Melissa and Doug Construction Site Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle: I knew he'd be ready for the alphabet puzzle above right away, and I knew he'd need a little more time before he was ready for the map puzzle reviewed below. This construction site puzzle, which features a dump truck, cement mixer, crane, and bulldozer, was our middleground pick -- he can almost do it himself, but still needs a little help. The base of the puzzle is wooden, like the alphabet puzzle above, but the pieces themselves are cardboard, like puzzles for older kids. It's a great transitional puzzle for children ready to graduate from the heavy wooden puzzles but not quite ready for floor puzzles. The quality is excellent, and he enjoys putting it together with help from mom or dad.
Melissa and Doug U.S. Map Floor Puzzle: This is a large, 51-piece floor puzzle (thick cardboard, not wood) featuring all of the U.S. states. It is meant for children older than mine (21 months), but he enjoys trying to put together the harder ones - hunting for edge pieces, handing them to me, pressing them down when I put them in the right place - so I decided to get this as a puzzle I knew he would grow into. We had a lot of fun putting it together, and mom realized that she has to revisit her geography studies before she has to start teaching him where all of the states are. This is a wonderful learning tool and a fun puzzle. While the edge pieces fit together with traditional puzzle shapes, the center states don't necessarily have the typical "circle fits in hole" style interlock. I don't think that's a bad thing, though, as the pieces all fit together nicely.
Melissa and Doug Single Wire Storage Rack Unit: A somewhat handy little contraption to slide the wooden puzzles into for safe (and neat) keeping. It doesn't fit some of the puzzles we own (which I figured would probably be the case), and the ones it does fit have to be pressed in with a small amount of force -- too much for my son to use to put puzzles away himself, although he can take them out. When you put a slightly too thick puzzle in the rack, it causes a little bit of give in the rest of the openings in the rack, which helps with the sliding problem. We usually keep all of our puzzles in a large basket, and that works fine, although it is starting to overflow. I think I'd recommend forgoing this item and buying another puzzle instead. Soon enough, we'll graduate from the wooden puzzles and the rack won't be very useful after that.