Puzzles are a great rainy day activity, especially for helping kids with spacial reasoning. They provide a fun sense of accomplishment with every connected piece, but what do you do once it’s done? Maybe you go through the effort of gluing it together and putting it in a frame, but more likely, you break up the pieces and stick them back in the box, undoing your hours of hard work.

But with Jixelz, from Fat Brain Toy Co., kids can enjoy all the fun of puzzling while also creating a lasting keepsake. These pixelated creative sets include tiny plastic puzzle pieces kids can connect to make all kinds of colorful creations, from unicorns and mermaids to puppies and kitties.

Jixelz are available in sets of 700 or 1,500 pieces. The 700-piece sets include enough Jixelz for two pre-templated creations, while the 1,500-piece sets let kids create up to five Jixelz masterpieces (four lil’ guys, or one big one!). And of course, there are some additional pieces in each set in case anything goes missing.

So what’s different about Jixelz? Unlike most puzzles with plastic pieces, Jixelz are easy to put together and don’t hurt your fingers. The pieces are not numbered, kids can simply follow the color template to see where each piece should go. Jixelz masterminds can build by going down each row, or across, or they can come up with their own method — it’s completely open-ended, and there are no written rules or instructions on how to create. And, if kids get lost, the template is a 1:1 ratio, so they can simply lay their Jixelz creation on top and find their place with ease.

There’s no glue or adhesive necessary, because Jixelz simply fuse together on their own. If kids make a mistake, they can easily twist the Jixelz pieces apart, and keep on creating.

Depending on skill level, Jixelz creations can take about an hour or more to piece together. The only issue kids might have is distinguishing which color to use, since some of the hues are pretty similar, but it’s really all part of the creative process.

Kids will also practice counting, color recognition, spacial reasoning, logic, and problem solving while creating with Jixelz. Not to mention flexing their creativity. AND, two kids can play at once! Truly, the play benefits just keep on coming.

Ideal for kids ages 6 and up, Jixelz are totally engaging for all ages, including adults. A perfect de-stress activity, Jixelz keeps your hands busy while you create something totally unique that you can hang in your room or give as a gift.

10/10, this toy girl recommends.

About the author

Marissa Silva

Marissa Silva

Marissa Silva is editor-in-chief of the Pop Insider and the Toy Insider, the leading consumer holiday gift guide and toy review and news website. As a professional toy reviewer and an industry expert, she consistently reports on toy, entertainment, and pop culture trends and hot products. In addition to digital content management, Marissa contributes feature-length articles to the Pop Insider and leading toy industry trade magazine The Toy Book, providing retailers, manufacturers, and licensors with information on the latest in toy news. Marissa has been featured on the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, Fox and Friends, ABC World News Now, MSNBC, CBS, NY1, WPIX, and more. A board game fanatic and professional toy reviewer, she spends most of her free time shopping for superhero T-shirts, crushing at Mario Kart, and anxiously awaiting her Hogwarts acceptance letter. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @thattoygirl.