Melissa and Doug make some great products including real wooden puzzles.
Ethan's very first puzzle was this one that he got for his birthday. Although he is interested in it he can't do it by himself. He knows the crab goes in the crab space, but it is hard to get the pieces exactly lined up. Also, there is no real up or down so that really doesn't help him figure out the orientation. For these reasons I was a little disappointed, not in the puzzle but in how easily aggravated Ethan would become because he couldn't do it by himself. For Christmas he got several more Melissa & Doug puzzles including this one:
He loves it! He can do all the pieces himself. The circle doesn't have a wrong way and all the other pieces have at least 2 or 3 different ways they can go in. He loves to do it and I think it is a great starter puzzle for little girls or boys. Both of these puzzles are "jumbo knob" puzzles which are good for little hands. Here is another jumbo knob puzzle that he does a little bit better with because he can tell the feet of the cat and dog go at the bottom. They have other types of puzzles as well. "Peg" puzzles such as this one:
I like this puzzle because all of the tails fit with all of the fish. Again Ethan struggles with this one now, but I know that he will get better at it and it will help him learn his colors.
Nanny Sara and Parrain Curt bought him this great "chunky" puzzle for Christmas.
He loves this puzzle! The pieces don't have to fit exactly in the holes because they are not as deep as the pieces. Also, the holes are also a little bit bigger than the pieces. He loves "driving" these pieces all over the house.