11 of the Best Puzzles for 4-Year-Olds
Match that active mind of a 4-year-old with a puzzle that helps them build on fine motor skills, and gives a boost to independent problem solving, language skills, and more.
- Written By
- Amber Guetebier
When it comes to the world of 4-year-olds, the words imagination and discovery often come to mind. As children move into their fourth year, along with an epic capacity for pretend play they start to acquire new skills of ingenuity and problem solving. This makes kids puzzles an excellent match for the mind of a 4-year-old. Puzzles come in a variety of sizes and formats, offering kids an array of designs and textures to fit their own varied interests.
Like other STEM toys, puzzles are incredibly beneficial for children’s development. Gabriella Seoane M.S. OTR/L, pediatric occupational therapist expert for JIGGY Puzzles notes that among many benefits of puzzling, kids learn executive functioning and cognitive skills along with manual dexterity. “Puzzles allow kids to work on problem-solving, sequencing, prioritization, and organizational skills,” Seoane tells us. “Puzzles offer kids a variety of opportunities for fine motor development through manual dexterity skills. Manual dexterity is defined by someone’s ability to use their hands in a controlled manner through hand-eye coordination to complete a task. Puzzles also encourage grasp refinement and visual-motor skills, preparing kids for handwriting.”
These skills can be a great way to set kids up for success in preschool, kindergarten, and beyond. Kids will also get a confidence boost as they discover their own puzzle-solving powers. So whether you’ve got a dinosaur fan or a kid who loves animals, read on to see our favorite puzzles for 4-year-olds.
eeBoo Animal ABC 20-Piece Puzzle
Learn the ABCs with animals and artist and author Melissa Sweet’s design in this 20-piece classic jigsaw puzzle. The thick puzzle pieces help children more easily snap the pieces together, making this a challenging but not frustrating puzzle for a 4-year-old.
Floss & Rock Jungle First Puzzles
A toteable tub of puzzle pieces that empower kids to learn and then improve on their skills. Children can start out with a 3-piece puzzle and then go for the larger puzzles: 4, 6, or 8 pieces, all depicting artful animals like a giraffe and a lion
Scratch Contour 60-Piece Space Puzzle
When it’s time to tackle a more extensive floor puzzle, this 60-piece space themed one is the perfect fit. The hatbox style box is attractive on the shelf and makes it easy for those busy hands to put the pieces away themselves, too.
Begin Again Toys Elephant Family Puzzle
A darling wooden elephant puzzle that offers a simple design for children to get comfortable with the idea of a puzzle but also engage in creative play with the pieces. We also can’t get over how cute it looks assembled on the wall, shadow-box style, especially when children have progressed to something more complex.
Follies The Casa Azul Set
If they’re ready to take puzzle play to the next level, check out this incredible set inspired by Frida Kahlo’s house. Not only does this require dexterity to assemble, it’s also big enough for fort play. Made of non-toxic plastic, it cleans easily and quite frankly just looks amazing in the corner of the room. Plus, there’s an included double-sided poster that helps kids learn all about Frida Kahlo.
Londji 10 Penguins Progressive Puzzle
Keep them engaged with this 55-piece puzzle that encourages kids to build by the numbers. Start with one owl, then add the other animals until there are 10 penguins. Those big imaginations will have a blast making up stories as they build and with so many variations of the puzzle they won’t tire of it.
Scratch 40-Piece and 60-Piece Bundle
A great value, get three high-quality puzzles in sturdy, colorful storage boxes. This three puzzle bundle includes a 40-piece dinosaur scene, a 60-piece knight battle, and a 60-piece princess carriage.
JIGGY NYC Night
To be fair, this one has a significant number of pieces (400) so it’s more of a puzzle you’ll want to do together with your 4-year-old, but we just couldn’t resist the enchanted artist's rendition of New York City at night. JIGGY puzzles come with puzzle glue, too, should you decide to mount and frame your puzzle and hang it on the playroom wall.
Bigjigs Toys 35-Piece World Map Puzzle
This beautiful wooden puzzle of a world map helps children build geography skills while they play. The colorful map features lots of icons and landmarks making it a great conversation starter about places, people, and cultures of the world.
Mudpuppy Kindness: 4-in-1 Progressive Puzzles
We’re not sure what we love more: the fact that this puzzle is actually four puzzles in one set or that each puzzle shows acts of kindness and friendship. The puzzles get progressively more challenging too, with 4, 6, 9, and 12 pieces.
Floss & Rock Dinosaur 80-Piece Puzzle
When your dino-obsessed 4-year-old is ready for a bigger puzzle challenge, bust out this 80-piece set that depicts a Jurassic world in the shape of a dinosaur. Plus the box is shaped like a mountain, making the entire set as playful as your 4-year-old dino lover.
Amber is a writer with a penchant for books, pirates, plants, and travel, not necessarily in that order. She writes about all of these things, too, and occasionally uses an old typewriter to do it. A California transplant living in St. Paul, Minnesota, she enjoys exploring the world with her adventurous, kind son, who is reading over her shoulder as she writes this. Discover more of her habits at writhingink.com.