Test your problem-solving abilities with this puzzle. Using trial-and-error and repetition is the only way to solve these problems. The activity is designed for school-age and older children, but preschoolers can try the first parts of it.
Cut out eight strips of paper the size indicated below. Family members can take turns using this set, or they can make or duplicate sets. Cardboard will work well.
Show the family the eight strips that make up the strip puzzle. Explain that they must make the following shapes using the strips. There is only one rule they must follow: All eight strips must be used for each of the puzzles. None can be left out and no more can be added. They cannot be overlapped.
Decide who is going to try first, and have him begin. Make sure everyone has a turn doing at least one.
Make two equal rows.
Make three equal rows.
Make four equal rows.
Make a staircase with eight steps.
Make a staircase with four steps.
Make a staircase with three steps.
Make a pyramid.
Make a tower like this one. How many different towers like this can you make?
Make a rectangle. Then make two smaller rectangles.
If your family likes this kind of activity, check local bookstores and libraries for collections of games and activities that allow experimentation and discovery. Many are available.
Make a more permanent strip puzzle set out of long wooden blocks, using the same dimensions.