Six brilliant jigsaws for kids
It’s cold outside. And wet. It’s the weather jigsaws were made for. But these aren’t your run-of-the-mill puzzles – each one has that extra something. So grab the kids, turn up the heating and settle down to some good old-fashioned jigsaw-ing, with a twist…
Peppa Pig Puzzle & Colour
Jumping in muddy puddles is all well and good when you’re not the one cleaning all the muck of the carpet. So hide the wellies and satisfy your kids’ mud-lust with this Peppa Pig Puzzle & Colour pack. The 24-piece puzzle features Peppa and her pals from the insanely popular TV programme having lots of fun at the fair. Once the jigsaw is complete, kids can get all creative by colouring in the black and white image of Peppa and her wee brother George on the reverse side of the jigsaw using the four crayons included in the set. A nice touch is that they’re wipe-off crayons, which means the picture can be rubbed clean using a dry clothe and coloured in again, and again and again. And to top it off, the puzzle and pens come in a snazzy carry case, perfect for when your little Peppa Pig fans are out and about in the search of more of those flippin’ muddy puddles.
Peppa Pig Puzzle & Colour (ages 3+): £11.32. Tesco.com
Junior Scrabble Giant Floor Puzzle
If you’re an enthusiast for those two-for-one bargains, then the Junior Scrabble Giant Floor Puzzle is right up your street. First of all, you have the 49-piece jigsaw, which once put together forms a huge (500cm by 500cm) Scrabble-style board of words and pictures. And this is where the puzzle fun starts, with several word-building activities – from matching pairs to finding animals in word or picture format (the answers are on the bottom of the box). So you can put your feet up and rest easy, knowing your kids’ brilliant brains are getting a satisfying workout, while they think they’re just having fun. You sly ol’ dog, you!
Paul-Lamond Junior Scrabble Giant Floor Puzzle (ages 4+): £7.47. amazon.co.uk
Magic Puzzle – Castle
A puzzle with a bit of history, this. The castle reveals the secret life of the fancy folk who used to live there in medieval times – from the king and queen themselves (having a lie-in by the looks of things), their courtiers, ladies-in-waiting and knights in armour, to the cooks, jokers and even a poor ol’ peasant stuck in the stocks. There’s so much going on in this beautifully illustrated scene that kids will constantly be spotting never-before-noticed bits, keeping the puzzle compelling and fun. But the real beauty of this jigsaw is its 15 ‘magic’ (aka heat-sensitive) patches, which kids rub to discover what’s hidden beneath. Brilliant.
Galt Magic Puzzle – Castle (ages 4+): £8.99. Galttoys.com
Blue Planet Puzzle In A Box
History, ticked. Now for a spot of geography. The round-shaped Blue Planet Puzzle is packed with colourfully drawn details, featuring animals, people and landmarks of the continents. Kids can’t fail to pick up facts about different cultures and wildlife while fitting the planet together. And there’s twice as much puzzle play than meets the eye, as the jigsaw is double sided, with one hemisphere represented on each side. Although the maker says it's suitable for ages six and above, with 208 pieces and a lot of blue sea to put together, we reckon it’s better suited to slightly older kids, or for those whose dad is on hand to help. When it comes to looks, we all know it’s what’s inside that counts, but still, you can’t fail to be impressed by the cool ‘hatbox’ style carrier the jigsaw comes in, complete with wooden latch and carry strap – it’ll put all those battered, taped-at-the-corners jigsaw boxes to shame.
Janod Blue Planet Puzzle In A Box (ages 6+): £17.99. coolincloth.co.uk
Spot The Sillies – Pesky Pirates
Shiver me timbers, there’s a pirate getting away with all of the treasure! Nothing strange about that, you may think – but look more closely and you’ll see the sea-faring dog’s making off on a distinctly non-piratey jet ski. And so you’ve spotted your first Silly. But there are nine more to discover – most of which can be found in the picture on the box, while a sneaky few will only appear once you’ve completed the 100-piece puzzle. The blurb on the box says these jigsaws “encourage observation and present parents with an opening for dialogue whilst exploring situations generally considered normal”, and we’re sure they do. But this pirate puzzle will also have your kids rolling about in fits of giggle, ’cos little ‘uns find daft stuff hilarious – simple as. (And if you add a bottle of rum to smooth your tum, you’ll be joining in, too. Yo-ho-ho!).
Gibsons Spot The Sillies - Pesky Pirates (ages 5+): £8.99. amazon.co.uk
Wooden Mandala Geometric Puzzle
If you’re the proud owner of an arty kid, or even if you’re not, this geometric puzzle will provide limitless creative play. Pint-sized puzzlers can use its 72 chunky wooden pieces as building blocks, while older kids will lap up all the stunning images they can design. In fact, all the family, from pre-schoolers to pensioners, can join in with this puzzle, creating masterpiece artworks or building super-tall towers and knocking them down again. Finally, the solid-wood pieces, which can be used inside or outside the wooden frame, come in 12 different colours, dyed using non-toxic, water-based colours and natural oils (even so, they’re much too pretty to chew).
Nic Nac Noo Wooden Mandala Geometric Puzzle (ages 3+): £79. notonthehighstreet