It’s no secret that I love math and puzzles. I’ve always loved playing with Japanese number puzzles such as Sudoku and KenKen. I’ve always wondered when it’d be appropriate to teach my kids how to play these puzzles. Thanks to Sudoku — Dragon Adventure, both of my kids are now capable to complete 9x9 Sudoku puzzles on their own.
Start with No Sub-Grids
Sudoku has a simple objective: to fill the grid with digits such that each column, each row, and each of the sub-grids contains all of the digits allowed for the puzzle only once. If you’re playing with the standard 9x9 grid, the digits are 1 to 9. But if you’re playing with the non-standard 5x5 grid, the digits are 1 to 5.
Sudoku — Dragon Adventure starts by teaching you the easiest rule of Sudoku. Using a simple 3x3 grid, the game eliminates the need for sub-grids. Hence, you only need to evaluate the puzzle by its columns and rows. It’s actually pretty straightforward if you start with the easiest difficulty level. Simply find which number is missing from the column or row, and you’d already solve the puzzle.
Once you’re comfortable with the easiest level in 3x3 grids, you can start moving up the ladder by trying out the harder levels. The same basic rules applies as the game challenges you to complete the puzzles when there are 3-4 missing numbers.
Getting the first two rules correctly are very important. That’s why the game offers two more grid variants, 4x4 and 5x5, for practice. Up to this point, there is no specific technique that you need to master. Simply scan the columns and rows to find the missing numbers. Just make sure that you don’t end up with duplicates on each column and row.
Transitioning to the Real Sudoku
Once you are familiar with the rules, you can move on to the real Sudoku puzzles, where sub-grid rules apply. Sudoku — Dragon Adventure offers two grid variants: 4x4 and 9x9. The 4x4 grids are divided into four 2x2 sub-grids, allowing you to practice with the sub-grid rules before tackling on the real 9x9 puzzles.
You can apply the basic column/row rules first to find all the possible numbers. When you’re stuck, you can start inspecting each sub-grid to find the missing numbers. Based on my experience, teaching the sub-grid rules isn’t that difficult. Once my kids understand the column/row rules, adding the grid rules is quite simple.
Again, I’d recommend you start with the easiest level first, which requires you to find four missing numbers in a 4x4 grid. Once you’re comfortable with the sub-grid rules, you can move on to the harder levels which require you to complete a half-empty 4x4 grid.
Having three difficulty levels for each grid variant really helps kids master the rules first and have enough practice before tackling on the real challenging ones. For example, when you play the 9x9 grid, you can choose whether to have 20 missing numbers, 42 missing numbers, or 53 missing numbers.
Parents Need to Know
Sudoku — Dragon Adventure is designed to teach kids as young as four year old to play Sudoku on their own. The difficulty levels are well-designed, reflecting the learning curves needed for kids to understand the rules.
Sudoku is an excellent tool to improve your kids’ logical thinking, concentration, and reasoning. It doesn’t really require any math skills, other than counting from 1 to 9. The game even offers an option to replace the numbers with icons to ensure you that it’s a logic puzzle and not a math puzzle.
Each grid variant has five puzzles, and each puzzle has three difficulty levels to choose from. In total, there are 75 different puzzles from the simplest 3x3 grid to the hardest 9x9 grid that you can play with.
Along the way, you get to experience hatching your very own dragon egg, raising it from a hatchling to its adult form. You can also collect treasures as you complete Sudoku puzzles.
Things I Like
To be honest, I didn’t expect my kids to be able to learn the rules of Sudoku as fast as they did with Sudoku — Dragon Adventure. At first, my five-year-old cleared the non sub-grid rules very easily. Then, he started working his way up on the 9x9 grids. Now, he’s able to solve even the hardest 9x9 grids on his own.
The same thing happens with my three-year-old. He cleared the non sub-grid rules very easily on his own. Then, with me pointing which empty space he needs to prioritize, he can pretty much clear all the 9x9 grids on their easiest levels.
If you love Sudoku and you’ve been wondering when the perfect time is to introduce the game to your kids, give this game a try. Sudoku — Dragon Adventure offers a fun and easy way — with well-designed learning curves — to help kids ages 4+ learn the rules of the game.
App was provided for our honest review.
About Juf Jannie Apps
Juf Jannie Apps is a husband-and-wife team of developers who are developing apps for their own sons. Driven by the lack of educational apps in the Netherlands App Store six years ago, they decided to start creating their own apps. Both Miss Jannie and her husband are teachers at primary and secondary schools.
Numbers and Counting is a fun math activity app for kids ages 2+ to practice their basic numbers and counting skills. The mini games provide excellent examples for activities that you can perform at home with your kids. Read my review to learn a few DIY tips on fun little games using Post-It Notes that you can replicate at home.