Saturday, March 30, 2013

New This Week


I have a new freebie set ready this week!  This set has three puzzles all about bunnies!  Not quite in time for Easter, but it's generic enough for any time of the year.  One puzzle is a maze in which solvers have to help the mommy bunny gather up her baby bunnies from around the garden.  Another puzzle teaches students about bunny related words while they find them in a word search.  And the last puzzle challenges students to help a bunny across a river to find her pile of veggies!  This puzzle is a new puzzle for me, and I'm excited about it!  The solvers has to follow a pattern of shapes, hopping along each shape 'stepping stone', to get to the other side.  My kids and I enjoyed doing these!  (You can find more of these puzzles in my All About Shapes puzzle pack too!)


All About Shapes is available in my TpT store for $4.00 and contains 20 puzzles for young solvers.  These puzzles are geared towards kindergarteners and first graders, but pre-schoolers should be able to handle many of these puzzles with help from their parents.  This pack contains 3 dot-to-dots, 3 river crossings, 3 mazes, 3 word searches, 4 coloring pages, 2 counting riddles, a sudoku, and a crossword!  It's packed with fun ways to practice shape recognition and even learn some new shapes!

You can download the Cub Corner or purchase All About Shapes at my TpT store!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Geometry Puzzles for High School Students


My first puzzle pack geared towards the high school level has been released!  These puzzles were designed as a fun way to review key concepts and terms in geometry with a focus on triangles and circles.  There are two new types of puzzles in this pack, Syllable Search and Missing Thirds.  Syllable Search has students find the answer to geometry questions using a box of syllables.  If they are unsure about an answer, they can check the remaining syllables in the box for clues.  Missing Thirds is a puzzle with a list of terms with 3 missing letters each and a list of 3 letter words.  Students must decide which 3 letter word finishes each incomplete geometry term.  This geometry puzzle pack is filled with intriguing word games that will sharpen those geometry vocabulary skills!

Included in this PDF:
Circle Crossword - reviews basic circle terms
Grid Fill Ins - triangles, circles, polygons
Long Letters - all about shapes
Geometry Riddle Link - focus on key numbers in geometry
Geometry Scramble - word scramble
Missing Thirds - word puzzle
Geometry Sudoku - alpha type sudoku
Syllable Search - more practice with vocabulary
Triangle Crossword - reviews basic triangle terms
Geometry Trivia - trivia questions with a riddle
Geometry Word Search - search for geometry terms and find a hidden history fact about geometry
Geometry Words In Words - word puzzle
Geometry Categories - word puzzle
Answer Keys

Just click on the cover art at the top, and you will be taken to my Teachers Pay Teachers store where you can purchase these puzzles for only $3.00!  Below are some previews of several puzzles.




Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Free Hangman Template



Here's a template for all your hangman playing needs!  Of course, you don't need a template at all.  My kids and I have played hangman on various bits of scrap paper found in my purse, including receipts!  But having a template is fun too and helps when playing with younger kids.  The version above includes the outline of the hanged dude and outlines for letter blanks.  These make it easy for kids to trace.  The version below has no outlines which allows players to make longer words, phrases, or even more complex hanged dudes!  Hangman really is a game of unlimited fun!

If you need directions on how to play Hangman, About.com has thorough instructions.  Just click on the Hangman templates, and you can download them from GoogleDrive.  After downloading, feel free to print them as many times as you like!


Counting Mazes


Counting Mazes

Counting Mazes are amazing little puzzles that challenge the solver to find their way through the maze, while at the same time helping them to practice their counting skills.  The benefits of solving mazes are many.  They develop fine motor skills, teach planning and forethought, and hone visualization skills.  Counting mazes have the added benefit of sharpening arithmetic skills!

My newest puzzle pack contains 10 counting mazes.  There are 2 to a page and each maze focuses on counting only 10 numbers.  You will find puzzles for counting 1 to 10, 11 to 20, all the way up to 91 to 100.  These puzzles are geared towards kindergarteners and first graders.

Included in the PDF:
10 mazes in both color and b/w
Answer Keys

Clicking on the cover art above will take you to my Teachers Pay Teachers store where you can purchase this puzzle pack for only $2.00!  You can also try two mazes out for free.  Just click on the image below to download.

Free Counting Mazes 

If you like mazes, I have a set of Skip Counting Mazes available for $2.00 also!

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

New Freebies!

Two new freebies have been posted at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Cub Corner Set 5 is all about flowers to help celebrate the onset of Spring!  Fun Friday Set 6 has 3 fun word games.  Click on the covers below, and you will be linked to my TpT store where you can download the freebies! 



Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Fabulous Giveaway from Scribble Doodle and Draw

Scribble Doodle and Draw is running a totally awesome giveaway on her blog this week in celebration of reaching a 100 followers milestone!  She has four different giveaways going on for different grade levels.  There are packs for Kindergarten, grades 1-2, 3-4, and 5-10.  Each giveaway is PACKED with amazing resources from some of the awesome teachers over at TeachersPayTeachers.com.  My Turtle Puzzles for Young Solvers pack is included in the grades 1-2 pack!  Check out her blog for more information and to sign up for a chance to win!


A BIG thank you goes out to Scribble Doodle and Draw for all her time and effort putting together this fun giveaway!  You can also check out her store at TeachersPayTeachers.com to see her whimsical products!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

St Patrick's Day Puzzles for Young Solvers

This weekend I released a new set of puzzles for young solvers with a St Patrick's Day theme.  These puzzles have been designed for students in grades K-3(ish).  It contains a variety of math and word puzzles.

Included in this PDF:
St Pat's Pot of Gold Coloring - letter identification
St Pat's Word Search - related words and a hidden word
St Pat's Shamrock Search - find the 4-leaf clovers
St Pat's Word Scramble - unscramble words to find the hidden word
St Pat's Hidden Word - complete facts about St Pat's day and find a hidden word
Even/Odd Coloring - color even and odd number to reveal hidden pictures
St Pat's Pattern Puzzler - complete patterns and reveal a riddle
St Pat's Sequence Puzzler - complete number sequences and reveal a riddle
St Pat's Day Maze
St Pat's Picto-Sudoku
Copies of all puzzles in both color and black & white
Answer Keys

The super cute graphics that I used in this set are from Creative Clips, another sweet store at TeachersPayTeachers!

Click on the cover art below and you will be linked to the puzzle set at TeacherPayTeachers.com where you can purchase it for just $2.00!





Saturday, March 2, 2013

How puzzles help Teachers, Parents and Homeschoolers

I figured I should address how I think puzzles are beneficial in the various settings of the schoolroom, the homeschool room and the home.  (Interesting how very related all these things are...school, home, room)  And, or course, how they can be used in each setting by the instructors and students.

So let's address the public (and private) school setting first, since that's the biggest (the most kids and the largest facilities!)  I can see puzzles being used as free time activities or for early finishers.  This helps give students something fun to do, but is also a sneaky way of getting extra math/word practice in and developing those critical thinking skills too.  Another way to use puzzles in the classroom would be in unit studies.  For example, when learning about turtles, students could practice vocabulary with a word search or other word puzzle.  My kids and I are now very familiar with the word "scute" after playing around with the Scute Number Match puzzle that I made.  I don't think we'll ever forget what a scute is!  As another example, I've been working on a geometry pack of puzzles.  These could easily be integrated into a geometry unit to help practice and cement those feisty geometry terms!  Classrooms today seem so busy, but I do think puzzles can be sneaked in somewhere in a beneficial way.  Of course, I don't have any classroom experience myself, so these are just ideas.  If you are a teacher and have some other ideas, please feel free to add a comment!

For homeschoolers, puzzles can be used in much the same way.  Homeschoolers don't generally have free time to fill up.  When you're done for the day, you're done, but puzzles can be used to supplement many different subject areas.  History and science are two areas where homeschoolers sometimes have trouble keeping on target.  (I know from experience!  It's easy enough to get through the grammar, spelling and math, but when it comes to that science experiment at the end of the day...ugh!)  I've found that just reading a history lesson doesn't always embed the facts into the student's brain, but the added activities (which can include puzzles!) are what really help.  Exposure to a subject or idea over several days and in several different ways is a great way to "memorize" something without even trying!  Of course, my favorite way of using puzzles in the homeschool classroom is during logic time.  We've used several different logic programs which are fine in their own ways, but we have the most fun just doing puzzles.  Puzzles really are a great way to flex the mind, and in my thinking, at grades 4 and 6, this should be the goal of a logic program.  Plus, I love to sneak in some math facts practice hidden under the veneer of a fun puzzle!

For parents, puzzles are a great way to spend some time with your kids!  I like to pull out a puzzle book at the end of the night and do a couple puzzles with my kids right before story time.  (Yes, we still do story time at their ages!)  Games Magazine has a fantastic book out for kids called "Kids' Big Book of Games".  Here's a picture.


And Nickelodeon used to do a magazine packed with puzzles for kids that we thoroughly enjoyed.  I don't know if they still make it, as I haven't seen it at the bookstore in quite some time.  I so enjoy working on these puzzles with my kids.  Sometimes, trying to solve a puzzle on your own is hard work, but pooling the resources of several brains together can really make it a fun and easy activity!  I am always tickled at the insights my kids have.  One night, we were working on a puzzle from the Games book where we had to identify states based on their shape.  Some were rotated and the sizes were exaggerated and, quite frankly, I was a little bewildered!  But my daughter (who was 8 at the time) was able to correctly identify almost all of them!  What totally floored me was that we had never studied the US states before!  These kids soak up info without my even realizing it!  Anyhow, my biggest piece of advice for parents is to always make puzzle time something fun.  If a puzzle gets too hard, move on and don't worry about it.

Wait, wait!  I just thought of something else...Family time is a big deal these days, and I see commercials advertising board games being used as a fun family time activity.  And it is!  I love games too, and some of the best also teach critical thinking and problem solving skills.  Here's a quick list off the top of my head of some of the better games in the puzzling world:  Quirkle, Blockus, Blink, Set, Apples to Apples JR and Labyrinth.  I'll write more on games later, but these are very good ones to get you started, that have the added bonus of not being too complex or having too many rules to learn.

I hope this post has helped give you some ideas about solving puzzles with kids!  And if you need some puzzles to work with, I have two sets of puzzle freebies.  Cub Corner packs are for kids in grades K-3 and Fun Friday packs are for grades 4-6.  Of course, student abilities vary, so you should pick and choose which puzzles you think will fit best with your kids!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Fun Friday Set 5

Fun Friday Set 5 is now available!  This freebie contains 3 puzzles.  The first one is a giant word search full of different types of apples.  Students will be astonished to learn that there are around 7500 apple varieties in the world!  (I was!)  The next two puzzles are on one page.  There is a Crypto-Family where students must decrypt a list of things found in the Solar System.  They will not only test their word skills, but also their knowledge of the universe!  The last puzzle is called Word Circles and contains words hidden inside...wait for it...circles!  It is up to the student to figure out where the words start and whether to go clockwise or counter-clockwise to find the hidden words.

My two smarty-pants kids loved the Word Circles.  Probably because it was the easiest puzzle in this pack!  The Crypto-Family gave them some trouble, but between us, we tweaked things to keep it on a 4th-6th grade level.  We added a couple of pictorial hints to help things along too!  They always seem to enjoy the word searches.  I hope your students enjoy solving these puzzles!

Included in the PDF:
Apples Word Search - a giant word search filled with the names of 25 types of apples and a bonus hidden apple
Crypto Family - an encrypted list of things "In the Solar System"
Word Circles - words hidden in a circle, all things found in cans
Answer Key

Clicking on the cover art below will take you to TpT (TeachersPayTeachers.com) where you can download the freebie!