Meagan (whose blog, Sage Parenting, documents her adventures in green, frugal parenting with triplets) shared a big moment for her son, who discovered a way to solve word search puzzles even though he's not yet a reader:
I was so proud of our soon-to-be four year old today! He discovered a hack on his own!
I was tidying up the kitchen when P rediscovered some crayons and an activity book that he got from a restaurant. Before I knew it, he was splayed out on the floor, deeply involved in something. He's an avid pre-reader and had found the word search puzzle. Looking for the actual words in varying directions was beyond him, but he had been searching for the letters in each word and circling them. So in "TEAM" he had circled a T, E, A & M in various locations on the grid. He did this for all eight words on the list and was very proud of his accomplishment. A brilliant way to take a 5-8 year old activity and make it work for the preschool set, but just as importantly it bought me 20 minutes to clean!
I loved word searches as a kid! And I am so impressed with your son's creative approach…he's obviously excited to learn to read. Some of the bigger bookstores and drugstores carry the Dell puzzle magazines, but they're not as easy to find as they used to be. I searched Amazon and found a decent selection there, and was especially pleased to find this First Word Search: Reading Made Easy puzzle book — the words are short, the letters are big, the illustrations are fun, and (I think) the satisfaction would be high.
Speaking of puzzles, many kids love the easy sudoku puzzles as well. My son's more of a numbers guy and loves sudoku (but then, he's also 9). He also loves simple logic puzzles and the Jumble anagram puzzle in the daily newspaper.
Anyone else? How do you make word- and number puzzles easier for your little kids?