Who says that expanding the brain can’t be fun? Puzzle books have been popular for decades among adults and children alike. These books contain dozens, or even hundreds, of puzzles that test a person’s knowledge and/or ability to think. In many cases, they develop critical thinking skills — all in a way that’s charming and satisfying for the reader.
But what are the best puzzle books you can own? Seeing which books are popular, and why they are, is a good place to start. Miles Kimball is here to help with this look at our best-selling Brain Games puzzle books for adults and kids. You just might find something that provides hours of entertainment while helping you get a little smarter!
Word Puzzle Books
By far, the most popular puzzle books we sell — and the most popular puzzles period, for that matter — are word puzzles. As the name suggests, these puzzles involve working with words.
The two most common word puzzles are word search books and crossword puzzle books. Despite its popularity, word searches are one of the newest puzzle forms; they were created in 1968. To complete them, one must find all words on a provided list within a grid of letters. The words usually involve a certain theme and might be side-to-side, up-and-down, diagonal or even backward. Word finds can be a real brain challenge for children but are primarily a source of amusement for adults. Alternate versions involve finding words within a picture or using the remaining letters to form a phrase.
Crossword puzzles, which were created in 19th-century England, add knowledge and critical thinking to the mix. A grid of white- and black-shaded squares is provided, and the reader must fill the white squares with words or phrases by solving the provided clues. The clues can be as simple or as complicated as you want, meaning that all ages can test themselves with the right puzzle.
Both of these puzzle types fall into the larger category of paper-and-pencil word games. There are also letter arrangement games (e.g. word scrambles) and semantic games (e.g. Mad Libs). However, these are not as popular in book form. They’re most often seen in compilation books, book sets (pictured above) or in themed books that build puzzles around knowledge of a certain subject (such as our John Wayne puzzle book).
Picture Puzzle Books
Connect the dots puzzles are the third-most-popular type of puzzle book we sell behind word searches and crosswords. This puzzle — sometimes referred to as dot-to-dot or join the dot — is a form of a picture puzzle. Each page in the book has numbered dots spread across the sheet. (Letters can be used, too.) Drawing lines to connect them in the correct order creates a certain object such as a car or tree. These are some of the best puzzle books for kids as they test a young brain’s counting and sequencing ability. As a bonus, children can then engage their creativity by coloring in the picture.
This is by far the most common type of picture puzzle book we sell. However, you can find some other versions in our puzzle compilations and collections. Comparison puzzles are a popular way of testing one’s attention to detail. They involve placing two similar pictures side by side and asking the reader to find the differences between them. Sticker-by-number books are a fun variation of paint-by-number that doesn’t make a huge mess. The Hangman guessing game combines words and pictures for a classic good time, and the book versions create a one-player version by making the letters scratch-off clues.
Keep Your Mind Working
A puzzle collection is a great way to stimulate the brain, pass the time and have fun with. Take a break from the TV or gossip sites and test yourself with the best puzzle books for ages 5 to 95. They’re also an excellent gift for a family member or friend. Miles Kimball has been trusted for generations and will help you find unique puzzle books at affordable prices.
Logic Puzzle Books
Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that the most challenging puzzle category comes in here. But make no mistake: these are great books for anyone to own. These adult puzzle books keep your cognitive muscles active well into old age by expanding logic, reasoning, creative thinking and more. Our top-selling Sudoku books are a great example of this. Readers are provided with a 9×9 grid that’s subdivided into nine 3×3 blocks and partially filled with numbers. They must fill the remaining boxes so that all columns, rows and blocks contain the numbers 1 to 9. This puzzle type, which became popular in the 1980s, combines memory and logic while requiring high concentration.
The deductive reasoning book Who Done It? is another great way to test your skills. The reader is presented with a variety of brain challenges with a spy theme. They might need to solve a math riddle, answer comprehension questions after reading a paragraph of text or plan a mission using certain parameters. The best part is that some of the puzzles can be solved in multiple ways, meaning you can do them again later and find improved or alternative solutions.