Kickstarter Alert: 'Puzzle Your Kids!'

Entertainment Gaming Geek Culture Kickstarter

I like puzzles. Puzzles of all kinds, but I cut my solving teeth on word puzzles, and I still have a deep fondness for them.

I also like sharing puzzles with my daughter, at least to the extent that I can with a three-year-old. And so if she were about six years older, I’d totally be jumping on this Kickstarter, Puzzle Your Kids! Age-appropriate puzzles delivered by email each week? How awesome would that be? [Disclaimer: A friend of mine is involved with some of the higher reward levels and stretch goals.]

Eric Berlin, the main person behind it, has been designing puzzles for years, including for kids in the form of various Winston Breen puzzle books and on school visits. “I know that kids get real satisfaction in solving puzzles that are neither too easy nor too hard,” he said when I reached out to him. “Like the rest of us, they take a great deal of pleasure in being stuck for a few seconds, before the aha moment lights up their brains. But where are they supposed to find puzzles to challenge them? I’ve looked around and can’t find much.” On the Kickstarter page, he mentions the things you’ve probably seen, too: “computer-generated word seeks and those boring criss-cross vocabulary puzzles.”

“My daughter and I will solve the NYT Monday puzzle together over several days–there are a lot of words in there she knows perfectly well, but even a Monday puzzle contains a lot of stuff a 13-year-old has never heard of. Actresses who made a single television show in the ’70s, airport codes, stuff like that. That was the push I needed to start making puzzles that consist only of words that kids either know or can reasonably figure out.”

I asked him about the kinds of puzzles one might expect, and crossword variants, aimed at kids roughly nine years old and up, are the main focus; here’s a PDF sample from the Kickstarter page. A stretch goal would include a logic puzzle each week.

The basic reward level is a three-month subscription to word puzzles. Higher reward levels net longer subscriptions, bonus puzzle hunts, Winston Breen books, and even multi-level puzzles from Pavel’s Puzzles (the owner of which is the friend I mentioned above).

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