A few years ago, I wrote a post about a site called, “Puzzle Your Kids.” Hosted by the author of the Puzzling World of Winston Breen series, Eric Berlin (@puzzlereric), “Puzzle Your Kids” provided a free puzzle each week, as well as a $5 monthly subscription for more puzzles. It looks like there have been a few changes, and the site has a new name and new home, along with a new price. It is now called, “Puzzlesnacks.” You can still get a subscription, but it is at the bargain price of $3 per month. Weekly puzzles continue to be free downloads, and there are other puzzle packs you can purchase in the online shop.This page describes the approximate independence level of puzzle solvers, from the age of 8 and up. I highly recommend adults working on these with children, as that type of modeling from my own parents is how I grew up to love logic and problem solving as well as develop a certain amount of perseverance. In fact, my dad and I still semi-compete in solving a weekly mega-Sudoku puzzle that keeps my skills sharpened and my ego humble.
And no, I’m not exactly sure what language the crossword puzzle in the image below is (Greek, maybe?), but I thank the person on Pixabay who shared it.
These online Futoshiki Puzzles were created by KrazyDad (you can find puzzles of all types on his site here). The puzzles are similar to Sudoku and KenKen in that you are trying to place numbers in a matrix using logic without repeating digits in any row or column. The twist is that Futoshiki puzzles provide clues using the inequality symbols for less than/greater than. Your clues are in comparing boxes that are on either side of the inequality to determine which digits would logically work.
You can do Futoshiki puzzles online here. Or, you can print out the pages provided by KrazyDad here.
Jim Bumgardner, the man behind KrazyDad, provides practically unlimited puzzle game fun on his site, so once you get worn out on the Futoshiki puzzles I recommend you try some of his other unique puzzles.
I have talked about Breakout Edu in other posts, most recently in this one, but I didn’t find out until today that there is a Breakout Edu Digital site. Affiliated with the original, this site offers puzzles that are internet based, so you don’t need to have any actual locks or boxes. As you solve the clues, you input them into a form which has spaces for virtual locks. The form can be submitted only after you have put in all of the correct answers.
Breakout Edu Digital has difficulty ratings, but they are subjective. I’m ashamed to say that I tried to solve the one rated a “2” before I typed this post, and failed. I could make excuses – like that our new puppy kept trying to drag shoes out from under my desk – but that would be wrong. Mostly because that would give you the impression that I keep a lot of shoes under my desk. Which is not true. At least not at the moment. BECAUSE THE PUPPY KEEPS DRAGGING THEM TO RANDOM PLACES AROUND THE HOUSE. Because I always arrange them neatly on the shoe rack in my closet.
Anyway, if you are looking for some ways to keep everyone thinking the last few days, you could try out Breakout Edu Digital. Give your students a Level 2 challenge and see how they do.
But I won’t admit their superiority unless they solve it with a puppy distracting them.
Excuse me now. If I don’t give the puppy another shoe, she will chew the power cord.
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.
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 😉
When I saw this idea on “Learning to the Core“, I thought it would make a great activity for the end of the school year. Basically, your students create a Wordle, and then it is made into an online jigsaw puzzle for them to solve. Depending on the ability of your students, the Wordles could: describe their school year, summarize a particular unit, give clues about a student in the class, use Word Wall words, be a famous quote, etc…
Once the Wordles are created, a screenshot can be taken and saved or e-mailed to the teacher, who can load them into a class account on Jigsaw Planet for all students to solve.
My wheels are already turning on how I might use this during the summer to keep my gifted students thinking.
For those of you new to this blog, I am devoting Fridays during the holiday season to recommending “Gifts for the Gifted”. You can see the three posts that I have done so far here, here, here and here. You can also visit my Pinterest board on Games for Gifted Students. A lot of these are not just for gifted students, but would be appreciated by many children – and adults.
I bought “Camelot Jr.” several years ago on sale at Barnes and Noble. Back then, it was called “Royal Rescue”, and I liked the idea that a little bit of building was integrated with the logic puzzles. This game can be played alone, or with a couple of people. The challenge is to find a way for the knight and the princess to meet. There is a book of puzzles, and they are in order of difficulty. You are given a picture showing the initial construction, with the knight and princess on opposite sides, and shown pictures of which blocks can be used to create a “road” that will join the two figures.
This is a great game for children five and up. Don’t let them skip to the middle because it seems too easy at first. Each challenge teaches you something, and you can use your experience from previous, easier challenges, to help solve the harder ones.
If you read the reviews on Amazon.com, you will see that many people felt that “Camelot Jr.” was a fun activity for kids and adults. As I’ve watched my daughter and many of my students work through it, they have reached puzzles that I definitely can’t solve mentally, and it’s exciting to observe the children problem solving, reaching the edge of frustration, and then crowing with triumph when they finally reach the solution.