Puzzles and riddles are terrific mind-stretching activities to help you raise kids with growth mindsets and good executive function skills. Put together this math cube riddle, a challenging DIY puzzle. As you know, we love a good creative math activity. Whether it’s turning cookies into fractions, playing a rousing game of Sumoku or making curves out of straight lines, for my sons math is the gateway to thinking outside the box (or cube in this case). So, of course, when my mom gave me an old 1970 math text book titled, Patterns and Puzzles in Mathematics, I knew I would find some juicy activities in it.
Math play, or “recreational mathematics” is an effective way to help your kids exercise their brains without making it seem like work. This math cube riddle puzzle is the first one we’ve tried from our new-old-school text book and it was so fun and challenging (!) that I had to make a printable for you so your kids could stretch their little brains and try it out too. (Note: affiliate links included below.)
What you need:
- Cube riddle printable. Choose either patterns or numbers. (Get it below)
- Card stock. Make it super fun with these bright colors.
- Tape or glue. I find double sided tape is the easiest way to go.
Download and print:
Cubic puzzle with numbers (4 pages)
Cubic puzzle with patterns (4 pages)
Print out the cube riddler and assemble. Tape or glue tabs to inside for clean looking blocks. Or, simply tape on the outside for easy and simplicity. There are 4 different cubes, you need one of each.
How to play:
The object of the game is to stack the cubes so that no one number, or pattern (depending on which set you are using) shows more than once on each side. Each side of the tower should display 1, 2, 3 and 4, or the four different patterns — in any order.
This cube riddle puzzler is more difficult than it looks, although kids might stumble on the answer by accident. If your little ones are getting frustrated alter the challenge so that the goal is to get 2 or 3 sides instead right of all 4. We had great success with that.
If you want to add an extra creative twist, fold the cube so that the blank sides are on the outside and have kids come up with their own designs. However, be sure that they keep the same organization of which pattern goes where as the printable versions.
What part of the brain does this work?
In order to solve the puzzle, kids use logical reasoning, spatial awareness and problem solving skills, all of which are important for math learning. They also must practice patience in order to achieve a goal, an important executive function skill.
Here is the solution. The blocks are stacks, faces two is to the right of face one, face three is to the right of face two, etc. Numbers on faces read top to bottom.
- Face one: 3, 4, 2, 1
- Face two: 2, 4, 1, 3
- Face three: 1, 2, 3, 4
- Face four: 4, 1, 3, 2
- Bottom face: 1, 3, 2, 1
See more of our favorite math activities in action!
More fantastic brain teasers:
- T Puzzle
- Tower of Hanoi
- Quick brain teaser, perfect for beginners
- The magic triangle
- Tons of DIY puzzle ideas
- Brain teasers for family gatherings
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Did you know math and literacy skills are interconnected?
Click on an image below to get some fantastic math books to keep the math learning going!