3-12, Books, Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking, Problem Solving

Gifts for the Gifted — The Challenging Riddle Book for Kids

Several years ago, I thought I would help out the parents of my gifted and talented students by writing about some games, toys, or books that I thought might make good purchases during the holiday season.  I called the series of posts, “Gifts for the Gifted,” and I have continued to do it annually (except for 2019) every November and December.  These gifts are suggestions for any child – not just those who qualify for a GT program. Sometimes I receive a free product for review, but I am not paid for these posts, and I never recommend a product that I wouldn’t buy for my own child.  For past “Gifts for the Gifted” posts, including my ongoing 2022 list, you can visit this page. I also have a Pinterest Board of Games and Toys for Gifted Students and one for Books for Gifted Children or Anyone who Loves to Learn.

When I was in the GT Classroom, some of the resources I inherited from the previous teacher were books of “lateral thinking puzzles.” I can’t recall the specific author, but today’s recommendation has similar puzzles and is written specifically for students ages 9-12. Some of the puzzles are definitely suitable for younger, and I have a feeling you could pose others to adults and stump them.

“Lateral thinking” is a term attributed to Edward de Bono, also widely known for his “Six Thinking Hats.” According to de Bono, we use two types of thinking when solving problems — logical or “vertical” thinking and creative or “lateral” thinking. Often a combination of these is needed in order to innovate.

Many riddles/brainteasers have come to be known as lateral thinking puzzles because they challenge you to think beyond the obvious assumptions. Often using puns, words that have multiple meanings, or topics in which we may have unconscious biases, these puzzles often seem impossible until we examine ourselves and try to coax our brain along a new path.

For example, Danielle Hall’s book, The Challenging Riddle Book for Kids, includes a riddle I’ve seen many times with different names substituted, “Alex is Charlie’s brother, but Charlie isn’t Alex’s brother. How is this possible?” The answer is that Charlie is Alex’s sister, but the reason this requires lateral thinking is due to the fact that many think of the name Charlie as predominantly a male name.

You can find this book at Bookshop.org or your favorite independent bookstore.

There are some riddles that I’ve seen before in this book, but many that are new to me. Among the 175 puzzles, you will find some classics like the Riddle of the Sphinx and other more recent creations. Answers are in the back of the book. If you’re a teacher, these riddles are great for transitions and brain breaks. If you’re a parent, they are fun for dinner conversations or car rides. Children will love trying to stump you, and it’s great for the adults to do “think alouds” as they try to solve the riddles in order to model lateral thinking and persistence.

If you’re interested in more brainteasers like these, I have an entire collection here. You might also enjoy this gift recommendation from 2020, Sleuth and Solve. You can also find other book recommendations on my Pinterest board.

3-12, Critical Thinking, Education, Problem Solving

Terry Stickels

Do you crave brainteasers?  Do your students delight in them?  (Many of my students do!) Terry Stickels is a world-renowned puzzlemaster who has published several diabolical books of challenges and authored weekly puzzle columns in many newspapers.  You can find out more about him here.  One type of “stickler” that has made him famous is called, “Frame Games,” which are like rebus puzzles, but placement and size of the text give clues as well.  For example, the picture below would translate as, “I understand.”

I Understand.jpg

On the Terry Stickels website you can find many free brainteasers, including a series of “Frame Games.”  There are coin puzzles, variations on sudoku, and several other types of challenges.  Some can be downloaded in tremendous zip files, and others are meant to played online.  Whenever you are looking for a way to pass the time, (such as during the summer break) and still exercise your brain, this is a resource you should definitely consider!

 

3-12, Education, Fun Friday, Games, Problem Solving, Teaching Tools, Websites

Pzzlr

You can find the answer here.
From pzzler.com.  You can find the answer here.

Yes, I spelled it right.  At least, I spelled it the way the website, pzzlr.com, spells it. Considering this is a Phun Phriday post, I think it fits in quite nicely.

If you and your students enjoy brainteasers, then you might want to take a look at this site.  Of course, you might find it a bit frustrating.  I was kind of upset with myself when I finally gave up and looked at the answer to this one – especially since I realized I was so close to solving it right before I caved.

Roman Numerals
Trust me – you’re going to be upset with yourself if you don’t solve this.

I don’t know that I would necessarily direct my students to the site itself, as it contains ads.  Plus, they will probably cheat – like me.  But you could certainly find some puzzles to print off and give to students who have some “spare time” in your room, or present one a week.

Here’s one more.  I actually solved this one, so it might be too easy for your students 😉

Click here for the answer.
Click here for the answer.

3-12, Critical Thinking, Education, Games, Problem Solving, Websites

Erich’s Puzzle Palace

EPP

Want to give your students a seemingly unlimited number of logic puzzles and brainteasers to delve into over the summer?  Try out Erich’s Puzzle Palace.  There are several ways you can sort this huge collection: Math, Word, Grid, and Path are only some of them.  I haven’t tried all of them, or even most of them, so I cannot tell you what grade levels are encompassed.  However, I got stumped on the very first Color Maze puzzle I tried, so now it looks like I’ll be spending by entire summer trying to figure those out 😉