Puzzles are often seen as games that are used to distract your children. When they’re bored, you give them a puzzle to keep them occupied. This works wonders on long journeys in the car, but did you know that puzzles can also be an excellent educational tool? There’s a lot your child can learn from doing different kinds of puzzles.
Crosswords are such a fun and clever puzzle for children to play. People have been playing these for years, and they’re always the most exciting part of the newspaper! If you click here, you’ll see there are plenty of crossword puzzle books to buy for people of different ages and intellectual abilities. In essence, a crossword teaches your child to think about things and answer questions. It’s kind of a form of general knowledge, but the problem-solving element makes them better than an average quiz book!
Anagram puzzles are brilliant if you want your child to develop their vocabulary and problem-solving skills. An anagram puzzle starts with a list of jumbled up words and you have to unjumble them to find real words. There are a couple of types of anagram puzzles out there, some will be basic, you just find one word from the jumble of letters, while others will be more complex, containing many hidden words. Regardless, these puzzles are excellent for developing a child’s literacy skills.
Without a doubt, Sudoku is the most popular maths puzzle in the world. When you try playing the puzzle for the first time, you don’t really think about it as having anything to do with math. There are no calculations involved, but you are teaching your brain about sequencing and patterns. You also have a challenging problem-solving element, as you need to find ways to place the numbers correctly. It’s such a fantastic brain training exercise for kids to try, and it’s also a puzzle that comes in many difficulty levels, from beginner to advanced, depending on how many starting numbers are in the grid.
This works similarly to anagrams in that the aim is to find words. The difference is that you have an entire grid of letters, with words hidden amongst them. It is probably a bit easier than an anagram, but word searches are still great at developing someone’s vocabulary. In fact, it might be a good idea to start your child on some word search puzzles before moving them to anagrams.
Word searches can also be a great tool for teaching kid’s proper right to left tracking, which includes reading skills. Just make sure you find age appropriate (the letter should be big for younger kids, and the grid should not be very large) puzzles and teach them to carefully look through each row from right to left, when they find the first letter they need they can then stop to see if the word is formed in any direction. If not, they continue right-to-left.
The beautiful thing about these four puzzles is that they can all be made easier or harder. As your child gets good at them, there will be harder versions for them to try. This ensures that they’re on a constant development cycle, always training their brain to get bigger and better. Plus, all four of these puzzles are just plain fun for them to do! They are things a child could do in their spare time, or you can mix them into some homeschooling lessons. The choice is yours, and you’ll easily find many collections of these puzzles online.