This puzzle consists of twelve irregular pieces of stiff pasteboard or wood, which are to be arranged in the form of an octagon.
Although these pieces can be cut from pasteboard, they are more lasting, stronger, and better every way if made of wood. White holly, such as is employed for brackets, is a nice material to use.
With a jig-saw cut four pieces in shape like that represented in Fig. 1, four like Fig. 2, and four more like Fig. 3 ; rub the edges down with sand-paper, and, if you like, paint each set a different color. When the paint is dry, varnish them.

Octagon puzzle - How to make wooden puzzles for kids - Wooden puzzles plans

Pack them in a small pasteboard box, which you can neatly cover with paper—any fancy color will do—and you will find your little brother or sister will be as well pleased with them as with many toys which have come directly from the store.
When the puzzle is given to the little folks, no " key " should accompany it, but the children should try to put it together without help. If, however, you find they begin to lose interest, show them the first step, and encourage them to try to finish it by themselves.
There are great differences in children in this respect; some persevering and unwilling to be helped at all, while others become discouraged at the smallest obstacles and refuse to try. The latter should be encouraged by a little help, care being taken, however, that they do a considerable portion of the work themselves.
No doubt this " indolence," as it is sometimes erroneously called, is generally due to a weak physical condition, rather than to inferior mental powers. A child of this temperament, instead of being ridiculed by his more vigorous companions, should be encouraged and stimulated to action; and such games or puzzles as those contained in this book are just the things to accomplish this end.

Excerpt from the book: How? or, Spare hours made profitable for boys and girls by Holbrook, Kennedy / Publication date 1887 / Publisher New York, Worthington co.