Monday, February 6, 2012
Valentine's 3x3 Square Puzzle
My children really enjoy the 3x3 square puzzles put out by MindWare, called "Squzzles". So, when I decided, that one day this week, I'd like to fill our Valentine's activity box with Valentine themed puzzles, I checked to see if MindWare had a Valentine's Squzzle. They don't - which left me making my own.
I started by drawing nine 8cm square boxes, in a grid, on a piece of card stock, and cutting out two hearts (one about 3cm square, and the other around 5 cm square) to use as a template for the design. I drew the squares with a very light pencil, so they lines could be easily removed later. In the picture below, I've added darker lines, so you can see them.
I also drew a line horizontally across the hearts, and measured in from the corners of the squares, so all of my hearts would line up.
Then, I just started drawing, and coloring in hearts on each side of the squares (take a look at the completed puzzle at the top of the post, if you don't know what a square puzzle is, and can't visualize what I'm talking about).
I had a Mindware puzzle beside me, so I could follow the placement pattern of the shapes, more or less. There are a number of pictures of completed Squzzles on the Mindware website, too. If you are following an existing puzzle pattern with say, animals, just think of the top of the heart as the head of the animal, and the bottom as the tail, and use a different colored or sized heart to replace each different animal.
When it came to hearts overlapping the edges, I placed a scrap of card stock underneath, so I could color over the edge, as if the heart continued, to keep from having a telltale straight line on each edge piece.
Midway through, I smudged my palm through a heart that was not quite dry yet, and made a print in the center of one of the squares. To cover for this mistake, I added a palm print in the middle of each square, as part of the design.
Once the marker was completely dry, I cut the squares apart...
...and scrambled them up.
I was worried that between my uneven cutting, and slightly off center hearts, the puzzle would be far too easy to figure out...
...but it took me a solid five minutes to put it back together, and I was the one who made it, and knew the design. With a paper cutter, and very careful measuring, it would be possible to increase the difficulty of the puzzle quite a bit. This one will be challenging enough for the children though, I'm sure.
It's great to be a homeschooler.