Simple DIY Cardboard Puzzle For Toddlers
Plus A FREE Car Logos Printable
Looking for a fun activity for your toddler? Does he or she love puzzles and/or matching games?
You’re going to love this simple DIY cardboard puzzle for toddlers. Here’s your step-by-step guide and a free printable!
Toddlers are constantly busy, which means they demand a lot of attention, and technically
they do need new toys.
However, I think kids need tools, not toys (even if they come if that form) and second of all, I’m not a fan of buying a bunch of toys and then hoping or demanding that our kid will play with them.
Our little ones’ interests and skills, especially at this age, can change rapidly and so it’s great if we can adapt quickly and also if we can keep challenging them.
That is exactly why I love DIY activities for toddlers. The possibilities are endless. You can always customize the activity or craft to fit your kiddo’s current interests plus you spend close to zero money while doing so.
DIY cardboard puzzles for toddlers, like the one I’ll show you in this post, are absolutely genius! You can print out literally anything and turn it into a toddler puzzle.
You can obviously adjust the size and amount of the pieces to your toddler’s skills. And you can choose whether to leave each picture as it is or to cut it up into smaller parts to make it even more of a puzzle than a matching game.
What you will need to make a DIY cardboard puzzle for toddlers
- 2 pieces of cardboard of the exact same size (I simply cut up delivery boxes)
- 2x the same printed-out pictures
You could also just use markers or colored paper if you want a color or shape-themed puzzle
- clear tape
- a sharp knife, preferably a utility knife
A kitchen knife or a paper-cutting art knife will do the job as well, that’s what I used for my puzzles, but it’s more of a pain in the butt to get it done and it’s hard to make it look neat, so…you can do better than me by using a utility knife!
How to make a DIY cardboard puzzle for toddlers, step by step
1. Choose a theme for the puzzle
What kind of puzzle do you want to make? What purpose should it serve? Do you want to teach your toddler about colors or shapes? Do they love cars or wild animals?
2. Decide what size the puzzle should be
Before printing out any pictures, you need to know how big the puzzle should be and how many pieces you want to include.
You make the decision based on your child’s age and skills but also by checking how big the cardboards are that you have at home. Remember that you need two pieces of cardboard that are exactly the same size.
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3. Edit and print out your puzzle pieces twice
You can use printables that you find online, like the car logos one that I’ve included below. You can find pictures that you like and then edit them online for instance on canva.com. Or you can simply google your desired keyword and print out the pictures you like without editing anything.
If you want to add words describing what your puzzle pieces are showing, you can either print those out or simply use a marker to write them down, directly on your cardboard.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure you print out the same puzzle pieces two times! If you’re adding text/ labels describing your pictures, print out one set with and one set without the text.
4. Decide on your layout and then glue one set of the puzzle pieces to one of the cardboards
Cut out one set of your puzzle pieces. Lay them out on the cardboard and simply decide how you want the puzzle to look. Once you’re happy with your layout, glue the pieces onto the cardboard.
5. Cut out the cardboard puzzle pieces by using a sharp knife
Now using a sharp knife, preferably a utility knife, cut out the cardboard puzzle pieces.
6. Make the puzzle pieces more durable by using clear tape
Wrap clear tape around each puzzle piece then cut off any excess tape.
This step is optional but I think it’s a good idea. Since you’re putting in some time to make this DIY puzzle why not make it more durable so your toddler can enjoy it for a bit longer.
7. Glue your two pieces of cardboard together
By this point, you should have one cardboard piece with holes in them (of the shapes of your puzzle pieces) and another one of the same size yet with no holes in it.
Align your two cardboard pieces and glue/tape them together.
You’ve created your “puzzle board”. Well, almost, there’s one more step of course.
8. Cut out the second set of puzzle pieces and glue them into the right spots on your cardboard
Tada, that’s it. The DIY cardboard puzzle for your toddler is ready
and I’m sure he/she will absolutely love it!
The first puzzle I made was a solar system one. I don’t have a printable for you for this one as I simply googled the words solar system, chose a random one I liked, and printed it out without editing anything. So if you want to make a similar one, I suggest you do the same.
Another one I’ve made was of car logos as my son is absolutely obsessed with cars and seems to be eager to learn all about them.
The way I come up with activities or what I find makes sense when teaching your child something is to offer them a variety of materials. Meaning, if he watches a short Cocomelon video about the solar system and we look at a book together where they talk about planets, it only makes sense to choose the solar system as the subject of my DIY puzzle.
Likewise, when he plays with his little toy cars I point to the car logos and tell him the names, I might show him flashcards of cars/car logos or read a book about cars with him. Then, when we go for a walk we look at the parked cars, and again, I point to the logos and tell him the names. So again, it makes sense for us to then make a DIY puzzle of car logos.
Do I expect my one-year-old to know the names of planets or car brands? Of course not! But I do feel like this approach of combining different activities with the same topic helps him make connections and make sense of the world around him.
Anyway, I truly think a homemade, custom cardboard puzzle for toddlers is one of those crafts definitely worth trying out.
CAR LOGOS PRINTABLE
Simply click on one of the images below to open it in a new tab. From there, you can easily print it.