What is Recreational Mathematics?

The really short answer? Its about learning and exploring mathematics via math related games, riddles, and puzzles….but the activities could have you going for hours, days, weeks, or longer!

Wikipedia: Recreational Mathematics – Explains what recreational mathematics is.

Scientific American: A Quarter-Century of Recreational Mathematics – PDF Article written by Martin Gardener about 25 years of amusing puzzles and serious discoveries.

Article by Charles W. Trigg: What is Recreational Mathematics? This a PDF file. This article was written in Mathematics Magazine Vol. 51, No. 1 (Jan., 1978), pp. 18 -21

MathOverflow: Recreational mathematics: where to search? – MathOverflow is a Q & A site for professional mathematicians. This question came up and offers a few responses. 

Periodicals You Can Subscribe To

Access back issues for FREE by putting the date and issue you want to look at into the panel on the right that says, ‘Magazines Available’. You’ll get a version you can view online and print.
Read book reviews of published books on recreational mathematics.

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Check your local book store and online book stores for books that contain math related games, riddles, and puzzles.

For the rest of this series please visit my Recreational Mathematics post.

Here’s a video about recreational mathematics…

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Fun Christmas Resources

FranW.com: December Activities – Activities Include A Candy Countdown Calendar, a Christmas House, Santa Activities, Holiday Cards, 3-D Ornaments, Snowflakes, Word Games, Star – Shape, and much more. These fun learning activities can be found on this blog.

The following sites have fun printables and things to do for the Christmas Season. Each will take you to a site off FranW.com, unless otherwise noted.

Family Education: 12 days of fun (and cheap!) Christmas Activities for Families – Use the arrows to scroll through the pictures to see the ideas.

All Things Topics: Christmas – Offers the following FREE Downloads: Spot the Differences Speaking Activity, Christmas Shopping, 20 Questions about Santa Claus and others.

The Spruce – 50 Fun Teen-Oriented Holiday  – A list of fun things older kids will enjoy doing.

Kids Activities Blog: 70 FREE Christmas Printables – Links to activities off site.

Print Activities.com: Christmas Printables for Kids – Christmas Word Searches, Dot to Dots, Mazes, Word Scrambles, Cryptograms, Boggle Pages, Coloring Pages – Scroll Down to access the activities.

Education.com: Christmas Worksheets – This site offers a variety of printable items such as: Coloring sheets, spot the difference, Dear Santa Letter template, story map, list template, puzzles and others.

DLTK: Christmas Worksheets – Printable activities include: Christmas Anagrams, Writing prompts, puzzles, cryptograms, bitsy books, mazes, math, and more.

Adril Booker: The Ultimate List of Family Advent Activities & Christmas Countdown Fun (Free Printable)From the site – 150+ Advent Activities (or Christmas Countdown Activities) by Category – The categories include: Serving Others, In the Kitchen, Faith-based Activities, Decorating, Outings, Craft & Create, Fun At Home, Watch Your Favorite Christmas Movies, and Winter-Specific Activities. If you give your email to the site, you will get a FREE downloadable version of all 150 ideas.

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Pentominoes are a tiling puzzle used in recreational mathematics. Each of the twelve (12) pieces are made with 5 equal squares that are meant to resemble the Latin alphabet. These pieces can be put together in thousands of ways in order to fill in a variety of areas in puzzle-like ways such as: 3×3, 4×4, 5×3, 3×20, etc..
Real-World Benefits
How these Pentominoes fit into the real world is not very puzzling at all!
They can be used to calculate: Volume, surface area, and perimeter.
Use them to practice: Symmetry and tessellations.
They build: Spacial awareness, problem-solving skills, deductive reasoning, and creative thinking skills. They also offer an introduction to elementary number theory.
Learning Resources
Below, you will find links for information about pentominoes, activities that can be done with them, puzzles that can be played online, puzzle pieces that can be made and printed, and instructions for making your own set.
What are Pentominoes?
Wikipedia: Pentomino – Offers an explanation of what pentominoes are, how they originated, and how they are used.

Andrews.edu: Pentominoes – Talks about the origins of the puzzle, benefits, and offers game ideas.

Universal Class: What are Pentominoes? – Explains what pentominoes are, their benefits in the world of geometry, how to use them, and games that can be played with them.
Activity Ideas
Math is Fun: Pentominoes – Shows the shapes used more clearly and offers a challenge as well.

Puzzler.Sourceforge: Pentominoes – Puzzle suggestions to try.

Print or Make Your Own Set
Worksheet Works.com – Pentominoes – Generate your own drawing pentomino puzzles to print out.
CutOutFoldup: Pentomino – Print out the pieces needed and follow the directions on how to use them.

Parents.com – 10 Stem Crafts for Kids – Scroll down for information on how to make your own set with wooden blocks.

Scholastic: Pentominoes – Colorful, printable pieces in a PDF format.

Play Online

Scholastic – Pentominoes Game– Play on line.

Transum.org: Pentominoes – Play a few puzzles on line.



YouTube: Pentominoes PlaylistVideos talk about the pieces and show how they are used. Here’s one of the informative videos in the list…


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Magic Square Puzzles

Magic Square Puzzle

The Magic Square Blog – This blog is dedicated to informing people about Magic Square puzzles.

Math Is Fun: Magic Square Game – Play a game of Magic Square on line.

Wolfram MathWorld: Magic Square – Site explains how Magic Square Puzzles work, mathematically.

SoftSchools: Magic SquareSolve puzzles with 3×3, 4×4, & 5×5 grid puzzles.

Transum: Magic Square Puzzle – Solve a 3×3 Magic Square Puzzles and other puzzles.

Learn With Math Games: Magic Square Puzzle – Learn how to solve puzzles and print them out.

Magic Square Tutorial

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Petals Around The Rose

Answer: 6
Supplies Needed: You will need 5-6 dice to play this game.
What to do: Roll 5 or 6 dice and say the answer. The object of the game is to figure out what the puzzle’s pattern is.
Here’s what you need to know:
  • The name of this mathematical puzzle, ‘Petals Around The Rose’ is really important.
  • The answer will always be an even number or 0.
  • Any age can play.
  • Once you succeed at working out this brain game, you will be considered a ‘Potentate of the Rose’ and must not divulge the secret of the game.
  • The fun is figuring it out, no matter how long it takes, then offering it out to others.
You can use the following sites to play the game with answers until you figure out the game. Once you get it, please don’t tell anyone the puzzle’s secret, instead play it as a family with regular dice until everyone gets it, then play it with extended family members and friends.
Lloyd Borrett: Play Petals Around The Rose – Play this brain teaser online until you get it.
Petals Around The Rose.net – This site offers the origial game, then some advanced ones as well.