Four challenging STEM puzzles for kids

Hours of skill-building fun.

Puzzles for kids
A tactile approach to STEM.Amazon

It’s only 9 a.m. and your kids are already bored. With these four great puzzles, you can do keep your family entertained without feeling a bit guilty. Occupy kids for hours with these hands-on lessons in engineering, geometry, logic, physics, and problem-solving. You might even want to join in the fun.

Rokr Mechanical 3D Wooden Puzzle Model Kit
Put young minds in gear.Amazon

The act of building this hand-cranked 3D puzzle requires popping out the pieces from laser-cut wooden sheets and carefully assembling them. It’s a great way to understand how simple machines function, and to witness the laws of mechanics in action. Teens ages 14 and up can spend hours transforming the 233 components into a living sculpture that’s about 10 inches in height and looks great on a bookshelf or desk.

Shape by Shape Creative Pattern Logic Game
So many ways to get it wrong.Amazon

Kids aged 8 and up—as well as adults—can grow their visual-spatial skills while working their way through the sixty puzzles in this portable game. Your challenge is to match the image on each card by configuring fourteen plastic geometric shapes (six red and eight yellow) inside the puzzle’s frame. The game is inspired by Chinese tangram puzzles, and is harder than it appears.

Manifold, The Origami Mind Bender Puzzle
More entertaining than playing with your napkin at the dinner table.Amazon

This unique game evokes both the Japanese art of folding paper and a Rubik’s cube, and comes with 100 puzzles to solve. You’ll need to cleverly fold each included piece of origami-like paper to keep white squares on one side and black on the other. The puzzles start off relatively simply, but progress in difficulty and are recommended for ages 10 and up. Kids may find themselves inspired to start learning origami classics like cranes and flowers, and will move onto other brain teasers with renewed confidence.

EuroGraphics The Atom 1000 Piece Puzzle
This atom is split without fission.Amazon

If doing jigsaw puzzles as a family has always been on your rainy day to-do-list, consider giving your dining room table over to this 1,000-piece science-themed puzzle for a few hours. When completed, its size is 26.5 by 19.25 inches, and includes far more than just a rendering of an atom. You’ll also piece together the periodic table, construct the names and photos of five atomic scientists, and render infographics on fusion, fission, and more. When it’s done, glue it together and frame it for a cool addition to your aspiring scientist’s bedroom wall.