According to historians, jigsaw puzzles go all the way back to the 1700s when European mapmakers pasted maps onto wood and cut them into small pieces. John Spilsbury, an engraver and mapmaker, is credited with inventing the first jigsaw puzzle in 1767. Since then puzzles have changed drastically, with many different designs and styles available today. However, one thing hasn’t changed: assembling a puzzle is still a lot of fun for many people. If you’re stuck inside and need a little pick-me-up, try one of these three types of puzzles to boost your spirits.
This ship-in-a-bottle Lego set has 962 pieces and will provide hours of fun and activity. LEGO
Three-dimensional puzzles come in such a wide variety of types that it is nearly mind-boggling. Many might consider some of these to be models, but since you put them together from many pieces they’re still roughly classified as puzzles. Whether they are made from wood, plastic, cardboard, or other materials, you’re nearly certain to be able to find one that suits your interests if you put a little time into shopping around. Fortunately for those with children, 3D puzzles also come in a wide range of difficulties, so you can find one that is appropriate for your kids, regardless of their ages. Some of these puzzles are made to take apart and put back together again, while others are suitable for display after building them the first time.
This round jigsaw puzzle has 1,000 pieces and is 26.6-by-26.6 inches when completed. Moruska
The age-old jigsaw puzzle remains more popular than any other puzzle type, even after nearly 250 years. For serious puzzle makers, puzzles with thousands of pieces have become the rule. One mother/daughter duo in California put together a 40,000-piece jigsaw puzzle earlier this spring—quite an achievement in anyone’s book—and the result made the rounds on Facebook. Other small puzzles are still quite popular for those who don’t like the difficulty of a really big puzzle or don’t want to spend the time necessary to complete one with thousands of pieces. Unless you are a patient, methodical person, steer clear of puzzles with thousands of pieces or you’re likely to cause yourself more anxiety than building the puzzle was meant to alleviate.
Get the kids involved, too, with this solar system puzzle that’s great for children three- to six-years old. Melissa & Doug
For many parents, doing puzzles with their children represents not only quality time spent together but a chance for youngsters to build motor skills and reasoning skills. Such occasions can result in memories that last for years. If you’ll be doing a puzzle with your child, it’s OK to get it a little above the child’s age group. But if you are likely to leave your child to build it alone, pay close attention to the label describing the difficulty of the puzzle. Children’s puzzles that have an educational component are always better than those that do not, since education can occur anytime, anywhere. Learning about where the states are in the United States or the location of the different planets in the solar system can be fun for kids even if they don’t realize they are learning!