The Best Puzzles for 2-Year-Olds

Last Updated on November 27, 2021 by admin

Puzzles are a fun, affordable gift that encourage fine motor skills and cognitive development, and there are plenty of puzzles designed just for 2-year-olds that are well-loved. (Whether their parents will love picking up all the pieces is a different story.)

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“Chunky” Wooden Puzzles for 2-Year-Olds

Melissa and Doug Chunky Farm Puzzle, $11

Puzzles geared for 2-year-olds all have larger pieces that are easy for little hands to grab, either with pegs or by being taller than the background board. These puzzles take the guesswork out of figuring out which piece goes where, but still provide the satisfaction of fitting the pieces into the right spots.

The company Melissa and Doug seems to dominate the market for this category. My son likes trucks, so we have their very popular construction site puzzle.

Another popular pick is this toolbox puzzle, which is nice because they’re sized just right for imaginative play. It’s also hard to go wrong with farm animals, like in the puzzle shown above.

Personalized Name Puzzle

Name puzzle, up to 9 letters, $26

For a really unique gift, consider a personalized name puzzle. These are a cool way to help toddlers learn about letters and spelling, and they look great on display in their bedrooms, too.

Puzzle Pairs

Match-Up Puzzle, $20

Puzzle pairs introduce kids to the next step in puzzle play: actually fitting pieces together. These puzzles can also can teach numbers and matching. They’re great for toddlers who may have graduated from basic puzzles and are ready to learn counting.

There are a lot more puzzle pair options marketed to the 3-and-up crowd with smaller pieces, but the brand shown here is made just for younger toddlers.

Busy Boards for 2-Year-Olds

Melissa and Doug Latches Board, $20

2-year-olds are fascinated with opening and closing doors and fasteners (which is just one of the many reasons why you can never take your eyes off them). That’s why 2-year-olds, especially younger ones, love latch boards, also sometimes called activity boards or “busy boards.”

Crafty, hands-on types might try making one themselves (here are some ideas), or you could just go for the tried-and-true Melissa and Doug latch puzzle, shown here, for $20.

The puzzle is suggested for ages 3 and up, likely because its small parts could become choking hazards if they fell off. However, the reviews say it’s sturdily built, and many user reviews reference 2-year-olds really liking the toy. As always, use discretion and check for loose or damaged parts.

Puzzle Play Mats

ABC/123 Play Mat, $46

These puzzles are popular because they double as a squishy floor mat that provides a little insurance against toddler falls, especially in playrooms with hard floors.

These puzzles also help 2-year-olds start to recognize letters, shapes, and numbers, and allow for large motor movement and fine motor movement in the same activity.

I did start to dread picking up all the random letters after a while, so this isn’t exactly my personal favorite, but I wanted to include it on the list because it’s such a popular option.

Cube Puzzles

Wooden block puzzle, $20

I’ve already sung the praises of cube puzzles in a separate post, but they definitely deserve their own spot on this list. These puzzles are simple enough for toddlers but are extra engaging because there are six images to choose from.

Magnet Maze

HABA Town Maze Magnetic Puzzle Game, $23

This toy isn’t exactly a puzzle — it’s more of a fun combination of a puzzle and a game. But I still wanted to include it on this list because it can be a nice quiet activity for kids to sit and figure out. This HABA magnetic maze is designed for 24 months and up.

Want more gift ideas for 2-year-olds?

For more ideas for 2-year-olds, check out this gift guide for brainy 2-year-olds, which also includes ideas for matching games, board games, nesting dolls, and shape sorters.