Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers
Categories: Puzzles


2003 Awards
Lite-Brite Cube
(Hasbro $34 Score:) An updated version of a classic toy with four panels that comes with the original colored pegs but also includes interesting light loops that give it a different look from the one we grew up with. You can buy patterns in packages, but it's also fun to create your own designs. Good for developing fine motor skills. 4–8. It will be enjoyed even more by next age group.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2004 Award
Guess How Much I Love You Puzzle
(Mudpuppy Press $15 Score:) This company continues to make marvelous puzzles from picture-book art. This is a big (2' x 3') 24-piece puzzle from one of our favorites. Also in this size, Caillou. The company also makes smaller 36-piece puzzles which are more appropriate for next age group. Top rated: Olivia, Curious George, and Where the Wild Things Are. 4 & up. (212) 354-8840.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2004.

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2005 Awards
Puzzle Totes
(Lauri $8.99 Score:) Our testers enjoyed playing with this collection of puzzles from Lauri, well known for their textured crepe rubber puzzles. Rather than having the traditional tray, these double-thick seven- or eight-piece puzzles have a handle just right for travel and carrying about. Two-toned pieces are able to stand up for dramatic play. Four versions: Marine Life, Earthmovers, Dinosaurs, and, new for this year Big Shapes. Older 2s will be able to manipulate these whole-piece puzzles that 3s and 4s will continue to enjoy. (800) 451-0520.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Awards
Beginner Pattern Blocks
(Melissa & Doug $19.99 Score:) Ten wooden scenes are ready to fill with triangles, circles, squares, rectangles and ovals. Part puzzle/part shape sorter, all beautifully crafted with wooden storage box. 2 1/2 & up. This company also does handsome Sound Puzzles with small read peg handles and eight pieces to match. Choose vehicles, animals, or farm creatures. (800) 284-3948. ACTIVITY: 1-Play a sorting game with two shapes. Have children sort the circles and squares. Or use color attributes forsorting on a different game. 2-Put all 30 shapes in a bag. Player One calls the shape that Player Two needs to find by touch—no looking! Winner is first to feel and find five pieces.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2006 Award
Alphabet Boat Puzzle
(Infantino $12.99 Score:) Each boat being pulled by the Coast Guard boat has a letter in upper- and lowercase painted on the side and an object that starts with the sound of the letter. This 27-piece floor puzzle is more than five feet long when put together. The illustrations are clear and for the most part, familiar items that children can identify and associate with the objects initial sounds. Adding to the fun, there are holographic inserts that give the images a little motion. This is not as big and zippy as the old Frank Shaffer Alphabet Train puzzle. That said, kids who are working on letter sequence and letter sounds will probably like this fleet of boats. Also new, I Spy My House Puzzle ($12.99) with objects in the frame to "spy" in the puzzle, and Town Heroes Puzzle ($12.99). New for 2006, When I Grow Up ALphabet Puzzle with an interesting circular shape featuring such up to date jobs as Yoga Teacher. (800) 840-4916

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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2005 Award
IQ Preschool It Takes All Sorts
(Small World Toys $15 Score:) Each shape has one, two, three, or four holes to fit on the wooden dowels of the puzzle board. For beginners, this is not as simple as it looks. There are two attributes here: shape and number. This calls for dexterity and counting. They say 2, we’d say late 2s and 3s. Also top rated, Make-A-Shape Puzzle Board ($14) introduces fractions with a circle cut in thirds, a square in quarters, a triangle in halves, and a whole rectangle. Obviously, using these terms with sandwiches, fruit, and other everyday objects will teach the same concepts. 2 1/2 & up. (800) 421-4153.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2010 Awards
Lauri Puzzles
(Lauri $7.99 Score:)

Lauri’s puzzles come with rubber pieces and a pattern printed in the container/tray for beginners to follow. For building confidence, these are the perfect place to start.  They do make puzzle boards with whole pieces, such as tools and vehicles. These are ideal for beginners.

The five piece puzzles are a perfect place to start with 2 year olds. The puzzles are marked 18 months and up- but we'd say for most kids, this is rushing it.  There is also a Dog and puppy 5 piece puzzle that's a bit harder.

As with all puzzles-- it's really important to start with sets that your child can do with a minimum amount of frustration. The idea is to build their sense of confidence- save more complicated puzzles for later on.

Our 4-5 year old testers loved the 22-piece Race Car and 3-4's liked the 13-piece T-Rex, a 16-piece Farm Scene,  a wonderful Birthday Cake, and Airplane. This company will provide missing pieces so that your investment is not lost. The textured pieces on their simple one piece puzzles are also good for tracing.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on

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2006 Award
eeBoo Baby Animals
(eeBoo $14.95 Score:)

Twenty puzzle sets of mother and baby animals done with charming illustrations that have a storybook quality. Ideal for working with your child on knowing and naming familiar animals such as bear/bear cub, cow/calf, and kangaroo/joey. We recommend starting out with five at a time. 3 & up. (212) 222-0823.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2006. Click here to purchase the product on

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2007 Award
eeBoo Rhyming Words
(eeBoo $14 Score:)

Twenty-five puzzle sets of rhyming pairs such as cake and rake, house and mouse. Each pair is color coded and illustrations are easily recognizable objects to know and name. Rhyming games are useful for prereaders. 4 & up. Still top rated, Baby Animals ($14 4), pairs of mother and baby animals. We recommend starting out with five pairs at a time rather than the whole set. 3 & up. (212) 222-0823.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007. Click here to purchase the product on

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2007 Award
Seek and Find Let's Go to the City!
(Cranium $9.99 Score:) First players put together the 24 piece puzzle. Then they draw illustrated cards that show them the objects they must find and circle with a dry marker that wipes off. The illustrations are pleasingly busy (somewhere in between a Where's Waldo and a Richard Scarry's illustration). Each puzzle comes with 15 beginner cards and 15 more advanced cards so the game can be played by mixed aged groups. They say 3 & up, we’d say more like 4 and up to start. Also in this line and recommended, Seek and Find Take Me to the Carnival!

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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