If you've perused this blog at all you will have noticed that we love puzzles. While one of my kids had a rabid love of jigsaw puzzles at a young age, the other did not. However, both kids enjoyed out of the box puzzle ideas that we made ourselves, and fortunately there are many types of make your own puzzles that have nothing to do with jigsaws! Best of all, most DIY puzzles are very inexpensive to make, and many of the ones I've included below can be repurposed for other playtime activities.
I've arranged the diy ideas below by age, although there is a lot of crossover so be sure to check out the projects in every age group. There are even make your own puzzle ideas for kids in the tween years. These type of puzzles tend to veer towards brain teasers (<-- click there because we have a bunch of those ideas on the blog, too!), and are massively good for early math learning, and developing logical thinking and problem solving skills.
But most of all... solving puzzles is super duper fun.
Make Your Own Puzzles for Toddlers
- Toddlers and preschoolers can make this rainbow puzzle from a paper plate or make a rainbow from felt.
- These toddler and preschool DIY wooden shape block puzzles would make a simple and inexpensive gift.
- LEGO color blocks is a simple last minute puzzle idea to make with materials you have at your fingertips.
Make Your Own Puzzles for Preschoolers
- Match 2D shapes to 3D shapes with the blocks you have on hand.
- A moon phase puzzle is easy to make and self-correcting!
- Homemade Montessori triangles are a fun free-style puzzle activity.
- I have always loved this DIY floor puzzle. All you need are blocks and tape!
- I love this make your own puzzle with play dough from This Reading Mama.
- Recycle your cracker boxes to make two puzzles in one.
- Use your child's photo to make LEGO picture puzzles.
- Kid-made wooden puzzle from Preschool Tool Kit. This is so simple and perfect for budding artists and puzzle nerds.
- Wrapping paper puzzle that you can make after an especially successful gift haul.
- Practice counting with a popsicle stick puzzle from Powerful Mothering.
- Learn about earth science with a layers of the earth felt puzzle.
- A DIY matching game is a perfect spur of the moment puzzle idea perfect for toddlers and preschoolers.
- A letter match will teach kids to spell their own names.
- Storybook blocks. This is a type of puzzle I loved when I was a kid!
- Putting together this foam rubber window puzzle would be great fun on a rainy day.
- Make a magnetic photo puzzle of your little one. Dayna Banya shows you how.
- Turn tessellations into a hands-on activity for preschoolers.
- This DIY baby activity box is a classic, great for toddlers!
- This puzzle in a box would be good for an on-the-go activity.
Make Your Own Puzzles for ages 4 and up
- See if kids can figure out the impossible paper puzzle. We even made a video for it!
- A classic string and bead puzzle is perfect for lazy days.
- Pentalpha is a brain teasing placing game that will puzzle your mind.
- Math nerds will enjoy the magic triangle puzzle, or a magic squares puzzle.
- The math cube riddler puzzle is tricky and best for older kids who like a real challenge.
- Does anyone else love tangrams? These magnetic tangrams make a great puzzle and enhance math skills.
- The T Puzzle looks deceptively simple! This is a great puzzle for tweens. It takes most adults 3o minutes. How fast can your kids figure it out?
- LEGO tessellation puzzle.
- This DIY tetris cube is fantastic! As is this Waldorf Square. And the colors are marvelous.
- The missing middle math puzzle with a free printable with confound and surprise your kids.
- I like the way this glue the missing part puzzle teaches kids about shapes, but also to think creatively about geometry.
- LEGO mechanical puzzle. This is the coolest.
- Giant geometric floor blocks. Turn your floor into a quilt!
While these are not DIY puzzles, all of the following selections were loved by my older son! (affiliate links included below)
- Giant floor solar system puzzle! All of Melissa and Doug's floor puzzles are marvelous.
- I was impressed that none of our Ravensburger puzzles ever warped!
- The Mudpuppy puzzles were great quality, and their preschool selections got a lot of use in our house.
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