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):
- 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 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:
Children sort objects according to one characteristic — yellow. (Note: this resource is free to registered users.)
Transport Sort steps children through sorting from using one characteristic to sorting on a grid in rows and columns using two characteristics.
Transport cards are printable versions of the cards used in Transport Sort. They can be used offline for a variety of sorting activities.
In this open-ended activity, children sort bears into two, three or four groups, then explain their thinking.
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.
In this open-ended activity, children make repeating patterns using either two or three colours of baubles.
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.
Children use logical thinking, problem-solving and a process of elimination to identify a lost egg.
Children use logical thinking and a process of elimination to identify a player’s egg.
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.
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
Children read the clues to identify the friend being described.
Children read the clues to determine which of the farm animals is being described.
Children read the clues to identify the character hiding behind the Christmas tree.
Problem Solving with Number
Children help the Bilby twins decide which combinations of eggs can be left for each family at Easter.
Nine square puzzles
9 square turtle puzzle (printable)
9 square insect puzzle (printable)
9 square Christmas puzzle (printable)
The Goldilocks crossword puzzle is a follow-up activity to the estory Goldilocks and her Friends the Three Bears.
The Christmas crossword is suitable as a follow-up activity to reading the interactive estory Who’s Hiding at Christmas?
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.
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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