By Lindsay Small
In less than a year the Sudoku bug has infected huge numbers
the UK population, and it is fast spreading across the world!
Why has a simple logic puzzle become so popular, and how can
your kids benefit?
Sudoku puzzles were first published in the US in the 1970s and
are sometimes known as "Number Squares". They have been
for many years in Japan, where the name "Sudoku" (meaning
"single number") was coined. The current craze was started
in 2004 when a UK newspaper started publishing the puzzles.
Within weeks the puzzles were picked up in other newspapers
Sudoku became the pastime of choice for commuters, parents –
>From a parent’s point of view, Sudoku puzzles are perfect for
long journeys, waiting rooms, and rainy afternoons. They are
being found more and more in the classroom as teachers wake up
to their benefits and use them as time-fillers for children
finish early, as whole class activity, or as “homework”.
the UK government-produced Teachers magazine has recommended
that Sudoku puzzles are used in the classroom as brain
As well as developing your child's logic and reasoning skills
and concentration, Sudoku puzzles, if done at the right level,
build your child's confidence. Children of all abilities enjoy
the challenge of a Sudoku puzzle, if the puzzle is
age-appropriate. Bear in mind that many of the puzzles
published in newspapers are too difficult for younger
so it is worth seeking out puzzles made especially for kids.
Children as young as five years old can try the 4x4 grids,
build up to the 6x6 grids and finally the traditional 9x9
Why are Sudoku so appealing? Firstly, although Sudoku grids
usually use numbers, your child does not need mathematical
skills to solve the puzzles – only logic. Using logical
reasoning appropriate to his/her age, your child decides how
place numbers into a Sudoku grid. There is only one correct
answer for each puzzle, no guessing is necessary, and the
are easy to learn. The more puzzles you do, the better you
become. Each puzzle typically takes a child about 20-30
to complete, and gives them a real sense of satisfaction when
And that, really, is the secret of their popularity. You feel
good when you finish one! And then you want to try another
and another ….
About The Author: Lindsay Small is the owner of Activity
Village, packed full of fun and educational activities for
kids. Do you have children aged 2-10? Visit
ww.ActivityVillage.co.uk to find free kids crafts,
printables, educational resources, worksheets, coloring pages
and puzzles, jigsaws and, of course, Sudoku puzzles!