When I was a kid, I always loved games and puzzles! I had numerous puzzle books full of word searches, crossword puzzles, brain teasers, and more. I loved Sudoku puzzles and had a whole book of them that I would spend hours doing every day. I also would open up the newspaper every morning when I ate breakfast and complete the daily Sudoku puzzle. My teacher introduced them to me when I was in the seventh grade. She would pass out different puzzles each day for us to complete when we were finished with our work. I was instantly addicted! Recently, I think I spent about 4 hours on one puzzle with my friend because we were so determined to finish it!

Recently, I came across a new puzzle game on The Math Forum Facebook page called KenKen. It’s a mixture of Sudoku and math all in one. It was discovered in 2007 by Robert Fuhrer, a toy inventor, who came across the puzzles published in Japanese books. Fuhrer’s toy company and chess International Master David Levy brought these puzzles to the attention of *The Times *in London and the puzzles were published in the newspaper in 2008. The New York Times and hundreds of other papers followed by publishing these fun, educational puzzles years later.

I was really confused when I came across my first KenKen puzzle, but was able to pick up the rules quickly. The object of the puzzle is similar to Sudoku – fill in the grid with different numbers without repeating a number twice in the same column or row - but now there is a math element involved, in which the numbers must combine to form a target number using a specific operation.

I haven’t played too many KenKen puzzles yet, but when my brain needs a break at work, I like to go on my KenKen App on my iPad and practice some puzzles. Just as I loved to complete Sudoku puzzles every day in school, I think students would enjoy completing these fun puzzles in the classroom. They would be helping them improve their calculation skills, logical thinking, and persistence. I think they’re the perfect way for kids to master new math concepts and practice with different operations!