Many people know of jigsaw puzzles but have never really paid attention to maths puzzles for kids. Aside from the fact that Jigsaw puzzles are more popular, some believe maths puzzles belong in the classroom. And only the teacher should be concerned about it. While puzzles generally improve the problem solving, creativity, and reasoning abilities of a child, maths puzzles for kids operate on a higher level. It encourages the child to think out of the box and critically.
Meaning of Maths Puzzles
Mathematics puzzles require mathematics to solve them successfully. They are an essential part of fun mathematics. There are specific rules that guide the game and which the player must follow. Unlike other puzzle games, maths puzzles for kids do not usually involve competition between or among players. Instead, to solve a mathematics puzzle, the player must find a solution to the problem according to the laid down rules and conditions. Usually, they are used in the classroom setting to motivate students in learning the fundamentals of school math problem-solving techniques, especially when they are bored. It is also a way to solve mathematics problems students think are problematic.
Importance of Maths Puzzles for Kids
Motivation to learn
Mathematics is never an easy subject to learn for most people. So, when children work on mathematics puzzles consistently, they are challenged to solve the problem. Besides, maths puzzles do not look like real maths questions. They are cloaked in riddles, so students see mathematics from another perspective. Consequently, students develop a positive attitude towards mathematics and are more determined to find more answers to mathematical problems.
Any puzzle will develop the creative skill of a child. Mathematics puzzles are a bit distinct in that they force kids to create different possible ways to solve the problem. Also, they are persistent to keep trying out other techniques till the right answer surfaces.
Maths puzzles often require the player to consider the chosen answer before submission carefully. It is a game of no right option, so the player must be double sure that the answer he chose is the right one. This skill is an important one in our digital world as we are often faced with making one choice between two. It will help kids be a reflective thinker, weighing two options accurately before a final decision.
Improve Students Performance
Teachers, especially, use mathematics as a scaffolding technique to motivate students to learn elementary math problem-solving techniques. Consequently, students start to apply the methods to other maths problems in their classroom; thereby, improving their overall mathematics performance.
Maths puzzles allow students to have the time to interact with mathematics on a personal level without the pressure attached to the real maths problem in the classroom. Working on mathematics puzzles, especially at home, gives kids enough time to practice and explore; thus, reducing their anxiety on the mathematics problem. And they can transfer this to other subjects and aspects of their lives.
Working on mathematics puzzles make kids adept at using mental images to solve a problem rather than using the manual method. This skill is essential to kids, especially in our digitally-connected world where everyone is embracing technology.
Of course, maths puzzles are all about solving one maths problem or the other. At first, kids only follow the rules and conditions of the puzzle to solve it. However, as time goes on, they begin to develop more ways to go about the game, either to solve it faster or better – all without anyone’s supervision. Also, students can learn many mathematical concepts like time table, geometry, shapes, and numbers.
Maths Puzzles for Kids
While all math puzzles have to do with mathematics, they are not the same in how they are built and structured. Below are the different kinds of maths puzzles for kids.
Just like we have it for words, we also have it in mathematics. The basic concept behind this is to make crossword mathematics. Instead of terms as in the original crossword, kids only need to use numbers to fill up the vertical and horizontal grids. In the puzzle, there are no solutions to the problem but cues. For instance, if the answer to a particular question is 86, the clue will be 50 + 26. The puzzle is suitable for children between two years and five years old. Parents and teachers can use maths puzzles to teach how to calculate money and the summation of numbers. It can also be used to build the elementary mathematics of a child before higher classes.
A typical riddle usually has double meanings and requires deep and reflective thinking. It is sometimes a waste of time for the mathematics riddle to solve the problem (although it may work in some situations). Instead, a mathematics riddle requires the player to combine critical thinking with mathematics skills to find the answer. Mathematics teachers create a maths riddle to exercise the students’ brain, especially before the day-to-day class activities start. An example of a maths riddle is below:
How many eight can you find in the eight 80s?
Kenken is a numerical puzzle in the form of a grid. It is similar to crossword and Sudoku. In kenken, you are given boxes with different cues, and you are required to place the counting numbers in the square. To solve the problem successfully, the numbers placed in each box must make the cue. This game challenges students to up their mathematics game. Also, it allows students to combine their logical and critical thinking skills.
Magic Square has been around us for a while now. It is a puzzle involving a square divided into smaller squares that contain a number so that the number is the same in the vertical, horizontal, and diagonal row. There are many sizes of the magic square, and the suitable one for kids is the three by three square.
A magic square is one of the most entertaining maths puzzles for kids. It helps them develop their social skills and communication skill. As a parent or teacher, you can find pieces of paper, bottle caps, number them, and ask students to arrange the numbers such that they have the same vertically, horizontally, and diagonally.
Sujiko is an interactive logic puzzle that involves combining numbers and placing them in grids. The game’s idea is to arrange the digits 1 – 9 in a three by three grid with four circled number clues at the center of each quadrant that shows the sum of the four digits in the quadrant. The rule is to place the numbers 1 – 9 according to the circled value to solve the puzzle. There are many ways to solve this, so parents and teachers should encourage kids to find solutions.
When it comes to maths puzzles for kids, Sudoku is a legend. Some of us looked forward to the game in recent newspaper folds. Sudoku is a game in which you write a number between 1 and 9 into small boxes containing nine mini squares such that each number appears once in each vertical line, horizontal line, and square. This game requires the logical thinking skill and problem-solving skills of children. Kids from the ages of 6 – 12 can also play Sudoku on many online resources.
Tangram is an interactive maths puzzle that originated from China, and it involves taking pictures with mathematical shapes. Although tangrams are usually made with wood, there are some tangrams with colored paper or cardboard. The puzzle can help kids recreate many shapes out of the geometry shapes of tangram pieces. Tangrams can help young learners build their logical and reasoning skills.
Str8ts is one of the newest and most creative puzzle games around after Sudoku. It was invented in 2008 by Jeff Widderich. Str8t is a logical game that involves number placement in blank squares. The puzzles can be found in newspapers, textbooks, and mobile applications.
In the Str8t puzzle, the player is given a nine-by-nine grid divided partly by black cells into compartments. Each compartment – vertically or horizontally – must have a set of consecutive numbers called straight, which can be in any order, e.g., 3, 4, 6, 5, 7.
The player’s job is to fill up the white cells with numbers 1 to 9. Str8ts puzzles are mostly used for older children.
Mobius band is one of the most challenging and logical puzzle games. It involves a never-ending circular loop with a twisted surface that is unrecognizable. In the Mobius puzzle, barriers are placed around the Mobius band, making it look like a matrix or a maze. As you move forward, the front becomes the back and vice versa, making it more confusing. Mobius band can be used to teach geometry and surfaces in mathematics. They usually look simple, but players find it challenging to solve.
Mathematics puzzles are a great way to help kids develop 21st-century skills such as creativity, problem-solving, and logical skills. These skills help kids lay a strong foundation for their respective prospects regardless of the routes they take. Besides, a mathematics puzzle is a fun way to learn maths problems and concepts. Thankfully there are maths puzzles available for different ages.