How to Teach Kids to Solve Sudoku Puzzles

Sudoku puzzles are an extremely enjoyable and fascinating past time. At first glance these puzzles may not appear to be appropriate for kids. Sudoku looks complicated and appear to require advanced math skills. However, neither of these assumptions is true.

Sudoku puzzles are totally appropriate for kids of all ages. Kids find sudoku puzzles fun and rewarding and won’t even realize that by completing puzzles they are boosting their mental capacity, increasing their concentration span and developing basic math and logic skills.

To ensure kids get the most rewarding experience, it is important to ensure children are only doing age appropriate puzzles. Kids quickly become frustrated and give up when given puzzles to attempt that are too difficult. It is equally important to ensure that kids are given simple, easy-to-follow instructions on how to properly attack and solve sudoku puzzles.

Objective of Sudoku

Every puzzle is different, but the object of all is the same. Although they may have varying sizes and levels of difficulty every puzzle can be solved in the same way, following the same rules.

The objective of all sudoku puzzles is to fill in the blank squares with the correct numeral. Figuring out the correct numeral can be the tricky part. However, there is a method which can be used to easily discover the correct answer for any puzzle.

Explain to children that to correctly solve a sudoku puzzle the following rules must be adhered to:

• Every row of the puzzle must contain the numerals 1 – 9

• Every column of the puzzle must contain the numerals 1 – 9

• Every sub-section of the puzzle must contain the numerals 1 – 9

(Although the rules above use the example of a 9 x 9 puzzle, they apply to puzzles of all sizes, eg. a 4 x 4 puzzles would require each row, column and sub-section to contain the numerals 1 – 4.)

Tips to Help Kids Solve Sudoku Puzzles

One of the easiest ways to help kids with solving sudoku puzzles is to ensure they use a pencil. Mistakes, which are often made (not just by kids, adults too!), are so much easier to correct if a pencil has been used.

The best way for kids to start solving a sudoku puzzle is to look for limited squares. Limited squares are empty spaces for which there is only one possible answer. A limited square will usually occur because it is the only one left blank in a row, column or sub-section.

Spaces which have only two possibilities are also quite easy to solve, so suggest children also look for these.

If children become stuck, suggest they write all the possibilities (possible answers for one particular empty square) in each empty space. Having the possible answers visible in each space often allow kids to see the correct answer more easily.

Puzzles get easier and easier to solve as more spaces are filled in.

With just a little help and a push in the right direction kids will be flying through sudoku puzzles, in no time, all on their own.

Most importantly, encourage children to have fun with sudoku! You may just find kids develop a healthy addiction, which may just last a life-time.