells a puzzle with more than 40,000 pieces! I would have to remodel my home to have a floor space large enough to build i!
Janssen Bradshaw says
Isn’t that CRAZY?!
Thank you for this post! I was looking for some more puzzles for my 3 year old!
Dowdle Folk Art is a local company in Lindon, UT that makes wonderful, high quality puzzles. They always have fun little details in beautiful images. They’re definitely my family’s favorite.and we own quite a few.
Janssen Bradshaw says
Oh, I love to hear about things like this! Thank you!
Thanks for your suggestions! I discovered Mudpuppy puzzles a couple years ago and love them! They have all different sizes, but the 500 piece puzzles are perfect for my family to do in an evening. I super highly recommend the “Hello From Around the World” design, it’s just so darling. 🙂 I also love the Pet Portraits one. It looks like Amazon doesn’t have these 2 in stock anymore but the mudpuppy website has free shipping on orders over $25. I think I’ll go order myself one of the 1000 piece ones to work on during the quarantine! 😀
Oh I actually just saw they have free shipping through tomorrow. 👍🏻
My nearly-4yo loves puzzles – she does one each day during her quiet time. She can do a 100-piece puzzle with little/no assistance, if that’s a helpful reference for anyone (of course each child is different and we have done these together at first until she gained confidence). We just got one from Crocodile Creek via Amazon that is lovely!