The summer school holidays have begun. Swimming was the priority for our granddaughter and her friends the minute they got home this morning – what a wonderful way of celebrating the start of six weeks of ‘freedom’ when the temperature is 37°C! The exuberance with which they jumped about and splashed in the pool was tangible evidence of the delight that the school year is over, along with having to rise early in the mornings and go to bed long before they want to. Right now that freedom ‘to be’ probably stretches forever in their imagination.

There are bound to be periods though when time will feel heavy in their laps and, while they know never to claim to be bored within my hearing, they will be at a loss for something to do. Both our next door grandchildren have reached an age when puzzles are a good way of passing the time – providing they have company: word searches, mazes, number puzzles, simple Sudoku and the odd crossword all suffice. Here are old chestnuts to take the edge off those dips in holiday-feeling:


  • YY U R YY U B I C UR YY 4 ME

         [Too wise you are too wise you be I see you are too wise for me]

  • 11 was a race horse, 22 was 12. 11 11 race; 22 11 2

         [11 was a race horse, 22 was one too. 11 won one race; 22 won one too]

  • (Draw a pot) + OOOOOOOO = ?


  • They also enjoy cryptic word puzzles such as this one:

          I am in the beginning of the earth.
          I am at the end of the time.
          I appear two times in a week.
          I appear once in a year.

What am I?

        [The letter ‘e’]

  • Then there are the tongue-twisters such as Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper; She sells seashells on the sea shore; and Betty Botter bought a bit of butter. A current favourite is:

Mr. See and Mr. Sore were old friends. See owned a saw and Sore owned a seesaw. Now See’s saw sawed Sore’s seesaw before Sore saw See, which made Sore sore. Had Sore seen See’s saw before See’s saw sawed Sore’s seesaw, then See’s saw would not have sawed Sore’s seesaw . But See saw Sore and Sore’s seesaw before Sore saw See’s saw; so you see how See’s saw could saw Sore’s seesaw. It was a shame to see Sore so sore with See, because See’s saw sawed Sore’s seesaw.

Experience has shown that doing puzzles such as this with them will either spark off a desire to become involved with endless rounds of noughts and crosses (if I am a willing participant) or give them the impetus to get on with something else that might have been triggered either by the puzzle or the conversation that inevitably crops up around them. Each holiday they bring with them a plethora or puzzles or word games they have learned from school too, which is always fun to share.


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