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I am always looking for puzzles and games that have educational components that my soon-to-be 4 year old will also find entertaining.  One brand that I absolutely L-O-V-E is Infantino!  I knew that they made a lot of different baby items I liked, but I had no idea they made puzzles until I found one at a local discount store.  The packaging caught my eye, with its cute little yellow box with bright pictures of the puzzle pieces on the front, and an actual puzzle piece attached to the handle.  Seeing the puzzle piece was fantastic because it allowed me to see that the piece was large enough for my preschooler, and strong enough to even stand up to the baby chewing on it (which we try to avoid, but sometimes it just happens)!

All of their puzzles are educational; however, a few that I love the best are:
  • The 20 Word Picture Puzzle is great for early readers in that it allows them to build 3 and 4 letter words which can be sounded out phonetically to match the picture clues.

  • The Colors and Shapes puzzle which shows everyday items to help children recognize shapes within their environment.  Good for preschoolers (around age 2.5 and up):
  • The Matching Colors and Textures puzzle.  This one is one of the best and great for ages 2.5 and up.  I like that it teaches kids about different textures through pictures as well as actual fabrics and objects they can touch.  Such as, the fuzzy card has a fabric swatch built in.  Same with the bumpy one and the shiny one.
  • The My First Color Puzzles is a great one, but I find it has a misleading name.  I think this puzzle is great for ages 2, 3, 4, 5....and anyone really!  Most of the cards have a color wheel with two different colors. When you spin the wheel it makes the coordinating color that matches to connecting piece (see picture), so it is also great when teaching older kids how to combine colors to make new colors. 
They also make many other puzzles, see their website for more : http://www.infantino.com/.  These ones above just happen to be my favorites!

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