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Since I told you that Oliver is into puzzles, many of you have asked how I choose our puzzles and to send the links to buy the ones we have, so I decided to write a post about it—also because I think puzzles, like Legos, are a must in every family, but especially if you are raising your kids Montessori.
Sometimes Oliver sits on the carpet and does all the puzzles we own, from the easiest to the most difficult: it not only promotes concentration, because it sometimes takes him over an hour to do them all, but I notice that it also helps him relax.
I always try to choose puzzles with subjects that look real (as it’s important to offer small kids as much reality as possible, as opposed to fantasy that they can’t process), but that is not always an option, so often I have to compromise.
I like the ones with more than one puzzles in the box: they’re great for increasing the level slowly, avoiding frustration and making kids feel proud of their progress. You’ll see many of this kind in the list.
I never look at the recommended age: observing Oliver is the best indicator of what level of difficulty I should buy. For example, right now Oliver is 3.5 years old, and we’re doing the Planisphere by Avenue Mandarine, 76 pieces and recommended for age 6+. As soon as he can do it all by himself, with no help, I’ll get him one with 100 pieces for the next challenge.
This list reflects more or less Oliver’s progression (that Emily is also starting to follow).
Real-looking Animals (3, 4, 5, 6 pieces) by Jumbo (This is the one Emily, almost 2 years old, has just mastered)
Farm with wooden animal pieces to start counting by Goula (Emily has started to use this too, and she loves it: it’s a 5-piece puzzle that becomes a farm and then you can fit the wooden animals in it)