Puzzle Genius

Sudoku is great fun whatever your age. But when it comes to younger people, this classic logic puzzle can be a fantastic educational tool. Like all the best learning tools, sudoku works well precisely because it is so much fun to play. Kids learn best when they are enjoying themselves, and sudoku has a lot to teach — and not just about numbers. Indeed sudoku, whilst traditionally using numbers, is not a math game. But it has a whole lot to teach.

At the bottom of this page you will find some free sudoku puzzles designed specifically for kids, that you can download and print out. But first, here are seven incredible benefits of using Sudoku as a learning tool.

1. It Reinforces Figure — And Letter — Recognition

Right from an early age, very simple kids sudoku puzzles are an excellent way to promote and reinforce the recognition of number forms. Even the simplest 4x4 puzzles are great at this.

By turning recognition into a game, the child is not only gently encouraged to differentiate between figures, but because they must find missing numbers, they will naturally create figures in their mind’s eye. This mental creation of numbers strongly reinforces the forms.

Of course, sudoku doesn’t just have to be played with numbers. Letters can be used instead, adding more learning opportunities. We’ve included both number and letter variants in our free downloadable kids sudoku puzzles at the bottom of the page.

2. It Teaches Problem Solving Skills

The aim of sudoku is to work out the missing numbers in a grid. The whole game is a puzzle that is crying out to be solved, so naturally playing it encourages and develops problem solving skills.

This can be done as gradually as necessary. A simple grid with a single missing number might seem to be so easy as to be pointless, but it’s like a gateway drug. When a child works out the missing figure, they experience a rush of excitement at having solved the problem; they are primed to solve more.

Building up the difficulty slowly and steadily maintains the challenge. The child is obliged to add a little more effort every time, and think up new ways of finding the answer — and being rewarded with the dopamine hit that comes with success.

As puzzles grow in size, complexity, or both, the child will have to find new ways to solve them. Thus what started as an easy game can soon become a fun and rewarding exercise in lateral thinking.

3. It Promotes Teamwork

Larger sudoku puzzles (typically full-size 9x9 and above) are a fantastic tool for encouraging working within a group. Puzzles can be split into racks and stacks, or columns, rows, and blocks, and each piece assigned to one or more children.

With a simple grid, the kids may initially solve the puzzle by working individually on their own portion. But ramp up the difficulty even just a little, and before long they will be obliged to co-operate and communicate to ensure their solutions do not ‘collide’ with those of the others in the group.

Take the difficulty up another notch, and the team will be encouraged to work together to come to a solution for the puzzle, pooling their techniques and knowledge.

For larger groups or older kids, try using 16x16 grids, or even better, Samurai Sudoku. The latter is a ‘multi-sudoku’ game with interlocking grids — perfect for splitting up and working on as a team.

4. It Encourages Attention to Detail

In a sudoku grid, a single mistake inevitably leads to disaster. Just one number out of place renders the entire puzzle unsolvable — not that it’s always immediately obvious!

It only takes a few failed solutions for most children to learn that they must check and double-check their answers before writing them in the grid, thus promoting careful attention to detail.

5. It Expands Memory

Logic is essential in solving sudoku, but so is memory. As they work through a grid, a child will be constantly putting numbers into very short-term memory, sometimes for just a few seconds at a time.

Sudoku is a great workout for the brain. Just as concentrated exercise can improve overall fitness, so working short-term memory improves overall memorisation and recall skills. Speaking of working out the brain…

6. It Improves Focus & Concentration

Sudoku demands a level of concentration that just isn’t necessary for most other kinds of puzzles. Simple math games, crosswords, word searches and so on, can all be done piecemeal by dipping in and out as and when. But to solve a sudoku grid effectively, it’s necessary to hold a lot of information in short term memory at once.

Losing focus, or lacking concentration, leads to mistakes or quite simply not being able to find a solution. Therefore the child is obliged to put all their attention into the job in hand. Studies show that concentration is like a muscle, and that repeated training leads to long-term improvement.

7. It Builds Confidence

If you’ve completed a sudoku puzzle then you know the rush of satisfaction that comes with putting that final number in the grid. One of the amazing things about sudoku is the range of difficulty that can be applied to a single concept. A child can learn the basics on a really easy 4x4 grid in a matter of minutes, yet be constantly challenged and stretched by the exact same set of rules right up to mind-bending super difficult 16x16 grids. Every win is an opportunity to boost their confidence and self-esteem, all whilst having lots of fun.

Download Free Sudoku Puzzles For Kids

Now you know why sudoku is such a great learning aid, as well as being a fun game, here are some grids that we have prepared especially for children.

We’ve included three grid sizes: 4x4, 6x6, and regular 9x9. There are eight 4x4 puzzles, and twelve of each of the larger sizes (which also include letter-based variants). Full solutions are of course also included.

Kids Sudoku Grids To Download & Print

Kids 4x4 Sudoku Grids

Kids 6x6 Sudoku Grids

Kids 9x9 Sudoku Grids

Right click or long-tap and Download Linked File or click or tap to open in a new window then choose Print from your browser.

The pages have been formatted so they will print on both American letter paper, as well as standard A4.

Looking For More Puzzles?

We’ve got you covered! We publish a brand new free puzzle every day. And of course, we have a large range of sudoku puzzle books of varying difficulty and size.

For kids sudoku, we highly recommend Amelia Baker’s range of books, which we collaborated on. You can find out more about those here. Amelia’s books include excellent tutorials written specifically for younger players, and lots of puzzles from 4x4 to 9x9.

We are delighted to announce the publication of two new books in the popular Felix Linklater Presents… series:

Pocket and Giant editions of Felix Linklater Presents Very Hard Killer Sudoku

Giant Edition

We’ve taken everything you love about Felix’s Very Hard Killer Sudoku book and super-sized it. We shut Felix in the basement and told him he couldn’t come out until he had prepared a whopping 600 brand new difficult and very difficult killer sudoku puzzles. Then we put them into an 8.5x11” book to maintain the large grid size we know you love.

Pocket Edition

Bigger isn’t always better; whilst we know our big grids are popular, we also know how important it is to have a puzzle at hand wherever you are. That’s why when we finally let Felix out of the basement, it was on the condition he supplied another 100 puzzles for a pocket edition.

At 4x6”, this small but mighty book slips into any pocket or purse, so you never need be without your favourite logic puzzle.

Regular Edition

The two new sizes join the regular edition, meaning there is a size to suit every occasion. And with unique puzzles in each of the three volumes, you can be certain to find a fresh challenge every time.

Three sizes of Felix Linklater Presents Very Hard Killer Sudoku

Out Now

The new books join the rest of the Felix Linklater Presents series (which includes regular sudoku, samurai sudoku, and 16x16 sudoku) and are available now, from Amazon:

Killer Sudoku! We love it. You love it. It’s one of our most popular puzzles. And now it’s joining our Jumbo range. Introducing The Jumbo Book of Killer Sudoku.

The Jumbo Book of Killer Sudoku

Who Says You Can’t Have Quality And Quantity?

Here’s the lowdown on what makes this brand new two-volume set so fantastic:

  • 600 Puzzles. Yes you read that right. Each volume contains a whopping 600 killer sudoku puzzles!
  • Six Levels. Choose from Easy to Intermediate, or Intermediate to Hard. One hundred puzzles per level means you’ll always find something pitched just where you want it.
  • Big grids. Our Jumbo series is big in every way. Big grids on big pages, and loads of them. Fitting in notes and candidates should never be part of the challenge, which is why we’ve made our grids so roomy.
  • Bonus puzzles. Because we love puzzles as much as you do, we’ve added some extras at the end. You’ll find some regular sudoku grids plus a selection of suguru puzzles as well.
  • Full solutions. Checking your completed grid takes seconds when you have full solutions at the back.
The Jumbo Book of Killer Sudoku - Inside

The Jumbo Series Just Got Bigger

The Jumbo Book of Killer Sudoku is part of our wider Jumbo series. Fancy something different? We’ve got you covered, with Jumbo 16x16 Sudoku, and Jumbo Samurai Sudoku as well.

The Jumbo Puzzle Series

Out Now

Both volumes are available now from Amazon:

We all deserve a little luxury in our lives. Whether it be a velvety fine wine, a long soak in a silky bubbly bath, or a tasting menu in a Michelin starred restaurant, who doesn’t want to indulge themselves a little every now and then? Indeed now more than ever it feels like enjoying some ‘me time’ is perfectly justified.

That’s why we are so delighted to present our latest sudoku puzzle book series — Luxury Logic Puzzles.

The Luxury Logic Puzzles series.

This four-volume set epitomises our mission: to create puzzle books for people who love beautiful things.

From the classic, elegant covers to the richly decorated pages, everything about these books is simply gorgeous. We are even making the whole set available in hardcover editions, offering unrivalled refinement as well as protection for the precious grids within.

Interior of Sudoku Classic book.

Of course we also included all the other features that make every Puzzle Genius book a beautiful object:

  • Large grids, because space is the ultimate luxury. We believe the challenge of sudoku should be in solving the puzzle, not trying to write tiny candidates and answers.
  • Splendidly decorated pages, with a delightful and classic theme uniting the series.
  • Hard and very hard puzzles for the discerning and practised puzzler who doesn’t want to waste space on easy grids.
  • Extra puzzles in every volume to add a little spice and variety.
  • Complete solutions to make checking answers a joy rather than a chore.

There are four books in the series, and each one is available in classic paperback as well as hardcover editions:

Looking for a handy sudoku reference that you can print out and keep? Look no further! Our printable sudoku rules are just the ticket. Download the PDF below and print at home (or at work — we won’t tell your boss if you don’t!)

The PDF has been formatted to print nicely both on international A4 and US Letter paper.

Click or Tap Here For Printable Sudoku Rules

Sudoku For All Levels

Don’t forget that Puzzle Genius offers sudoku books for players of all levels. Be sure to check out the whole range here.

Today we are delighted to announce not just a new book, but a whole new series. Specially designed for the most ardent and experienced puzzler, the Felix Linklater Presents collection is launching with four volumes of very difficult puzzles.

Felix Linklater Presents Set of Four Puzzle Books

Lucy Baker, our website editor, caught up with Felix himself to get all the juicy details on this brand-new series.

Lucy: Felix, hi! Perhaps you could start by introducing yourself?

Felix: Hello! Sure. I’m Felix Linklater, and I’m the senior logician and puzzle editor here at Puzzle Genius. I’m essentially in charge of selecting the puzzles that make it into all of our books.

Lucy: So it’s fair to say you know your way around a logic puzzle?

Felix: Logic puzzles are literally my life. When I’m not working hard on a set of puzzles for a new book, I’m usually found solving them.

Lucy: That’s why you get called logic-meister in chief around the office.

Felix: I take that as a compliment.

Lucy: Rightly so! We’re all puzzle lovers here. So tell me, what was the inspiration behind the new series, Felix Linklater Presents?

Felix: Since our inception, Sudoku has been one of our most popular puzzles. Not just the regular game, but the variations too. Particularly Killer Sudoku. We’ve always strived to cater to a wide audience, publishing editions covering levels from beginner to advanced. But we wanted to create a new series of books that was aimed squarely at the advanced puzzle solver — the sort of person who skips ahead to the most difficult puzzles in a book. People like us, in other words.

Lucy: So you wanted to make something like our Pocket Sudoku Extreme series?

Felix: Yes, exactly. That’s a great series and I’m very proud of it. But we wanted to go beyond the pocket format. That’s why this new series was born. We’ve put hard and very hard puzzles into a medium-format edition and imbued it with everything that makes Puzzle Genius books so beloved. These volumes are around six by nine inches, or around 15 by 23 centimetres. It’s a size that’s much easier to carry around than our Jumbo editions, but it still gives us the space to publish the bigger variants like 16x16 Sudoku.

Interior of Felix Linklater Presents Very Hard Samurai Sudoku

Lucy: And Samurai Sudoku, which is one of my favourites. What else is different about these books?

Felix: Firstly, and most importantly, the puzzles are hard. We’ve labelled them as one and two stars, but it’s important to know that even the one star level is at the top end of anything we’ve published before. These are definitely not beginner grids. For the Samurai Sudoku and 16x16 Sudoku books we’ve put a single grid on each page. We all know how important it is to leave room to note down candidates and exclusions.

Lucy: Yes, we always say that writing in the grid should never be part of the challenge. If you want to get into precision pencil work, get a colouring book.

Felix: Right. Our job is to present the best possible puzzle in the best possible way, and everything we do is geared around that. Then we add some bonus puzzles, because who doesn’t like an extra challenge? It’s a great way to discover new variations that you perhaps haven’t tried before. And of course we include solutions for every puzzle in the back of the book.

Lucy: Again, of a decent size. Nobody wants to have to go find a magnifying glass to check their answers. What books is the series launching with?

Felix: We’ve launched with four volumes: Very Hard Sudoku, Very Hard Killer Sudoku, Very Hard Samurai Sudoku, and Very Hard 16x16 Sudoku.

Set of Four Felix Linklater Presents Books

Lucy: Do you have a favourite?

Felix: That’s like asking me to pick a favourite child. I might have one, but I’d never admit it! Seriously though, we’ve put an enormous amount of work into these books, selecting excellent puzzles and presenting them in the best way — exactly as we do for every puzzle book we publish.

Lucy: Well the books look amazing, and I’m not just saying that because I work here! I’ve already sneaked a couple home and have been working my way through them. They’re not for the faint-hearted!

Felix: Thank you. I really hope people get as much enjoyment from these new puzzles as we have.

Out Now

All four volumes of the Felix Linklater Presents series are available now, from Amazon:

Do you need high-quality puzzles for a publication, or for education purposes? Puzzle Genius can help.

Puzzles have been a staple of newspaper and magazine publishing since the industry has existed. Early versions of crossword puzzles began appearing in print in the 19th century. Number puzzles also made their print debut in the late 1800s, when Parisian daily Le siécle began publishing magic square puzzles — a predecessor to modern sudoku.

There are good reasons why publications large and small continue to print puzzles like sudoku, even in this age of digital entertainment. As well as adding value and diversity, they have been shown to build reader loyalty and engagement. Puzzle-solving is habit-forming — and what publisher doesn’t want to get their readers into the habit of returning day after day?

Puzzle Genius can provide high-quality logic puzzles for your publication or education needs. We can supply artwork in a variety of formats to suit print or on-line use.

Our most popular puzzles include:

  • Sudoku
  • Sudoku variants including 6×6 sudoku (ideal for education), extra-large 16×16 sudoku, samurai sudoku, flower sudoku, wordoku, and more.
  • Killer Sudoku
  • Suguru
  • Minesweeper
  • Hashiwokakero (also known as Bridges)
  • Number chains
  • Mazes

All our puzzles are available in multiple levels of difficulty. We can supply in bulk or on a schedule.

Every puzzle is unique.

Pricing is flexible, and some puzzles may be made available at no charge under certain circumstances.

Want to know more? Contact us with your requirements, and we’ll get right back to you.

Multiple puzzles, greater than the sum of their parts. That’s the beauty of samurai sudoku — five regular grids interlinked to make one gigantic puzzle. Now you can enjoy two hundred of those incredible puzzles in our latest release: The Jumbo Book of Samurai Sudoku.

Two volumes of The Jumbo Book of Samurai Sudoku stacked

We love sudoku. Don’t tell anyone, but we think it might be our favourite puzzle of them all. There is an elegance to its simplicity that’s hard to beat. Even so, sometimes you want a bit more of a challenge than the classic 9x9 grid.

That’s why we love sudoku variations. And it’s why, alongside our popular 16x16 sudoku books, we are delighted to announce The Jumbo Book of Samurai Sudoku.

If you’ve never tried this multi-sudoku game before, you are in for a treat. Every grid is like five sudokus for the price of one.

Inside of The Jumbo Book of Samurai Sudoku

The interaction between the grids adds a new level of nuance and ramps up the challenge. If you enjoy sudoku but find you get to the end of a regular puzzle too quickly, this is definitely the book for you.

Like all Puzzle Genius books, we’ve packed these new editions with our popular features:

  • 200 samurai sudoku puzzles. That’s the equivalent of one thousand regular grids!
  • Just one puzzle per page. Finding room to write in candidates should never be part of the challenge. That’s why we made the grids huge, so you can concentrate on the logic and not worry about how you’ll fit in your notes.
  • Start and end times. We know many puzzlers like to solve against the clock, so we make it easy to keep track of your timings.
  • Complete solutions. Sure, you could check your completed grid manually, but who wants to deal with that? We put solutions for every puzzle in the back, making it a doddle to check off your result.
  • Bonus puzzles. We love logic puzzles as much as you, which is why we’ve included some extras at the end. You’ll find killer sudoku and suguru puzzles included, to extend the fun.

Naturally, all of this is wrapped up in a beautiful volume that you’ll be proud to own or to gift.

There are two editions of The Jumbo Book of Samurai Sudoku: Easy to Intermediate, and Intermediate to Hard. Both are available on Amazon. We hope you enjoy them!

Two volumes of The Jumbo Book of Samurai Sudoku side by side

Mazes Made Better

Mazes — who doesn’t love them? Okay, maybe Harry Potter, given his history with labyrinths was not a happy one. Adolescent wizards aside though, most folk love the challenge of a good maze. But finding good mazes hasn’t always been easy.

Until now.

Introducing Mazes for Smart People — our brand new puzzle book with a difference!

Mazes For Smart People Cover

The Puzzle Genius logicians are proud to present our stellar collection of 100 mind-bending mazes that will challenge even the most gifted pathfinder. There are four different types of maze, each split over five different levels of difficulty. At just one huge maze per page, these are puzzles you can literally lose yourself in.

Mazes For Smart People Interior

Brain Workout

Mazes are a very different kind of puzzle to sudoku and its many variants. Finding a solution exercises regions of the brain that don’t tend to get much of a workout from number-based puzzles.

In fact according to some studies, solving mazes activates a large area of the brain from the visual to parietal regions. Working these puzzles even activates subcortical and cortical motor areas, which are normally associated with movement and coordination.

In other words solving mazes on paper gives your brain the same kind of workout it would get from walking through a physical labyrinth!

Feature Rich

As with all of our books, we’ve packed Mazes for Smart People with features you’ll love.

  • Five levels of difficulty. Whether you want something a little easier to pass the time, or a harder challenge to stretch your brain to the limit, you’ll always be able to find a maze pitched at just the right level.
  • Four different maze types. From simple rectangles to unusual shapes, including some with added holes and blockers, you’ll love beating a path through the differing forms.
  • One huge maze per page. Forget the mazes of your childhood — these are gigantic beasts! And of course we put as much effort into making our pages beautiful as we do making our mazes devilishly difficult.
  • Solutions included. Listen, we know you’re smart, but sometimes even the best pathfinder needs a little helping hand. So we’ve included solutions at the back just in case you get stuck.

A Great Escape

Finding your way out of a labyrinth is a great way to escape from the stresses and strains of life. Mazes are easy to start, and hard to finish. Totally engrossing, completing one provides an unrivalled sense of satisfaction. And as the neuroscientists have shown, they are good for your brain.

Mazes for Smart People is suitable for virtually any age, but be warned that even the easiest levels are not for the faint-hearted. Grab your copy now, from Amazon.

Five Methods For Finding Your Way Through Any Maze or Labyrinth

Mazes are a fascinating kind of puzzle. Completely unlike symbol-based teasers such as sudoku or suguru, they present a different kind of challenge to the brain. According to at least one neuropsychobiology study, solving mazes activates a network within the brain from the visual to parietal regions. Working these puzzles even activates subcortical and cortical motor areas — areas normally associated with movement and coordination. To the brain, solving a maze on paper is like walking through a real, physical labyrinth.

Looking for some good mazes that will challenge even the smartest brain? Look no further! Mazes for Smart People is our collection of 100 huge mazes. With five levels of difficulty and four maze types, it will keep you busy for hours.

How can we go about solving mazes? Are there tricks and techniques that make the process easier? Or must we resign ourselves to trying every path, every twist and turn, until we eventually emerge at the exit? The brute force approach will work, and for some people that’s enough. Smarter minds seek efficiency though.

Fortunately there are techniques we can employ to help us find the solution more quickly. However, these methods are only ever an aid to brute force. There is no single magical method that will always lead you to the correct solution first time. Mazes are not sudoku and cannot be solved first time with logic alone. A well-designed maze always requires a little bit of trial and error. It’s all part of the fun.

With that said, let’s dive in and look at five different methods you can use to solve almost any maze.

1. Start At The End

Let’s begin by saying right now that this method won’t work with all mazes. At Puzzle Genius we design our mazes in such a way to completely negate this method. Are we evil? No, we just want to make good mazes that present a real challenge! Not all maze-setters are so conscientious.

Here’s a simple maze, typical of the kind you might find in a kids activity book.

Simple maze

If we begin at the start of the maze, we are immediately faced with a choice — left or right? If we go right, we have another choice — down or straight on? And on it goes. The maze has been front-loaded with branches, designed to confuse you from the off.

But what happens if we start at the end? There’s only one possible path, and we can follow it for more than half the puzzle before we get to a branch — in the blue circle below:

Simple maze solution

After that there are only three more choices to make before we reach the goal. In each of those decisions it’s easy to see the correct path and where there is a dead end, because we are so close to the end of the maze.

Lots of mazes are designed this way — front-loaded with branches designed to confuse you at the start. This example is a very simple maze, but even more complex mazes can suffer from this ‘problem’ (in quotes because not everyone will see it as a problem — some may say it’s an opportunity).

Starting at the end then, is a technique that’s always worth a try.

2. Hand on The Wall

This is probably the most well-known method for maze-solving. It’s usually suggested for physical labyrinths like the corn mazes favoured by farmers around the world, or the box hedge mazes found in the gardens of stately homes.

The technique is simple: when you enter the maze, place your right hand on the wall to your right (or left hand on the wall to the left), and keep it there as you move through the maze. Eventually you should come to the exit.

We say should because this theory, while sound, does not work in all mazes. It will only get you through a maze that can be deconstructed into a single line. By which we mean a maze that you could draw in one go without taking your pen off the page.

The maze in the example above, for instance, is a single-line maze. Another way of thinking of this type of maze is to imagine that it is made from a giant piece of spaghetti — or a long rope if you prefer. You could lay down your pasta, shaping it and twisting it around the corners until you had created the maze.

Here’s a super-simple maze that you can try this technique on:

A very simple single line maze

The first thing to note is that this is a single-line maze. You can put your finger on the top right corner and trace around every line of the maze without lifting it off. You could, given a long enough piece of spaghetti, recreate this exact maze without breaking it (though you would need do make some tight folds as you doubled it back on itself).

The reason the hand on the wall technique works with a maze like this is because it is made from one path, you can effectively trace your way around the whole maze in one go.

Here’s how that looks on our example. If we pictured ourselves walking into this maze from the top and placing our right hand on the right-hand wall and tracing a line with it as we went, this is the line we would draw:

A very simple single line maze with a hand-on-wall line overlaid.

Is it efficient? Well, it’s clearly not the quickest route through the maze. But did it work? Hell yeah! Maze solved.

Had we started with the left-hand, we would have gone the quicker way — but hindsight is a wonderful thing and is of no help when starting our journey through a real, complex maze.

Remember, this technique only works on mazes that can be constructed from a single line. It won’t work on any that include islands, like this for example:

A maze with an island

Depending which side you started on, you could potentially find yourself going round and round the blue island forever! Islands like that are common in physical labyrinths, placed there purposely to defeat this simple but effective maze-solving technique.

3. Dead-End Pruning

This can be a time-consuming method, but it will always produce a clear path through the maze by the end of the process. The technique is simple enough — starting at the end of the maze, block off every dead end you find. Eventually only the one-true path will remain.

A visual example will make this clearer. Let’s begin with this simple maze:

A simple maze.

Starting from the bottom we can block off dead ends. We could do this two ways - either by simply barring them with a line, or by filling them in. We’ve done both ways here for demonstration purposes.

The same example maze with some dead ends pruned.

The method you use is a personal preference. Filling in dead ends makes it easier to see the remaining path, but it’s obviously more time-consuming and uses more ink or graphite!

As you get more practice with this technique you’ll find you can trace dead-ends back quite some way and block off several with a single stroke, rather than blocking every one individually. For example, these pink blocks are unnecessary - the green block takes care of all those little dead ends in one go.

Unnecessary dead ends.

As you can see, dead-end pruning is still a rather brute-force technique for finding your way through a maze. It’s fool-proof, but time consuming.

4. Sub-Mazing

This is essentially a variant of dead-end pruning. Consider the following maze:

A new example maze.

Notice anything in particular?

If you look carefully, you’ll find that almost half of the maze is a complete dead-end! We can trace a wall from one side of the maze to the other, effectively creating a sub-maze in which the correct path cannot possibly pass.

The same maze with a sub maze highlighted.

This is an exaggerated example to make a point — it’s rare to find such obvious sub-mazes. However, it is not uncommon to find large chunks of a maze that are one huge dead-end that can be cut out.

Here’s another thing to look out for:

A maze with something to look out for.

This time we don’t have a clean break between two parts of the maze, but we almost do, and that in itself is very helpful.

We can draw a line from the left to the right with just a single break in it. That means the path through the maze must go through that break. We can therefore split this maze into two sub-mazes.

The same maze with the single hole for the path highlighted.

5. Hansel and Gretel

If you ever read the story of Hansel and Gretel, this final method will make perfect sense to you. In the fairytale, our two heroes set out into the woods to escape the house of the evil witch armed only with some stale bread to help them find their way. By dropping a trail of crumbs as they went, they were able to see the paths they had already tried, and thus discount them every time they had to make a new choice about which direction to take.

We can use the same method to solve any maze. Instead of breadcrumbs we draw a line as we make our way through the maze, showing the path we have already taken.

At first glance this may sound like the hand on the wall method, but whereas that technique prescribes a very strict path through the maze (and can be confounded by islands, bridges and tunnels), the Hansel and Gretel method is more freeform and will always work, provided we follow one simple rule: never take a path we have already been down twice. The reason is simple: if we’ve been there and back, it must be a dead end.

This method leaves the choice of direction at every junction up to us. We can try to head in the general direction of the exit, rather than follow every twist and turn. And if we see that a particular path is a certain dead end, we aren’t obliged to trace our way around it anyway, the way we would with the hand on the wall approach.

Here’s an example of drawing a Hansel and Gretel path through a simple maze:

An example of a Hansel and Gretel breadcrumb trail through a maze.

Were we to use the hand on the wall method, we would have had to trace our way around the obvious dead-end number 1, and we would also have had to trace our line right to the end of the dead end number 2. With this approach we could just turn right around and retrace our steps. Similarly we could avoid dead ends 3, 4, and so on, continually working towards the exit.

If we come to a junction where we have to choose between a route that already has a breadcrumb line and one that doesn’t, we should choose the one that doesn’t.

Again, provided we never take a path with two breadcrumb lines, we will always find the exit, even in mazes with islands.

Which Method To Use

So there you have it — five different ways to find your way across a maze. Which is best? Which one should you use? Ultimately it’s down to you. If you want a guaranteed solution with maximum efficiency, then Hansel and Gretel is the way to go.

If, on the other hand, you enjoy the unknown and like working your way around blindly, but want to simplify the puzzle to make your life a little bit easier, then dead-ending or sub-mazing is your friend.

Ready For A Real Challenge?

All the example mazes used in this tutorial were, by necessity, very, very simple! If you’d like to try some techniques on a proper maze, then you can download and print a Puzzle Genius maze below. This is a level one maze, similar to those you’ll find in Mazes For Smart People. If you get stuck, we’ve also provided the solution to download in a separate PDF. Good luck!

Practice Maze To Print

Level 1 Practice Maze

Level 1 Practice Maze — Solution

Right click or long-tap and Download Linked File or click or tap to open in a new window then choose Print from your browser.

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