Puzzling over last-minute gifts? We may have a suggestion… or two… or ten… or more! The Games & Puzzles section of our Holiday Gift Guide is loaded with a variety of jigsaw puzzles, logic puzzles, and head-to-head challenges to delight the entire family – and even some cooperative games too! Here’s a small sampling of terrific gifts that tend to come in nice square, easy-to-wrap boxes (which isn’t an issue anyway, since we’ll wrap ‘em for you, free of charge).
One-player challenges are a great way to get little brains humming and little hands moving. The adorable setup and pieces for the Smart Games Three Little Piggies Board Game are super irresistible, and will make kids want to solve every challenge to keep their little piggy friends safe!
For slightly older kids, the simple presence of a real-live LASER makes Laser Maze Jr. a surefire hit, and you’ll want to fiddle with it too (but it may be a while before your child even lets you try, because again, LASERS). If your little genius gets through all of those challenges, they can advance to the next level with the original Laser Maze, or compete with a friend at the game of Khet 2.0, which puts a futuristic spin on the game of chess.
Have you ever played Spot It? If you haven’t, you’re missing out, and if you have, you know why this addictive, fast-paced card game is one of our absolute favorites. Since it’s been such a hit, our friends at Blue Orange have created tons of variations to tailor the game to the particular tastes of every player: Frozen fans, Shopkins devotees, younger players, and more. Blue Orange Super Genius First Words takes a similar approach to gameplay to help kids memorize their sight words.
For a more expansive family game night, Leaps and Ledges takes a familiar gameplay formula and makes it vertical: the game board is a tower, which is also a lot of fun to build! (For more traditional tower-building and destruction, there’s always Jenga, or, for a somewhat different balance challenge, how about Staxis from Mindware? )
Kids really, really, really don’t like losing at games! Teaching kids to lose (and win) gracefully is important, but cooperative games also have their place at the table. In these games, all of the players work together for a single goal: for example, in Feed the Woozle, designed to be simple enough for preschoolers to play, kids combine their efforts to sate the appetite of a friendly fuzzy monster. Or, in the adorable Hoot Owl Hoot, everyone works together to get a family of owlets back to their nest before sunrise. These games teach the value and satisfaction of teamwork, and encourage some serious high-fives!
Finally: there’s no better way to fill a quiet afternoon than a traditional jigsaw puzzle, and it’s that much better if it features familiar friends: the Ravensburger Frozen Elsa’s Snowflake puzzle features the titular Snow Queen and her pal Olaf, too. Or, you can open up an entirely different fairy tale universe for kids with the Fairy Castle and Dragon’s Castle puzzles from Djeco – they come in really gorgeous shaped boxes that make a huge impression when they’re unwrapped (and don’t worry, our experts won’t mind the extra challenge involved in wrapping them for you).
Or, sneak in some educational value with the Crocodile Creek World Puzzle, which comes with a poster to hang on your child’s wall. Speaking as someone who learned all of my American states as a kid by using one of these puzzles, I can verify that it’s a trick that works!
Didn’t find what you needed here? Check out the rest of the Games + Puzzles in our online holiday guide, download our Holiday Gift Guide, or just ask us! Every Magic Beans store is staffed with a team of Toy Whizzes who love nothing more than matching the right gift with the right kid.