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# What can you do with a puzzle?

• Published on January 25, 2019

### 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:

Sorting: Yellow or Not yellow

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

Transport Sort

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

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.

Teddy Bear Sorting

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

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

Hang the Baubles —Repeating patterns

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

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

Dragona’s Lost Egg

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

Which egg is mine?

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

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.

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

Who am I? Friends at play

Children read the clues to identify the friend being described.

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?

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

##### Problem Solving with Number

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 puzzle

9 square turtle puzzle (printable)

9 square insect puzzle (printable)

Interactive 9 square Christmas puzzle

9 square Christmas puzzle (printable)

##### Crossword puzzles

Goldilocks crossword puzzle

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

Christmas crossword

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

##### Word searches

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.

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

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Norah Colvin says:

Thank you, Bette. I like to combine fun and learning as often as I can. 🙂

Norah Colvin says:

That’s a possibility, Robbie. 🙂

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.

Norah Colvin says:

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.

Great printable resources for the classroom. Enjoyed your post.

Norah Colvin says:

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.

Norah Colvin says:

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. 🙂

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