How Do Puzzles Help With Cognitive Development?

How do puzzles help with cognitive development, and what puzzle activities can you try yourself that are good for you? Let’s find out.

Humans have the most superior cognitive skills by far. On Earth, at least. No other species even come close to the intelligence of a human. But did you know you can enhance your cognitive skills even further by training your brain? Puzzles can help you do that, and you’ll have fun meanwhile.

Puzzles are a great way to stimulate the brain and have some fun along the way. They can also help you regain certain brain functions after a brain injury. There are different kinds of puzzles for people of all ages, and anyone can improve their brain function by solving them.

What cognitive skills are in puzzles?

So what cognitive skills can you improve with puzzles, and how do they help you? Puzzles can help you with your mental abilities and emotional and social development.

They also help you improve your problem-solving skills. Some puzzles need you to devise a solution and force you to use your brain and develop ideas to solve it. We will get into various puzzle types later.

Stimulating your brain with puzzles will enhance your critical thinking. They are a great way to train your brain to think critically. Puzzles teach you deduction and reasoning skills which help you think better. They also build your focus. You need to be entirely focused when solving more challenging puzzles, which trains you not to get distracted and to focus on the task.

Some puzzles need quick action and improve your response time and quick thinking. Practicing those puzzles also helps your decision-making skills. They are also very essential for children during their growth years.

How do puzzles help with a child’s development?

When kids are young, their brain grows rapidly. This is when they need mental stimulation to help their cognitive growth the most.

Puzzles help them understand the concept of problem-solving and make them smarter. The challenging puzzles can help them learn how to strategize and find optimal solutions. Playing with puzzles at a young age also helps them improve their IQ and memory.


Some puzzles need pattern recognition, and some need good hand-eye coordination. However, many puzzles are essential for a child’s overall growth. They can also be a fun time for them. It can be a way for parents to spend time with their kids while teaching and improving them simultaneously.

How do puzzles help with emotional development?

So how do puzzles help with emotional development? Sitting and solving puzzles can be a great relaxing activity for an adult. It relieves all your stress, and because it’s not physically exhausting, it lets you relax and think.

Puzzles teach you how to be patient. Some puzzles are incredibly time-consuming, and making mistakes can only waste your time further. Those types of puzzles test your patience and help you develop it. Puzzles are an excellent activity for those with anxiety, as they can help you calm down and get your emotions under control.

Social skills are also affected by puzzle-solving. Puzzles help with social development as many require you to work as a team. They help you learn the value of teamwork and communication. Also, spending time with your family or friends solving puzzles is a great way to bond while having fun.

10 puzzles to try yourself

We have prepared a list of fun puzzles to help you with your or your child’s cognitive development, so let’s get on it.


Sudoku has been here forever. It helps you improve your number skills and logical thinking. Everyone knows what sudoku is, but few people know how to play sudoku. You can read our article on sudoku to learn how to play and get some free sudoku templates in various difficulties to get started.


Crossword puzzles are among the best ways to build vocabulary and word skills. The easy ones will help children learn language skills, and the harder ones can be a great challenge for adults. You can find them anywhere, with any kind of subject or theme.


Chess is a significant cognitive enhancer. It teaches you strategy and critical thinking. Register on or lichess and try out the chess puzzles that give you specific scenarios, and you have to find the best possible move.

Assembly/disassembly puzzles

These types of puzzles test how creative you can be. You have to assemble or disassemble some parts of these puzzles. However, the real challenge comes after you finish that. Going backward and bringing them to their original state can be even more challenging. 



Jigsaw puzzles are like the face of the puzzle industry. I’m sure I don’t need to explain what jigsaw puzzles are. They come in all difficulties and sizes, which makes it a great fun activity for people of all ages.


Puzzle-solving video games are great for today’s generation that wants to do everything digitally. Some games, such as the God of War franchise or the newly-released Hogwarts Legacy, combine puzzle solving with action, making them more fun.

Math puzzles

There are many different types of math puzzles besides sudoku. They are great for testing your reasoning abilities, and one of the best parts about them is that you can easily find many online for free within seconds.


Riddles are a fun and old-school way of puzzle-solving. They are fast and can be really funny. Overall great entertainment and a way to improve your creative thinking.

Pattern guessing

Pattern recognition and guessing are among the best ways to test your brain, which is why these are used in advanced-level reasoning exams. They can help your child with visual processing skills.


Maze puzzles can be done digitally, on paper, or in real life. The real mazes are a lot of fun and help you improve your direction and path-finding skills.


This was our take on how puzzles help with cognitive development. I hope this article helps you figure out why puzzles are essential throughout our lives and which are most suitable for you. If you’re looking for more ways to enhance your mental abilities, our article on brain games that improve memory and focus can help you.


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