I would like to take a moment to ask you to look back one of my holiday gift guide posts. Do you remember me recommending MasterPieces, Inc. puzzles as part of our STEAM gift guide. I did this because I truly love puzzles and have always enjoyed getting at least one as a Christmas gift each year. Regardless of the personal reasoning for wanting everyone to give such friendly gifts, I hope you took my advice and wrapped some up for your friends and families. While I’m sure they were happy at the time by such a thoughtful gift, they probably appreciate it even more now. There’s a silver lining to the stay-at-home recommendations that have caused all of us to be stuck inside for many weeks. People have been given the opportunity for family bonding which includes taking a new look at some old classics like board games and puzzles.
We received some puzzles as donations for our annual holiday charity drive for the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. Like those other gifts given during the holidays, I’m even more appreciative now than I was before. While I was happy to gather and deliver those, I didn’t recognize the value they would have. Puzzles have become such a common part of daily life for many people right now as they’re cooped up in their homes. My parents used to help me with puzzles when I was a kid, but donated their collection when they moved a couple years ago. I’ve been lending mine to them and in the weeks since they closed themselves off to visitors, they’ve completed about 20 puzzles.
Most people probably don’t give much thought to the different types of puzzles, but there really are a lot of things to consider. As I mentioned in my article about the anatomy puzzles, there are a multitude of factors that determine what makes a puzzle good. In addition to difficulty, number of pieces, thickness and piece size, the images are a huge deal. MasterPieces sent a couple puzzles to us and despite both being 1000 pieces, they’re two very different types of puzzles. One has larger EZGrip puzzle pieces while the other includes smaller pieces. The easiest way to determine the size of the pieces is to look at the final dimensions as noted on the box.
As someone who has done a lot of puzzles in my years, I’ve always noticed the differences in the feel of puzzle pieces. Think about the children’s ones you get from the discount store. They bend easily and it ruins the experience. As a child, I recall gravitating to the wooden jigsaw puzzles more than the cardboard ones specifically for this reason. I grew out of that and now recognize that it comes down to the manufacturing process and the cost-saving techniques. One thing I hadn’t noticed about the other puzzles we’ve been working on in recent weeks are the materials the pieces are actually made of. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Dean Russo puzzle from MasterPieces, Inc. boasts chipboard made from recycled materials! After noticing the same notification on the EZGrip puzzle, I decided to check their website. I discovered that not only are their puzzles made from recycled paper, but they use soy-based inks as well.
Aside from the previously mentioned benefits, another feature of the MasterPieces puzzles is that they are extremely colorful and vibrant. Having recently completed several vintage round puzzles, this was a welcome change. Of course, it also made the puzzle a little harder since I’m one of those people that likes to fish specific colors out of the box rather than dump the pieces everywhere. I guess having to change how I do things guarantees a different experience and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Puzzles continue to be in short supply and MasterPieces, Inc. has temporarily suspended website checkouts. Piece together the news and updates by following them on Facebook and Twitter if you’re looking for a new puzzle from their catalog. In the meantime, you can still search for MasterPieces puzzles on Amazon.
What size of puzzle do you prefer?