Usually, exercise is something I avoid. Just keeping it real… But there is a holiday that involves exercise that I am behind 150%! National Puzzle Day, January 29th is all about exercising your brain with puzzles! I love the fact that our brain is a muscle and the more we use it the stronger it gets! There are also many different puzzles we can use to accomplish this goal. Pick a favorite and solve your way to a stronger brain!
Different types of puzzles
Jigsaw Puzzles – The first jigsaw puzzles were made of wood. European mapmakers in the 1760s glued maps onto wood and cut them into small pieces. John Spilsbury, an engraver and mapmaker, is given the credit of inventing the first jigsaw puzzle in 1767.
You can easily make your own jigsaw puzzle by gluing a picture to a piece of cardstock or a file folder and cutting it apart. You can make the shapes simple or intricate.
Math Puzzles, like Sudoku – Math puzzles and games are woven into the complete history of math in a fascinating way. Early Egyptian math was largely based on problems that were puzzle like. The Greeks also loved to present puzzle like Math problems. Archimedes is said to have invented a game similar to the Chinese Tangrams involving making figures from 14 pieces. (Tangrams use 7).
Sudoku is a derivative of the ancient game “magic squares”, which goes back as far as 2200 BC. Today sudoku is one of the most popular brain games available. It can be created with pictures or traditionally with numbers as well as with different sized grids, perfect for many different levels!
Riddles- Riddles are designed to make you think about the many meanings a single word can have in any given situation. The oldest preserved riddle is on an ancient Sumerian clay tablet from 2350 BC. Idioms, Puns and other playful word plays are easy ways to challenge your brain. A simple study of homophones and homographs is a great way to begin! (You can even grate cheese while teaching!)
Anagrams are a fun kind of riddle, like the anagram found in the popular children’s book Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: TOM MARVOLO RIDDLE. (When the letters are rearranged, it says: I am Lord Voldemort.) What anagrams can your learners come up with? More than I can I’m sure!
Crosswords are considered riddles! The way the answers cross each other is how the cross word got it’s name. The New York World published the first modern cross word in 1913.
Labyrinth Puzzles & Mazes – Legend tells us, the original labyrinth was built by architect Daedalus and his son Icarus to keep the Minotaur (a beast with the body of a man and the head of a bull). The hero Theseus is reported to have successfully traveled through the Labyrinth of Crete and slayed the Minotaur. He did this with the help of the goddess Ariadne. She gave him a ball of thread, called a clue. Actual labyrinths are often seen as thoughtful, peaceful spaces for quiet reflection. They have one meandering path to the center.
A maze, on the other hand is designed for puzzle solving and those wishing to face challenges. A maze has dead ends that cause you to get lost a time or two. Paper mazes offer us the ability to see the entire puzzle at once, but may still take some time to solve!
Celebrate with Homeschool Holiday Curriculum
Whichever type of puzzle you enjoy, Homeschool Holiday has assembled a puzzle variety pack you can use to help celebrate National Puzzle Day. This set promotes critical thinking , cognitive function, and problem-solving skills. It makes a wonderful addition to your Morning Work, Fun Friday or fast finishers routine.
If you need just a little sampling to celebrate Puzzle Day – download our FREE – Try Before You Buy Sample Pack! You will get 5 different activities for your learners.
The full set of Puzzles & Brainteasers contains 10 different activities, various levels, and guaranteed fun. Well… I think I can guarantee the fun, except if someone wakes up on the wrong side of the bed. They *might* not have fun if that happens. 🙂
We hope you enjoy celebrating with us today and will consider subscribing to our website so you won’t miss a post!
Be sure to check out the other AWESOME Holidays by using our CALENDAR OF HOLIDAYS page! There is even a downloadable calendar for you with all available Homeschool Holiday Curriculum!
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