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Exercise Your Child’s Brain With the Best Puzzle Books
Last updated: 13 Oct 2023
We still don’t know a lot about what goes on in a child’s mind, even though we’ve all had one at some point. Children may be young but can excel at things that grown adults struggle with. One common trait you may notice with some children is that they may be incredibly adept at solving mental exercises and puzzles. If your child enjoys these types of activities, you may want to provide them with more puzzle-like content to help their brain continue developing and growing.
With one or even several puzzle books, your kid can continue to practice and refine their critical thinking skills, attention to detail, and more. While some puzzles may not necessarily teach skills that would be useful in real life, they keep your child mentally stimulated. Here are some of the highest-rated puzzle books in 2023 worth considering.
Books aren’t just for reading, they can be for fun activities, too. This guide will cover everything there is to know about puzzle books and how to find the right one for you or your child.
What Is a Puzzle Book?
In the simplest of terms, a puzzle book is a book that contains mental exercises and puzzles. The reader is challenged with trying to solve these exercises, using different skills and logic depending on the type of puzzle. Puzzle books can vary greatly in design, difficulty, and type, but they’re all made with the idea that you’ll need to think critically to find the solution.
Why Should You Buy Puzzle Books?
Puzzle books may seem like a waste of time to some, but they’re actually a lot more beneficial than you might think. Studies have shown that puzzles can help your child become smarter. For example, jigsaw puzzles can improve spatial reasoning in children, which helps them discern and understand shapes and figures. While puzzle books aren’t exactly jigsaw puzzles, they do exercise the brain in similar ways, and this can help your growing child develop mental skills that may come in handy later in life.
Different Types of Puzzle Books
Search-and-find books are simple books that contain large, detailed images filled with many different objects. The goal of a search-and-find puzzle book is to find specific objects in the larger picture. Sometimes, this can involve finding a variety of foods in a kitchen or looking for one person in a crowd of hundreds.
Children enjoy using search-and-find books because the images themselves are quite captivating. They can showcase all kinds of cool scenes, such as a busy downtown street, a crowded alien space station, or a castle under siege. Aside from this, search-and-find books don’t require much effort to solve, as you’re only really using your eyes to find the objects. While not everyone may consider it a true “puzzle book,” it’s puzzling enough to keep your child interested for hours on end.
Sudoku has an interesting history. While the name itself is Japanese, the modern version of sudoku is accredited to an architect from Indiana named Howard Garns. The concept of sudoku is simple enough that, in minutes, anyone can start solving it. What’s more, it relies on simple logic concepts that you don’t need to learn from a textbook to pick up intuitively.
Studies have related sudoku to mental activity, which can help keep your brain alert and in good form. With it being such a simple type of puzzle to learn, you can introduce sudoku to your children at a young age and have them solving puzzles in no time. You will need to find puzzles suited for their age, as sudoku puzzles can vary greatly in difficulty, but in general, they’re fun to play around with.
Logic puzzle books
If you’re looking for something a little more advanced or unique, then you’ll want to introduce your child to logic puzzles. These are puzzles that follow certain sets of rules, and the goal is to find a solution that adheres to the rules provided. Think of sudoku, but with a lot more variety. You could be finding a missing number among a group of three or maybe you’re trying to arrange certain shapes in specific ways.
Logic puzzle books can be quite challenging to solve, even for adults. Because of this, your child may not be able to solve them or even find them interesting. Some kids do find logic puzzles interesting, though, so it doesn’t hurt to have your child try some out.
Puzzle books don’t have to be all that complicated to be fun, and Fun to Find! is a great example of this. Made by Krissy Bonning-Gold, this puzzle book features your typical search-and-find activities that come in playful colors and images. What makes this particular book interesting is that the objects you’re looking for are common items that your child may come across at home, school, or anywhere else they typically go.
Because of the familiarity of such items, this puzzle book can also help teach your child to identify certain objects. The objects in the book may not look exactly like what they’d look like in real life, but they’re close enough to recognize. It’s the best overall puzzle book that offers both practical benefits and fun to kids who read it.
Search-and-find books are quite popular — Where’s Waldo (or Where’s Wally, depending on where you live) is a testament to this. But a lot of them are quite simple. The images may be very plain, with not enough details to fully hide the objects that are supposed to be invisible in plain sight. If you want something that offers a real challenge to both kids and adults, then this puzzle book may be what you’re looking for.
While the title The Hardest Hidden Pictures Book Ever can be up for debate, there’s no doubt that this book is quite challenging. Each page is littered with tiny images, many of which increase in difficulty slightly as you solve them. As it is a children’s book, the images are not impossible to solve, but they’re just hard enough to keep your kid focused for hours.
This next puzzle book is great for those who need something more than just a good puzzle to stay interested. A good story can hook anyone in, and Montague Island Mysteries and Other Logic Puzzles has exactly that. This puzzle book features a story that follows a group of friends, and as you solve more puzzles, you start to learn more and more about its secrets.
Because of the intrigue that comes with these mystery stories, they’re great for fueling interest in puzzles for your child. Every logic puzzle feels connected to the story in one way or another, and solving each puzzle keeps them more and more engrossed, determined to figure out what’s going to happen next. This option is a refreshing take on the puzzle book genre, giving your typical puzzle book a great narrative twist.
Sudoku is an engaging type of puzzle that’s fun for all ages. The concept of sudoku is simple — you need to finish adding numbers to a nine-by-nine grid in such a way that the boxes of every row and column contain the numbers one through nine, with no more than one of each number. At first, this might sound hard to wrap your head around, but there are tons of beginner-friendly sudoku puzzles that even children can solve on their own.
What makes sudoku such a great puzzle book is its ability to teach you how to work with logic and deductive reasoning through the process of elimination. For example, if you know that the number 8 is on a line, then none of the empty squares on that same line can contain that number. The Big Book of Sudoku contains over 500 puzzles that range from beginner-friendly ones to challenging ones, so your child can try harder ones the more they play.
This last book is here for perfect for kids that are particularly sharp at solving puzzles. While some kids prefer basic puzzle-type activities such as tic-tac-toe and Connect Four, other kids enjoy difficult mental puzzles that even adults might have trouble figuring out.
Ranging from sudoku to crossword, Ultimate Mind Games features 400 advanced puzzles that will test one’s mental capabilities. The puzzles are varied and follow their own sets of rules, forcing you to adapt to whatever the current ruleset is. Do note that it’s likely your child may not be able to solve the puzzles in the book, much less take interest in them, so this pick is not for everyone. At worst, though, you can enjoy the book yourself, as it’s a fun way to pass the time and rattle your noggin a bit.
A: In a way, yes. Certain puzzle activities can help improve spatial reasoning and other skills that one would associate with smartness.
Q: What is the best type of puzzle book for children?
A: This depends on what your child prefers. Some children love simple puzzle books such as search-and-find books, whereas others may find joy in using their brains to solve mental exercises and activities.
Q: When should I introduce puzzle books to my child?
A: Since puzzle books usually require the ability to read, you may want to introduce them to your child around 4 or 5 years old.
The Mighty Moms Reviews Team’s product reviews and in-depth guides are here to help you tackle motherhood and everything that comes along with it. The content is created by The Mighty Moms Reviews Team. Mighty Moms’ editorial staff is not involved. Mighty Moms is reader-supported: When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.