I love puzzles! If you have visited my blog before, you may know that I love creating escape rooms and coming up with new hands-on puzzles for kids. As a mom and teacher I love the problem solving and hands-on play involved in every puzzle.
Whether you are looking to create clues to use as escape room puzzles, or simply for children to have a new puzzle to work on and play with, this collection of 27 DIY puzzles for kids will hopefully give you lots of ideas.
Another great thing about this collection is that the puzzles are inexpensive to make and some you can simply print right away!
From popsicle sticks and magnet tile pieces to wooden blocks and paper plates you can use simple materials to create a puzzle, or two, that kids will love!
As with all puzzles and activities for kids, make sure to choose materials and puzzles that are age appropriate for the children using them and an adult should always supervise. Some of these puzzles include small parts that should not be used by children who are known to put thing into their mouths. Safety first!
To read the full details about how to create each puzzle in the list below, and ideas for games and activities to do with each puzzle for kids, click the image for a description. I hope that you enjoy this collection of puzzles!
DIY Puzzles for Kids
Click image for full activity description.
If you have never used tangrams before, this is a great puzzle to start with. They are often used in math class in schools, but the simple design of a tangram puzzle allows for endless pictures to be created – if you can get the pieces in the correct places.
I love this idea for homemade puzzles that will last! This is a great matching puzzle for young school aged children working on and learning their shapes. With this idea, you wouldn’t even need to stick to just shapes, you could paint any picture, onto the puzzle pieces.
I love the solid wood pieces which will help it last longer and is easy for little hands to use.
Make your own cardboard puzzle using shapes of your choice. This is also a great opportunity to use recycled materials.
How beautiful is this puzzle? I think many kids would be drawn to explore the puzzle based on their first impression when seeing it. Not only is this puzzle beautiful, but it is easy to make. My daughter loved this idea and created her own set… and then played with it for hours.
Using popsicle sticks for sight words is a fun way for kids to learn while doing a puzzle. Children work to recognize their letters and match to make words. This is also a fun way to practice different skills at home, or in a classroom.
If using this idea for an escape room for kids, you could print the word where a clue is hidden in large letters across several sticks. Then challenge children to find each of the popsicle sticks hidden around the room. Once they are all found, the puzzle can be put together.
This is a super cute idea for mailing a letter puzzle to someone you know. A secret message can even be hidden inside the puzzle. This puzzle is also a simple idea for kids of all ages to try.
Create a floor puzzle with magnetic pieces. Simple, hands-on fun as children solve the puzzles. This puzzle is also a great way for children to learn, and create shapes using familiar toys.
Use paint chips to create these simple, but engaging puzzles for kids. This is a great idea to keep kids busy for a long car ride.
Kids love magnetic toys! They also make great puzzles for kids! Use stickers or pictures to create a puzzle for children to work on as they play.
This is a puzzle I know my kids would love! Challenge children to make this colorful cube! Use simple materials to quickly create.
If used for an escape room puzzle, you could add a picture to one of the sides that is revealed when it is successfully put together.
If you have children who love playdough. this is a great puzzle for them to try! This would also work really well in a classroom as children learn their name.
Add a little bit of math and learning to your puzzles for kids with this shape matching puzzle.
A quiet book is a great option to keep lots of puzzles and activities together in one organized book. They are great for learning activities, hands-on activities and puzzles for kids… and they are easier to make then you may think.
#14 Puzzles for Kids
I used this puzzle as part of an escape room that I created. I used a picture of a bedroom, cut it into strips and then challenged players to put the puzzle together to lead to their next clue.
You can extend this idea by using a photograph of someone or something familiar to children. You can cut up the photo and glue it to popsicle sticks for children to put together. It is a great way to encourage recognition of familiar objects, people or things.
I love this idea for learning and practicing words and phrases using popsicle stick puzzles. Add to the sensory experience by adding pompoms.
This is a great idea to use with a familiar puzzle for a whole new experience.
Try a spring themed puzzle with this egg puzzle.
You can use a piece of paper cut into strips for a simple DIY puzzle. This example uses math and great pictures and is an easy way to make learning fun.
This adorable dinosaur puzzle is a great puzzle activity for young kids.
Young children will love these alphabet puzzles. They are a great way to practice capital and lower case letters.
Sequencing puzzles are a great learning tool to teach steps.
A sequencing puzzle could also be used in an escape room to lead from one clue to the next.
Themed puzzles are a great idea, like this pumpkin puzzle – great for fall or Halloween.
Create a marble maze with a few simple materials. This is a great hands-on puzzle that promotes fine motor skills.
#24 Escape Room Puzzle Idea
This puzzle is another idea that I used as part of an escape room for kids. It is a simple idea idea where there was tape stuck to the carpet of the room with a colored dot in each section. Players searched the room for slices that were hidden and each slice had a letter on it.
When the slices were set on the corresponding colored circle sticker on the floor, the slices and letters spelled out a word. For this escape room it lead players to check around the ‘window’.
This math puzzle is great for young children. As they solve the math questions, they put the puzzle together to create a picture.
My kids love building with plastic blocks! I used a large board and placed a different block or combination of blocks for each letter of the alphabet. I then created a message using the different block letters.
This is a neat idea for an escape room or game. Can you figure out what the clue is???
I used this during the winter for a puzzle with my students at school. I used small wooden pieces and glued them inside a small box. One piece for each letter of the alphabet.
I then wrote a message using the pictures. Children had to look at each picture in the message and find the same picture in the small box to spell out each word.
If you love the idea of creating puzzles, but don’t have a lot of time to make them, I had one of my older kids create a few puzzles for my younger child. They loved painting and preparing the puzzle pieces and enjoyed playing with the puzzle many times on their own first.
Puzzles are great in a classroom setting as well, especially in the younger grades. Try having older students create puzzles for younger children as part of their art program. This is a great way to create community and support all learners in the school.
Ultimate Escape Room Puzzles Collection
For a huge list of over 40 escape room puzzles, I have compiled a list of puzzles that I have used in escape rooms and for activities around the house. If you are looking to create an escape room, combining some of the ideas above with ones from the post below will no doubt give you lots of ideas and an amazing escape room for kids!
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More Hands-On Teaching Ideas
For more hands-on teaching ideas and learning activities, below is a collection of some of my favorite and most popular activities. From DIY escape room puzzles and science experiments to outdoor activities and STEM challenges, there is lots to keep kids busy and learning.