Jigsaw puzzles are true classics. In fact, the oldest known puzzle is by Archimedes, who created a dissection of a square around 250BC. They are also quite cathartic. If you find puzzles relaxing, there's science behind that! Studies have found that working on puzzles keeps our brains alert while calming us into a relaxed state similar to meditation.
Puzzles come in just about every form. Easy puzzles, difficult puzzles, 300 piece puzzles, and 2,000 piece puzzles. You can probably find a puzzle featuring an image of every object, character, and animal under the sun. A 500 piece jigsaw puzzle is a good middle ground, not too easy, not too difficult. When spending time on a puzzle with your kids, your friends, or simply your thoughts, moderately difficult puzzles like these tend to provide enough stimulation to keep you interested, but not enough to create anxiety or pressure to win.
In terms of time spent, one of the great things about puzzles is that there is no shot clock. You get to take them at your own pace. You might set a goal of finishing a puzzle with your family over the course of a weekend, or you might let the puzzle take up residence on a coffee table, to be completed over months as the mood strikes. Puzzles can be good for teaching kids (and adults!) to slow down and have the patience for contemplative tasks that require trial and error. These make for important life skills down the road.
Jigsaw puzzles have gotten extra snazzy too. Some have elements that glow in the park while others have sparkly pieces covered in glitter. Puzzles that depict important monuments or historic figures offer fun ways to sneak some education into your kids' playtime as they learn about the people and places pictured in the finished puzzle.
When your puzzle is completed, you have some options. Some will throw that assembled 500 piece jigsaw puzzle that took hours to complete into the air to watch it sprinkle back down into pieces, relishing the task of trying it again to improve their performance or memory. Others may want to keep the finished puzzle and have it laminated and framed as a memento to quality time spent.