Sudoku: a Logic Based Educational Puzzle for Kids

Sudoku is a logic puzzle in which the player enters numbers from one to nine into a grid that is nine cells high and nine wide. This main grid is broken down into nine sub-grids, each of which is three cells high and three wide. The object is to fill the grid with numbers from one to nine without repeating a number in any row, column or sub grid. That is, each row must contain all of the numbers from one to nine with no repeats; each column must also contain all of the numbers from one to nine with no repeats; and each sub grid must also contain all of the numbers from one to nine with no repeats.

The puzzles come in varying degrees of difficulty depending on how many numbers are given before play begins. It's a great teaching tool. To solve a sudoku puzzle, a child needs to consider the many factors influencing number placement simultaneously. This mental exercise sharpens reasoning and computation skills. It also requires the player to recognize underlying patterns, which is a basic principle of mathematics. What's more, one of the biggest problems many children face in learning math is lack of confidence in their abilities. Successfully solving a sudoku puzzle can build that confidence. It can give the child a good feeling about numbers and stimulate an awareness of the connection between the numbers and the patterns that underlie mathematics.

As Sudoku has gained popularity, variations have emerged. While it does require logic, reason and a recognition of patterns and probability, there isn't really any math involved. Each Sudoku puzzle can only be solved by logic and reasoning, so the characters in the grid don't have to be numbers at all. Letters work just as well, or hieroglyphics, or geometric shapes - just so long as there are nine of them. There are lots of theme driven versions of sudoku out there now - one with golf balls, footballs, baseballs and the like, aimed at the avid sports fan for instance. And there are modified versions with fewer grids, rows and columns to fill in, designed with the young child or beginner in mind.

Sudoku is one of the many logic games available that can help your child learn by sharpening her ability to do so. Sudoku is a great way to stimulate your child's interest in sitting still, using his mind, and finding his way through a problem. And all the time it's strengthening the faculties his brain uses to accomplish these vital tasks.

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