Welcome to our Learn With Puzzles website. We are so excited to be growing our puzzle collection for parents and home schoolers, teachers and classrooms, tutors for tutoring resources and for puzzle lovers everywhere!
This About Us page will give you some educational background, an idea of the types of puzzles that you can expect to find on our site, why puzzles are important for brain health, why we are offering puzzles for free, and how you can best use the site for fun, education and enjoyment.
But, let's start at the beginning!
As the owner of Learn With Puzzles, my love of puzzles started when I was in elementary school. I just LOVED cryptograms, and would buy books and books of cryptogram puzzles to solve, just because I could! (I had an allowance). I am not sure what it was about the puzzles that drew me to that particular kind of challenge, but to this day I continue to decrypt these encoded messages. And, now...I get to create them, which is even more exciting!
I most recently discovered cryptolists by purchasing a puzzle book and solving them. A cryptolist is a list of words, usually theme based, with between 10-15 words that have been encrypted using an alphabet code. It is like a cryptogram, but without the sentences or paragraphs. I loved it! I will admit that I do have some challenges with those lists because I am not always sure of the possible answers. So, I move on to more familiar categories.
Now, enter word search puzzles. I devoured these as a kid. At times, looking for letters was like looking for a needle in a haystack. But, that was the fun part because of the sense of accomplishment when all the words were checked off the list. Again, I recently purchased a word search challenge book that contained 115 word searches of 15 words in each puzzle. There is a catch with this puzzle book, however: each puzzle has a list of 15 words hidden in the grid (similar to the regular word search puzzles), but then they would not have all the words listed for you to check off! Hmmm...now THAT is a great idea for puzzle creation.
Over the years, I have solved cryptograms, word searches, crossword puzzles, sudoku puzzles, and most recently, codeword puzzles (each letter of the alphabet is included in the fill-in-the-blanks framework with only 3 letters given as clues), and so many more.
Academically, I have a Life Sciences degree and a Teacher's degree with Specialist qualifications in Integration of Information and Computer Technology in Instruction and English as a Second Language. I coached teachers who had English Language Learners in their classrooms, and as an educator, I used puzzles all the time: from scrambled letters puzzles, word searches, crossword puzzles, sudoku puzzles as a strategy to develop problem solving skills in my students. Students loved creating their word searches and sharing with their peers.
So, what can you expect to find on this website?
When you arrive on the main page you will see a list of 'Quick Links' on the left. These links are main categories. Clicking on those links will take you to a page where you will find either images of our puzzles, or further categories from which to choose. The idea behind this organization is to enable quick access to categories based on what you are looking for. Our main categories include: language, math, science, history, puzzle types. When we want to feature a category, then we include it in the list.
We also have a blog, and that link is found under the 'Quick Links' section of our website. The entries usually feature an upcoming holiday, event or newsy worthy topic.
Below this 'About Learn With Puzzles' section is the heading 'Product Categories'. These images provide quick links to related topics.
On the right hand side of our site there is a section that we call our 'News' section. Again, highlighting recent changes.
Learn With Puzzles website includes images to give you an idea of what the puzzle looks like so you can decide if that is something you wish to download. Each puzzle can be downloaded, for free, in 'pdf' format. Each puzzle has the solution included in the pdf.
We are continually adding new puzzles to our expanding collection. You will find that most puzzles are geared towards the classroom, home schools and tutoring, but there are some that are geared more towards challenging the adults. This includes: the crossword bundles, Sudoku Puzzle bundles, and some of the more challenging word search puzzles.
Why are puzzles good for the brain?
So much research has been done on the brain, that it is overwhelming. What I have learned is that by engaging the brain, more connections are made between and among things. For example: to complete a crossword puzzle about the elements in the Periodic Table, you would need a background in high school chemistry for starters, or else be an independent life long learner who loves learning about the Periodic Table! That being said, multiple clues in our Periodic Table crossword puzzles require out of the box thinking. It could be something to do with language, math (an element whose atomic weight is 3 squared), a city in Ontario, Canada (Cobalt), or other types of knowledge acquired not related to Chemistry 101!
Solving puzzles also requires problem solving strategies. For example: sudoku puzzles require a form of logic and deductive reasoning in order to complete them. Trial and error is another strategy that can be used to help solve some of our Crosspatch Puzzles.
Mazes help with handwriting skills and visual acuity. Handwriting skills because kids need to trace a path from beginning to the end without crossing over any lines. This also facilitates fine motor skills and development. Mazes help with visual acuity because often choices need to be made about which path to take, and might require retracing steps visually to try again.
Other puzzles, such as (not exhaustive list) cryptograms, cryptolists, scrambled letters, crosswords, require knowledge of letter patterns, word structures, word meanings. Puzzles also support vocabulary building.
Why are the puzzles free?
Puzzles are free so there are no barriers to access, as long as users have the technology to access the resources.
How can I use the Learn With Puzzles website?
Here is a list of possible opportunities:
- Download, print and solve puzzles just for fun
- Use puzzles to support vocabulary development in home schools, classrooms, tutoring resources and at home to support kids in school
- Access the pdf online and project them through an interactive whiteboard to engage a class in its solution
- Use puzzles in classrooms, home schools and tutoring to support growth and development of problem solving strategies
- Use puzzles in classrooms, home schools and tutoring to support curriculum (language, math, history, science, the arts (music, visual arts, drama), health and physical development
- Use puzzles to support fine motor development, visual acuity, handwriting skills
- Use puzzles to support English language learners in the classroom
If you have any questions or ideas that you would to see included in our puzzle collection, then please let us know! We can be reached at learnwithpuzzles [at] gmail [dot] com. Replace [at] with the symbol: @ and [dot] with the '.' symbol
Here are our social media links:
Our Puzzles Blog can be found here
I challenge my creative self by doing puzzles! Enjoy!
Liz - Learn With Puzzles