sudoku online
"Father of Sudoku" Maki Kaji poses for a picture during the first Sudoku national competition in Sao Paulo in 2012. He passed away in August 2021, leaving a legacy many will enjoy for decades to come. Source: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP

Have you ever played sudoku online? If you have, you would know the satisfaction of beating your personal best. Sure, it’s a pattern puzzle — but ultimately, it’s an avenue for practice and relaxation that can widely benefit students of all ages.

Maki Kaji, the late creator of the popular puzzle, developed it for children and others looking for a straightforward game. Sudoku requires a player to put the numbers one to nine in a box made up of 81 squares, so that no number is repeated in any of the nine vertical or horizontal lines.

This numerical crossword was invented by Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler in the 18th century. The modern version is sometimes said to have been formulated in the US, but Kaji is credited with having popularised the puzzle. It gained global popularity in 2014, and has today moved from its primary pencil-and-paper format to easily-accessible digital modes.

sudoku online

Whether on paper or phone, playing sudoku is one way to relax while keeping your brain active. Source: Niklas Halle’n/AFP

Playing sudoku online promotes critical thinking

Educators and researchers have discovered the joys of sudoku not just as a game, but as a testament to active learning. Playing sudoku online trains deductive reasoning skills, which is critical in the development of logical thought processes. It helps students think and focus in new ways, breaking out from the monotony or words and theories.

Solving problems — or rather attempting to — promotes the development of new neural pathways. Strengthening these pathways is the first step towards improving memory. Once you’ve got the concept down, you’ll be zooming through these number puzzles in no time. This same attitude can be applied successfully to other areas of your student life because as we know, practice makes perfect.

sudoku online

Sudoku players go pro, too; here is one participant of the 2018 World Sudoku Championship in Prague, which attracted 250 players from 35 countries. Source: Michal Cizek/AFP

Playing sudoku online can build math skills

Getting into sudoku online gets you thinking about patterns and symmetry, which involves the application of combinatorics and group theory. In other words, you’ll be improving your math skills without even realising it.

It’s therefore safe to say that sudoku can help young students build confidence in dealing with numbers. For example, a 2011 study found that teachers can help students better identify patterns by simplifying sudoku concepts for young learners.

Familiarising numbers in a fun way helps avoid math trauma later in life. Math trauma manifests as anxiety or dread — a debilitating fear of being wrong, which can limit career and life options for those who struggle with mathematics.

Beyond that, many players advocate for the calming, meditative quality of completing a puzzle. All that matters in that game are making sense of the rows, columns, and squares. So the next time you need a break but want to keep those neurons firing, try some sudoku online. There are numerous apps available on iPhone and Android, or you may find a free website.