5 Best Puzzles for 2 Year Olds

No matter what age you are, everyone loves a good puzzle. It gets your mind thinking and excites you to be able to put the whole thing together.

It’s the same idea for toddlers. While their minds are still forming, puzzles can be great brain-building activities.

When you were younger, you probably received a puzzle as a gift from a family member, or maybe from someone who was like family that had a big impact on you growing up.

With the holiday season around the corner, why not give the gift of a puzzle?

There are puzzles for those of all ages and skill sets, from beginner to expert, 2 and up. In fact, there are so many puzzle types that you might not even know where to start.

With a little help from this article, you can find the 5 best puzzles for 2 year olds, so let’s explore the options.

Table of contents


How Can My 2 Year Old Benefit From Puzzles?

There are three areas of the brain that benefit from puzzles when used during early childhood development; Physical, cognitive and emotional skills.

These skill sets are all learned when a child engages in playtime with a puzzle.

Physical Skills

By working the physical area in the brain, this helps aid in the development of hand-eye coordination and fine-motor dexterity as they grasp, hold, turn and fit the puzzle pieces together.

Cognitive Skills

The cognitive part of the brain is responsible for problem solving, thinking, planning, and organizing.

These cognitive skills arise when the child pieces together the image, working to solve the problem.

Solving the puzzle itself helps to learn the necessary skills such as sorting, classifying, comparing, sizing and spatial relationships.

Emotional Skills

Upon completing a puzzle, the child is able to gain confidence through their ability to problem solve.

They feel rewarded in being brave and trying something new, therefore gaining emotional skills. They also learn patience and the act of setting a goal.

According to Nancy Maldonado from Texas Child Care, “A 2-year-old enjoys putting in and taking out pieces as much as actually fitting a piece in its space.

Manipulating the pieces—turning them, trying to fit them in, and so forth—is cause for engagement. Activity is the satisfaction at his age.”

5 Best Puzzles for 2 Year Olds

Let’s take a look at the 5 types of puzzles you can buy online that are most ideal for 2 year olds below:

1. Peg Puzzles  

Peg puzzles are the best place to start for a 2 year old. Peg puzzles tend to be larger pieces that the child can easily grab.

A good peg puzzle set will also incorporate learning topics such as trucks, farm animals, colors, and shapes.

Through playing and exploring, children build a skillset from the ground up, or in this case, one puzzle piece at a time.

Peg puzzles have a little “peg” on the wooden piece that makes it particularly helpful for those tiny hands to be able to grasp the piece and move it around.

You might be thinking, what other skills with my child learn by playing with a puzzle? Aside from the hand-eye coordination, and the motor skills…  

  • Spatial awareness
  • Concentration and focus
  • Problem-solving
  • Patience
  • Shape recognition
  • Memory

In addition to those skills, social skills are also learned by working on a puzzle with a friend or family member,

Learning to work together and communicate to figure out what goes where is critical in the early social learning stages.

Check out this peg puzzle set for your 2 year old.

2. Wooden Puzzles

Wooden puzzles are easy to find and help strengthen hand-eye coordination. You can find wooden puzzles with fun geometric shapes, or even the alphabet.

Watch how entertained your child will be with this type of puzzle as it will keep them busy for days!

This specific puzzle is perfect for toddlers and children who are just starting with their first or second puzzle.

A personalized name puzzle is a great way to give a unique gift while encouraging logic, name spelling, letter recognition and self esteem.  

3. Jigsaw Puzzles

You might be thinking, “Jigsaw puzzles for a 2 year old?” Yep, you heard right! This type of puzzle should be a staple in their playroom.

A jigsaw puzzle does require more skill and is typically recommended for ages 3 to 6 but it’s never too early to get them started on their first jigsaw.

Varying difficulties allow your child to grow into a new puzzle set. Start out with the simplest puzzles and scale up later on!

This wooden jigsaw puzzle doubles as a storage box, so you don’t have to worry about puzzle pieces being thrown everywhere.

It’s also convenient for travel, for when you have a restless toddler on your hands, they can bring the puzzle with them wherever they go.

With jigsaw sets themed in construction, dinosaurs, pets, and wild animals, you can find something for every child.

4. Toddler Puzzles

So what’s the difference between puzzles and toddler puzzles? Toddler puzzles are specifically made with your tiny tot in mind.

These toddler puzzles provide a brain-boost while they play and not only provides engaged play-time but also helps them practice problem solving and spatial reasoning as they try to finish the puzzle.

This fun and indestructible toddler puzzle is made from polyester and is unique in the way that it looks like a shopping list.

This not only helps to improve mathematical calculations but logical thinking and problem solving as well.

This will surely keep your little one away from being tempted by your phone or ipad.

Give your child a true sense of accomplishment, because before you know it, they will be able to put the puzzle together all on their own.

5. Mix and Match Puzzles

This type of puzzle is unique as it is essentially a matching game in puzzle form!

All of the pieces fit in each spot so your child has to use context clues and colors to navigate the correct piece to its destination.  

This is an exciting time for them as it lets their imagination run wild while also promoting fine motor skills.

Check out this durable wooden mix and match set with a bear family that includes 45 mix-and-match pieces to assemble the whole bear family. You can even find a set that has magnetic pieces.

With a mix-and-match puzzle set your child will be developing several skills including color and pattern recognition, creativity, and hand-eye coordination.  

Puzzle Pieced Together

We went over the 5 best puzzles for 2 year olds from peg puzzles, to original wooden jigsaw and mix-and-match but no matter which puzzle you decide to go with, you can rest assured knowing that your toddler will be getting the best out of any puzzle.

In fact, a single puzzle given as a gift, can have such a big impact in a child’s development. According to the CDC, there is a list under each milestone for what to expect by 3 years old.

Starting with social/emotional skills, language/communication, cognitive, and moving/physical development, this time in your child’s life is the most important.

Hand them a puzzle and see how they react, making sure to pay attention to their facial and vocal expressions, hand movement and any other physical gestures that might be unusual.

The above video shows a child putting together several different puzzles. This type of activity teaches them how to put the body of the animal together.

Puzzles can even be used to help expand their Language Skills.  

Which puzzle do you think would be best for your 2 year old? Don’t be afraid to explore different puzzles and work with them on putting the pieces together.

Puzzles make a great gift whether you’re a grandparent, godparent, aunt, uncle, or friend, the gift of a puzzle can make a big difference!

One small toy can have such a big impact on the development of a child, so next time you’re on a toy run, don’t forget about the benefits of puzzles and the 5 best puzzles for a 2 year old.

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