With kids, it is inevitable that there will be at least one puzzle with missing pieces. I see where many people choose to just throw them away, but I URGE you to find other ways to utilize puzzles. And at the very least, please donate them for people like me to find and re-purpose. Replacing missing puzzle pieces is something that we do all the time in our home. While sometimes replacing puzzle pieces is difficult and requires a scroll saw, many times, there are very easy options to make the puzzles usable again. In fact, with older kids, this could be a fun craft project to give your puzzles a makeover!
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We have found many ways to re-utilize stray toys and pieces, but sometimes I find toys that don’t even have pieces! I have bought approximately 10 puzzles without piece or with several missing, and have been successful finding a replacement in some capacity.
With this Melissa and Doug shape puzzle, I was able to cute out new shapes from felt. One of the reasons I love it is because it is actually better now because it’s a quiet toy!
Similarly, I found a shape puzzle that had everyday common objects on the board. I took a piece of paper and my fingernail and “embossed” the shape and cut it out. Once I cut them out I used my Scotch Laminator to laminate them so they were more durable. I made this puzzle better than the original by giving it two ways to play with it. Each shape had the shape name on one side and then the picture identification on the other side (For instance: “oval” and “football”).
If you have a friend or family member who has a scroll saw, then you can also trace the shape/piece missing and give it to them with the width of board to have them make a new piece. You can also take all the piece out, like in the squirrel puzzle and make an entirely new puzzle using the same outline with bigger pieces. This makes replacing missing puzzle pieces most like it was in the original form.
Do you re-use or donate puzzles with missing pieces?
Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living in Boston, MA and believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!