What manipulative puzzles should i have in my lobby?
March 30, 2015 3:42 PM   Subscribe

I have a clinic. Rather than magazines, I have mechanical/manipulative puzzles in the lobby. I was wondering if anyone could recommend any I was not familiar with.

Ideally they should be one piece, as there are a few children in and out of there. Things like tangrams or take apart puzzles wouldn't work. I am familiar with twistypuzzles.com , but their listing is too exhostive to tell the grain from the chaff.

Right now I have:

A perplexus
Cubes with ball bearing dexterity puzzles (do these have an official name?)
A Rubik's Cube
A Rubik's Snake/Twist
A Rubik's Magic
A Turnstile
A "The Brain Puzzler"

I was thinking about putting a 20 Q, but I am afraid it would grow legs.

What puzzle of this type do you love?
posted by Infernarl to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Fisher Price Tumble Tower

You'll have to buy one on eBay or etsy, unfortunately. I just found ours at my parents' house a few months ago, and I am not ashamed to say I spent a few minutes playing with it, as someone in their thirties. Good for kids, nostalgic for adults. Looks like they rereleased it in 2007 - no idea if it is as good.

I tend to be nervous in waiting rooms, so I would reach for this over the more complicated puzzles so I don't get more anxious.
posted by umwhat at 4:05 PM on March 30, 2015

"Blacksmith Puzzles"
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:10 PM on March 30, 2015 [4 favorites]

Best answer: 15 puzzle?
posted by BungaDunga at 4:54 PM on March 30, 2015

look into hanayama puzzles. went somewhere last night where there were a bunch in the lobby, and now I want to get some for my coffee table.
posted by sabh at 5:57 PM on March 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Do they need to be puzzles, specifically? As in, something to be solved? If not, Tangles are fun, fidgety toys. (There are other toys to be found if you look up "fidget toys.") I would also enjoy being able to play with one of these bead maze things as an adult.

I don't know what kind of clinic you run, so I don't know what level of nerves people have there, and while I'm pro-puzzle, if I could just have something to mess with that I didn't have to solve, I'd like that too. Sometimes I'd just want a basic distraction.
posted by darksong at 6:27 PM on March 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Pin Toy
posted by kjs4 at 8:02 PM on March 30, 2015

Don't break the bottle, though you would need a plastic bottle to be safe.
posted by axiom at 9:00 PM on March 30, 2015

Best answer: The magic sphere is a fun little wire fidget toy.
posted by irisclara at 10:09 PM on March 30, 2015

Here's a page or three of various puzzle boxes, bottle puzzles, wire toys, and string puzzles.
posted by irisclara at 10:17 PM on March 30, 2015

You might consider tavern puzzles. Pro: they are sturdy. Con: solving the puzzle means taking it apart and you would need to put it back together, which involves knowing how.
posted by SemiSalt at 8:00 AM on March 31, 2015

Response by poster: Many good answers. Thank you. I especially liked comments about objective free fidget toys.
posted by Infernarl at 4:12 PM on March 31, 2015

If you're open to non-puzzles, "fidget toy" will yield lots of great ones (geo twister, flexiblox, snake) you can get cheap - cheap enough that if somebody walks away with one, it's no biggie. A few other possibilities:

Tobbles is a stack of movable/semi-nesting balls that is irresistible to play with.

Jacob's Ladders are fun

Watchable liquid motion toys or moving sand pictures, sort of like lava lamps

Building toys that are not too scatter-prone -- like Dado cubes

Doodle toy - like Buddha board or Etch-a-sketch
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:18 PM on April 1, 2015

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