Week 15: Learning Problem Solving with Secret Message Puzzles
Puzzles are a great problem solving practice. The kinds of sleuthing required to solve The Trip Clip’s secret message puzzles will help introduce your child to skill that will help them solve math problems, science problems, and computer programming problems.
The Trip Clip offers a wide variety of secret message puzzles, for very young children, to much older ones, and with lots of different fun themes. You can even write your own puzzles to include your child’s name, or themes they love.
The easiest puzzles are designed to teach young children how this kind of puzzle works, and help them feel successful. All they need to do is transfer the correct letter into the puzzle answer at the top based on the number underneath each box.
Intermediate puzzles are harder, because the entire key is not included. You have to try to figure out the key by looking at the information you have and figuring out the missing letters.
In this puzzle, you might guess that the first word is BECAUSE, which would let you fill in the 3, 9, 6, and 10. Or you could list all the two-letter words that are __E and guess that 4 is a B, an H, an M, or a W, and then use that information make guesses at the 3rd word or the last word in the puzzle.
Truly serious spies may want to try their hand at the super hard version of this puzzle, where no information is given ahead of time.
In this puzzle, you need to look for clues in the length of the words, or in repeated patterns, or in guesses about what the phrase is likely to be.
For example, there are 3 words that are just one letter long, which means 11 is either an A or an I. Mostly likely an A. Assuming it is an A, then there are two 2-letter words start with an A, which means number 17 is probably an N, T, or S. Looking at the question at the top, we can guess that the first word might be CATS, which fits with our belief that 11 is A, and that would make 17 an S. We can try plugging in C for 13, and T for 4, and figure out if we’re on the right track!
This kind of deductive reasoning is very useful in math, science, and computer programming, and this is a super fun way to practice it!
Make Your Own Puzzle
The Trip Clip even lets you make your own puzzles, at any difficulty level you like.
Here’s an article about all the great things kids can learn from doing puzzles: http://www.bigfishgames.com/blog/why-puzzles-are-good-for-kids/