Highlights Hidden Pictures is a huge collection of free hidden pictures put together by Highlights magazine. The favorite part of Highlights magazine for many kids—and even parents—is the hidden picture puzzles. With dozens available online for free, there's no need to subscribe to get them.
Hidden Pictures Puzzles
Popular for generations, these puzzles feature a larger detailed scene that usually follows a theme. Within that larger picture are smaller items hidden throughout. For example, an Easter-themed puzzle might feature a picture of children, rabbits, and chicks in a grassy field, and hidden throughout the image are smaller items such as Easter eggs, baskets, bonnets, and more.
Not only are these puzzles fun, but they help children develop and practice important observational skills. Highlights blogger Mary-Alice Moore lists three key skills the puzzles teach: figure-ground perception, object constancy, and visual discrimination.
Figure-ground perception is being able to distinguish objects from their backgrounds. Object constancy is being able to recognize, for example, a banana as a banana in multiple pictures even if the bananas are drawn slightly differently in each picture. Visual discrimination is being able to recognize similarities and differences between two different objects. For example, an egg might be shaped like a rock, but one still can be distinguished from the other.
Solving Online Puzzles
Before beginning one of the online puzzles at Highlights' website, you can choose to show the names of the objects to be found, pictures of the objects to be found, show both the pictures and the names, or keep all of this hidden. This is a great way to customize the puzzle for how old your children are and how skilled they are at solving such puzzles. As they get better at the hidden picture puzzle, you can turn these options off and the puzzles automatically become more challenging.
Use your mouse to click on the objects you find hidden in the picture, and they will be marked as completed in the picture bank and make a sound (sounds can be turned off as well if you'd like). You can also zoom in on certain areas of the puzzle to give you a closer look at different areas. Above the hidden picture, you'll see a running count of how many objects you've found out of the total number of hidden objects in the pictures. Use the hint button if you need a hint to find a hidden object.
Hidden Pictures App
There also is a Highlights Hidden Pictures app for children 6 and older that's colorful and easy for kids to use. A new puzzle pack is delivered daily through the app in addition to seasonal and holiday puzzles. A huge puzzle library of over 125 puzzles gives kids access to dozens of hidden object puzzles through the app. The puzzles on the app are each available in three different puzzle types for different ages and abilities. The Highlights Hidden Picture app does cost money but they have a free trial so you can try it out before purchasing.
Education World offers dozens of free hidden pictures that come right from Highlights magazine. These free, printable puzzles feature scenes with pigs, treehouses, dinosaurs, bears, deer, inventors, chicks, kittens, boats, and more.
Another way to get hard copies of puzzles is at the library. Most libraries around the country offer Highlights magazine, and making copies of their puzzles is an inexpensive way to get puzzles for your children.
Also available online are answers to the Highlights hidden pictures that have appeared in the magazine. These Highlights hidden picture keys are organized by magazine issue date and name of the Highlights hidden picture. Highlights hidden picture keys go back as far as four years.