6 of the best wildlife-themed jigsaw puzzles | BBC Wildlife Magazine

6 of the best wildlife-themed jigsaw puzzles | BBC Wildlife Magazine

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Jigsaw puzzles are a great for mindfulness, since they require focusing in on one thing and are very tactile. There’s also evidence that they can help improve memory and contribute towards preventing dementia. They are a good tool for developing skills in children, such as problem-solving and patience, whilst also educating them about the topic being puzzled over.

Greater numbers of pieces don’t necessarily equate to increased difficulty, some smaller puzzles can have tricky colour gradients to work with or no flat edges to help you get started.

With winter fast approaching, we’ve been busy testing some out – and thoroughly enjoying doing so!

If you’re interested more reviews, check out our guides to more wildlife-themed games, gifts for wildlife lovers and podcasts.


Night Reef 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle

Night Reef puzzle

An illustrator based in Hove in Sussex, Elena Essex combines bright and dazzling colours with wildlife in her three gorgeous 1000-piece puzzles for teenagers and adults (recommended for 14 years plus). Dive into the depths of the ocean with Night Reef (pictured), explore the stunning diversity of animal species with Rainbow Kingdom, or attempt her circular puzzle with Bird Paradise.

She has also produced a world map jigsaw puzzle featuring animals and landmarks in her 300-piece puzzle for kids (recommended for 7 years plus). A full-size colour poster is included with each poster for help in completing the puzzle, and the puzzle box is made of recycled materials.

Reviewed by Megan Shersby, editorial and digital co-ordinator, BBC Wildlife


Marsh Owl 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle

Angela Harding Marsh Owl jigsaw puzzle

Based in Rutland, Angela Harding is a renowned fine art painter and illustrator who specialises in lino prints. Her work will be particularly familiar to readers of the RSPB Birds book by Miranda Krestovnikoff, which is illustrated throughout by Harding, and The Salt Path and The Wild Silence by Raynor Winn, which both feature Harding’s artwork on their jackets.

As well as notebooks and tote bags, a number of jigsaw puzzles have been reproduced from her art prints, including Marsh Owl (pictured above), Look Out and Rose Cottage. Each one contains 500 or 1,000 pieces, is made from FSC materials and come with a handy reference poster.

Reviewed by Megan Shersby, editorial and digital co-ordinator, BBC Wildlife


Aquatic 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle 

Aquatic jigsaw puzzle

There are lots of contemporary jigsaw puzzle brands out there, designing beautiful and unusual jigsaws for adults. But there aren’t many with the high level of eco-credentials that Cloudberries has.

Firstly, the jigsaws themselves are made from recycled paper and board, and printed with vegetable-based inks. The boxes are sustainably sourced, and the shipping is carbon neutral – offset via Carbonfund.org. And separately to this, the company works in partnership with Eden Rainforest Projects to plant one tree for every puzzle sold in countries such as Indonesia, Nepal and Madagascar.

The designs are diverse and range from 500 to 2000 die-cut pieces that click together satisfyingly when you put them together. Some have simple colour block patterns (for the hardcore puzzlers), others a more specific design you can follow visually. Wildlife fans will love Aquatic (pictured above), Fauna, Whale, Hybrids, Shells and Rooster – all of which vary in difficulty but all of which are aimed at adults in their aesthetic. That’s not to say a determined teenager couldn’t tackle one though…

Reviewed by Tanya Jackson, acting group digital editor, BBC Wildlife and BBC Countryfile


Amazing Insects Glow in the Dark 100-piece jigsaw puzzle

Amazing Insects Glow in the Dark jigsaw puzzle

Aimed at children (and adults) aged five plus, this fabulous jigsaw puzzle is made up of 100 pieces (made from recycled materials) and features a range of colourful insects including beetles, grasshoppers and butterflies.

However, there’s an additional fun twist to this particular jigsaw puzzle! Turn off the lights and you’ll discover that this puzzle actually glows in the dark! Bound to enthral any young naturalist, this is a lovely way to connect children with nature. Other wildlife-themed puzzles in this glow-in-the-dark series from Mudpuppy include Frogs & Lizards, In The Forest, Rainforest, Under The Sea and Dinosaur.

Reviewed by Megan Shersby, editorial and digital co-ordinator, BBC Wildlife


Nature reserve 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle

RSPB kingfisher jigsaw

Illustrated by wildlife artist Pollyanna Pickering, this river nature reserve themed square jigsaw is rather lovely. The jigsaw features a beautiful river scene with a vibrant kingfisher in the foreground and other bird and wildlife species along the edge of the puzzle, making it an ideal gift for any bird lover.

At 1,000 pieces, the jigsaw is challenging enough to satisfy serious puzzle enthusiasts without being too daunting for the less experienced.

Accompanied with a useful illustration guide, this eco-friendly puzzle took an enjoyment couple of Sunday afternoons to complete. The edging and river sections can be a little tricky to piece together and took some patience to complete, but of course that’s part of the joy of doing a jigsaw puzzle.

Reviewed by Carys Matthews, group digital editor, BBC Countryfile and BBC Wildlife


Blooming Wolf 185-piece jigsaw puzzle

bloomig-wolf-cut-out-2_CMYK

If you’re after something a bit different, try this colourful and absorbing 185-piecer. Like all Wentworth products, it’s UK-made (from sustainable sources) and includes the Victorian-inspired ‘whimsy’ pieces, shaped according to theme – so here, wolves, flowers and ornate spirals.

These aren’t your standard jigsaws. Aside from the obvious quality of the wooden pieces, they are a law unto themselves – middle pieces can have straight edges and no two are the same. I began mid-morning and emerged mid-afternoon – just the right level of taxing.

Reviewed by Sarah McPherson, features editor, BBC Wildlife


Main image: Young woman doing a jigsaw puzzle. © The Good Brigade/Getty