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Make Puzzles
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Loads of Internet sites offer puzzles, riddles, word games, and other games to stimulate fun and learning. Check out a few of them! "Puzzle" your pupils! Included: Tips for integrating puzzles and other games into the curriculum!

What can children learn from and enjoy at the same time? Riddles and puzzles, that's what!

Puzzles and riddles have an inherent appeal to children, and through play, children can develop new concepts and reinforce skills in curriculum areas such as language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.

Many sites on the World Wide Web offer puzzles and riddles; some sites provide links to many other sites that also feature puzzles. Visiting such sites engages students in learning through intriguing activities while enabling students to become more computer savvy.

PUZZLE SITES ACROSS THE GRADES

If you're looking to integrate "puzzling" fun into your students' Internet repertoire, here's a sampling of sites that you might want to check out:

  • Puzzles & Games. This site is part of the cyberkids.com Web site. The puzzles found here include word searches, such as an Egyptian word search and a computer word search, as well as jumbles, fill-ins, and jigsaws. Most puzzles are of medium difficulty.
  • Smokey Says Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires. An ideal resource to enhance a Fire Safety unit, all games on this site are instrumental in teaching a fire-safety lesson. This site is a good resource for younger elementary students.
  • The Kids' Clubhouse. Houghton Mifflin publishers offer this site, awhich includes Fun Stuff, a Reading Room, and Brain Teasers. Each week three new entertaining and mentally challenging brain teasers are posted, one at the grade 3-4 level, another at the grade 5-6 level, and a third at the grade 7 and above level.
  • Surfing the Net With Kids. Barbara J. Feldman's excellent resource for Web site's for kids includes several links to sites offering puzzles and riddles. Riddles are a fun way to teach certain Language Arts lessons: for example, the lesson that the obvious meaning of words is not necessarily the only meaning.
  • Kid Crosswords and Other Puzzles. With a variety of crosswords, word seeks, scrambles, and picture fill-ins, this site covers a wide range of topics, such as nutrition, feelings, the solar system, and dinosaurs. A nice feature is that there are several puzzles for elementary-age students. The site includes links to related Internet sites.

TIPS FOR USING PUZZLES AND RIDDLES

Here are some ways to put online puzzles and riddles to work in the classroom:

  • After students work with a particular kind of puzzle -- a crossword, for example -- invite them to work in groups to create their own crossword puzzles. Be sure to allow plenty of time for this kind of activity: Making a crossword puzzle, or just about any puzzle, is harder than it might look!
  • Try thinking of ways that certain games can become cross-curricular. A game of crambo, for example, will teach social studies as well as language arts if you have students invent rhymes that include facts about various states or other geographical areas you're studying. Or use historical figures to play ziggy piggy. You might also have groups of students work on constructing word finds based on, for example, things associated with Abraham Lincoln or another historical figure.
  • Use online time that students spend on puzzles, riddles, or other fun games as a reward for work well done or behavior you want to encourage.
  • Invite students to use a unit theme, such as weather in science class, as the basis for creating a group of games: for example, a crossword puzzle, word jumble, word find, and hangman game. Students might work in groups or pairs to create the games.

ONE MORE PUZZLING RESOURCE

Netmom.com This Web site created by Jean Armour Polly, author of The Internet Kids and Family Yellow Pages provides a fairly complete resource of sites that are child-friendly including many links to puzzles, riddles, or other games.

Article by Sharon Cromwell
Education World®
Copyright © Education World

Updated 07/19/2010

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