Thursday, January 18, 2018

Kanoodle JR from Educational Insights

 The Puzzle Den - Kanoodle JR Review

Educational Insights makes a cool line of puzzles called Kanoodle.  So far they have Kanoodle, Kanoodle Genius, Kanoodle Extreme, Kanoodle Duplexity, and now they have added Kanoodle JR.  I own both Kanoodle and Kanoodle Genius (and love them!), so I was very happy to see a junior edition released.  It's listed for ages 4 to 7.  I am always happy to find puzzles for the younger folks.  They deserve to have some good puzzling fun too!

Kanoodle JR is self contained.  Everything you need to play is packed away inside.  There is even a carrying handle!

Inside you will find the puzzle pieces and the challenge booklet.

There are 6 pieces of various colors.  The orange piece is made out of 3 blocks.  The blue, yellow and red pieces are made out of 4 blocks and are classic tetromino shapes.  The green and pink pieces are made out of 5 blocks (pentominoes).  These pieces fit into the 5x5 grid in a number of ways.  How many ways did you ask?  I am interested in that question too!  I'm sure some code could be written to figure out how many unique ways these pieces can be fitted into the grid, but we'll leave that for someone else to solve!

What's really nice about Kanoodle JR is that they've come up with 3 different types of puzzles for kids to solve.  The challenge booklet sets out the rules for each.  It also contains the 60 challenges and an answer key.

Once you pick a challenge, you can fold the puzzle book back on itself and then slide it into the slot underneath the grid.  This allows the puzzle to show through the open grid squares.

The first type of puzzle is called "Color-Match".  There are 40 challenges for this type and are color coded in the booklet with the dark blue edge.  The first couple of challenges have all the grid spaces filled with color.  This is the simplest challenge and is really just practice in matching the shapes to the colored squares.  It helps younger kids get a feel for how the puzzle works and how the shapes fit into the grid.  As you move into the higher numbered challenges, more and more of the spaces are left blank.  For these, puzzle solvers must figure out the orientation of the pieces so they all match the colored spaces shown and fit into the grid.  The photo above shows challenge #27.  It has 12 blank spots and is rated a 4 star challenge.

Here's how that challenge looks in progress.  These don't pose much of a challenge to older folks like me, but I love that it is designed for younger kids and will get their creative and puzzling minds thinking.  It's a gateway puzzle!

The second type of puzzle is the "Path" puzzle.  These challenges show an object, its path, and a goal.  You must cover all the other tiles with a subset of the playing pieces.  It does give clues, as in the above photo of challenge #45.  The dinosaur must find a path to the palm tree.  The outside squares that need to be filled have some colored clues.  Thus the green piece must fit over the green volcano in some way.

When the pieces have been placed correctly, the path is clear for the dino to find its way to the tree.  There are 10 puzzles of this type included in the booklet, and they have a purple edge.

The last type of puzzle is the "Wall" puzzle.  The goal here is to create a wall between the two types of objects shown.  Challenge #57 shown above needs a wall to keep the dog away from the cats.  We think they must be vicious attack cats!

And here's how the completed challenge looks.  There are 10 puzzles of this type which have a green edge.  These challenges also use just a subset of the pieces, so part of the challenge is figuring out which pieces to use.  We did find alternate solutions to some of these challenges. 

I think this is a brilliant puzzle.  It's just perfect for kids in the suggested age range and hopefully gets them hooked on puzzles!

Stay tuned to this blog...I have some alternate challenges for Kanoodle JR that I'll be posting soon.  That will give your kids 20 extra challenges to solve!

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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Heart Shaped Dots and Boxes

 The Puzzle Den - Heart Shaped Dots and Boxes Board

Valentine's Day is closer than you think!  So to get you in the mood, here is a Heart Shaped Dots and Boxes board.  Play it in the standard way, but watch out for the last dot at the very bottom of the heart.  It isn't useful at all for making boxes!  Or you could try out a variant where triangles are allowed on the guarantees on whether that would actually work.

If you need the rules or want to download some square Dots and Boxes boards, visit this post from 2013.

Have fun!

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Sunday, January 7, 2018

Qboid Pocket Puzzle

Ginny gave me this cute little pocket puzzle for Christmas.  It was just the right size to fit in my stocking! 

Qboid is made by Brainwright.  They market it for ages 8 and up and call it a "wonderful introduction to the world of twisty puzzles."  And I agree!  It is a very cute little puzzle and very easy to solve.  This is great for people who find the Rubik's Cube too challenging (like me).  So I think that puzzle lovers even younger than 8 would get a kick out of this too.

The best part about this puzzle is that it does fit in your pocket!  Or purse...or wherever else you might store a little puzzle for emergency situations.  Seems to me that it would make a fun little fidget toy too.

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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

2018 New Year's Maze

 The Puzzle Den - 2018 New Year's Maze

Here's a free maze to welcome in the New Year!  Just click on the picture to download it from Google Drive.

Hope it's a good one!
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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Kiki's Delivery Service Jigsaw Puzzle

We found this awesome puzzle at Barnes & Noble a couple weeks ago.  They have an area in their games/puzzles section that is devoted to Studio Ghibli!  And the things you can find there are delightful...especially if you are a fan.

This little puzzle is from Kiki's Delivery Service.  It's the story of a young girl named Kiki who goes off on her own as part of her witch's training.  Of course, she has an adorable little cat named Jiji.  This puzzle shows Jiji in 6 different scenes. 

The puzzle pieces themselves are made out of some sort of clear plastic, which makes them see-through-ish. 

It would be really neat to somehow hang this finished puzzle in a window.  The back of the box shows the puzzle mounted in a frame.

These puzzles are made in Japan, so we are very lucky to be able to buy them.  But that also means that they are a bit pricey!  Some other puzzles that we saw were from the movies My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away. 

These would make adorable stocking stuffers for fans of these fine animated movies!

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Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Angel Fill In Freebie

 The Puzzle Den - Christmas Angel Fill In - easier version

To those who celebrate it ... Merry Christmas! 

Here's an angel shaped fill in puzzle to help your children celebrate this fun holiday.  Just click on the picture above to download the easier version.

 The Puzzle Den - Christmas Angel Fill In - harder version

And click on this picture to download the harder version.

If you need the answers, you can find them here.

Happy December Holidays to All!

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Thursday, December 21, 2017

Shaped Fill In Puzzles

 The Puzzle Den - Snowman Fill In Puzzles

Winter Snowman puzzles #1 & 2

This year I have created a bunch of shaped Fill In puzzles for your enjoyment.  But as the year progressed, I decided that they might be a bit too easy.  So I recently went back to all of them and created a harder version of each. 

 The Puzzle Den - Fall Leaf puzzles

Fall Leaf puzzle

I updated each original post with a link to the new 'harder' version included.  So just visit those pages to download them.  I've included a link to each original page in this post.  Just click on the picture of the puzzle or on the link below each puzzle.

 The Puzzle Den - Halloween Ghost Puzzle

Halloween Ghost puzzle

You can also visit the Freebies/Fill In page of this blog to find all the puzzles of that type listed.  But for most of the puzzles, you have to visit the original post to find the answers.

 The Puzzle Den - Valentine Heart puzzle

Valentine Heart puzzle

So what makes these puzzles harder?  Instead of providing the start and end letters of each word in the puzzle, these versions are blank.  One way to get started is to find a word of a specific length and a space with the same length.  If that's the only word of that length, then that's the only spot it would fit in.  This adds a little bit of an extra challenge to a puzzle that might otherwise be too easy for some kids.

 The Puzzle Den - Thanksgiving Turkey Puzzle

Thanksgiving Turkey puzzle

I really enjoy creating these puzzles, so I hope you and yours enjoy solving them!  I will probably make more for future holidays, so keep watching the blog...

Happy Holidays!

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