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🧩 Making Book Related Connections Puzzles!

Connections is a recent addition to the New York Times Games Page. If you've never played before, the game is really pretty simple: you're given a grid of 16 words/phrases and your job is to find four groups of words, within the 16, that are connected in some way. Sometimes the connections are super obvious; other times, they are quite obscure. Players have four chances to find all the connections before the game is over. This video does a great job of explaining it.

A few weeks ago, my friend (and long time co-conspirator) Jeannie Timken sent me a Connections puzzle generator (created by Anthony Salazar) asking if I'd ever used it. I hadn't. But it got me thinking about creating book related Connections puzzles. For example, here's one I made for John Schu's Louder Than Hunger.

Louder Than Hunger Connections GIF

Some of the great things about the generator are:

  • it's free

  • it's super easy to use

  • there's no account required

  • it's easy to share your puzzles with others

In addition to teachers and librarians creating these brain teasers for the readers they serve, I can imagine kids creating and sharing puzzles as part of a book club or Battle of the Books experience. Or what about linking kid created Connections puzzles to book marks are shelf talkers using QR Codes? The possibilities are endless.

Still... the one drawback I've run into while using this free tool is that the puzzles aren't editable. Once you generate a puzzle, you cannot make changes to it. So... if you later find a typo, or realize you've goofed up in another way, you have to start over. Given that I made (approximately) 3 million mistakes creating the puzzles I've put together so far, I can see this proving to be a potential obstacle for kids. So... I created this planning worksheet to serve as a scaffold. The idea being that if they plan out their puzzles on paper first, readers will be less likely to make mistakes (and therefore have to start over!) when creating the games online. We can hope ,anyway.🤞🏻🤞🏻 You can download the worksheet for free here.

CONNECTIONS Puzzle Planning Doc

Finally, I created this Padlet as a way to curate all the book related Connections puzzles I make. While I've only created a few so far, I hope to add more. I've included the solution to each of my puzzles in the corresponding post, too. As always, you are welcome to use mine with your readers. I hope you find these resources useful. And, of course, if you make some of your own, I hope you'll share them with me! Happy reading (and connecting!), y'all!


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Let's Connect!

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