Working on puzzles is a fun, challenging activity for little kids, but for parents, the
meltdowns that occur when they realize they're short a few pieces are unpleasant (to put it lightly). Thankfully, it's the age of technology and there are some really great puzzle apps you can download for toddlers. Nothing can replace the hands-on experience of tactile pieces, of course, but there's something to be said for a puzzle that will always have all of its pieces, guaranteed.
Puzzles aren't just fun for kids, they're also a great way for them to work on
critical thinking, learn spatial awareness, match colors and shapes, and can even help them relax a little. Having a few options in their playroom is always great, but over time your child may get to know them really well and eventually not be challenged by them. With a good app, though, your curious tot can get access to dozens of puzzles (or more) at once so they don't get bored.
With so many kids apps available, it can be time consuming to filter down to the ones that are age appropriate, in the category you want, and have good reviews. To help you save some time, here are 19 toddler puzzle apps that check all of those boxes.
We only include products that have been independently selected by Romper's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article. 1 Elmo Loves 123s
For tots who love all things Elmo, this app offers them plenty of opportunities to put together puzzles, and play a handful of other games, too. It costs around $5 to download the app, but the price is worth it because it’s totally ad-free and there are no in-app purchases. One you’ve downloaded Elmo Loves 123s, your little one will have access to more than 100 activities that will help them learn their numbers including coloring pages,
Sesame Street clips, puzzles, counting games, hide-and-seek, and more. As your tot plays, they’ll build skills in problem-solving, number identification, counting, tracing/writing, and even get exposure to basic math. 2 Busy Shapes
Made for kiddos as young as 2 years old,
Busy Shapes is full of little puzzles that are designed to help improve their dexterity and strengthen their ability to handle small objects. While playing in this app, kids will have access to games like shape matching and exploration playgrounds that regularly refresh with new objects. The interface is designed specifically for little ones, so it’s user-friendly with large buttons, easy swipes, and seamless play. There is also a dashboard that keeps track of activity, so parents can monitor their child’s progress and help them in areas where they are struggling. This app is a great tool for developing toddlers and it costs around $3 to download. 3 ShapeBuilder Preschool Puzzles
While this app is technically made for kids between 3 and 6 years old, it’s something a lot of 2-year-olds can easily navigate and learn from as well. It costs around $1 to download and comes with more than 170 puzzles for little ones to work on. Each puzzle is somewhere between 5 and 10 pieces and, once all of the pieces are put into place, feature pictures of animals, common objects, food, letters, and more. Also, kids will get to enjoy all kinds of fun music when they complete puzzles of musical instruments (there are 30 of these puzzles).
4 PBS KIDS Games
Who doesn’t love PBS Kids? With this app, your older toddler will have access to games featuring their favorite characters like Daniel Tiger, Pinkalicious, Clifford, Arthur, and many more. The app is free to download and comes with more than 200 games, with new activities added weekly. In addition to puzzles, tots can also work on mazes, color, and play pretend. All of the activities are curriculum-based in math, science, reading, art, and more. Finally, the app also gives parents the option to download some of their kids favorite games so they can be played on-the-go when their device isn’t connected to the internet.
5 Dino Puzzle Kids Dinosaur Game
Dino Puzzle Kids Dinosaur Game app is free to download (with in-app purchase options) and comes with 24 fun dinosaur-themed puzzles designed for kids between 1 and 8 years old. Parents can increase the difficulty level for each puzzle, ranging from two pieces to 30, and the control settings allow parents to adjust things like music, animation, and sound effects. In addition to puzzles, kids can also work on coloring sheets, record their voices, free-draw and paint, and even create their own puzzles. This app is a big hit with parents and kids and has thousands of positive reviews. 6 KidloLand Kids & Toddler Games
KidloLand Kids & Toddler Games, your little one will not only have access to a huge library of puzzles, but to hundreds of other games, activities, songs, and more. This free app is made for kids between 1 and 8 years old and features more than 100 nursery rhyme songs, more than 400 original, educational songs, as well as hundreds of skill-building games and activities in everything from phonics to math to coding. The app is also very highly reviewed, with one person saying, “Really a great app to engage kids. The UI [user interface] is simple and easy for kids to interact with. The frequency of releasing new content is also high. I would highly recommend it, especially in these days of remote learning.” 7 ABC Animal Toddler Adventures ABC Animal Toddler Adventures is a free app (with in-app purchase options) that was designed by teachers, so it’s full of educational content, including plenty of puzzles for toddlers to enjoy. In addition to the puzzles, kids can trace letters, work on identifying letters, colors, numbers, and animals, play “spot the difference”, and even take care of virtual animals as a pet doctor. The interface is easy to navigate and is designed specifically for little kids to use. As they work through the different activities, toddlers will strengthen their fine motor skills and further develop their cognitive and problem-solving skills. 8 Super Puzzles Kids Jigsaw Game Super Puzzle Kids Jigsaw Game has several settings options that allow parents to choose an appropriate difficulty level for their child with options ranging from six-piece puzzles to 72-pieces. When playing with the app, if your child puts a piece in the wrong spot, it stays on the board and they can move it around until it "snaps" into its correct spot. You get 18 puzzles in the app for free (so there are ads), and if your kiddo likes it, there are more than 60 more puzzles that you can add to your library for a fee (meaning there are in-app purchases). 9 Toddler Zoo
For around $3, parents can download
Toddler Zoo onto their phones or tablets for toddlers to play with (it’s made for kids up to age 5). The app has dozens of animal puzzles for kids to play with that will not only get them thinking critically and problem solving, but will also help little ones become more familiar with the animals and the sounds they make. Each puzzle is either two, there, or four pieces lined up to create a single animal (a piece for its head, another for its torso, another for its legs), but at first, each piece is a picture of a different animal so kids have to scroll through until they find matching pieces that come together to create a single image. Or, if they’re feeling really creative, they can mix and match up the pieces to create a totally unique new animal instead. 10 Highlights Puzzle Town For Toddlers
Highlights Puzzle Town for Toddlers app, toddlers get instant access to 50 different puzzles that are divided up into five categories: hidden pictures, look and look again, mazes, match maer, and picture mix-ups. As kids successfully complete the puzzles, mini-games will appear for extra fun. Parents also have the option to download some of the puzzles to allow for offline playing.
The app is ad-free and free to download, however the free version is a 30 day trial before starting a $2.99/month subscription. With the subscription, kids will get access to five newly added puzzles every week.
11 Baby Puzzles
For younger toddlers, the
Baby Puzzles app offers all kinds of different activities that are designed specifically for brain development and to help tots learn (and master) identifying things like shapes, colors, animals, fruits, and more. All of the games are simple and feature fun sound effects to keep little ones engaged and excited as they work. Also, everything in the app is designed so that it’s easy for little hands to navigate on their own. Parents can download Baby Puzzles on their device for free, however the app does contain ads and in-app purchases. For anyone using Android devices, there is an option to get this app free of ads and purchases by subscribing to Google Play Pass. 12 Baby Shapes & Colors For Kids
With the app
Baby Shapes & Colors for Kids, little ones can work on identifying shapes and colors through puzzles and games that encourage critical thinking and problem-solving. The activities are created to strengthen skills like memory, attention, creativity, motor, and visual perception in a fun and engaging way. The app is free to download and includes access to a variety of different puzzle games that are designed and clearly labeled for different skill levels for kids between 2 and 5 years old. If your toddler breezes through all of the games, there are in-app purchase options that will give them access to even more games and puzzles. 13 Toddler Puzzle Games For Kids Toddler Puzzle Games for Kids is an app made for toddlers and preschoolers between 2 and 5 years old. The app is free to download and includes a bunch of different puzzles, connect the dot games, and coloring sheets, if your tot needs more to do there are also in-app purchase options for access to even more activities ($7.99 for the full library of 96 puzzles). The app has more than 200,000 reviews, too. One person wrote, “This app is really good for dexterity development and recognition of shape, color, and common people and objects. I’m a teacher and bought this for my 3.5-year-old and I’m very pleased with it. I’m going to recommend it to our preschool program.” 14 Baby Shark Jigsaw Puzzle Fun
All these years later, toddlers still can’t get enough
Baby Shark, so Pinkfong took the little shark’s success a step further to develop the app, Baby Shark Jigsaw Puzzle Fun. It’s free to download (but it does contain ads and in-app purchases) and gives tots access to 14 puzzles and activities featuring Baby Shark. Each activity has five difficulty level settings to keep things just the right amount of challenging for kids and puzzles range from five to 24 pieces. If the difficulty level you picked is just a smidge too high for your little one, but the one below it is too easy, then they can use the “hint” feature that will help them complete their puzzle without doing the work for them. 15 Tozzle
For around $4, your kid can have access to 40 puzzles through the app
Tozzle. Each puzzle in the app is designed to be easy for little hands to navigate, all kids need to do is drag the puzzle pieces and drop them into place until they’ve finished the picture. Once the puzzle is complete, your tot will be able to play with different sounds and animations within the picture. And, since this is a paid app, there are no ads or in-app purchases. One reviewer wrote, “Hands down the most used app on my phone by my littles. Easy enough for the 18-month-olds and interesting enough for the 7- and 8-year-olds. Love, love, love!” 16 RelationShapes RelationShapes is an app that helps little ones work on learning spatial awareness and lets them explore how different shapes can work together in different ways to create new objects and pictures. There are eight different level options, each one getting progressively more challenging as you go on, and there are collaborative play options which allow multiple people to play games together at once. Parents can also monitor their toddler’s progress through the app, looking at what skills they’ve mastered so that they can increase difficulty levels as needed. The best part is that Relation Shapes is free to download and it does not contain any third-party ads or in-app purchases. 17 Puzzle Shapes: Toddlers & Kids
With more than 3,000 positive reviews,
Puzzle Shapes: Toddlers & Kids is a great app for kids between 2 and 5 years old. It’s designed to help kids strengthen skills like counting, color and shape identification, and patterns. It also has 2D and 3D levels so that kids will be able to see and learn the difference between shapes like a circle and a sphere or a square and a cube. There are more than 200 activities included in this app, and each level is designed to build on top of the previous to help kids learn even more through repetition. The app is free to download, however, there are in-app purchase options. 18 Animals Puzzle For Kids: Preschool Animals Puzzle for Kids: Preschool is made for kids between 1 and 6 years old and helps them strengthen fine motor skills and work on things like spatial awareness, problem-solving, critical thinking, and even speech development. The app is free (with in-app purchase options) and includes 90 different animal puzzles across eight categories including safari, sea, farm, forest, small friends, birds, and dinosaurs. In addition to all of the cute animals, kids will definitely stay engaged with this app thanks to the fun animations and music. All of the puzzles are designed especially for little hands to easily navigate and the app as a whole is user-friendly and intuitive. 19 Puzzle Game 4 Preschool Kids
Puzzle Game 4 Preschool Kids your tot will have access to more than 600 puzzles for free (though, there are in-app purchase options). There are a variety of different puzzles across different ages, skill levels, and interests. Puzzles are divided up into 12 themes including animals, unicorns, robots, dinosaurs, food, bathroom, kitchen, furniture, and more. The app has 30 different language settings with the option to add pronunciation (which is great if you’re trying to expose your little one to foreign languages) and is designed with a kid-friendly interface so that it’s easy for little fingers to navigate and play with. 20 Monkey Preschool Lunchbox
In addition to puzzles,
Monkey Preschool Lunchbox offers games and activities that help tots learn how to identify letters, shapes, and colors as well as work on their memory and fine motor skills. The app costs around $5 and includes seven games that are designed for kids between 2 and 5 years old. The interface is made for kids to easily navigate through (there aren’t any complicated menus or back buttons) and the app allows for unlimited play so that when one game ends it moves right on to the next, so your kids won’t have to ask for help when they want to switch activities. 21 First Words Kids Learn To Read
Little ones who are as young as 18 months old will enjoy playing
First Words Kids Learn To Read. It’s a free app (with in-app purchases) with 10 mini game boards that are designed to help kids learn their first reading words. The app is intuitive and easy for kids to navigate, with big buttons and a mindful design. As little ones work through the puzzles they’ll learn new vocabulary words and work on color, shape, letter, and number identification. Additionally, they’ll also be strengthening their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination as well as developing their problem-solving skills, spatial awareness, and critical thinking skills. 22 Puzzingo Puzzingo is a free app that offers 10 puzzles for toddlers and preschoolers. In addition to all the typical benefits of puzzles, the pieces in this app each have their own name to also help kids further develop their vocabulary. If you love the free version, there are in-app purchase options to expand and get access to more of the 1,000+ puzzle library. One reviewer wrote, “This app is really awesome! I've tried other apps for my daughter but she would always lose interest quickly, but these puzzles hold her interest all the way through my morning coffee and then some! The sounds are fun and she is learning names of things that we otherwise wouldn't really talk about like plane parts and electric transformers and such. She loves the mini games at the end of each puzzle.” 23 Toddler Learning Games Toddler Learning Games has over 14,000 ratings and is a huge hit for little kids (and their parents). The app uses puzzles, games, and activities to help teach kids between 2 and 5 years old about outdoor science. The different activities include learning about the weather, taking care of baby birds, decorating their own Christmas tree, growing a garden, and more. In addition to learning about science, this app also helps kids work on language development, strengthen their memory, develop cognitive skills, and allow them opportunities for problem-solving. This app is free to download and does not contain any ads, but there are options for in-app purchases.
Toddlers get so much out of puzzles, and having easy access to dozens on your phone or tablet will keep them excited and challenged at the same time. Any of these apps will give your little one plenty of opportunities to strengthen their knowledge in a fun way.
This article was originally published on
Sep. 19, 2020