Puzzles And Other Brain-Stretching Toys To Keep Kids Occupied

Engage your kid with these entertaining and sneakily educational toys.
From left to right: Skillmatics card game, Ben Franklin Toys cash register, Magna-Tiles

Whether your kids are stuck inside riding out inclement weather, COVID quarantine, one of the myriad horrible viruses running rampant this season or if they simply need some fresh mental stimulation, brain-stretching toys can help keep them engaged and entertained. Puzzles, word games or fun math and reading challenges are all great options that can keep kids happy and busy ― while secretly slipping in some educational benefits.

No one wants to spend a ton of money on junky toys that kids will quickly lose interest in before they’re relegated to a cluttered corner. Below, we’ve rounded up 16 captivating puzzles and toys that will provide hours of fun and enrichment for kids of all ages. Best of all, they’re designed to help increase kids’ concentration, teach them strategy, improve their memory and more.

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Melissa & Doug solar system large floor puzzle
Made with 48 thick cardboard pieces, this beautiful puzzle features dazzling original artwork of our solar system. It's easy to wipe clean and put together, and helps to promote hand-eye coordination while also teaching kids about the planets and stars. It's a great screen-free option for kids between the ages of 3 and 6.
The Learning Journey: Match It! spelling puzzle with matching images
Help to strengthen early reading skills with this fun and engaging puzzle. It can help with letter recognition, spelling and even word formation. The images give kids context clues about the word they are putting together and encourage their problem-solving skills.
Hape Discovery Scientific workbench
Perfect for kids ages 4 and up, this workbench comes with over 10 experiments that get kids excited about their own inventiveness. It's a fun and surreptitious way to get kids ready to learn about science.
Skillmatics Card Game: Guess in 10 Animal Planet
These cards are great for family game nights as well as for traveling and road trips. The animal trivia and strategy game encourages communication, creative thinking, decision-making and problem-solving skills. It's great for kids ages 6 and older.
National Geographic magic chemistry set
It doesn't get much cooler than this science experiment kit. The set has 10 different activities that are designed to be performed as a magic trick. It includes an illustrated guide with kid-friendly instructions alongside insight into the science that creates the magic. Ideal for kids ages 8 and up.
Fat Brain Toys One in a Chameleon brainteasers
These brainteasers challenge children's visual-spatial, problem-solving, critical-thinking and logic skills while encouraging them to tap into their own creativity. The set is great for kids ages 6 and up and includes a tin storage container, 16 chameleons,12 double-sided challenge cards and two pattern types.
Robobloq Qobo robot toy
This snail robot toy helps kids learn early STEM skills through fun games that utilize their creativity with the help of cards that engage their critical thinking and problem-solving. It helps with color recognition, math and music skills and more.
Wooden sorting and balancing stones
Not only are these untraditional blocks aesthetically pleasing, but they're cut in different sizes, colors and weights to make an everyday stacking game more challenging. The set helps develop fine-motor and problem-solving skills while kids have fun creating worlds.
Multiplication Chart puzzle
This is a really easy way to get even the most math-resistant kids to practice their multiplication tables in a fun, light way. It'll help to reinforce their school work and overall math skills, ideal for those in second through sixth grade.
Montessori Mama wooden toddler puzzles
Get a head start on those fine motor skills with the help of these cute Montessori-inspired wooden jigsaw puzzles. Kids can practice counting, hand-eye coordination and their colors with these handy block-style animal puzzles.
Wee Gallery Ocean Life floor puzzle
Kids can enjoy the beauty of underwater creatures with this 24-piece puzzle. It has large pieces that help with fine-motor and cognitive skills along with beautiful illustrations.
Ben Franklin Toys Talking Toy cash register
Help kids understand the value of money and practice counting, math and organizing with this cash register. It's also great for kids who love playing shop and comes with 69 pieces, including 40 life-size play money coins and 25 bills. It's also programmed with three built-in languages: English, French and Spanish.
Fat Brain Toys trestle tracks starter set
Along with being super fun, did you know that building marble runs helps to encourage creativity, engineering, problem-solving and critical thinking skills? This set is made with durable, high-quality materials and a smart design that will ensure hours of entertainment and can be built in a multitude of ways.
Magna-Tiles 100-piece clear colors set
Magna-Tiles are definitely an investment, but they're worth it, providing years' worth of entertainment and enrichment. They can help to reinforce fine motor, spatial and teamwork skills along with pattern, shape and color recognition. And did we mention that they're just plain fun?
Fat Brain Toys original Dimpl toy
Babies and young toddlers are all about this attention-grabbing toy featuring five colorful silicone bubbles that can be pushed, popped, poked and grabbed. They're made with food-grade silicone that helps to stimulate the senses and refine coordination and more.
Eeboo 1,000-piece otter puzzle
Puzzles are always a great way to have some quiet, meditative time alone or with other family members and friends. This glossy 1000-piece puzzle is perfect for older kids and tweens, and features beautiful art by illustrator Uta Krogmann. It's made with recycled materials and printed using vegetable-based inks.

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