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12 best puzzles on Amazon

Which are the best puzzles on Amazon?

Puzzles test people's ingenuity, knowledge and ability to arrive at the correct solution or win the game. They involve exploring, logical thinking, reasoning, spatial awareness, counting, solving problems and handling things. Puzzles were STEM toys long before the acronym came along and still are today because we develop so many skills while we're having fun.

What are the benefits we get from doing puzzles?

The National Institutes of Health says puzzles are not only a great way to pass the time, but they benefit us, too, in several ways:

  • Improved cognitive functioning: Puzzles are one of the few things that stimulate both the left and right sides of our brains at the same time, developing both our logical thinking and our creativity.
  • Strengthened memory: When we try to figure out a clue or look for the place where a puzzle piece goes, our brain tries to visualize the big picture while it compares and contrasts one puzzle piece with the next. 
  • Reduced stress: They're fun to do and when we finish them, we have a sense of accomplishment and closure.

Puzzle types

The three most popular puzzle types are cut-out puzzles, jigsaw puzzles and 3D puzzles:

  • Cut-out puzzles: These are puzzles for very young children. They usually have a simple theme such as a zoo, numbers or letters. Images are cut out from a board and children solve the puzzle by fitting the pieces into the hollow areas with the same shape. 
  • Jigsaw puzzles: They were so named because their makers cut pictures and designs into irregularly-shaped pieces with a narrow-bladed jigsaw. Most jigsaw puzzles today are pictures mounted on cardboard backing. Look for thicker cardboard backings if you want your jigsaw puzzle to last or solid wood jigsaw puzzles if you want to start a family tradition.
  • 3D puzzles: These puzzles add a formality that doesn't exist with regular two-dimensional jigsaw puzzles. 3D puzzles are only solvable when you follow all the steps in a particular order, adding a layer of complexity and calling on a different part of your brain.

Who is the puzzle for?

Kids need puzzles that are easy to solve so they get a sense of accomplishment and are not frustrated by games beyond their ability. Older kids and adults want puzzles that present greater challenges. 

  • People who like relaxing, leisurely activities love puzzles because they are a diversion you can do while conversing, chatting with others and listening to music.  
  • People who enjoy challenging themselves love puzzles because they involve problem-solving, persevering and working with clues. 

Number of pieces

Most manufacturers list the number of pieces on the box:

  • Fewer than 100: These are usually simple puzzles that are easy to solve. The better ones use themes to encourage early childhood learning.
  • 100-500: These midrange puzzles can usually be solved in one sitting and are made for family fun so people of all ages can enjoy solving the puzzles together.
  • Over 500: Puzzles at this level have incredible levels of detail and often look like artworks when completed. The really difficult puzzles have thousands of pieces.

Best easy puzzles for small kids

Runlycan Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle 6-Pack for Preschool Girls and Boys

Each of these approximately 8- by 12-inch puzzles has 60 smoothly polished solid wood pieces with rounded corners. The six colorfully illustrated themes are dinosaur, farm, forest, ocean, space and construction.

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Tolnetr Kids Magnetic Tiles Paradise 3D Magnetic Building Block Set

This 60-piece set is made for kids 3 and up. The durable plastic triangular and rectangular blocks have rounded corners for safety and magnets inside so kids can stack them any way they want.

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MoTrent Wooden Peg Puzzle Learning Toy

Little kids learn their numbers and basic shapes with these ingenious puzzle pieces that have knobs little hands can grasp easily.

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Umtoy Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle 8-Pack 

The clever design of these eight puzzles have multiple pieces that fit together inside the cut-out areas. These 6-inch-square puzzles include a cow, space ship, dragonfly and elephant.

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Best puzzles for kids and families

Mudpuppy Ocean 500-Piece Glow-in-the-Dark Jigsaw Puzzle for Kids and Families

The puzzle features a colorful underwater scene that features an octopus, shark, turtle, big and small fish, coral and sea plants. When you've finished this 20- by 20-inch puzzle, turn off the room lights to reveal glowing sea life surprises.

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Ravensburger World Landmarks 300-Piece Puzzle Map

Every piece in this puzzle is unique so you can never put the wrong piece in a spot. The landmarks add to the fun of learning world geography while you play.

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Galison 500-Piece Popsicle Rainbow Puzzle for Families and Teens

All of the colors in this vividly colored popsicle rainbow have started to melt and the bright colors bleed from one to the next. The pieces are printed with non-toxic, no-glare inks and are dust-free.

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Cubicfun 3D Eiffel Tower Puzzle with LED Lights 

When completed, this paper and foam board tower stands 30 inches tall. You assemble it by fitting the pieces together without glue. 

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Best puzzles for those who crave a challenge

All Jigsaws Impuzzable Candy Balls

Looking like the inside of a huge gumball machine, these multicolored balls form a dazzling piece of artwork when you're done. The 1,000 pieces have crisp, clear images mounted on high-quality millboard for sturdiness and durability.

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Lego Ideas Winnie the Pooh 21326 Building Set for Adults

Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Rabbit and Eeyore come to Pooh's house at the Hundred Acre Wood. When fully assembled, the 1,265 pieces reach 9 inches high at the top of the tree.

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Aquarius "Harry Potter" Hogwarts Castle Puzzle

Unlock your inner wizard as you view the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry rising from the Black Lake. The 3,000 pieces are all precision cut from thick glare-free paper.

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Rokr 3D Wooden Zodiac Clock Puzzle 

This 168-piece clock is made of premium basswood and comes with detailed assembly instructions. When completed, it is a working clock that tells the minute, hour, day, week and month. 

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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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