9 Great Puzzles to Celebrate National Puzzle Day

iStock.com/Kuzmichstudio
iStock.com/Kuzmichstudio

January 29 marks National Puzzle Day, and there's no better way to celebrate than to get your hands on a brand new puzzle. Below are just a few of the great options available on Amazon and elsewhere on the web, from one of the biggest jigsaws in the world to a galactic puzzle that can go on forever. Happy puzzling! And for more ideas, check out our gift guide for puzzle fanatics.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. 3D Crystal Puzzle, Saturn

A 3D transluscent puzzle in the shape of Saturn
Bepuzzled, Amazon

Bepuzzled's 3D puzzles provide thought-provoking fun in 42 different shapes. We think this translucent Saturn puzzle is out of this world (and many Mental Floss readers seem to agree), but Bepuzzled also offers puzzles in the likeness of birds, animals, fruit, vehicles, and other common objects, in case assembling a noble snowy owl or a bunch of purple grapes is more your speed.

Get it on Amazon for $13 and at these other retailers:

2. 33,600-Piece Wildlife Puzzle

A wildlife-themed jigsaw puzzle
Educa, Amazon

For true puzzle experts, 500- or 1000-piece puzzles are just the warm up. Designed to be one of the world's biggest commercially available puzzles, Educa's wildlife-themed puzzle has a mind-boggling 33,600 pieces and measures almost 19 feet by 5 feet when complete. It's so big that it comes in a suitcase-sized wooden box on wheels for easy transport. (With that many pieces, you may be worried about misplacing one or two, preventing you from fully completing the image, but fear not—Educa has a policy of replacing any individual pieces that go missing from its puzzles.)

Get it on Amazon for $325 or at these other retailers:

3. 1000 Colors Puzzle

Design aficionados will love this CMYK-themed puzzle that features a slightly different color on each piece to create a color gradient. This fan favorite is so popular that it regularly sells out, but it's due back in stock within the next few weeks, and trust us, it's worth the wait.

Get it on UncommonGoods for $48 or from the Colossal shop.

4. Escher's Mirrorkal Brainteaser Puzzle

An M.C. Escher 3D puzzle game
Recent Toys, Amazon

M.C. Escher's mind-bending visuals make for an equally challenging puzzle experience in the Mirrorkal Brainteaser Puzzle. Developed by puzzle designer Ivan Moscovich after he met Escher in 1964, the set contains five different 3D puzzles based on the artist's sketches. "Made beautifully with slanted mirrors, this puzzle is a joy to work with and to display on the coffee table for guests to admire," the product description promises.

Get it on Amazon for $25.

5. Game of Thrones 9-inch 3D Globe Puzzle

A 3D puzzle shaped like a globe
4D Cityscape, Amazon

Bring Westeros and Essos to life with this Game of Thrones-themed puzzle from 4D Cityscape. Its 540 slightly curved pieces come together to form a globe that, with the included display stand, is the perfect addition to any fan's house. It comes in 3-inch, 6-inch, and 9-inch sizes, but as puzzle fanatics ourselves, we obviously recommend getting the biggest version.

Get it for $42 on Amazon.

6. Bob Ross The Joy of Puzzles

A Bob Ross landscape painting featuring a snowy mountain and a lake
Wellspring, Amazon

Piece together some happy little trees with this jigsaw puzzle inspired by one of Bob Ross's famous landscape paintings. The 500-piece puzzle will give you time to chill out without requiring you to break out the paint brushes. Just try to remain as calm as Ross himself if you encounter any happy little accidents along the way.

Get it for $17 on Amazon.

7. Pop Art 500-Piece Puzzle

Showcase your love of art with this 500-piece Pop Art puzzle. At just 18-by-18 inches, it's designed for people who don't have massive table space in their apartment to work—perhaps because their coffee table is already filled with art books.

Get it from W&P Design for $20.

8. Pencil Collage 1000-Piece Puzzle

An image of dozens of pencils laid side by side
White Mountain, Amazon

White Mountain Puzzles's 24-by-30-inch pencil collage provides a true challenge in the form of an image of dozens of different pencils in different sizes, colors, and conditions. According to White Mountain, "This incredible collection of advertising pencils was created by artist Maureen Rupprecht, who literally glued hundreds of pencils into a frame. Talk about a challenge!"

Get it on Amazon for $17 or at these other retailers:

9. The Infinite Galaxy Puzzle

The Infinite Galaxy Puzzle provides the ultimate puzzle experience: a puzzle you can never truly finish. Featuring a NASA image of the Milky Way’s galactic center, it has no fixed shape or edges, and the pieces are double-sided so that users can flip them and rearrange them in any configuration. "Topologically, the Infinite Galaxy Puzzle maps to a Klein bottle, an impossible 3D shape where the inside and outside are mathematically indistinguishable,” its creators write. "Just like a Mobius strip has only one surface, the puzzle has no up or down side. You can start the puzzle anywhere on any side, making it extra challenging." There are currently two versions of the puzzle you can work on, in case you get tired of the endless options of the original puzzle and need yet another infinite challenge.

Get it at Nervous System for $120.

Plus: Ravensburger Giant Stow and Go

Hands rolling up a puzzle in a puzzle-stowing sheet
Ravensburger, Amazon

Working on a massive puzzle might take days, and you can't always leave your unfinished work in the same place. Whether you need your table back for non-puzzle uses or want to take your partially finished puzzle on the road with you, the puzzle experts at Ravensburger have your back. The company's Giant Stow and Go system lets you roll up and transport both unfinished and finished jigsaw puzzles safely so that you don't undo any of your hard work.

Get it on Amazon for $21.

This Rolling Smart Robot Will Keep Your Cat Company and Help It Exercise, Even When You’re Not Home

Ebo
Ebo

As any true ailurophile knows, cats love to sleep. On average, kitties spend anywhere from 16 to 20 hours of each day napping. But that laziness we often find so charming can sometimes lead to obesity, which can cause some pretty serious health problems for your feline friend. So how do you make sure your cat stays happy and healthy, even when you’re not home? That’s where Ebo comes (or rolls) in.

Ebo is a smart robot designed to keep your cat company and provide them with some much-needed stimulation, especially when you're not around. With more than $90,000 in pledges raised already, Ebo crushed its original $5110 Kickstarter goal, but you can still back the project here, with pledge tiers that start at $159 for a standard EBO and a smart collar that tracks your cat’s activity levels.

The Ebo itself, which is just over two inches tall, connects to Wi-Fi and features an app that allows you to schedule when you want it to start and stop playing with your cat.

When it’s playtime, the tiny robot scans the room to ensure there’s enough space to play safely. Once it makes sure the coast is clear, the robot moves on its own, utilizing an ergonomic design that enables it to wheel in any direction, spin, roll over, or even dance. You also don’t need to worry about keeping your cat’s robot friend charged. If your Ebo happens to be running low on battery, it rolls itself back to its charging station until it’s ready to go again.

According to the designers, Ebo interacts with cats in a way your feline friend understands—through a mix of sound, movement, and light that is always unpredictable. You can even play with your cat through the Ebo with its built-in laser.

The app also allows you to monitor your cat through video. And if they do something cute—as they always do—you can easily snap a photo or shoot a video, edit it, add fun filters, and then share it with others.

The device’s smart collar can be used for up to 30 days on a single charge. Should it get stuck, there’s a safety mode in which it will be released automatically to prevent accidental choking.

If you want an upgrade, there's the Ebo Pro (starting at $199), which features an AI algorithm that analyzes your cat’s mood and motion and adapts for future play.

No matter which Ebo you choose, they all come full of accessories, including decorative soldier, bamboo, onion, or feather caps. And if you order in time, you can snag a model decked out in a Santa hat.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

11 Unique Advent Calendars That Are Perfect for Your Christmas Countdown

Target/Amazon
Target/Amazon

Counting down the days until Christmas is a wonderful tradition with some pretty old roots. The ritual dates back to the mid-19th century, when German Protestants made chalk marks on doors or lit candles counting down until December 25.

It was in the early 1900s when printed Advent calendars came about, and it's said they were invented by a man named Gerhard Lang, who began producing and selling them in Germany. Over the years, these calendars have certainly changed. Now instead of just an illustration or piece of chocolate, the daily treat can take the form of a soothing tea bag, a Ron Weasley figurine, or even a fun little science project.

Here are 11 of the coolest Advent calendars we could find online.

1. FUNKO Harry Potter Advent Calendar; $39

Funko Harry Potter Advent Calendar
Funko / Amazon

“Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas! Ring the Hogwarts bell…” Celebrate the season with miniature Funko versions of 24 witches and wizards from the spellbinding world of Harry Potter. Each character stands a little under 2 inches tall, so they won’t take up too much space. (Come to think of it, you could probably fit the whole lot in one of Dobby’s socks.)

Buy It: Amazon

2. 24 Days of Tea Advent Calendar; $32

Tea Advent calendar
Uncommon Goods

Stay caffeinated this December with two dozen tea bags. This calendar contains an eclectic assortment of flavors, such as Chinese black tea and Scandinavian tea with cranberry and elderflower. Just thinking about them is already making us feel all warm and cozy…

Buy It: Uncommon Goods

3. Nintendo Super Mario Advent Calendar; $50

Nintendo Advent Calendar
Nintendo/Amazon

For the Nintendo fans out there, this Advent calendar features 17 characters and seven accessories from the world of Super Mario to unlock in the countdown to Christmas. From Mario and Princess Peach to a piranha plant and goombas, this set is perfect for anyone waiting to unwrap a Switch for the holidays.

Buy It: Amazon

4. Women’s 15 Days of Star Wars Socks Advent Calendar; $15

Star Wars sock Advent Calendar
Target

For $15, you get as many pairs of Star Wars-themed socks, a decorative box with a fun little quiz for franchise diehards, and—blessedly—zero references to that infamous 1978 holiday special. What else would you want to wear on your feet when you go see Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker?

Buy It: Target

5. Women’s Nightmare Before Christmas 15 Days of Socks Advent Calendar; $15

Nightmare Before Christmas Advent calendar
Target

Why should Star Wars fans have all the fun? Target also offers a Halloweentown-centered Advent calendar, complete with Jack Skellington and Oogie Boogie hosiery. Speaking of animation, Disney Princess and Lilo & Stitch sock sets are available, too.

Buy It: Target

6. Handcrafted Caramel Advent Calendar; $30

Carmel Advent calendar
Uncommon Goods

If flavor names like “Hawaiian Sea Salt” and “Tapped Maple” make your mouth water, do yourself a favor and get this delicious calendar full of 24 handmade caramel samples. As a bonus, the box set features some charmingly illustrated animals from artist Cindy Hendrick. We’re partial to the apron-wearing fox.

Buy It: Uncommon Goods

7. Yule Do Nicely: A Ghostly and Weird Advent Calendar; $6

Yule do Nicely Advent Calendar
Rhys Hughes / Amazon

Ditch the candy and toys, because if you like creepy and somewhat unsettling stories all year—not just Halloween—then this is ideal. The first 24 stories of this pocket-sized book form a weird Advent calendar leading up to the big day. Then on Christmas, enjoy 28 strange, short tales from "The Shocking Stocking" section.

Buy It: Amazon

8. Purple Ladybug Novelty Dinosaur Toys 2019 Advent Calendar; $22

Dinosaur Advent Calendar
Purple Ladybug Novelty / Amazon

Look, you’re never too old to channel your inner John Hammond. Purple Ladybug offers an assortment of prehistoric animal models and fossils in a 24-day advent calendar—and their (ahem) “dino-mite” set saves the very best critter for last.

Buy It: Amazon

9. Ooshies DC Comics Advent Calendar; $50

Ooshies Advent Calendar
Ooshies / Amazon

Countdown to the holidays with your favorite super heroes or villains—like Batman, Superman, the Joker, and Wonder Woman—in tiny pencil-topper form. The set even comes with eight exclusive Ooshies.

Buy It: Amazon

10. Edible Artwork Chocolate Advent Calendar; $35

Chocolate Advent Calendar
Uncommon Goods

This isn’t your typical chocolate Advent calendar. This 25-day calendar is full with melt-in-your mouth, handmade chocolate in the shape of martini glasses, flip-flops, cowboy boots, and more.

Buy It: Uncommon Goods

11. STEAM Activity Countdown Advent Calendar; $25

Science Advent Calendar
STEAM / Amazon

This 106-page book includes two weeks’s worth of activities for the curious children in your life. Each one will bolster the little tykes’s appreciation for science, technology, engineering, art, and/or mathematics. Among other things, they’ll learn how to turn a Sierpinski triangle into a mesmerizing Christmas tree. How cool is that?

Buy It: Amazon

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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