Lately, as part of my daughter’s homeschool regimen, she and I have been doing the New York Times Monday crossword each week. She can probably answer 25% of the clues without prompting, another solid batch with a little nudge (sometimes all it takes is “Oh, you should know 10-Down”), and the rest either not at all or with great difficulty. It’s just not a puzzle meant for kids. Even in a Monday puzzle, you’ve got your fair share of airport codes, or actresses from 70s TV shows, or words nobody on earth technically uses (CHOC, NEGS, ONER), but we allow the constructor to get away with them.
I would just as soon give my daughter puzzles that are more appropriate for her age range: Not too big. Not too hard. Using words she either knows right off the bat, or words she can noodle out using the crossing letters. Where are these puzzles? They don’t seem to exist. So I’ve decided to make them myself. And then I decided to make them a little more widely available.
The result is Puzzle Your Kids. As it says right there on the project’s Kickstarter page, I’ll e-mail two word puzzles each week, either to the parents or directly to the kids themselves. A New York Times crossword has about 76 words in it. My puzzles, meant to be solved by kids in a single sitting, will have 18-30 words. And because a 25-word crossword is kinda boring, I’m sticking to puzzles with a little more zing: Spirals, Labyrinths, a kid-friendly version of Some Assembly Required, and lots of other variety puzzles you might be familiar with. Plus if we reach a stretch goal, I’ll include one or two logic puzzles each week — also just right for kids, of course. PLUS we’re going to have some actual puzzle hunts a couple of times a year, because who doesn’t love puzzle hunts?
I’m pretty excited about this project, and I hope we eventually reach thousands of brainy kids and their parents, homeschooled or not. If you know of a couple, send them this way, would you?