Puzzles are great food for the brain and our free online puzzles are nourishing entertainment fare. The free online puzzles range from jigsaws to daily crosswords. Crossword puzzles are a fairly recent event while jigsaw puzzles started around 1760 with a map made of hardwood and cut out with a marquetry saw. Although originally made as educational toys for British children to learn the borders of countries, they eventually appealed to all ages. The "dissected map" was a great way to learn the geography of the world. By 1880 plywood was used, instead of hardwood, and illustrations were glued or painted on the front, (in contrast to today where our free online puzzles have the illustrations digitally painted on them).
By the beginning of the 1900's cardboard puzzles were introduced and the range of subjects expanded from maps and landscapes to complex and abstract patterns. The appeal of the puzzle, besides engaging the brain, was that the game could be a social event and that the game was recyclable. After an individual or group of people solved the puzzle, it could be passed on to others. Working on puzzles became an evening event for the family, and were especially popular during the Depression (10 million a week were sold at the height of the depression). The puzzles became a great way to escape from troubles. Although wooden and cardboard puzzles remain popular today, free online puzzles have become the rage. Our "Free Online Puzzles Resources" section has lots of puzzles to entertain you. Food for your brain comes in the form of free crossword puzzles and our crossword puzzles for print designed for all ages. We also have free online jigsaw puzzles, the Gordon Semmens puzzle, and, if you are feeling adventuresome, the instructions needed if you want to design and to make free crossword puzzle for yourself or your friends.