Monday, March 10, 2014


I finally broke down and ordered this book from Amazon last week, and it came in the mail today! It is Pentomino Puzzles: 365 Teasers to Keep Your Brain in Shape by Eric Harshbarger.  I was surprised to find that it came with a set of pentominoes!  I guess if you can read the little purple circle at the top of the book in the picture, then you would know that it "Includes a full set of 12 pentominoes."  I figured I'd just use the book with the set I already own, but a new set is nice!

The book contains 365 shape outlines.  The challenge for each one is to place all 12 pentominoes so that they create that shape!  Trust me, this is much harder than it looks! 

Pentomino Grid

As I tried to solve some of these challenges, I thought to myself that it would be really nice to have a grid to work on.  So I whipped one up in Photoshop.  Each square of the grid is 5/8ths of an inch, so the pieces that come with the book fit the grid perfectly.  You can download the grid by clicking on the photo above.  Just watch that your printer doesn't resize the image.  I make sure"Scale to fit media" is NOT checked when I print, to alleviate this problem.

I even picked a challenge and drew it onto the paper.  It certainly helped to be able to fit the pentominoes into a more visual grid.  I do wish the pentominoes that came with the puzzle were marked by these...
Pentominos at Amazon

Pentominoes are composed of 5 squares each.  It's easier to visualize possible spots for the pieces when the squares are marked on them, as well as having a grid.  But maybe that's cheating?!

In any case, here's a picture of the train puzzle solved.  It took 2 brains to solve this one, plus a hint or two from the answers.  I thought this one would be easy as there are several spots where only one or two pieces could possibly fit.  This was supposed to help whittle down the possibilities, but it didn't seem to help that much!

But having a grid was definitely a bonus.  Feel free to print as many of these as you like.  I'm sure kids would appreciate having a grid to work with.  Especially if you draw some challenges out for them too!

This book would be great for older kids and adults.  Younger kids would probably get way too frustrated with the challenges, but I'm sure they would enjoy building their own creations with them!  You could also use the grids to copy down creations that your children have made.

More information about Pentominoes can be found at Eric Harshbarger's website.

While I was surfing the web for Pentomino information, I came across some really fun make-it-yourself versions.  Check these out!

Knit Pentominos

Knit Pentominoes by Wooly Thoughts

Lego Pentominos

Lego version also from Eric H

Perler Bead Pentominos

Perler Bead version from Rachel Swartley

Have fun!

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