The logic number puzzle Sudoku is a Japanese game that children can enjoy and benefit from. These printable Sudoku puzzles and game rules are perfect to begin helping your student excel in math, logic, problem solving, and critical thinking skills.
Is sudoku good for your brain?
Before someone learns to play Sudoku, it can seem quite complicated and challenging. Yet, challenging our brains is something that we should do for both ourselves and our children.
A study published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry (Wiley Online Library), provides evidence that puzzles are effective for brain health. Logic puzzles are beneficial for various ages but in the long term, they help to prevent cognitive decline.
The study showed that the more puzzles people completed, the better they performed on tests. This is particularly true in the area of speed and accuracy.
As in other research, the study indicated that regular use of word puzzles and number puzzles help all of our brains function better and for a longer period of time.
Printable Sudoku Puzzles and Game Rules
We can train our brains to improve memory, retain information, and even be a deterrent to Alzheimer’s. Many believe that Sudoku is a game to help all of these in a fun way.
How do you play sudoku?
Are you ready to teach your students how to play Sudoku? Here is the basic and foundational information to begin playing Sudoku.
The game of Sudoku is played on a 9 x 9 grid. Within this grid, are rows and columns of 9 squares of 3 x 3 spaces. There are empty spaces to fill and spaces with a number in them within the 3 x 3 grid.
The 3 x 3 needs to be filled up with the numbers 1 through 9. No numbers (1 – 9) can be repeated within the 3 x 3 grid. Again, the grid begins with numbers already filled in, and the player has to complete the empty spaces with the missing numbers.
The more numbers on the Sudoku grid, the easier the difficulty level is, the fewer numbers on the grid, the more difficult the game is.
There is no guessing in Sudoku, as the grid needs to be scanned until the right number is selected. The game takes patience, pattern recognition, and loads of critical thinking skills. The goal of Sudoku is to fill the empty squares, using all the numbers 1–9 only once in each row, column, and in the nine 3 × 3 grids.
Although the Sudoku concept is simple, there are millions of possible number combinations and levels of difficulty making the game perfect to learn at any age.
What is the digit rule in Sudoku?
The digit rule in Sudoku is the idea that a digit appears exactly once within the 3 x 3 grid (only once). If a digit is listed once in a row, it can’t be placed in any other cell on that row.
Just the same, no number can appear twice within the 3 x 3 grid. So the same numbers cannot appear twice on a row or within the 3 x 3 grid.
What are mistakes in Sudoku?
Before starting a Sudoku game, it is wise to know some common mistakes players make. Being aware of these mistakes will help in completing the game successfully.
- Playing the guessing game. A wrong guess makes Sudoku puzzles impossible to solve. Therefore, logic is the best way to go about finding the missing numbers.
- Forgetting to use the counting strategy. Many players focus on each group at a time instead of seeing the bigger picture, the grid as a whole. Count the numbers missing in the row or column as it may lead to the solution, as you try to complete the puzzle grid by grid.
- Empty groups should not be avoided. Beginning players see an empty group and think they should solve the other groups first. This is a mistake. Tackle crossing information between rows and columns with the empty groups in mind.
- Not using notes. Many players can solve easy puzzles without using notes. However, as the Sudoku puzzles increase in difficulty, having a visual aid to refer to in the notes section will add to the possibility of solving the intermediate or hard Sudoku game.
NOTE: Don’t forget to update your notes as you go. Once you unlock a solution, forgetting to jot it down will make a player stuck again and have to go over the solutions again.
Can you solve Sudoku diagonally?
No, it can’t. Tic-tac-toe, crosswords – they all can be solved with diagonal options. Yet, in regular Sudoku there are no diagonal rules. There are some Sudoku versions that add this rule as an additional constraint to solve the puzzle. This is known as X Sudoku.
What do the grey squares in Sudoku mean?
The gray squares in Sudoku are for other than regular Sudoku games. For instance, in Hypersudoku the grey boxes/square represent four areas that also contain the numbers 1-9 once. In Odd-even Sudoku, the grey or shaded squares contain only odd (or only even) numbers.
Can a Sudoku have more than one solution?
The answer to this question is also no as any well-formed Sudoku puzzle only has one unique combination to be solved. However, some Sudokus can have more than one solution depending on the initial starting clues and their positions on the grids.
What is the trick to solving Sudoku fast?
The trick to solving Sudoku puzzles fast is learning how to solve them well while learning to not make the common mistakes listed above. Solving the puzzles with patience while learning is the key to getting better and solving the Sudokus quickly. Here are a few tips that may also help:
Get to a fast start.
Often times its easy to forget the big picture. However, solving the “low hanging fruit” is a good trick to more quickly find solutions. Once you solve the quick missing numbers you can then look at the big picture to solve the puzzle as a whole.
Set a timer.
Our minds may wander but setting a timer allows us to improve speed and focus on solving the puzzles. Limit your time spent (about 5 minutes) and increasingly become quicker at solving the missing number problems.
Learn various techniques and practice them.
There are several solution techniques for Sudoku to learn. The techniques help players to narrow down the possible solutions.
There is a naked single technique, when the values of filled cells in the box, row, and column have only one candidate value, then it is probably the value of that cell.
The pencil marking technique is used to write small numbers within the square to keep track of the remaining candidates for the cells that haven’t been solved yet. More Sudoku techniques can be learned online.
To practice techniques and review skills as to not make common mistakes, here are some Sudoku puzzles for your family to enjoy. There are Sudokus for easy, medium, and hard skill levels.
Easy Sudoku Printables for Beginners
Beginner Sudoku Printable Puzzles – These free printable easy sudoku puzzles are an easy way to start tackling Sudoku Puzzles. The easy puzzles are fun and quick to solve giving your students a great foundation to start enjoying Sudoku.
Simple, Interactive Easy Sudoku Puzzles – These interactive Sudoku puzzles have a difficulty level of “easy” and begin with a blank Sudoku grid. The logic game can be timed, provide an option of auto-check for mistakes, give hints, undo moves, and more.
Sudoku Puzzles for School – This school-themed Sudoku printable is a great way to start with a little practice in critical thinking. These engaging and fun puzzles help stimulate your young learner’s critical thinking and cognitive skills.
Star Wars Sudoku Adventures Printables – These Star Adventures Sudoku puzzles are part of a Star Wars mini-puzzle unit. The puzzles are simple and geared for 3rd to 5th grade students. If your kids love Star Wars, they will enjoy this awesome unit.
Moderately Challenging Sudoku Printables
(Volume I) Intermediate Sudoku Puzzles – You won’t want to miss these books with a collection of 8 Sudoku puzzles. There is 1 per page with helpful hints, an answer key on the backside, and a blank Sudoku grid if students need to start over.
Medium Sudoku Printable Worksheets – These medium level Sudoku puzzles will help students improve their problem solving skills. There are 9 medium puzzles that open on individual pages.
Moderate Level Sudoku Puzzles – Print out 10 different Sudoku games with one single Sudoku per page. You just have to click on the print puzzle link to grab the Sudoku grids in pdf format.
Math Sudoku Puzzles Medium Level – The middle of this page contains medium level Sudoku pages (21 pages). The bottom of each section states clues that will help your students solve the challenge of missing numbers.
Hard Sudoku Printables
Printable Sudoku Puzzles (Hard) – Enjoy a range of free printable puzzles with a difficult level. All 6 Sudoku puzzles print on 1 page each to challenge your students.
10 Hard Puzzles for Sudoku with Answers – This resource holds a level of difficulty for any student. However, towards the bottom of this page, you will find 10 Sudoku puzzles with a hard to extra hard difficulty level for your advanced students.
Hard Difficulty Level Sudoku Puzzles – These interactive Sudoku puzzles have a difficulty level of “hard” and can be done online. The logic game is timed, has an auto-check for mistakes option, gives hints, students can undo moves, and more.
Printable Hard Sudoku Kids Puzzles – Adults and older children alike can try these hard Sudoku puzzles to challenge themselves with a logic game. This resource shares Sudoku puzzles with expert level, extreme hard level, hard level, advanced level, and hard.
More Free Puzzles
If you love puzzles, consider all the various types of puzzles that you can print for free!
Sudoku helps with your student’s ability to concentrate and focus, it helps their memory and even can have a calming effect. The benefits of this simple game have the potential to last a lifetime.
If you want to ensure your students have practice in using their logic and reasoning skills then playing Sudoku games is a great way to begin.
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!