Friday, December 17, 2010

Entertain Your Kids With Puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles are one of the many toys you can give out to your kids. Putting pieces together is a good exercise for the brain, especially when it involves a logical way of putting it. The more difficult the puzzle is, the more challenging it can be.

More and more puzzles are being sold out in the market. The puzzles come in different forms. Even toddlers can enjoy puzzles when they come into different sizes and shapes. For adults, crossword

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

3 Sudoku Tips That Will Help You Solve Puzzles

Would a few Sudoku tips help you solve this puzzle? Many people have difficulty solving even the easiest puzzles. If you are one, or you know someone that has trouble, here are a few tips to increase your solving success.

Sudoku Tip #1 - Where Do You Start

Do you wonder where is the best place to start solving Sudoku? You can start anywhere, but some places are better than others. Some people like to examine a row, column, or 3x3 grid where there are four or more numbers already placed. There is a good chance that you might solve a cell or two here.

I like to use the scanning method to check for cells that only have naked and hidden singles. Some Sudoku solvers call this technique slicing and dicing. The idea is to eliminate cells that can contain the searched number by observing the location of that number in other rows, or columns. If you have enough instances of the same number, you will be left with one cell that must contain that number.

Sudoku Tip #2 - Be Consistent

When using a technique like scanning, you should be consistent. You need to try every number. You can start with the number one, and try that number. Then go to two, and so on until you have tried all nine numbers.

After you have tried all nine numbers, scan again using all nine numbers. Do this as long as you are solving cells.

Sudoku Tip #3 - Find All Possible Candidates

Many Sudoku tips require you to find all the possible candidates for each cell. Doing so you can quickly view every cell to see if you missed a naked single, a single candidate of any number.

Once you have candidates penciled in for every cell, you can begin to use the many candidate elimination techniques. Common candidate elimination techniques include naked pairs, triples, quads, x-wing, xy-wing, and swordfish. There are many others.

As you use these candidate elimination techniques, be sure to remove the candidate from all remaining cells as you solve each cell. Failure to do so will introduce mistakes.

Now you have a few Sudoku tips to help you solve Sudoku puzzles. Every Sudoku puzzle from easy to fiendish can be solved using these Sudoku tips. Find a place to start, be consistent in your scanning, and practice candidate elimination techniques.

Monday, December 13, 2010

How to Make English Crossword Puzzles

Hey teachers of English! Would you like to have a chance to keep your students busy at any given time during the class? Why not use thematic crossword puzzles which are both fun to do and extremely entertaining. In this article, I am going to tell you how you can create crossword puzzles yourself using the MS Word tables and the Google define function.

Ok, let's say you need to develop a crossword puzzle on the topic 'Weather'. First of all, you need to think of the words that will be included in your puzzle. This is not a problem, if you are ready to spend some 5 minutes on brainstorming the topic Weather. You might end up with the list of words like rain, snow, sunshine. Now you need the definitions for those words. You can spend some more time thinking of those by yourself, or you can use the Google define function. Type 'define: rain' in the Google search bar and press Enter. Google will provide you with a bunch of definitions which you can use for your crossword puzzle.

Now you have the words and the definitions, but you still don't have the crossword puzzle. Ok, open the MS Word application and draw a table. Then type the words in the table cells in a crossword manner, one cell for one letter. Before you do that, you might want to make sure you have enough cells to fit all words both vertically and horizontally. Don't forget that you also need an extra cell for a number before each word. Once you have fitted in all the words and numbers, you need to paint the blank squares black or other color.

To do it quickly, select several cells, then right-click selected area and choose 'borders and shading'. Click the Shading tab. On the left side, under Fill, select the color you would like to use. On the right side, under Apply to, use the drop-down arrow and select Cell. Click OK. Proceed in this manner until you shade all the blank cells. List your questions according to the numbers in the table. Now delete Words from the table. Your crossword puzzle is complete!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fun Puzzle Games Can Be Addicting

You must have surely come across a puzzle in your life and you must have enjoyed the experience. Well, puzzles can be interesting, time consuming, exciting, fun and refreshing. Some fun puzzle games may have kept you so busy that you didn't even realize the time you spent on it and when you actually see the clock, you realize that it has been way more that you ever expected.

Puzzles are available in different styles and kinds. You can either go to the market and buy a puzzle book or just search online and print puzzles. There are a variety of options for you to choose from. You could either go for mind, number, or word puzzles, as well as crosswords, riddles or fun jigsaw puzzle games. All of them can be exciting and mind boggling.

Puzzles for kids can also be a great pastime. Kids can spend hours and hours together trying to solve puzzles without losing interest and getting bored. For how long can a child keep coloring images that have been created by someone else or draw imaginary pictures? If they don't enjoy solving word puzzles, they could shift to number puzzles or just enjoy fun jigsaw puzzle games.

Word games help to keep the mind of a person active and refreshed. Number puzzles also do the same. Crosswords help improve the vocabulary and knowledge of a person. Jigsaw puzzle games help the child understand how things can be joint and made into such a beautiful structure. There are jigsaw puzzles that have 5 pieces, and there are jigsaw puzzles, which have about 1000 pieces. Each one has a different level of difficulty and will take different amounts of your time.

There are also some math puzzles available online. These help to improve your aptitude and strategic techniques. Of course, they also help to brush up your math skills and formulas time and again. Reasoning and logic puzzles also help you become smarter and increase your IQ level.

If you think that you don't have the time to sit down on a table and solve fun puzzle games in a book or join the pieces of your jigsaw puzzle, you could just sit on a computer and do it online. You could save your puzzle and come back to it if you think you can't solve it in one go. And this will happen a lot of times when you won't be able to complete the puzzle in your free time and you will not be satisfied till you get the solution.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Crossword Puzzles Solving Tips

In order to solve crossword puzzles, you need to begin by taking steps to prepare yourself. A couple of handy items to have are a dictionary and thesaurus, so that you will not get hung up by confusing words and phrases. Other necessities are a good, sharp pencil or two, and an eraser. You will also want to be sitting at a table or desk in a well lit area.

Start by reading over all the clues.This will give you a good idea about which ones are easy, and which ones may give you some problems. It can also help you to mark the clues according to difficulty, by making a check mark by clues you can solve easily, and circling the difficult clues you may need to research in order to solve. You may want to take a break and rest your mind regularly, especially if you are solving one of the larger puzzles.   

When solving crosswords, you will give yourself a head start on the harder, longer words, and eliminate a majority of the puzzle.  by filling in all the easy clues first. You can break the puzzle into blocks, across and down, until you reach the end of the clue list. Sometimes there may be a clue that could have two or more solutions. You can write all of the possible answers down alongside their respective clues until you fill in enough squares to exclude the words that do not fit.

Once you finish with all the easy clues, start on the longer words. Use a dictionary or thesaurus if you encounter a word with which you are unfamiliar. You could also refer to a Bible or an encyclopedia, if the clue will refers to a Biblical quote, or to a specific location or an event in history. Work through these clues in the same way you did with the easy clues, block by block.  

As more words get filled in, the puzzle will get easier to solve, especially since some of the squares will be filled in when solving previous clues.

A lot of times, the harder clues will be a play on words that are related to the theme of the crossword puzzle, so you may have to take the theme of the puzzle into consideration in order to solve it. After that, you may be able to solve the crossword by process of elimination and by using some simple logic.  

On occasion, the puzzle author may use some little tricks, like using numbers or symbols to complete parts of  words or phrases. Solving a puzzle like this will require a little creativity on your part. For instance, a puzzle may have the word "arrow" in each theme related clue, and that may indicate a need to put an actual arrow where these clues intersect. Sometimes, you may have to replace a word with a number.

By using these simple tips, you should find that solving crossword puzzles is not as hard as you thought. Keep solving crosswords, so you will get that great feeling of accomplishment relieve some of the stress of your day, and also exercise your mind.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Learning to Improve Memory

It's always a good time to take efforts to stay in shape, both physically and mentally. Whether you are worried about losing your memory or have already begun to experience a decrease in memory function, engaging in activities to keep your mind sharp is always a smart idea.

A variety of activities exist that are capable of either improving a failing memory or preventing an otherwise perfectly functioning memory from deteriorating. If you are experiencing some memory loss or if you are concerned that you could have memory problems at some point in the future, then you will certainly benefit from giving these exercises a chance.

You are going to experience a greater portion of success if you proceed with a plan. If you just start playing card games or doing crossword puzzles because someone told you that it's good for your memory, but you don't do this with a specific goal in mind then you will likely fail. What's worse, you will likely blame your failure on you believe that crossword puzzles or games do not improve your memory. What really led to the failure was your lack of a plan. So set a goal and make a plan to get there in a reasonable amount of time. Do not overwhelm yourself, but also do not make it too easy for yourself.

One of the best things you can do to improve your memory is play cards. Any card game will do. It doesn't matter how difficult or easy it is. What does matter is that it is enjoyable to you. Any card game you find addictive is the best. The more you can play each day, the better it is for your brain and memory.

If you don't enjoy card games, then try word or number puzzles. Some favorites are Sudoku and crossword puzzles. Again, what matters is that you enjoy playing. If there is a puzzle you can enjoy doing for hours and that you have to pull yourself away from, then you are in luck. Keeping your brain in shape will be a breeze.

Friday, December 3, 2010

How Puzzles Can Help With Team Building

The term puzzle could refer to a brain teaser type of puzzle in which group effort would be required to figure out the problem and or solution, or it could refer to an actual jigsaw puzzle activity. How would you incorporate a jigsaw puzzle into team building?

A Puzzle Exercise

Start by dividing your group into teams. Give each team pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and give simple instructions to put the puzzle together as quickly as possible. Imply or even state that each team has the same puzzle and make sure the pieces appear as if they are complete. In actuality, there is only one jigsaw puzzle and the teams will never finish the puzzle until they figure out the secret: team work! Teams assume they are competing against each other and will usually take a while before they realize that the pieces they need the other team has. The importance of teamwork is further highlight by letting the teams themselves figure this out, not by asking for help from the team manager. Eventually they figure out the point of working together for a common goal.

There are some logistical notes on this puzzle game; make sure you find a jigsaw puzzle complex enough to convince teams that there are actually several different puzzles in use. Ensure there are sufficient pieces to occupy all members of the team. Clues might be given to help out teams (like what the picture is) especially if it's a relatively short puzzle game. You might also choose to offer a reward upon completion of the puzzle within a certain time frame. The winners would be the entire group, once they figure out the problem. There are no winners or losers in this exercise; team cooperation is the goal!

Other Puzzle Activities

Puzzle games require a lot of patience and team work if several people are participating. Puzzle activities can be an educational deception like the previous problem or could be a regular puzzle session where pieces are put together by team members as quickly as possible. If possible, use jigsaw puzzles that relate to the industry you are in.

Puzzle games are an excellent way keep your team motivated and to liven up a dull office atmosphere. Puzzle games can be used as ice breakers, training sessions, workshop activities, seminars, conferences and other meetings. Puzzle games can also refer to lateral thinking puzzles, trick questions, brain teasers, logic puzzles and number puzzles.

When planning a puzzle, remember that it's not so much the puzzle that's important, rather the point you are trying to make with this team building exercise. You may be trying to stress the importance of team work or you may want to illustrate a point about communication. Whatever your intentions remember that the puzzle is a teaching technique and should focus on the issue at hand.