Most kids use some form of logic every day. But they may not realize it.
Logic is as simple as saying ‘It’s early in the morning and mom isn’t in bed. She must be in the kitchen”.
Logic is simply making conclusions based on information and piecing them together in a sensible way.
We can use puzzles to help kids practice their logic skills.
Explaining Logic to Kids
Before heading straight for the puzzles, I prefer to explain logic in a more concrete way. I like to walk my kids through a few exercises to show them how to make logical conclusions. Some are more obvious than others but the idea is just to illustrate logic.
Guess the Color
The first logic activity I like to do is called Guess the Color. Gather 4 objects that are all the same color. Put them in a bag.
Tell your kids there are 4 objects in the bag and they’re all the same color (or same type of object). Then pull out 3 of the objects. As you’re taking them out, name them. (this is a red truck, this is a red paper, this is a red mitten) and have them “guess” the color of the last object. Obviously, it’s going to be red. But they’re using logic to come to this conclusion.
Phase your conclusion this way ‘All of the objects are the same color. The first 3 objects are red. Therefore, the last object will also be red.”
This phrasing models the way we use premises to come to a conclusion. If both premises are true, then the conclusion will also be true.
Who did it?
Gather a few dolls, stuffed animals, action figures, etc. You just need a few suspects.
Yes, I said suspects. This is a mystery. Feel free to embellish your story as much as you’d like.
Or you can stick with the generic – someone stole cookies from the cookie jar. The goal is that your kids will figure out who did it.
Make a list of clues to present one at a time.
Perhaps you found crumbs near one. Another has chocolate chip residue on their hands. One person couldn’t have done it because they were at swim lessons all morning.
Maybe there was a security camera that caught the person but all you could tell is that they were wearing a green shirt.
Present the clues and let them use logic to eliminate the possibilities one by one until they’re left with the one who did it.
Walk Through a Puzzle Together
The next step is to walk through a puzzle together. By this time, they should have a basic understanding of how to come to logical conclusions.
Choose a puzzle to get started with (I have a giant selection here) and get it all set up.
I’d suggest doing the puzzle yourself before doing it with your kids, if possible. Sometimes there are mistakes in puzzles and that would not be a great way to start learning SuDoKu.
First, how to explain SuDoKu
The first step is to show them the goal.
In the easy versions of SuDoKu there are 4 sections, 4 columns, and 4 rows. Point out each section, column, and row. Make sure they know what you’re talking about.
Then explain that each section, row, and column can only have 1 of each picture. The puzzle is figuring out how to get all of the pieces on the board without having more than 1 of each picture in each section, row, and column.
Putting Down the First Pieces
There’s almost always a version easy piece to put down first in the easy SuDoKu puzzles.
Look for one picture that has 3 already on the board.
Ask your child what piece they’d like to start with – see if anything sticks out to them.
Let them try to work it out on their own before jumping in and suggesting anything.
If they can’t see an option, suggest one.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that there are 3 apples on your puzzle and only 1 apple left to place. You could suggest starting with the apple. And see if they can figure out where it goes.
If they’re still stuck (and they might be! SuDoKu isn’t hard but it often doesn’t just make sense for kids, either) then model what you’re doing.
‘I noticed that there’s an apple in this section, so it can’t go there. This section has no apple, so it must belong here. This row already has an apple in another section. And this column has an apple, too. Therefore, the last apple must belong here’
Keep Adding Pieces
Continue to wait and see if your child will place pieces on their own. Or suggest ones to try if they’re a bit stuck.
If my kids are too nervous to try (too scared to be wrong) then I might put a piece down in an obviously wrong spot and see if they correct me.
It’s a useful skill being able to identify when you’ve put a piece down incorrectly.
Just keep going until you’ve completed the entire puzzle!
How to Troubleshoot SuDoKu Problems
If you get to a point where you’re stuck – there are no more places for pieces but the puzzle isn’t complete – then either the puzzle was put together incorrectly (it happens) or you’ve placed something done incorrectly.
First, check the pieces you’ve put down to make sure you didn’t accidentally double up in a row or column. It’s easier to miss pictures in other rows and columns, so that’s where I usually start.
If you find your mistake and you can easily fix it, then do. I usually find I need to restart the puzzle.
Where to Get Easy SuDoKu Printable Puzzles for Kids
I love logic puzzles and SuDoKu is one of my favorite games. So I’ve been making SuDoKu puzzles for kids for many years.
You can find my entire selection of SuDoKu puzzles for kids right here.