17 Best Toddler Puzzles You NEED [Wooden, Jigsaw, Montessori + More!]

best toddler puzzles

It's no secret, puzzles are fantastic for early childhood development. But finding the best toddler puzzles for fine motor skills and educational purposes can feel daunting. Discover the best toddler and baby puzzles for teaching the alphabet, shapes, anatomy, and more. Plus of course, some fun Disney themed and wooden jigsaw puzzles any toddler will love!

Puzzles for toddlers are a simple, yet very powerful toy that have proven to engage and encourage brain and physical development in young children for generations. 

Table Of Contents
  1. Best Toddler Puzzles
  2. How To Choose The Best Puzzles For Toddlers
  3. FAQs About Toddler Puzzles
  4. Final Thoughts…

Best Starter Puzzles For Toddlers + Babies: Dreampark Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles

If you're looking for a wooden jigsaw puzzles for toddlers on the younger side, this set of six is a best seller on Amazon for a reason!

It comes with six wooden animal puzzles. Some of the pieces are large enough for younger babies to mouth with supervision; we suggest removing any that are concerning (e.g. owl feet) before giving to a baby though.

These puzzles are fairly small, just larger than the size of an adult palm, which make them great for tossing in a diaper bag or keeping a toddler entertained while waiting when out.

  • Compact size makes them travel ready
  • Simple wooden jigsaw puzzle for early learning
  • Great “bang for your buck”
  • Small pieces may be a choking hazard
  • On the easier side, not recommended for older toddler good at puzzles

Best Montessori Shape Puzzle: Elite Montessori Single/Multiple Shape Puzzles

Shape puzzles are fantastic early learning toys and we LOVE this set from Elite Montessori. It comes with two puzzles, one teaching three common basic shapes, the other teaching spatial relations and figure-ground concepts.

The big knobs (over 1 in) make this a great option for younger babies (though they recommend it for 1 year olds and up). The colors are a non-toxic water based paint, and it's a beautiful wooden puzzle that works eye hand coordination.

  • Large knobs easy for little hands
  • Montessori aligned self correcting materials
  • Non-toxic
  • Teaches multiple concepts within shape recognition
  • Only teaches 3 different shapes
  • Not great for older toddler good at puzzles

Best Educational Toddler Puzzle Starter Set: Melissa & Doug Disney Wooden Peg Puzzles Set: Letters, Numbers, and Shapes and Colors

If you're looking for a set of toddler learning puzzles complete with letters, numbers, shapes, and colors, look no further than Melissa & Doug's Disney Peg Puzzles! It's one of the best rated toddler puzzle packs out there.

While they recommend this puzzle for ages 3 and up, we think you could introduce these puzzles as early as 9 or 10 months to help your baby work on their pincer grasp.

Then as your child moves into the toddler years, the puzzles grow with your child, teaching the alphabet, number shapes, colors, and more.

If you prefer to skip the disney theme, you can get more of a classic puzzle bundle with letters, numbers, and colors here.

  • One of the best rated toddler puzzles on Amazon
  • Comprehensive coverage of shapes and colors
  • Larger pieces than many others on the market
  • Letter puzzle may be confusing (under the letter pieces are pictures that don't match the letter, like a dog under the letter L or a bunny under the letter T).
  • In my experience, Melissa & Doug puzzles tend to “wear” more than others (paper design on the wooden pieces starts to deteriorate if baby mouths or you clean and don't dry quickly).

Best Toddler Peg Puzzle: Rolimate Wooden Puzzle Montessori Developmental Sorting Stacking Toy for Toddlers Babies Kids

At some point around 2 years old, your toddler will love exploring new shapes and puzzles that go beyond the pincer grasp. This wooden toddler puzzle is montessori aligned.

Toddler peg puzzles like this teach spatial relations and self confidence.

It's self correcting, and the wooden pieces can be utilized in open ended play. For instance a color sorting or shape sorting activity or stacking.

This puzzle comes in multiple sizes and styles. If introducing to younger toddlers and they are struggling, we suggest just giving them the pieces for one of the peg puzzles at first. Once they learn that shape, add in a second, and so on.

  • Montessori wooden puzzle
  • Self correcting
  • Pieces can be repurposed for other activities
  • Pegs could pose a safety hazard

Best 2 Piece Puzzle: Match It! Animal Family Puzzle Game

The Learning Journey is by far one of my favorite puzzle brands for toddlers and preschoolers. Their 2 piece puzzle set comes with 30 puzzles, and each one is designed to be self correcting for independent play. Meaning your toddler can't put the duckling with an elephant.

These two piece puzzles work fine motor skills, increase concentration, and in this case, teach kids about the names of baby animals versus adult animals. They are made of a durable cardboard too.

When giving a puzzle like this to your toddler, we suggest only giving them one or two puzzles at a time to start instead of all the puzzles pieces. Personally, I keep 3-4 of these in a box/bag in our diaper bag or car for travel or waiting at appointments. While they suggest introducing at 3 years old, I found my toddler enjoyed two piece puzzles like this as early as 18 months.

  • Montessori aligned imagery
  • Great fine motor refinement
  • Teaches baby and parent matching plus sight words
  • Self correcting
  • 30 puzzles for the price of one
  • Giving full access to all the puzzles at once may be overwhelming

Best 3 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle: The Learning Journey: Match It! – Head to Tail – Self-Correcting Puzzle

Once your child has mastered the two piece puzzle, they're ready for their next jigsaw puzzle! We suggest a three piece puzzle set like this one which comes with 20 self correcting puzzles!

The pieces are rather large, making them great for toddlers. The imagery is montessori aligned (look like real animals, not cartoons). And are a great independent play activity for toddlers in building problem solving skills and confidence.

This 3 piece puzzle set teaches kids about sorting colors, edges, and all those other little concepts we need to master before larger jigsaw puzzles. Again, these are made from a durable cardboard and great for travel. I keep a set of 3-5 of them in a bag in our car for quick access in waiting rooms.

And just like the 2 piece puzzle set, we suggest only giving 1-3 puzzles to start, not the full pack of 20.

  • Montessori aligned imagery
  • Great fine motor refinement
  • Problem solving skills
  • Self correcting
  • 20 puzzles for the price of one
  • Giving all the puzzles at once will likely be overwhelming at first

Best Body Parts Puzzle: Melissa & Doug Magnetic Human Body Anatomy Puzzle

I said this in Tips For Choosing Books For Infants + Toddlers, but teaching our kids anatomically correct body parts is CRITICAL in teaching body safety and this conversation should begin from the beginning. Which is why I LOVE this anatomically correct magnetic human body puzzle from Melissa & Doug.

While the complete set is likely overwhelming for young toddlers, you can begin with just giving them clothed pieces, then giving them the anatomical boy and girl pieces. Eventually working your way through the organs, muscles, and circulatory system.

  • Anatomically correct male and female pieces
  • Great learning tool teaching muscles, circulatory system, bones, and more
  • No diversity: only white skin option
  • Magnets aren't strong enough to be layered (e.g putting clothes layer over naked body)

Best STEM Puzzle: Learn With Mochi

If you're looking for a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) puzzle, look no further than Learn With Mochi.

Each box has an illustrated book about something toddlers and preschoolers love (like dinousaurs!).

Then there's a 3D puzzle relating to the book, and a matching story map. Your toddler uses Bespoke coding blocks and the “Mochi Coding Computer” to plan and execute an algorithm.

But the Robotics Kit actually uses the coding blocks in a screen free programming board to have the Mochi Bear and Rover act out the book on the map.

  • Teaches screen-free coding
  • 3D puzzle building
  • Lego comptaible
  • Parents will need to be involved at first
  • Geared towards older toddlers and preschoolers (skip if you have a baby or 2 year old)

Best Preschool Spelling Puzzle: Melissa & Doug See & Spell Wooden Puzzle

Around 2 and a half years old, your toddler will enter the montessori sensitive period for letter shapes and sounds and this Melissa & Doug See & Spell Wooden Puzzle can be a great addition to any playroom or montessori at home environment.

It comes with 64 letters and 8 doubled sided wooden spelling boards. We like that there are actual grooves for the letter puzzle pieces (control of error) compared to a lot of the competitors on Amazon which just used dotted lines on a sheet of paper.

FYI: Melissa & Doug toys that come in a wooden box like this do not typically come with lids

  • Portable
  • Fine motor refinement
  • Letters can be reused for other montessori at home activities
  • Melissa & Doug can sometimes be inconsistent with quality. Some reviewers received duplicate boards or mismatched pictures and woods.
  • No Lid
  • Letters may be a choking hazard until 3+

Best Tangram Toddler Puzzle: SpriteGru Wooden Montessori Puzzle

While this 300 piece learning toy calls itself montessori, it's not really Montessori (no control for error), but we still love it and it wins best tangram toddler puzzle set for toddlers!

It comes with 24 full size double sided puzzle cards. Your toddler can directly place the wooden pieces on the cards to recreate the picture.

This is great for early planning and as they move onto creating more of their own freeform tangram puzzles.

My daughter got a similar tangram puzzle in her Lovevery The Helper play kit at 2 years old and it's been one of her favorite puzzles!

  • 300 wooden pieces (it's okay if you lose a few!)
  • Storage bag included
  • Cards and pieces are properly portioned
  • May be overwhelming for young toddlers; suggest only giving 1-2 cards and the pieces they'd need to start

Best Popsicle Stick Jigsaw Puzzle: Mudpuppy Puzzle Sticks

Stick puzzles are a great to have in your puzzle closet to switch things up! They offer another opportunity for deeper concentration on putting together the picture properly, not relying on self correcting pieces.

We love these stick jigsaw puzzles from Mudpuppy.

Choose from “transportation,” “animals,” or “dinosaurs.” Each theme comes with six 8 piece puzzles in it.

  • Portable
  • 6 puzzles included
  • Teaches visual concentration and problem solving first
  • May be harder for younger toddlers used to “smooshing” puzzle pieces in place
  • No control of error (toddler may not know if they did it “wrong”)

Best Music Puzzle: Melissa & Doug Musical Instruments Sound Puzzle

It's no secret classic music is fantastic for baby and toddler's brain development which is why we wanted to include this musical puzzle pick from Melissa & Doug that plays real classical musical instrument sounds.

I gave this puzzle to my daughter around 9 months (when they work on their pincer grasp) and it was by far one of her favorites.

With that said, it drove us crazy at times. Under each puzzle piece is a sensor, so if your toddler leaves any pieces off, the musical instrument sound will keep playing over and over again.

  • Thoroughly engages babies and toddlers
  • Larger pieces
  • Pincer grasp refinement
  • Introduction to classical musical instrument sounds
  • Melissa & Doug can sometimes be inconsistent with quality. Puzzles like this tend to fray around the edges, especially if a baby mouths the pieces
  • No volume control
  • Can be VERY annoying if toddler leaves puzzle pieces off (sound is light/motion sensitive)

Best Floor Puzzle For Toddlers: Melissa & Doug Solar System Floor Puzzle

While we think all puzzles are floor puzzles for toddlers (seriously, how many hours do you think they spend on the floor a day?!) – if you are looking for a traditional floor puzzle, we LOVE the bigger pieces and educational aspect of this solar system floor puzzle!

  • Bigger pieces
  • Durable cardboard
  • Educational with solar system planet names
  • Fine motor skill refinement
  • Not suitable for young toddlers
  • Missing Pluto

Best Disney Toddler Puzzle: Ravensburger Disney Moana Born To Voyage 49 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle for Kids

Ravensburger is best known for their Disney puzzles I'd say! We love this Moana Ravensburger Disney puzzle because it comes with not one, but THREE puzzles!

While it's technically recommended for five year olds and up, we think older toddlers (3+) will enjoy putting together this puzzle with some help. And several reviewers agreed with introducing it at 3 years old.

Afterall, they are in the montessori sensitive period for order at that age so even if you teach them to simply sort the puzzle pieces by edges or colors, it's a good starting point to working towards more complex puzzles.

  • 3 puzzles for the price of 1
  • Extra-thick cardboard and anti-glare pieces
  • Every piece is unique
  • Not suitable for babies or young toddlers
  • All pieces come in one bag – suggest separating them before giving to toddler or preschooler

Best Personalized Toddler Puzzle: Last Piece Of The Puzzle + BloomOwl (TIED)

If you're looking for a personalized wooden puzzle we have two great options depending on your desired style or budget!

We love this simple personalized name puzzle! It's affordable and super high quality.

If you prefer something a bit more stylized or showing off the full name, then this pick is the best option! It includes two rows of the name, plus two shaped puzzle pieces – all fully customizable down to the color palette!

  • Personalized
  • Large enough for babies and young toddlers to mouth
  • Not for older toddler good at puzzles

Best Toddler Puzzle Games: Homer Toddler Puzzles App + Educational Games

Looking for a good toddler puzzles app with educational games? Homer is by far my toddler's favorite app!

It's designed for 2 year olds up to 6 years old (toddler through preschool years) and works a wide variety of subjects from reading, math, thinking skills, pretend play and more.

While there are some “traditional” puzzles in the app, what I love about it is that it teaches the concepts around puzzles/problem solving. For instance, spatial language like over, above, and next to in some of the games comes in handy when doing a larger jigsaw puzzle.

It also works on shape sorting and colors, other skills you'll need in traditional puzzles. There are matching card games, one step instructional tasks, and connections between images and words or objects and sou which are all critical thinking skills used when problem solving or working on a puzzle.

  • Age appropriate for toddlers and preschoolers
  • Easy to navigate for toddlers on their own
  • Educational games across a variety of preschool subjects
  • Not strictly online jigsaw puzzles for toddlers

Best Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles For Toddlers: Dinosaur Alphabet Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle

If you're looking for a traditional jigsaw puzzle, that's more durable than cardboard pieces for your toddler, this is a great option! It comes in 3 styles and can even be stood upright once completed for a 3D feel!

  • Traditional jigsaw puzzle for toddler with wooden pieces
  • Multiple styles
  • Case for storage
  • No lid for storage box

How To Choose The Best Puzzles For Toddlers

Puzzles are easily one of the most gifted items to toddlers and there are so many on the market! When it comes to choosing the best puzzles for toddlers we suggest considering:

  • – Skill it works on (fine motor skill, spelling, problem solving, spacial relationships, shapes, colors, etc.)
  • – Size of pieces and toddler's age: no choking hazards!
  • – Difficulty: how hard are the pieces to get in and out?
  • – Longevity: Is this something your toddler will use for a few months or something they'll want to do over the next year or two?
  • – Multipurpose: Can you build educational lessons around it? For instance instead of just showing a picture of a circle, a montessori circle puzzle can bring the concept to life. Or some wooden puzzle pieces can be repurposed into other activities for counting, spelling, or learning animals.
  • Durability/easy to clean: Chances are, you'll want to wipe your toddlers puzzles clean. Look for puzzles that are durable and can hold up to the wear and tear of a toddler.

FAQs About Toddler Puzzles

What are the benefits of puzzles for toddlers?

Toddlers and puzzles benefits are endless! Puzzles encourage independent play, concentration, and problem skills at minimum. They also help refine fine motor skills and gross motor skills depending on the puzzle.

Puzzles can also bring a hands on approach to learning. Whether you're teaching your child about the solar system, dinosaurs, letters, numbers, or shapes, they are a great learning opportunity.

How to teach toddler puzzles:

Dr. Maria Montessori, one of the pioneering early childhood education experts, believed in showing children how to use materials, such as puzzles, versus telling them.

In other words: do the puzzle yourself, in front of your toddler. You don't need to say a word, or you can narrate what you're doing to yourself. Wait for the toddler to take an interest and ask questions or follow your lead before doing anymore.

How to get toddler to play with puzzles:

Instead of placing a completed puzzle on your toddler's playshelf, consider a basket with the pieces and the puzzle frame empty. This encourages the child to complete it rather than deconstruct it only to put it back together.

It's also helpful to start small and slow. Instead of giving them access to all 20 puzzles that come in a set, start with just one if it's their first of that style, then give them two so they can match the pieces correctly, and continue adding from there.

How to store toddler puzzles:

You can purchase a puzzle rack like this one to store toddler puzzles. However over time many parents find it easiest to store puzzles in labeled bags.

What puzzles are good for 2 year old?

Wooden puzzles teaching letter shapes and numbers are great as it aligns with the montessori sensitive period. Wooden tangram puzzles and peg puzzles are other great options as they've mastered their pincer grasp and are probably ready for some more interesting problems to solve.

Around 2 years old, you can also introduce simple 2 piece and 3 piece jigsaw puzzles.

Of course, finding puzzles with animals or themes your child is interested in will ultimately be one of the best things you can do, as all puzzles encourage concentration, focus, and independent play.

What kind of puzzles are good for 3 year olds?

More complex jigsaw puzzles or tangram puzzles are a great options for 3 year olds.

At this stage, I'd suggest looking through the various “best” categories on this list, and simply filling in any skill gaps that might be missing from your puzzle collection.

For instance, stick puzzles provide a unique, and often overlooked, challenge in relying on the picture to sequence the puzzle appropriately, not the fit of the pieces.

No matter which puzzle you choose, just know that puzzles are good for 3 year olds!

Why are wooden puzzles good for toddlers?

Wooden puzzles pieces provide more sensory input, bring certain shapes to life in a more concrete way than a printed puzzle on cardboard, and are generally less toxic than plastic puzzles.

Dr. Maria Montessori believed wooden toys provided a sensory experience for babies and toddlers that was unrivaled.

Final Thoughts…

Puzzles have withstood the test of time for good reason. They have so many uses and benefits for toddler and early childhood development. While there are a lot of puzzles out there, it's important to select one's that work different skills.

Our favorite toddler jigsaw puzzles are Match It! 2 Piece Animal Puzzle Set and Head to Tail – Self-Correcting 3 piece Puzzle as they work fine motor skills, are portable and montessori aligned, and can be repurposed to other activities as well. But you can't go wrong with any on this list in our opinion!