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When was the last time you sat down and did a puzzle? Not a crossword, not Sudoku, but an actual puzzle, with physical pieces that you put together? It’s probably been a while.
If you haven’t done a jigsaw puzzle since you were a kid, we think it’s high time to give your childhood pastime another chance, and what better time to pick one up than today, on National Puzzle Day?
Benefits of Jigsaw Puzzles
Puzzles for adults are becoming increasingly popular, since they are not only fun, but make for a great way to challenge your mind.
In fact, a 2014 study published in Trends in Neuroscience and Education found that spatial toys, such as jigsaw puzzles, enhanced spatial skills in its subjects, while a 2018 study from Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience determined that doing puzzles tapped multiple cognitive abilities in adults and could even be a potential protective factor for cognitive aging. In short? Jigsaw puzzles are good for your brain.
And thats not all: A 2017 study out of Yale University also proved that the activity is good for your emotional wellbeing, aiding in both collaboration and cooperation when completed with a partner.
The Best Puzzles for Adults
As more and more adults become puzzlers, the design options have become so cool! Some are even worthy of framing after you’ve fit in that final piece.
From patterns that have us marveling at the wonders of the galaxy ($25, Amazon) to designs that pay homage to some of our favorite novels ($17.40, Amazon), we’ve found plenty of puzzles that will be worth your time. Take a peek below at some of FIRST for Women’s picks for the best puzzles for adults to do your own or with your family.
Best Galaxy Puzzle
BetterCo. Milky Way Puzzle
Where to buy: $25, Amazon
We could totally see ourselves blissfully zoning out while doing this celestial puzzle, which comes complete with 1,000 intergalactic pieces that make up our beloved Milky Way galaxy. The image comes from a shot that was taken by the actual NASA Hubble telescope, and its pieces are made from high-quality, durable recycled paper. Better yet, BetterCo. has a missing piece guarantee that will ensure you'll never be left hanging.
Best Animal Puzzle
Ingooood Floral Raindrop Deer Puzzle
Where to buy: $25.99, Amazon
How stunning is this floral deer design? Made with larger pieces of recyclable basswood, this pick is a great choice for anyone with dexterity issues that might otherwise struggle with smaller fragments. It's also got letter tips on the back of each one should you get stuck. Romantic and colorful, this puzzle's completion will also make for quite the art piece: You'll probably want to hang it up once you're through!
Best Food Puzzle
Cozytime Puzzles Difficult Donuts Puzzle
Where to buy: $18.49, Amazon
If you're looking for a challenging option, boy, do we have the puzzle for you! This 1000-piece donut version will not only have your mouth watering, if will have your brain working overtime to fit its seamless cardboard pieces together. Might we suggest treating yourself to some real donuts while you dive in?
Best Nostalgic Puzzle
MasterPieces Mom's Pantry Puzzle
Where to buy: $14.99, Amazon
Speaking of snacks, we can spy with our little eyes quite a few of our old favorites in this colorful puzzle. With 1,000 randomly-cut puzzle pieces made to interlock, this find will exercise your brain in more ways than one as you work to put it together and remember when you last had these nostalgic foods and drinks.
Most Realistic Puzzle
White Mountain Pencils Collage
Where to buy: $24.94, Amazon
We can almost smell that freshly-sharpened pencil aroma just looking at this retro design. Created by artist Maureen Rupprecht, who glued hundreds of pencils into a frame to make it, this eye-catching pattern is rated for skilled puzzle put-togetherers and comes with 1,000 extra-large blue cardboard pieces.
Best Retro Puzzle
White Mountain Best-Sellers Puzzle
Where to buy: $17.40, Amazon
We love this literary homage to some of the best novels ever written, including E.B. White's 1952 smash, Charlotte's Web, Mario Puzo's 1969 release of The Godfather, and George Orwell's 1949 classic, 1984, to name a few. It features large, thick pieces, and can be done by people of all ages.
Best Cat Puzzle
White Mountain Tapestry Cat Puzzle
Where to buy: $15.99, Amazon
Designed in the likeness of an elegant tapestry by artist Lewis T. Johnson, this gorgeous kitty puzzle would be another great one to frame when it's all set. It comes with 1,000 pieces and a customer-satisfaction guarantee.
Best Dog Puzzle
Mudpuppy Hot Dogs A-Z Puzzle
Where to buy: $16.99, Amazon
If you're more of a dog person, you can learn about all them while assembling this cute design from painter and illustrator Carolyn Gavin, which features 26 different breeds — one for every letter of the alphabet.
Best Geometric Puzzle
W&P Bauhaus Puzzle
Where to buy: $20, East Dane
Both creative and geometric, this puzzle is inspired by the German Bauhaus style of modern art, which reigned supreme from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. It includes 500 pieces and comes ready-to-gift in a fun, compact box.
Best Art Jigsaw Puzzle
Eurographics Starry Night Puzzle
Where to buy: $17.79 (Originally $24.99), Amazon
Vincent Van Gogh may have painted the original artwork, but you can certainly take all the credit for putting its puzzle replica's pieces in all the right places. As an added bonus, this masterpiece is 100 percent recyclable and printed with vegetable-based inks.
Best Puzzle Background
Inside the Museum Puzzle
Where to buy: $19.95, The Met Store
This intricate, 500-piece puzzle gives you a peek at what it's like to wander around the famous New York City museum. What's more, once it's finished, it turns into a game, with points awarded to players for spotting certain objects around its border.
Best Personalized Puzzle
The New York Times Birthdate Puzzle
Where to buy: $49.95, Hammer Schlemmer
You can customize this puzzle with a reproduction of the front page of the New York Times that ran on your birthday, making it a great gift. It comes with 500 pieces and those printed after 1998 are printed in full color.
Best Gradient Puzzle
BetterCo. Gradient Jigsaw Puzzle
Where to buy: $25, Amazon
This kaleidoscope of colors found in this 1,000-piece gradient puzzle will probably take you awhile to complete, but its calming tones will help you stay zen, even if you lose part of it — there's a "missing piece guarantee."
Most Challenging Puzzle
Black Micro Puzzle
Where to buy: $15.99, Amazon
With no discernible designs to help you out along the way and purposely-small pieces, this solid black micro-pick just might be the world's most difficult puzzle — which means you'll be able to brag all the more once you finish it!