Puzzling Over Puzzles: How to Write Puzzles for Kids

Puzzling Over Puzzles-How to Write Puzzles for Kids

One of my favorite things to create is puzzles! If you enjoy creating history and language arts resources like I do, the types of puzzles you have at your disposal to make learning enjoyable are virtually endless. Here are just a few types I’ve enjoyed making over the years:

  1. Word searches and crossword puzzles. Don’t underestimate these simple but fun puzzles. Word searches are great spelling practice. They also work well for familiarizing kids with key terms and names.
  1. Decoding. Decoding puzzles are easily adapted to any age and are another great tool for familiarizing kids with names and places. They are also a great way to sneak in a little math practice! You can make the code key as simple or complex as you like. For example:

A=1, B =2, C=3, T=20, Z=26 can be used with simple addition problems where the first letter is 2+1, the second letter is 0+1, and the third letter is 15+5 (C-A-T). Of course, you can be as inventive as you like and make a code that looks like this: A=36, C=72, T=96 and make the puzzle read 8*9, 6*6, and 12*8 (C-A-T).

  1. Fill-ins with word banks. In this type of puzzle, you give kids a paragraph or more about a certain topic and include blanks for them to fill in with the right word, chosen from a word bank. You can also use this puzzle to help kids become familiar with famous quotes or passages.
  1. Timelines. There are endless varieties of timeline puzzles for history topics. You can have kids arrange facts chronologically, have them memorize and fill in specific dates, or do other activities.
  1. Word scrambles. Word scrambles are another fun way to familiarize kids with key terms and phrases and help them practice proper spelling.
  1. Letter board puzzles. Letter board puzzles are structured like crossword puzzles—but without the clues. To create this puzzle, provide a list of possible words and terms. The student has to rely on spelling and logic skills to find the correct placement of each letter.

Letter puzzle

  1. Matching and multiple choice. Don’t overlook these classic examples of ways you can vary the way you present information in puzzles for kids to enjoy.
  1. Tile puzzles. Give the students a set number of tiles and instructions on how many letters they will need to use to make the correct answer.

Tile puzzle

  1. Graph decoding. This is another variation of a type of puzzle that can be used to help students find the letters they need to spell words that fit a theme or topic.

Graph decoding

  1. Missing sound. Filling in missing sounds is a fun way for little ones to take part! You can combine simple phonics and basic handwriting to familiarize young children with key words, names, and terms.

Missing Sound

Don’t forget—any time you get stuck for ideas, you can always pick up an inexpensive puzzle book at the store or scour free online printables to get your creative juices flowing!

What types of puzzles would you add to this list?
Bonnie-Rose-Hudson-200x200Bonnie Rose Hudson lives in central Pennsylvania. Along with spending time with her family and writing, making kids smile is her favorite thing to do. Her heart’s desire is for every child to feel the love of God and know how special they are to Him. She loves creating curriculum and working for SchoolhouseTeachers.com, the curriculum arm of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, as the site’s executive editor. At TOS, she found a place where her love of God and history combine with her love of writing to bring encouraging, educational, and entertaining material to students and their families. She would love for you to visit WriteBonnieRose.com to discover how you can write for the homeschool market.

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