When All the Pieces Come Together

We love putting things together, whether it’s a puzzle, a STEAM-boosting science kit, a brick tower, clues to an Escape-the-Room game, or anything else. Those feelings of satisfaction can’t be beat—especially if you’ve worked with someone else (or a group of others) to accomplish your goal. Here are some great activities that will help you and your family piece together a lot of fun.

Holiday Glitter 500 (Master Pieces)

holiday glitterIn all honesty, we never would have thought of combining puzzles and glitter. But after spending some quality time putting together this 500-piece puzzle, it seems like a perfectly natural match. Based on the work of Oregon artist Dona Gelsinger, Holiday Glitter is just one of four glitter-infused jigsaws. This one features, as you might guess, a sweet Winter snow scene, complete with a friendly snowman, bunnies, a deer, other wildlife, and an inviting cabin in the woods. The puzzle pieces are made from recycled material, and the glitter is already attached, so there’s no mess to clean up. Under $13. http://www.masterpiecesinc.com

Story Box Animal Adventures (Laurence King)

story box animal adventureThe latest in Laurence King’s growing Story Box series gives you all the tools you need to create a unique animal-based story. The kit contains 20 double-sided puzzle pieces (illustrated by Claudia Boldt) that can be put together, flipped, and arranged in any combination. If you use all the pieces, your story will be more than eight feet long. But whatever you do, you and your child can work together to tell a different tail (hey, it’s animal-themed, after all) every time. Ages 3+. $14.99. https://www.laurenceking.com

I Saw It First! Jungle (Laurence King)

I saw it first jungleThis is a unique spin on the spot-it-type game, because the game board itself is different every time. Fully assembled, the board features 300 jungle animals. Pull a tile from the bag and everyone races to be the first to find that animal. Some you’ll recognize, like the elephant, the leopard, the hippo, and the gorilla. But others, like the giraffe weevil, the wire-tailed manakin, and the eyelash viper will be a real challenge. Great for learning about animals. Under $20. https://www.laurenceking.com

T. Rex Bone Extractor Game (Uncle Milton)

t-rex bone extractorRemember the old Operation game, where players tried to remove a “patient’s” various body parts without setting off an alarm? This game is similar, except that instead of being a clown-nosed human, the patient is a T-Rex. Plus, there’s an educational component—players have to correctly answer a dinosaur-themed trivia question before they try to excavate the T. Reb bone. And watch out. If you accidentally touch the extractor tool to the side of the pit, you’ll awaken the prehistoric beast. Comes with 12 trivia cards, 12 bone pieces for extraction, and instructions. Batteries (2 AA) required but not included. Ages 6+. Under $29. http://unclemilton.com

The Story of Impressionism (Laurence King)

story of impressionismFor many people, the whole goal of putting together a puzzle is to, well, put together the puzzle. But why not go a step further and learn something? This 1000-piece jigsaw is a delightful introduction to the people and places of the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist era. You’ll meet artists like Pierre August Renoir, Paul Cezanne, Berthe Morisot, and Mary Cassatt, novelists and thinkers like Oscar Wilde and Emile Zola, and many others. You’ll also discover places like the Moulin Rouge, the river Seine, and the Paris Opera.  About $16. https://www.laurenceking.com

The Dream of Surrealism (Laurence King)

dream of surrealismSimilar to The Story of Impressionism, this 1000-piece puzzle is a dazzling (and sometimes dizzying) exploration of the artists, poets, muses, concepts, and places behind the movement that turned the art world on its head. You’ll meet Salvador Dali’s moustache and melting clock and Rene Magritte’s pipe (which isn’t actually a pipe), dance with Sigmund Freud, marvel at Frida Kahlo and Leonora Carrington, listen to a donkey playing the piano, and much more. About $16. https://www.laurenceking.com

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