14 of the Most Challenging Jigsaw Puzzles You Can Buy
Experts say that challenging puzzles activate new parts of your brain to help you solve them. Here are some of the most demanding jigsaw puzzles around.
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A puzzling puzzle
Jigsaw puzzles provide an entertaining way to keep your brain engaged. But if you’re a regular puzzle solver, you may need to amp up the complexity to keep yourself challenged. “When someone becomes an inveterate solver of a puzzle, they need more complexity or challenge because the expertise gained renders the basic puzzle uninteresting,” says Marcel Danesi, a professor of semiotics and anthropology at Victoria College, University of Toronto and author of The Total Brain Workout: 450 Puzzles to Sharpen Your Mind, Improve Your Memory, and Keep Your Brain Fit. “There is no more difficult puzzle, just more complex.” Scroll on for 14 puzzles that demand everything you’ve got.
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Educa Amsterdam with Red Bike Puzzle
The pop of red in the middle of this 3,000-piece puzzle will be easy to get together—the rest of this black-and-white puzzle, not so much.
3D Wooden Brain Teaser Puzzle by Sharp Brain Zone
It may look easy, but 3D puzzles like this complex, Tetris-like version add a new challenge for you. “3D puzzles and Rubik’s cubes are truly challenging as they are, with no need to add additional complexity,” Danesi says. Check out these 19 brainteasers to help train your mind.
Bgraamiens Puzzles – The Lines
Research shows that older adults fare better with black-and-white puzzles than younger adults—but it probably won’t give them too much of an advantage with this 1,000-piece monster that’s a simple scribble of black lines on white.
Cerebrum Shoppe Puzzle Impossible
It may only be 144 pieces, but this clear acrylic puzzle will take a lot of brainpower to solve. There’s no picture on the clear pieces to help you—and it’s impossible to tell which side of the puzzle piece faces up! For practice, see if you can solve the hardest puzzle ever.
Clemens Habicht 5000 Colors Jigsaw Puzzle
The subtle color gradients—and the 5,000 pieces—make this CMYK color puzzle particularly hard to complete. While some research has shown that boys have stronger visual and spatial skills, a recent study found that girls were actually much faster at completing jigsaw puzzles—in part because they were better at strategizing how to complete the puzzle. These 59 brain games will boost your brainpower.
Ravensburger Memorable Disney Moments 40,320 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle
Ravensburger tags this puzzle as the largest Disney puzzle in the world—and clocking in at more than 40,000 pieces, they’re probably right (though if you were to get nitpicky about it, it’s essentially 10 separate puzzles in one). Perhaps get your kids to pitch in on this one, too—studies have found that early puzzle play improves a child’s spatial skills.
Bgraamiens Puzzles – Blooming Color
If you start your jigsaw puzzling at the corners, you’re in trouble with this 1,000-piece puzzle. Its round shape and intricate color pattern could leave you puzzling for a while. (And that may be a good thing—researchers believe that long-term puzzling could boost your cognition skills as you age.) Practice these 15 habits by age 50 to save your brain at 80.
Piatnik Wine Corks 1,000-Piece Jigsaw Puzzle
The monochromatic color scheme could make finding the next piece in this 1,000-piece puzzle much more difficult. “Puzzles that are without color or monochromatic are more challenging,” Danesi says. “Color is a cue or clue for how to arrange pieces, thus implying that the visual sense is operative here.”
Bgraamiens Puzzle – The Indian Feather
The round shape and repetitive pattern of this 1,000-piece puzzle could make it hard for you to puzzle out where each piece lies. If you’re looking for another challenge, see if you can solve Einstein’s riddle.
Wrebbit 3D King Arthur’s Camelot 3D Puzzle
It takes 865 pieces (and a lot of patience) to puzzle together this dramatic 3D castle puzzle—though there’s a how-to video to help you through the tricky parts.
Modern Art Puzzle for Adults
Learn a little about colors while you try to assemble a work of modern art with this 1,000-piece puzzle. Get a sneak peek at what happens inside your brain when you’re solving a puzzle.
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