KenKen Puzzles - The New Sudoku

in Math

You many have just heard of KenKen. It's the invention of a Japanese math teacher named Tetsuya Miyamoto, who says, "I believe that if you give children good learning materials, they will think and learn and grow on their own." Imagine that!

KenKen is a brilliant puzzle which takes the logic of a sudoku puzzle, and adds the use of basic arithmetic to make KenKen a truly fascinating challenge on many levels.

But you don't have to be a math whiz to play KenKen. The rules are truly easy to learn. A typical grid has 16 squares, with four rows and four columns. Just as in sudoku, you must use the digits from one to four in each row and in each column. You cannot repeat a digit in a row or column.

KenKen has the additional trait that some groups of squares are bounded together by a bold border. Within those squares is a number, say 6, and a mathematical operation sign, say a plus (+) sign. That simply means that the digits in those squares must add up to the number 6.

If you'd had the number 15 with a multiplication (x)sign next to it in two squares bordered in bold, you'd know that the digits that go in those squares must multiply to 15.

Simple enough? Yes, it is - even a second grader can start doing KenKen puzzles. That's how easy it is to begin. But the level of play can get tougher - much tougher.

KenKen can be played on grids of 6x6 squares, or 8x8, or even 9x9 squares.

Filling in the 81 cells of a 9x9 grid can take hours, or days. Or more! Once you start though, you'll find the time to do KenKen. You won't be able to stop! Your mind will learn so much logic and arithmetic, without you even noticing.

KenKen is possibly the best brain exercise you ever may try. That's why you owe it to yourself to check it out. If you are a parent or a teacher, KenKen can become the greatest tool in your educational toolkit to get your child or students interested in math.

KenKen doesn't feel like math at all - it's just pure fun

You can get free, downloadable KenKen puzzles at

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Brian Foley has 1 articles online

Brian Foley is a guerrilla-math teacher and professional magician. He teaches methods of thinking and learning used by master magicians. For free KenKen video lessons, all the way to the very advanced level, check out

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KenKen Puzzles - The New Sudoku

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This article was published on 2010/04/03