For Black parents, the search for educational toys can become difficult when you’re looking for items that are also culturally relevant. Puzzle Huddle is a Black-owned educational toy company that sells puzzles bearing beautiful, colorful images depicting Black children as professionals, athletes, presidents, and other inspiring figures.
Broadly speaking, puzzles help children develop problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, as well as boosting recognition, memory, and both gross and fine motor skills. As your child works on a Puzzle Huddle puzzle, they will get to see a positive reflection of themselves smiling back at them.
“Kids usually tend to think that they are the kid in the puzzle,” said Puzzle Huddle founder Matthew Goins. “We also receive videos showing kids opening their packages and saying to their parents, ‘Hey that looks like me!’”
The company carries four different sizes of puzzle: The smallest puzzle has 15 pieces and measures 6 inches x 8 inches, while their largest puzzle is 100 pieces and measures 14 inches x 19.5 inches. Puzzle Huddle’s website offers specific information about what types of puzzles work best with certain ages.
Puzzle Huddle was created by husband and wife team, Matthew and Marnel Goins after being unable to find diverse puzzles for their three young children. As a result, the Howard University alumni decided to create puzzles that affirm and inspire diverse children. The initial puzzles were homemade and cut by hand by Matthew, who glued images onto cardboard before meticulously cutting out the curves and grooves of each puzzle piece.
It wasn’t long before the Goins realized they might have a viable business on their hands. After taking the leap to have the puzzles professionally manufactured, the bet quickly paid off.
“We were able to get sales immediately which was eye opening,” Matthew said. “We have very supportive friends but it wasn’t long before we were getting orders from strangers.”
Goins said that while business is going well for his family, he wants our communities to know that it’s important to support our businesses beyond Black History Month or momentary anger about racism.
“We have to re-energize the market to continue supporting us,” Goins said. “Because one year of buying Black is not going to cut it.”