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Math and Science Brainteasers for the Whole Family


January is International Brainteaser Month and what better way to celebrate than with some mind boggling riddles and puzzles! The brain is a very powerful muscle and - like all other muscles in the body - it needs to be exercised to keep up its strength. Brainteasers are a fun and creative way to exercise the brain and learn important skills along the way!

At Science Naturally we love to challenge people of all ages to improve their brains. A healthy brain functions better (and longer) and improves memory and problems solving skills.


Brainteasers and puzzles come in many forms. Traditional jigsaw puzzles and other physical assembly puzzles, word puzzles, math puzzles, and logic puzzles have been enjoyed for generations, and exist all over the world. Regardless of what form they come in, puzzles and other thinking games offer extensive cognitive benefits while keeping kids of all ages active, engaged, and motivated to learn.


Developmental Benefits of Brainteasers and Puzzles


Our brains are stimulated by the unique challenges and problems that puzzles and brainteasers offer. Keeping your brain active with brain exercises helps build new brain cells and strengthens their connections! There are many benefits that come with brainteasers, including:

  • Increased brain activity

  • Emotional satisfaction and sense of accomplishment

  • Enhanced memory and information processing speed

  • Improved concentration

Educational Benefits of Brainteasers and Puzzles


Kathleen Donahue, a homeschool parent and owner of Labyrinth Games and Puzzles in Washington, D.C., facilitates after-school strategic game classes in 13 elementary schools, and knows firsthand the power of puzzles in children’s education. Donahue says that puzzles are “less intimidating than a lot of other educational instruments,” so kids have more confidence when practicing their skills. “With games, puzzles, and boardgames, there is an attainable solution. And if it is attainable, kids don’t give up.”

Educators like Donahue know that solving puzzles isn’t just fun. It actually exercises skills that make it easier for kids to understand and retain difficult lessons. These include critical thinking skills, problem solving abilities, creativity, visualization, and memory.


The benefits of puzzle solving don’t end with helping kids learn. Working on puzzles can also build social skills and promote positive thinking. Working together with other individuals demonstrates patience, teamwork, and listening skills. Furthermore, “Overcoming the challenges involved in solving a puzzle really gives [kids] a sense of achievement and pride within themselves,” says Janice Davis, Early Childhood Teacher and Learning 4 Kids Founder. “It provides a boost to their self-confidence and self-esteem.”


Building Math and Science Skills: One Minute Mysteries

Number-oriented games like chess, checkers, or the card game “ninety-nine” are great ways to exercise math skills. Logic puzzles and story problems are even better. Fun story problems can be found in our One Minute Mysteries series, which offer brief, one-page “mysteries” that can only be solved using math and logic skills. These brainteasers can be worked on individually or discussed together before revealing the answer on the next page.

“Math often gets a bad rap for being hard and unpleasant. Mysteries, on the other hand, are fun and exciting…. Readers get to use their logic and reasoning skills while playing Sherlock Holmes!”

~ Ryan McAllister, Ph.D., a biophysicist at Georgetown University


Our One Minute Mysteries provide a great opportunity for you and your little one to be super sleuths, tap into your science and/or math knowledge, and hone your critical thinking skills! Each story takes just one minute to read, and challenges your child's knowledge in a variety of science disciplines.


These brainteasers keep you engaged and eager to learn more! Written by a father-daughter team, these entertaining and educational books are great for kids, grown-ups, educators, and anyone who loves good mysteries!


Blending Math and Science Skills with Brainteasers and Puzzles


Incorporating brainteasers and puzzles into educational lessons can be tricky, but fortunately the One Minute Mysteries series has done this for you! The brainteasers format found in these mysteries requires kids to think critically and utilize their science knowledge to find a solution. Even without specific math or science content, any puzzle can be used to introduce the scientific method. To solve a puzzle, students must observe, hypothesize, test their solution, and make conclusions.

Every month Science Naturally has a new Mystery of the Month that you and your child can use to put those brain muscles to the test. You can sign also up to get monthly emails with one of the mysteries from the books in our One Minute Mysteries series!


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