The 10 Best puzzles and games

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Cool, fun, silly and educational – here’s our pick of the finest distractions for children. No screens required...

1.4D Cityscape Jigsaw

£30, sciencemuseumshop.co.uk

This is the ultimate jigsaw, with its high-quality lockable pieces and scale models of London’s iconic buildings, which you add to the base in the  order they were built. There are even glow-in-the-dark streets.

2. Bananagrams

£9.50, amazon.co.uk

This fast and fun anagram game requires no pencil, paper or board. It comes in a small portable banana-shaped pouch and is perfect fun for kids from seven–107 years-old, at home or on the go. Dame Judi Dench is among its celebrity fans.

3. Gibson Games My Jobs Puzzle

£7.19, craftpacks.co.uk

Mix, match and create funny people with these eight interchangeable puzzles, which are suitable for children aged 18 months-plus. Characters include a policeman, firefighter, chef, vet, construction worker, postman, pilot and nurse.

4. Dear Zoo Floor Puzzle

£7.99, dearzooshop.co.uk

Floor puzzles are a great introduction to jigsaws for little hands and this one features images from the “lift the flap” Dear Zoo children’s story books – one of the best-loved pre-school tales of all times. It’s presented in a sturdy box with a carry handle.

5. Hungry Hippos

£14.99, elc.co.uk

This frantic, fun and competitive marble action game, aimed at children aged four plus, and for two to four players, tests both agility and speed. The hippo with the most marbles wins the game.

6. GLTC Road Puzzle

£14, gltc.co.uk

This giant jigsaw puzzle is inspired. The pieces are interchangeable so you can build a different roadway every time and the fun doesn’t need to stop there, with kids able to test their creations out with their toy cars.

7. Ravensburger Children’s World Map Jigsaw Puzzle Ball

£19.95, johnlewis.com

Puzzles don’t get much more educational than this. Not only can children learn about all the countries of the world as they create this globe with 180 curved pieces, but they can see which continents different animals live in. When it’s all done, there’s a display stand that allows the globe to rotate.

8. John Lewis 6-in-1 Games Compendium

£30, johnlewis.com

This may not be cheap, but the play value you’ll get from this wooden box is unrivalled. Containing all the traditional greats; chess, draughts, backgammon, solitaire, snakes and ladders, and tiddlywinks – you might as well get rid of the telly altogether.

9. Lego Games – Creationary

£24.99, shop.lego.com

Roll the Lego dice to select one of four building categories: vehicles, buildings, nature or things. Then, with three levels of difficulty, you  can show off your building skills, while those around you guess what you are creating.

10. Wild & Wolf Pick-up Sticks

£4.95, wildandwolf.com

Ridley’s Kaleidoscope is a great range of traditional games, toys and jokes, all enclosed in Sixties-inspired, colourful vintage-style packaging. Pick-up Sticks is a particularly fun option for every generation to enjoy.

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