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Jigsaw Puzzles for 3 year olds

Updated on December 30, 2014

Choosing the best puzzles for 3 year olds

My son has just turned 3 and we love doing different types of puzzles together. This article aims to give suggestions of the best puzzles for 3 year olds based on the puzzles that my 3 year old son likes.

There are lots of great choices of puzzles for 3 year olds. They include all different types of jigsaw puzzles including floor puzzles, wooden puzzles, puzzles with my son's favorite TV characters such as Thomas the tank engine puzzles. There different brands too including Ravensburger and Melissa and Doug jigsaw puzzles.

Scroll further down for suggestions of the best puzzles for 3 year olds and why my son and I like each type so much.

How Many Jigsaw Puzzle Pieces for a 3 Year Old?

The size of a jigsaw puzzle for a 3 year old will vary according to the child.

When my son had just turned 3, he was still interested in doing wooden peg puzzles. He could also put together large 12 piece puzzles by himself. We could work on 24 piece puzzles together. By the time he was nearing 4 he could put together a 24 piece puzzle on his own and we would work on bigger jigsaws together too.

Some 3 year olds have done lots of puzzles and can do 48 piece puzzles with a little help. However in general I would aim for around 12 to 24 piece puzzles and expect to give help until they have had some practice. For puzzle beginners look for big puzzle pieces. These are easier for little hands to manipulate. Sometimes 3 year olds can get frustrated when they can't get pieces to fit together properly and it is easier for them if they are dealing with big puzzles pieces.

Floor puzzles for 3 year olds

Floor puzzles are great for adults and kids to do together and if you choose a good one it won't be long before they can do it on their own. Choose a puzzle featuring puzzles that they're interested in. My son loves fire engines which is why I've featured the Melissa & Doug Giant Fire Truck puzzle opposite. The fire engine puzzle has 24 pieces in total so is the perfect size. It's four feet long when assembled so it's really visual to keep little ones occupied. The pieces are also thick cardboard and easy to clean.

Floor puzzles are also good because they tend to have larger pieces. As already mentioned these are easier for little hands to fit together so cause less frustration to complete.

There are lots of great floor puzzles for 3 year olds to choose from. Featured opposite are an alphabet train floor puzzle, a fire engine puzzle and a farm animal puzzle.

The farm animal puzzle is the biggest at 32 pieces. It should be fine for most 3 year olds because the pieces are big and easy to manipulate. Preschool kids quite often are interested in animals so this could be a good topic.

Thomas jigsaw puzzles

Puzzles featuring kids favorite TV characters are also great for 3 year olds to do. My son loves Thomas and friends so we have a Thomas jigsaw puzzle which he loves to do. There is a themed Thomas jigsaws featured opposite.

Melissa and Doug puzzles

I have already featured some Melissa and Doug puzzles for 3 year olds in this article but here are a couple more of my favorites. I do like Melissa and Doug puzzles as they tend to be sturdy and durable.

Melissa and Doug see and spell is a fantastic educational puzzle that has helped my 3 year old recognise and get used to letters. You have to fit in the letters in the right holes to make a short three of four letter word such as bus, bird, ship. There is a picture of the word next to the puzzle. My son loves doing these letter puzzles and as he gets older it will help reinforce the spelling of these words. The are perfect puzzles for 3 year olds.

Jigsaw puzzles for 3 year olds

Here are a few more of my favorite jigsaw puzzles for 3 year olds.

The princess and puzzles are jigsaw puzzles which should appeal more to 3 year old girls. The one featured has 24 pieces so is a good size.

When choosing a puzzle for your 3 year old it's often good to think about the TV programs and movies that they have watched as well as books they have read. Ideas include Jake and the Neverland Pirates and The Hunger Caterpillar (we had a Hungry Caterpillar puzzles that my son and niece love to do.

Its good to choose puzzles that 3 year olds will want to do over and over because it won't be long before they're doing it on their own. It's good to choose themes they may be interested to keep them engaged. Examples include cars, other vehicles or animals.

The Jake and the Neverland Pirate puzzle featured opposite is 46 pieces so it's a bit more challenging. It is a floor puzzle so the pieces are big but most 3 year old will need some help to complete this especially at first. However, it's a good project for parents and kids to work on together.

Online Jigsaw Puzzles for 3 Year Olds

There are lots of websites that have online jigsaw puzzles for 3 year olds to do too.

These can be good to start 3 year olds using a laptop. They can help develop problem solving skill as they work out which piece goes where. It also helps them practice using a mouse to move and put the pieces into place. It can be a little frustrating for them at times as their fine motor skills are still developing. But with a little help and after practice they will get better.

Check out some online jigsaw puzzles below.

Comments on puzzles for 3 year olds

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    • Betty Reid profile image

      Betty Reid 7 years ago from Texas

      I am looking for a puzzle for my 4-year-old nephew that won't be a choking hazard for his 2-year-old brother. This hub is extremely helpful!

    • beth811 profile image

      beth811 7 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas

      I'm glad I stumbled on this hub. My 3-year old son loves his fire truck toy so much and I think it's time to stimulate his mind with this fire truck floor puzzle.

      Thanks for this hub.