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My five and a half year old daughter was very found of playing with jigsaw puzzle when she was three. Then she dropped that idea completely. So I don't have any "growing" references, for best sizes for her actual age.

She has just got (as Christmas gift) a 50-pieces jigsaw puzzle set. It is labelled "4+ age". Since, I don't have any reference for past two years, I thought this will be enough for her age. But, it turned out, that she needed less than five minutes to get done with this. And she didn't even needed to look at a picture or get the border first (a "help" that I use most often).

I don't know, what size would be best for her in this situation? I don't want to get her too big one, so she do not get overwhelmed and bored too soon or find it too difficult. But, on the other hand, I don't want to get here the one, which will be done in let's say ten or fifteen minutes.

What would be the best size here? 200 pieces? More?

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You'll have to tailor your purchase to your daughter's interests and abilities.

Since 50 pieces is too easy for her, I would go ahead and try a 100+ piece puzzle.

Looking at different products, I see that 50-150 pieces are typically for ages 4+, 5+, or 6+. 100 piece puzzles look to be suitable for 5+ and 6+.

However, 200 piece puzzles often jump to the range of 7+ or 8+, so that might be too big of a jump for her.

Whichever size you get, I would introduce the new puzzle with a comment such as,

"You did so well putting together the last puzzle, I thought you might like to try one more challenging."

Then, if it turns out to be a little too difficult for her, you can say,

"I'm very impressed with how hard you're working on this puzzle. It sure looks like fun. Do you mind if I work with you?"

By introducing yourself into this activity you can make it a fun, bonding experience.

As a note, some children are going to be better at puzzles than others. Jigsaw puzzle solving requires a different set of mental skills. Spatial recognition is needed for for matching both the piece shapes to each other and the piece art to the larger image. Memory skills are needed for remembering what the whole picture looks like when they're not looking at the box. Strategy/critical thinking skills are needed to come up with solutions to solve difficult portions (such as doing borders first, grouping pieces by the same color, etc). If your daughter excels in these areas, she might be equipped to handle puzzles outside the listed age ranges.

However, part of the reason the larger piece-count puzzles are for older children is that the pieces are smaller. Thus, they require a little more dexterity (fine motor skills) to handle. So, you'll also have to pay attention to whether or not the size of the individual pieces is affecting her enjoyment of the puzzle. These size differences are why I was able to find a 100 piece puzzle for ages 3+, and another 100 piece puzzle for ages 5+. The 3+ puzzle had much larger pieces.

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    I'd encourage erring on the difficult side. It's more educational and rewarding to struggle thru something difficult. – bjb568 Jan 4 '15 at 22:01
  • I agree, unless the difficulty is initially too high and becomes demotivational. You have to strike the balance between presenting a challenge and presenting a task. – user11394 Jan 4 '15 at 22:03
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My 6yo son was similar, and we have recently tried him with a 200 piece map of Europe.

This is too much for him on his own at the moment, but he enjoys sitting down with an adult and doing it together. The content means it is both challenging and gives us something to chat about.

The problem with smaller puzzles is that they aren't interesting to him because they don't present enough of a challenge, whereas this one is too overwhelming for him on his own for now.

I suspect in a couple of months he will be doing this on his own no problem,and we may buy him some more of the same size and see how he gets on with an unfamiliar puzzle on his own.

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While I accept and agree with all the answers and comments here, that you can't make a straight line and set one rule for all kids all over the world, I wanted to add a photo recently found on the back of one of puzzle sets, by daughter got:

enter image description here

It's just a mere suggestion (that must be always adjusted to each and every kid) and I don't know if there is any scientific credit behind, but since it comes from the actual producer of puzzles, then I think, that we can consider it as just some kind of suggestion.

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