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History indicates that puzzles of all kinds have been challenging humans since the beginning of time. Puzzles continue to attract the curious, such as those who faithfully turn to the crossword each morning or those who still take a twist at the Rubik's Cube. From jigsaws to mazes to mind benders, the following puzzles promise to entertain, educate, and stimulate curious minds of all ages.

Pizza, Paint & Pie (Phonics Puzzle)
Ages: 3 - 6 yrs.
Manufactured by: Discovery Toys
Price: $14.99

This giant, colorful puzzle teaches the correct sequence of the alphabet, identifies beginning word sounds, and the upper- and lowercase forms of each letter.

Curious George Downtown AdventureCurious George Downtown Adventure
Ages: 3 - 6 yrs.
Published by: Knowledge Adventure
Price: $19.99

Based on the classic Curious George series, this interactive storybook requires kids to solve puzzles in order to help George overcome obstacles and gather bananas. Kids get certificates as they progress through problem-solving milestones. And even better: An open-ended build-your-own-puzzle area lets kids test their creative thinking, reasoning and logic skills.

Magnetic Animal Puzzle
: 3 - 12 yrs.
Manufactured by: The Orb Factory Ltd.
Price: $20.00

The puzzle features one magnetic animal for every letter of the alphabet. Several animal habitats are illustrated on the back side of the board to allow for more creative play.

Where the Wild Things AreWhere the Wild Things Are Puzzle Maze Game
Ages: 4 & Up
Manufactured by: Briarpatch, Inc.
Price: $19.95

This highly original game uses neither a game board or cards. Playing pieces are pathway segments, some of which include characters from the well-known Sendak book. Young fans of the book will truly appreciate this game.

Tetris Classic Game PakTetris Classic Game Pak
Ages: 5 & Up
Produced by: Handmark, Inc.
Price: $29.99

This collection of nine familiar games features the official Palm version of Tetris Classic, the popular and addictive think-quick puzzle game of fitting falling blocks into solid lines. Perfect for gamers on the move or in the car.

The Only Coloring, Puzzle, Game, Dot-to-Dot, Activity Book You'll Ever Need
Ages: 6 - 12 yrs.
Manufactured by: Klutz
Price: $12.95

Puzzles, games, drawings and much, much more are packed into this portable activity book, complete with a set of brightly-colored pencils. Great for rainy days or family travel.

Fifteen PuzzleFifteen Puzzle
Ages: 8 & Up
Manufactured by: Binary Arts Corp
Price: $9.99

This classic game challenges players to slide numbered blocks into the correct numeric order after they have been mixed up. Forty alternative configurations are also listed for additional game play.

Handmark Crossword 365
Ages: 8 & Up
Manufactured by: Handmark, Inc.
Price: $14.99

Owners of Palm-compatible handhelds who are also crossword puzzle addicts are going to [four-letter word for "amour" that starts with "l"] this new release from the leading publisher of [seven-letter word for "traditional and popular" that starts and ends in a "c"] games and puzzles on those tiny portable computer screens.

Minotaur, The Maze GameMinotaur, The Maze Game
Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: HearthSong
Price: $34.95

Players are challenged to move through mazes and passageways on an ever-changing game board to reach their home space. Play variations accommodate two to five players, and strategy hints are given for each version.

Secret World Puzzle- Backyard Bugs
Ages: 8 & Up
Manufactured by: University Games
Price: $7.99

Introduce kids to the insect kingdom with this fun - and mysterious - puzzle. First put the 100-piece backyard scene puzzle together and then use the magnifying glass (included) to locate tiny bugs, each detailed in larger size around the border of the puzzle.

R.G.B. Round-UpR.G.B. Round-Up
Ages: 12 & Up
Manufactured by: Elverson Puzzle Company
Price: $12.95

The challenge is to arrange tiles - each with a set of colored dots on top - into a circle that meets one of three different criteria for how many pairs of which color dots must be next to each other. Solutions are on the company web site, together with two bonus challenges.

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The Internet is a bountiful resource for puzzles of all sorts. Don't miss our list of sites that offer free, safe, and fun games for kids of all ages.

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