Family Resources
Mind Stretchers

“Mind Stretchers,” Family Home Evening Resource Book (1997), 281

“Mind Stretchers,” Family Home Evening Resource Book, 281

Mind Stretchers

The following activities are all quiet puzzle activities. They may use pictures, geometric shapes, mathematics, or words. Family members will find that these puzzles require careful observation. The activities are designed for elementary children, teenagers, and adults.

Materials Needed


Copies for everyone of the worksheets you will need for the games you choose.


Assign a family member to become thoroughly acquainted with all of the puzzles and decide which ones would be appropriate for family members to do as a family activity. He should understand the instructions given for the puzzles and the possible solutions.


As a family, try at least two of the following puzzles. Follow the instructions on the worksheets and then check your answers with those on the answer sheets.

“How Many Squares Do You See?”

  1. “How Many Squares Do You See?” Ask family members how many squares they see. Have them number the squares on their paper if they would like. If they find sixteen or seventeen, they have found the number that most people find. Let them look again to see how many squares they can see, and then show the answer sheet.

  2. “What Is This Thing Called Love?” In the heart, there are thirty-four hidden words that describe what love is. See how many you can find. Words run in all directions, left to right, right to left, top to bottom, bottom to top, and diagonally. Circle them as you find them. Then look at the answer sheet to see how many you missed.

    Answers: accepting, bond, communicating, loyalty, happiness, exciting, joyful, caring, trusting, fulfilling, receiving, giving, forgiving, understanding, tender, lovely, belonging, respect, natural, sharing, ageless, open, warm, nice, patient, faith, alive, always, hope, true, real, forever, right, wed.

  3. “The Tricky T.” Make patterns for these shapes by tracing them onto lightweight paper. Then use the patterns to make cardboard cutouts. Number them, and keep all the numbered sides facing you.

    See if you can make the four pieces fit together to make a capital T.

    This T is exactly the same size as the puzzle pieces when they’re put together properly.

  4. “Lots of Triangles.” There are thirty-five triangles in this pentagon. Can you find them all?

  5. “Division.” There are seven tennis balls inside this square. Can you divide up the square so that each tennis ball is left in its own compartment without any others—by using only three straight lines?

  6. “Snatch a Match.” Arrange twelve used matches to make four equal squares as shown. By moving only three matches, try to make three equal squares.

Answer Sheet

Additional Activities

If you and your family enjoyed these mind-stretching puzzles, there are many available in books and magazines. You may even want to make up some of your own.