Back to School Puzzle Punnery!

You may be familiar with the board game Schmovie, hashtag games on Twitter, or @midnight’s Hashtag Wars segment on Comedy Central.

For years now, we’ve been collaborating on puzzle-themed hashtag games with our pals at Penny Dell Puzzles, and this month’s hook was #PennyDellSchoolPuzzles, mashing up Penny Dell puzzles with school subjects, supplies, cliches, and more, all about back to school!

Examples include: Mechanical Pencil Pusher, StarSpelling Bee, and Tossing & Turning (the Night Before a Big Exam).

So, without further ado, check out what the puzzlers at PuzzleNation and Penny Dell Puzzles came up with!


PaperBlips

Homecoming and Going

Piggybackpack

Lockerkuro

A-Plus Fours

Three of a Kindergarten

Schoolmaster Words (from Schoolmaster’s Variety Puzzles)

Middle School of the Road

In the Middle School

Back of the Word Rebus

Homework Runs

High School Scorer

Top to Bottom of the Class

Substitutions Teacher

Bull’s-Eye Spiral Notebook

Mixed Bookbag

Exchange Blackboards

Foreign Exchange Boards Student

A Few Multiple-Choice Words

Circles in the Square Root of Pi

Head of the Classified Adds

Crossing Guard Arithmetic

Textbook Worms

Crypto-Names and Dates

Double Occupancy Dorm Rooms

Give Homework and Take Attendance

Parse a Phrase

Staring Out the Window Boxes

End of the Line in the Cafeteria

Summer’s End of the Line

Learning the ABC’s

Class is Across & Down the Hall

High school Drop-Outs

Letterdropout

Letter Perfect Attendance

Short Attention Spanners

Freshman year Ups & Downs

Who’s Calling the Nurse?

Study Group Values

Home Rooms

It Facts and Figures

Lab Partners

Ringmaster’s degree

Gold Stars and Arrows

Chemistry Labyrinth

Yearbook Photo Finish

Spellingbound


Many of our contributors offered up puzzly versions of sentences you’d hear around school!

No eating Chips in the library.

Honeycomb your hair, you’ll be late for school.

Line ’em Up… for detention!

TODAY’S MENU: a Bowl Game of Alphabet Soup

Passing notes? Would you care to Share-a-Letter with the rest of the class?

Brick by Brick the new school was built.

Class, take your Places, Please.

Student: “Miss Lane, I can’t do this problem.”
Teacher: “Try to Figgerit out!”

What kinds of tests do monsters take? Criptoquizzes

Snow day Cancellations will Carry-Over into the summer!

Rodney DanGarfield Quotables: Double Negative lesson: “I don’t get no respect”

Rodney DanGarfield Quotables: “Why don’t you call me some time when you have no class?”


One solver offered the voice of experience…

Even though I graduated long ago, I still get excited by school supply displays! And now a little advice for those back-to-schoolers:

This might be a Throwback, but I remember when you got ready for Class-ified Adds by packing your TrapperKeyword in your Bookworm bag.

You could be a WordMathlete ready for the big Countdown.

You can get through those two-a-days Two at a Time to practice a perfect Bull’s-eye Spiral and make it to the Bowlgame.

And there’s One and Only valedictorian, so Try-Angles your best, and you can do it Step by Step.


Another solver delved into history with a look back on her puzzly school days:

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, please join me on a trip down memory lane as I travel in my TIME MACHINE and go back to school. During my first few DAIS-Y of school, I learned the ALPHABET PLUS played a lot of SIMON SAYS. My teacher gave us CRACKERS for snack time, but I wish she had given us BOXES of CRACKERJACKS instead. Some of the kids in my class loved constructing with wooden shapes and were pretty amazing BLOCKBUILDERS.

In elementary school, we were encouraged to increase our vocabularies and had to EXPLORAWORD every day. There was quite a bit of homework in which we had to FILL-IN the BLANKWORD to prove that we understood what we had learned. In my junior high years, I took shop class, in which we were taught to use JIGSAW SQUARES. I remember that there were BITS & PIECES of wood all over the floor of that classroom.

It was also during one of those junior-high years that we had the dreaded CIRCLES IN THE SQUARE dancing unit in gym class. Having to stand there, FACE TO FACE with a random classmate was nothing short of awkward. Later on, in high school, I KENKEN remember having a particularly cranky math teacher. I used to joke that he taught CROSS ARITHMETIC.

Well, after covering all those years of school, WHAT’S LEFT? Oh yes – just my college years. You may laugh when you PICTURE THIS, but I was the DRUMMERMAN major of our marching band. We’d SHUFFLE along, HERE & THERE during HALFTIME at every football game. Well, friends – that concludes our journey. I hope that you enjoyed your ONE & ONLY chance to experience the magic of time travel.


Finally, one solver set her puzzly school ideas to music…

It’s a fact
School is a Balancing Act
We race to Beat the Clock
Jocks hit Home-Runs and run Around the Block
While all the Bookworms and busy bees
Are learning their ABC’s
Dodge ball teams
Odds and Evens
Pick and Choose
Todds and Stevens
Tots Add One on their Abacus
Seniors are taking Quote Calculus
Rah-rahs cheer “All Four One
Teachers are saying “Are we having fun?”
Lunch bell rings, Woohoo!
Lovebirds enjoy Alphabet Soup for Two
Keep on Moving, Line-Em Up
Scholars bolt down lunch before time is up
Outside kids play games of Hopscotch, Simon Says, and Seven-Up
Substitutions Fill-In when teachers are out
Classes and studies, hopefully no Drop-Outs
Text Message, Telephone Call
Is Johnny taking me to the Harvest Ball?
Guys and gals Mix and Mingle, then Pair Off
Stags feeling Out of Place at the Disco
Cause Double Trouble, throw Chips
Then Face to Face with…Guess Who?
Principal Chase!
School play time!
So Places, Please
Custodians clean the school Top to Bottom
Sweep spilled Animal Crackers and Crackerjacks
Miles of Bounty, the quicker Picker-Upper
Days come Full Circle
Work is done
Now home to supper!
Only question is: How many more days till summer?


One of our fellow PuzzleNationers also got involved in the puzzly fun! Jane W (aka @jawurts10) offered up the delightful entries “Essay Can You See” and “Cramming And Jamming,” which were great fun. Nice job!

Have you come up with any Penny Dell School Puzzles entries of your own? Let us know! We’d love to see them!

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On the hunt… for treasure!

We’re well into summer, and you’re probably looking for great puzzly summer activities to share with the kids. And I have just the thing for you. Have you considered a treasure hunt? (And I’m not talking about spotting a chest at the bottom of your fish tank.)

You could organize one yourself! My friend told me a story about a treasure hunt her uncle masterminded for her and her siblings one year. He went out at low tide with a small chest of fake jewels (plus her mother’s actual pearl necklace, which she tossed in for fun), and buried it, prepared to bring the kids back a day or two later with a treasure map and let them “discover” it.

Naturally, a storm came through the next day, so they couldn’t dig it up. It was a few days before they could organize the treasure hunt, and when low tide came, the storm had so changed the landmarks and sandbars that they never found the treasure chest.

I don’t want to discourage you from embarking on your own treasure hunt adventures… just make sure it’s a place you have maximum control over.

Of course, you could always pursue one of the real-life treasure hunts lurking out there for the industrious amateur adventurer. We’ve written about a few of them in the past, but they’re hardly the only examples. For an aspiring Indiana Jones or lost member of the Goonies, real treasure awaits you.

One, surrounding a bronze statue of an owl, requires a trip to France, though. A man named Max Valentin buried it, and whomever unravels eleven clues and finds it can exchange it for a second statue valued at one million francs. (As long as you don’t get too overzealous and blow up a chapel in your quest to find it, as one amateur treasure hunter did.)

For one with an American twist, you could try to solve the mystery of the Beale ciphers. Three encrypted texts from the 1800s detail the location of a hidden cache of gold, silver, and jewels, and astonishingly enough, The Declaration of Independence is supposed to be the key to cracking the code!

While the ciphers and the story might be a hoax, you could still be the one to solve the mystery! (One group of treasure hunters stumbled upon Civil War artifacts while digging in the wrong place.)

Whether it’s a Dead Sea Scroll or the last missing treasure from a brilliant tie-in to a book, treasure could be yours this summer, even in your own backyard.

[Thanks to IO9 for inspiring this post.]

Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! You can share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and be sure to check out our library of PuzzleNation apps and games!

Think outside the house…

[A friendly reminder that not everything is available online.
Stickers (and the story of their creation) can be found here.]

Summer’s almost here, and although we all love puzzles (and we’ve been talking about apps a lot lately), I think it’s safe to admit that puzzles have always been something of an indoor activity. So what’s a parent to do when puzzle-loving kids don’t want to go outside?

Why, take the puzzles outside, of course!

Do your kids enjoy shapes? Why not create some large-scale tangram puzzles for them? All you’d need is a sheet or two of posterboard and a pair of scissors. There are numerous designs online that you could recreate (minus the lines that show how the pieces make each shape) and challenge your young solvers to mimic with their pieces!

You could even cut the posterboard into Tetris pieces and play a game of Tetris where each kid takes a turn placing a piece, trying to leave as few open spaces between pieces as possible. (Though you’d have to be a real magician to make complete lines disappear like in the game!)

Do your kids like trivia? Why not grab a few frisbees, a hula hoop or two, and create a mini-game show!

[Frisbee golf provides the perfect model for an easily improvised puzzle game.]

Different hula hoops could be different categories or difficulty levels (either prop them up or let them sit on the ground), and the kids could show off their athleticism AND their trivia knowledge in one fell swoop! (Replace the frisbees with beanbags or softballs or whatever you like. This is a game meant to be cobbled together from whatever’s on hand.)

And of course, there’s always the ultimate fusion of outdoor adventure and puzzly skills:

Scavenger hunts are great, because you can tailor them to your audience. Do your kids love puzzles? Make the clues as puzzly as possible, incorporating riddles and anagrams and wordplay galore. Do your kids like searching more than puzzling? Be creative in crafting the list of items to find.

Since the dawn of the modern era of mobile phone technology, a new variation on the scavenger hunt has emerged: the photo scavenger hunt. Instead of finding numerous items and bringing them back to a predetermined spot, you take pictures of various items (or provide photographic proof that you’ve completed certain activities or accomplished certain tasks) and bring your phone back as evidence.

Some companies, like our friends at The Great Urban Race, offer city-specific scavenger hunts for adults, replete with puzzles, physical challenges, and all kinds of outdoor fun. Their website is a treasure trove of ideas for your own adventures.

Actually, you know what? That sounds great. Forget the kids, I’m gonna go recruit some people and go scavenging!

Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! You can share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and be sure to check out the growing library of PuzzleNation apps and games!