Friday, December 02, 2005


When we were all together for Daniel's Dad's funeral in October, Daniel's brother from the West Coast brought along a Sudoku book. The Midwestern brother and his wife were hooked immediately. I held off from temptation, with nine kids (four of them mine!) and at least ten grownups in the house... but at Thanksgiving there was just our family and Granny, and sometimes the Midwestern brother and his wife... and their Sudoku book.

My own father, as it turns out, is also into the Sudoku craze and has written several Sudoku puzzles himself, including the one above.

Midway through solving my first puzzle, BigE (also known as MathBoy) sidled up to me and asked to help. He understood the puzzle almost immediately and enjoyed it, but the process of solving one was a little long and complicated for a first-grader.

Enter "Kidoku." I scribbled a 4x4 puzzle on a notecard for BigE, using only the numbers 1 thru 4, and he was hooked. Chickie wanted some Kidoku puzzles as well. They spent much of Thanksgiving working Kidoku puzzles and critiquing my puzzle-writing abilities.

When we got home, they asked for still MORE Kidokus. So I made some more, this time on the computer. (Excel spreadsheets, as my dad discovered, make a great place to write Sudoku puzzles.) And I played around a bit with the solution grids just to understand the geometry (which is a lot simpler for a 4x4 grid than it would be for a traditional Sudoku grid!) It's been a long time since I've done any math playing. We've all had a lot of fun.

Now I'm writing up a few pages of "Kidoku" puzzles for BigE's first-grade class, for their self-guided math center. BigE promised to user-test all of the puzzles personally.

Chickie's also begging for some for K'garten, so I have a hunch I'll have a lot of explaining to do to two teachers.... especially the K'garten teacher, who still has them practice counting every day. I'm hoping to convince her that this could be just one more fun way to get a few of the kids (who perhaps already know how to count) to practice writing out their numbers...


Anonymous kim said...

Cool! I'll print yours out - dad introduced us when we were up at camp, and the big kids have been playing sudoku online, and dad has been keeping me up to date on his solution-generating thoughts and spreadsheets. But Em & TobiWan wanted to play, too, and couldn't quite get it ... yours look just right. But I'll skip the math pondering, I must take after mom in that. :)

12/02/2005 9:46 AM  
Anonymous kim said...

Dale points out that you could trademark the name Kidoku ~ I bet it could be a hit with the game-book people, to be able to have Kidoku books to sell ...

12/03/2005 7:16 AM  
Blogger Wool Winder said...

I guess I'm out of the loop because I never heard of Sudoku until now. I like the Kidoku version you came up with--learning that is challenging and fun at the same time.

12/03/2005 8:46 AM  
Blogger kelly said...

kim (or dale?) - how do I trademark a name? is that like copyrighting it?

I'm just afraid it means something awful in Japanese... with my luck it means "rat poop puzzle" instead of "nine numbers puzzle" or whatever. Got any Japanese exchange students you could ask? ;-)

Winder - I'd be out of the loop too if it weren't for my trendy West Coast relatives. ;-) Yeah my dad does Sudoku too but then he's done every math puzzle that's even been invented, so I don't pay attention to his puzzles as much any more.

12/03/2005 9:11 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

I'm so glad you like these puzzles! I admit, I brought them with me on a whim, to occupy myself on the airplane, but I am hooked. I like them almost as much as crossword puzzles now. Still, I haven't even BEGUN to figure out how to make one...its cool that your making them 'kid-sized'.

12/03/2005 4:49 PM  
Anonymous Joni said...

It´s gorgeous!!!
Really quite interesting and smart.
I've seen groups of people playing it at the Metro or the caffe-shop, and my dad does it. I've done two or thre but actually I don't have time for sudoku. But I think i will play kidoku.
Thanks for that great idea.

12/07/2005 11:29 AM  

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