The brain is a complex organ. On a good day, I can remember what I had for breakfast at a restaurant in upstate New York on the last 4th of July. On an off day, it takes me 3 attempts to get my son’s name right. It’s weird, and no one understands how the brain works unless you’re some kind of a brain scientist, but I suspect even those people are grasping at straws most of the time. And, yes, I do I know that these smarty-pants-brain-studying types are actually called neurologists. How do I know this? Crossword puzzles.
I have no idea if I’m supposed to be taking ginkgo biloba every day to boost my reasoning powers. Nor do I have a clue if eating salmon once a week improves my cognitive ability. What I do know is that doing a crossword puzzle each day keeps my control center sharp and my vocabulary in peak form. If crossword puzzles are this good for an adult dad person like me, imagine the benefits they have for children!
Are crosswords for kids good?
I’m glad you asked. The short answer is, “Yes, of course!” Puzzles in general are great for kids. Just find some that are age-appropriate and go for it. A simple search can yield books with printable preschoolers crossword, crossword puzzles for 1st graders, easy crossword puzzles for all ages, and more; the list is endless!
Still, how good are they? Crosswords for kids are amazing tools to get your children to use their brains, acquire some new vocabulary, and even learn how to spell these words correctly, all while they’re actually having fun. It’s next-level deception.
Kids are thought to get great satisfaction and confidence when they solve a puzzle. Crossword puzzles also enhance skills like reasoning and problem-solving, which are useful later in life, too.
And if you happen to find a crossword puzzle boasting a theme your child is interested in, then you have hit a parenting home run in something I like to call the keeping-your-child-entertained-while-educating-them business.
How to solve crossword puzzles for children
I’m sorry, maybe you’ve never done crossword puzzles before. Maybe you were too intimidated and never bothered to even try. That’s okay. I didn’t try broccoli until I was in my 20s. We all put things off for various reasons.
Here’s how they work. A crossword puzzle consists of a grid separated into open boxes and blacked-out boxes. There are numbers inside some of the open boxes and there will be clues designated for each number. Below the grid is where you can find these clues, which are separated into 2 categories: across and down.
All you need to do is match the numbered clue with the numbered box, and the answer you think of will be written across or down, depending on which column the clue was found in. Some clues are harder than others, but you’ll notice that when you solve one, some of the letters from your answer will intersect with other boxes, giving you a hint at what those harder answers might be. Tackle all the clues, make sure all your intersecting letters coincide, and, boom, you’ve solved the puzzle! That’s it.
If that’s still confusing, here’s a video that shows you how to do it:
Choosing crossword puzzle themes for your child
Themes are important for kids. My son, a former bona fide dino-lover, would’ve leapt at the chance to do a dinosaur-themed crossword puzzle. You can easily find one your child will love. Maybe you’re after a bird crossword puzzle for kids? Animals, flowers, oceans, space, fairytales, sports—if you can think of it, there’s a crossword puzzle for it.
However, themes for children’s crosswords don’t have to stop at things your kids already like. You can also look for puzzles with themes that can involve their brains in other areas of learning. There are crossword puzzles for shapes, colors, rhymes, opposites, school supplies, history…the list is endless.
Isn’t a crossword game for kids such as the POTUS crossword a great way to get your child to remember the names of the US presidents while also teaching them facts about those rascally characters from history? Most kids don’t even learn about all of the presidents until high school history class, but that’s ok because crossword puzzles for teens are just as valuable a tool for this older bunch.
The same goes for holidays. There’s a slew of easy crossword puzzles for kids you can print out. A Christmas crossword for kids is a lot of fun for everyone. How about a spooky one about the creatures lurking around on Halloween?
Best crossword puzzle books for kids
I take it I’ve sold you on crosswords, and now you need to find some books. Well, here you go.
1. Crossword puzzles for kids: A fun and challenging puzzle book
Crossword puzzles for kids is for ages 9-12. It boasts a good collection of puzzles that range from easy to hard, and those can keep your kid occupied and screen-free for hours.
2. My first crossword puzzle book
This book is for younger kids, grades 1-5 to be exact. Each puzzle has themes that children can get behind, such as toys, animals, and storybook characters, not to mention helpful hints to show first-timers how to puzzle.
Oh, did I mention the surrounding pictures are colorable? Well, they are.
3. 101 fun crossword puzzles for kids
101 puzzles! Both easy and hard! All LARGE! Plus some bonus puzzles! All of this is in 101 fun crossword puzzles for kids.
This is perfect for anyone who wants to challenge their problem solvers even further.
4. Crossword puzzles
Definitely, for the littler set, Crossword puzzles has a myriad of themed puzzles consisting of only 4 or 5 clues each. It also comes with pictures that can be colored, making it a 2-in-1 book in my book.
5. School zone: My first crosswords workbook
School zone is for kids aged 6 to 8. Let your children scribble freely through this hardback book of 48 challenging and engaging crosswords.
It’s top-bound, and the pages are easily removable, so clear up plenty of space on your refrigerator door.
Making easy crossword puzzles for kids
When I turned 40, my wife and kid planned an entire day of activities as a surprise for me. Knowing my fanaticism about daily crosswords, my brother-in-law crafted a crossword puzzle where each clue led to an answer that revealed a hint leading me to a discovery about what we were doing next. It was quite amazing. It felt really special to have a puzzle made for me, and it’s such a great example of how you can use a crossword puzzle as part of a larger game.
Let’s say you’re planning a scavenger hunt for your kids. Sure, you could just give them a list of items to find, but how about making a crossword puzzle that they need to solve in order to get said list of items? This would make it more of a crossword game for the kids, adding a great mental aspect to an already fun physical activity.
What’s your family heritage? Telling your kids stories about the “olden days” would probably not only bore them to tears but might even feel like a chore for you. What if you were to make personalized trivia crossword puzzles for children (or the whole family), one that teaches your kids about the lives of their ancestors in a fun and interesting way?
Forget any sort of gender reveal event (we know how dangerous they can be), but how about a baby name reveal crossword puzzle? The first one to solve the puzzle and get it correct wins, and then everyone else can make fun of your choice to name your first-born child Bartholomew.
Personalized crosswords are a fun and clever way to enhance any occasion or educational experience. The possibilities are truly endless.
Crossword puzzles are amazing. That’s the bottom line. Yes, I am biased because I’ve been doing them since I was a kid; I would help my grandmother finish hers by giving her the names of cartoon characters when she got stuck. If I could buy stock in crossword puzzles, I would. They have kept my brain sharp over the years, and all I can do is sing their praises.
I’ve also made a crossword lover out of my kid, and sometimes we do a kid vs. dad crossword challenge. I win every time, but I like to think this just fuels his competitive fire. If not, it doesn’t matter. He’s learning new words without even being conscious of it. Sucker.