My 7-year-old, who loves games of all kinds but particularly mathematical and word-based games (she kills it at chess and Junior Scrabble), was given a plastic grid junior Sudoku set last Christmas (that is, Christmas 2009, not the Christmas just gone). She played it quite a bit for a month or two, but lost interest in it as she started to find most of the layouts either too easy or much too hard - the game really doesn't seem to have any intermediate-level challenges. So, it was packed away in the games cupboard, awaiting my second daughter's possible future interest.
In raiding the games cupboard for wooden puzzles last week, my 22-month-old came across the Sudoku set. Attracted, I'm sure, by the colourful and illustrated box, she pulled it out to have a look.
Soon after, wondering in some trepidation exactly what my toddler was finding so engrossing that I had not heard a peep for her in at least twenty minutes, I came into the lounge-room to find her completely absorbed in playing her very own version of Sudoku.
She did very well, I reckon, matching up almost all the picture tiles to their corresponding square, and making a neat pile of her leftovers.
It just goes to show that there is *always* more than one way to play with anything, and that no way that inspires creativity, shape awareness, and fun is wrong!