What can you do with a puzzle?

  • Published on January 25, 2019

Celebrating National Puzzle Day with readilearn puzzles

What can you do with a puzzle?

Puzzles are a fun way to encourage thinking and problem solving as well as mathematical and language skills. The celebration of National Puzzle Day on 29 January is a great excuse to introduce some puzzles into the classroom. The day may be American in origin, but there’s no reason the rest of us can’t join in the fun too.

I have always enjoyed puzzles; both the fun of figuring something out or solving a problem and the satisfaction in having done so.  My favourite types of puzzles include (in no particular order):

  • Jigsaw
  • Sudoku
  • Crosswords
  • Logic puzzles
  • Block puzzles
  • Word puzzles
  • Lateral thinking puzzles

Puzzles aren’t just those that come in a box, a book or online. Life presents us with puzzles and problems with regular frequency. Most days we will be faced with something that will stretch our thinking in divergent, convergent or lateral ways. It is good to provide children with opportunities to think too. Brief interludes of puzzle solving throughout the day can add fun, energise and refocus.

A variety of puzzles and resources to develop children’s thinking are available in the readilearn collection. Some are interactive lessons ready to teach on the interactive whiteboard. Others are printable for offline use. All provide opportunities for learning in context with the greatest benefit coming from the discussions with the teacher and other students.

Check out this previous post for other thoughts about Logical thinking and problem solving.

Learning with readilearn puzzles

Sorting puzzles

Sorting objects according to features or characteristics is one of the first types of logic puzzles children are asked to solve. readilearn helps to develop children’s ability to sort objects with these resources:

interactive sorting activity - yellow or not yellow

Sorting: Yellow or Not yellow

Children sort objects according to one characteristic — yellow. (Note: this resource is free to registered users.)

interactive lesson involving children sorting vehicles according to colour and type: Transport sort

Transport Sort

Transport Sort steps children through sorting from using one characteristic to sorting on a grid in rows and columns using two characteristics.

printable cards for sorting vehicles according to type and colour: Transport cards

Transport cards

Transport cards are printable versions of the cards used in Transport Sort. They can be used offline for a variety of sorting activities.

an open-ended interactive activity involving children in sorting teddy bears

Teddy Bear Sorting

In this open-ended activity, children sort bears into two, three or four groups, then explain their thinking.

egg cards for maths learning in the first three years of school

Egg Cards

The set of 48 egg cards (each unique) is designed as a follow-up activity to the interactive resource Which egg is mine? but can be used independently for a variety of sorting and other activities.

Pattern puzzles

teaching repeating patterns

Hang the Baubles —Repeating patterns

In this open-ended activity, children make repeating patterns using either two or three colours of baubles.

patterns, addition, colour matching fun with flowers

Fun with flowers

A new resource, uploaded this week, Fun with flowers includes lessons in patterns, colour-matching and addition, including subitisation. All activities involve some problem-solving, requiring the children to think, discuss and respond. Answers are not provided by the resource. Children are encouraged to decide on the suitability of responses given. In this way, they will develop the ability to monitor their own learning, rather than rely on an external source for confirmation.

Logic puzzles

an interactive story involving logical thinking and problem-solving: Dragona's Lost Egg

Dragona’s Lost Egg

Children use logical thinking, problem-solving and a process of elimination to identify a lost egg.

which egg is mine for problem solving and logical thinking in the first three years of school

Which egg is mine?

Children use logical thinking and a process of elimination to identify a player’s egg.

a logic puzzle to develop thinking skills and literacy

Whose egg? — a logic puzzle

Whose egg? is a traditional logic puzzle in which children are presented with a series of clues and then need to work out which child has which egg in which basket.

logic puzzles Christmas lower primary

Which gift? Playing Secret Santa — a logic puzzle

In another traditional logic puzzle, children read the story scenario and work out who gave what gift to which child and what paper it was wrapped in.

Who am I? puzzles

interactive who am I puzzle to solve

Who am I? Friends at play

Children read the clues to identify the friend being described.

interactive who am I on the farm puzzle

On the farm Who am I?

Children read the clues to determine which of the farm animals is being described.

who's hiding at Christmas an interactive Christmas story

Who’s Hiding at Christmas?

Children read the clues to identify the character hiding behind the Christmas tree.

Problem Solving with Number

and interactive story that encourages thinking about numbers in different ways: Easter Delivery

Easter Delivery

Children help the Bilby twins decide which combinations of eggs can be left for each family at Easter.

 Nine square puzzles

interactive 9 square turtle-themed puzzle for the interactive whiteboard

Interactive 9 square turtle puzzle

printable 9 square turtle puzzle

9 square turtle puzzle (printable)

printable 9 square insect-themed puzzle

9 square insect puzzle (printable)

interactive 9 square Christmas puzzle

Interactive 9 square Christmas puzzle

9 square Christmas puzzle

9 square Christmas puzzle (printable)

Crossword puzzles

Goldilocks-themed crossword puzzle

Goldilocks crossword puzzle

The Goldilocks crossword puzzle is a follow-up activity to the estory Goldilocks and her Friends the Three Bears.

a Christmas themed crossword puzzle

Christmas crossword

The Christmas crossword is suitable as a follow-up activity to reading the interactive estory Who’s Hiding at Christmas?

Word searches

a word search of twenty-five birthday-themed words

Birthday word search (Free)

In this printable activity, children find words that are related to birthdays.

Have fun with puzzles!

I hope you have fun with puzzles on National Puzzle Day. Most of the readilearn puzzles are available to subscribers for one low annual cost. With over twenty puzzle-related activities, mostly lessons ready to teach on the interactive whiteboards, why not gift yourself a subscription today and be ready to celebrate.

Subscribe now for access to these and all readilearn resources.

gift subscription to early childhood teaching resources for the first three years of school

A readilearn subscription also makes a special gift to let early childhood teachers know their work is appreciated. Contact me for details.

readilearn: teaching resources for the first three years of school
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    Thank you, Bette. I like to combine fun and learning as often as I can. 🙂

    I find puzzles both vexing and relaxing, but if I start with an easy one, I quickly move on to more challenging puzzles. I loved building jigsaw puzzles with my kids, especially my middle daughter. She has a knack! Your printables look fun for kids.

    Jigsaws are a great activity for children (and adults). They often require a certain amount of patience and persistence and help to develop spatial awareness too. They also help children work from the whole to part, or from part to whole and require them to match pieces according to colour, pattern and shape. I have a lovely jigsaw app on my iPad and usually do at least one puzzle a day. A 100-piece puzzle is just the right size for the iPad screen and usually takes from 8 to 16 minutes to complete – just the right amount for some ‘time-out’. When my grandchildren do them, we choose fewer pieces.

    Thank you, Patricia. I’m pleased you enjoyed the post and appreciate your support.

    I have never been a big puzzle fan, Norah. They have a tendency to frustrate me when I get stuck. I did do them with my boys sometimes. Greg was particularly good at puzzles. Michael is like me, a bit to restless.

    I guess we all have different interests and things that appeal to us, Robbie. I am sorry you found puzzles frustrating, where I enjoyed the challenge. 🙂

Please share your thoughts. I love it when you do.

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