Spot the Difference Puzzles for all Ages

Spot the difference puzzles have been around for many years now and come in different levels of difficulty, so that it is possible to find puzzles that are suitable for all ages, from quite young children to senior citizens.

Classed as a game of logic or a brain teaser, spot the difference puzzles require patience and attention and so are a great way to teach children such skills as thinking logically, making decisions and paying attention to the task at hand. They are also helpful later in life for keeping the brain active.

The concept of course is very simple. You start with a single image and then make a copy with several changes. For example, you add items, remove items, reposition items or re-color items. A picture might therefore gain a cat, lose a dog, have a chair moved from one side of the room to another, and have a boy’s t-shirt changed from red to blue. The changes between the two images can range from fairly easy to spot for younger children, to very subtle and extremely difficult to find for grown ups. The object however is not to defeat the puzzler, but to provide a challenging experience which exercises the brain and is also great fun.

One of our authors, Kenneth Quinlan, started by creating a set of spot the difference puzzle books for kids, which proved to be extremely popular. These books were issued in black and white to keep prices down but, in response to customer feedback, the whole series has now been re-issued in full color. Kenneth has now moved on and is currently working on a set of adult spot the difference books, which are based upon some of the world’s greatest works of art. Currently there are 4 books in issue featuring the works of the Italian Renaissance artists.

These books are available in print, pdf and kindle versions through our bookstore, where you will also find free samples for both kids and adults.

Solving Kakuro Sum Puzzles

Perhaps the two most popular puzzles today are crossword and sudoku puzzles. It should not therefore be a surprise to learn that Kakuro puzzles, which are in essence a combination of crossword and sudoku puzzles, are also extremely popular today.

A kakuro puzzle looks a bit like a crossword grid and is solved using a set of rules which are similar to those used for sudoku. One difference however is that, as well as the logic required to solve a sudoku puzzle, a kakuro puzzle requires some mathematics. Fortunately, this is generally limited to simple addition.

Kakuro originated in the United States in 1950. Invented by James Funk, a Canadian, puzzles were first published by Dell Magazines under the name of “Cross Sums” or “Cross Sum Puzzles”. Like sudoku, which also originated in the United States, kakuro was later popularized by the Japanese and given the name by which it is known today.

There is no single method for solving kakuro puzzles and it is really a case of coming up with your own particular strategy, arrived at through practice. That said, it can be a little daunting if you are just starting out and so you may want to begin by following a guide which includes a set of “cheat sheets”. These are charts which show you all of the possible solutions for each possible number of boxes in a standard puzzle. For example, if you have 3 boxes and the clue number is 22, the cheat sheet will show you that there are only 2 possible solutions using the numbers 5, 8 and 9 or 6, 7 and 9.

If you are new to solving kakuro puzzles, or would simply like some extra help, you can download a free copy of our own in-house guide – Solving Kakuro Sum Puzzles.

Sudoku – The Perfect Puzzle for People of all Ages

There are literally hundreds of different types of puzzle available today, but only a handful have really caught the imagination of people in any substantial numbers and reached the status of a puzzle craze. Sudoku is one such craze and today Sudoku puzzles rank right up at the top of the list, alongside crossword puzzles. But, why is this?

The answer is that we do not really know why a particular puzzle catches on, but one answer might lie in its simplicity. While both crossword and sudoku puzzles can be very challenging, they both have a very simple structure and an easy-to-follow set of rules for finding a solution. In fact, sudoku puzzles are simpler that crossword puzzles because they do not require you to have any extensive knowledge of the real world. For example, while crosswords require a knowledge of such things as people, places, events etc., sudoku merely requires you to place numbers (or sometimes other symbols) into a grid of cells in a logical manner.

In the modern world we are confronted on an almost daily basis with real-life, and often large-scale, puzzles for which, more often than not, there is no clear solution. Puzzles therefore which allow us to escape the trials and tribulations of everyday life, and which bring a sense of order into our lives, are not only welcome but highly prized. Crosswords, Sudoku, and also jigsaws fit he bill perfectly.

Importantly, sudoku is a craze that brings with it a host of benefits including such things as lowering stress levels, increasing IQ and improving memory. For one group however the benefits are truly a wonder. I am talking of course about our senior citizens. Following several published studies the American Alzheimer’s Association is just one of a growing number of organizations to endorse sudoku as a preventative measure against dementia.

Whatever your age and skill level, you will find sudoku puzzles at just the right size and difficulty to suit your needs.

7 Benefits of Kids’ Coloring

Kids love to draw and, in particular, to color but did you know that this is more than just a case of having fun. There are a host of advantages to coloring and here are just 7 benefits of kids’ coloring:

7 Benefits of Kids' Coloring1. Improves handwriting. Manipulating a pencil requires both hand strength and dexterity and coloring is an ideal way to develop these. In turn, the ability to hold and use a pencil correctly will result in an improvement in your child’s handwriting.

2. Develops hand and eye coordination. When working with coloring pages, the child needs to add color to particular areas of a picture, and to keep these colors within defined boundaries. This, combined with the need to hold and manipulate a coloring pencil correctly, helps to develop hand and eye coordination.

3. Develops concentration. It is very important for a child to learn to concentrate on a task and coloring is an ideal way to get a child to focus attention on one specific task and develope the ability to concentrate.

4. Develops patience. Coloring more complex subjects can take a long time, but the ability to relax and focus on the task at hand helps your child to learn the value of patience.

5. Builds knowledge. Using coloring pages from a wide range of different themes helps to spark a childs curiosity, generate questions and build knowledge. In addition, a child will learn to recognize shape, form, patterns, perspective and color combinations.

6. Stimulates creativity. As your child learns the basic art of coloring he will begin to introduce variations to his coloring, drawn from the imaginary world that all children create in their minds. This creativity provides an excellent way for your child to express his personality.

7. Provides for self-expression. While many children express themselves verbally, others prefer to use art as a form of self-expression. The subjects your child chooses, and the colors he selects, can tell you a lot about how he is feeling and what he is thinking.

7 Benefits of Puzzle Solving

Solving puzzles is not just great fun, it can also be very good for you. Here are just 7 benefits of puzzle solving:

Seven Benefits of Puzzle Solving1. Improved Memory. Puzzle solving reinforces connections between brain cells, and indeed encourages the generation of new connections. This increases the speed at which you process thought.

2. Improved Visual-Spatial Reasoning. The ability to think in terms of pictures, rather than words, is an important skill and helps with many everyday tasks such as driving a car or packing items away for transportation or storage.

3. Increased IQ. Solving puzzles not only improves your memory and reasoning abilities, but also results in an increased IQ. Indeed, one study by a researcher from the University of Michigan found that spending less than thirty minutes a day solving puzzles increased IQ by four points.

4. Lowers Stress Levels. Although it may sound strange the brain changes from its normal “beta” (wakeful) state to an “alpha” (dream) state when we are solving puzzles. This results in several benefits including and inproved mood and lower level of stress.

5. Increased Educational Opportunities. You are never too old to learn and puzzle solving can help us to learn or develop a range skills in areas such as language, mathematics and research.

6. Increased productivity.
As stress levels drop and mood improves, we find it easier to concentrate and this, in turn, means that our productivity levels rise significantly. Many businesses recognize this fact and now provide employees with puzzles in their break rooms.

7. Delay the onset of Demetia and Alzheimer’s. It is vitally important that we keep our minds active throughout life and this is especially important in old age, where it is all too easy to let this slip. Puzzle solving can be an important tool in fighting dementia and alzheimer’s.

7 Fun Facts About Animals

There are literally hundreds of strange, interesting and fun facts about the animal kingdom, and here are just seven that I particularly like:

7 Fun Facts About Animals1. Dolphins use sonar to navigate. Dolphins have much better eyesight and hearing than humans and also have a highly developed biological sonar, or echolocation, as well as an ability to use the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate.

2. The dinosaurs cannot return. Sadly for many the promise of Jurassic Park will not be realized in our lifetime. Although many dinosaur fossils have been found none contain viable DNA, and it is extremely unlikely that a viable sample of DNA will ever be found.

3. Orcas have their own culture. Ocras have an unusually large brain and the ability to learn local dialects (each pod of orca whales has its own unique language), to learn and then teach complicated methods of hunting and to pass on individual behavioral characteristic to other members of their pod. Like humans, orcas have developed their own culture.

4. The blobfish is the world’s ugliest animal. The blobfish recently became the mascot of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, which also makes it, albeit unofficially, the world’s ugliest animal.

5. The great white shark remains a puzzle. Despite its notoriety, we know very little about the great white shark which leads a solitary life, swims great distances and is very difficult to observe. For example, scientist still have a number of unanswered questions about the shark’s reproductive habits.

6. Hibernation is not the same as sleep. When animals, such as bears, hibernate most people believe that they are simply have a long winter sleep. In fact, during hibernation animals decrease their physiological activity, by lowering their temperature and metabolic rate, and enter a state of what is known as torpor.

7. Snake charming is a myth. Famous throughout India, snake charmers use music to make snake dance for the entertainment of passers by. In reality the cobras traditionally used by snake charmers cannot hear the music being played and merely adopt a natural defensive stance at the sight of the snake charmer, and move in response to movement by the snake charmer, or his musical instrument.

These are just some of the many interesting and fun facts discovered by Ann Lawrence when she drew a upon a lifetime of experience to write The Animals Kids’ Books Series.

5 Health Benefits of Adult Coloring

Many people think that adult coloring simply provides an opportunity for escapism and a bit of fun. In reality however it is much more than that and it brings with it considerable emotional, intellectual and mental health benefits. Here we look at 7 significant benefits to be derived from adult coloring.

5 Health Benefits of Adult Coloring1. Provides relaxation and calming. More than one hundred years ago the Swiss psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and founder of analytical psychology, Carl Jung, recognized the benefits of coloring as an alternative to meditation. He noticed that his patients relaxed and calmed down as they focused their attention on coloring a picture, rather than on troublesome thoughts.

2. Combats several emotional problems and mental health issues. An increasing number of people today suffer from an emotional or mental disorder such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, anxiety, stress, depression and much more. In all of these cases there is a focus on negative issues and, in many cases, on negative habits. Coloring helps to deflect negative thoughts and focus them on an activity which is both productive and safe.

3. Combats PTSD. A common problem with PTSD is a raised state of vigilance, worry and panic caused by excessive activity in that part of the brain which controls our “fight or flight” response. Focusing attention on the productive and harmless activity of coloring helps to reduce the “fight or flight” response and thus lower the sufferers level of worry and remove feelings of panic.

4. Evokes earlier and simpler times. Not surprisingly, coloring conjures up memories of childhood and of a time when we had few responsibilities and did things simply because we wanted to, for no reason other than for the pleasure they gave us. Tapping into childhood memories can be very cleansing and provide an extremely recuperative effect.

5. Improves intellectual ability. Coloring often intricate and detailed pictures exercises the frontal lobes of the brain, which are responsible for higher level activity including focus, concentration, organisation and problem solving. Although it may not be immediately obvious, many adult coloring tasks involve us in a balancing act as we work with complex color schemes to create a picture which is aesthetically pleasing.

While many people believe that adult coloring books are nothing more than a recent fad, which will probably fade with time, the reality is that they have been around for many years and are undoubtedly here to stay.

Yes, they are fun and a great way to pass a few hours, but they are also hugely beneficial to us in a whole host of ways which might never occur to us. So, if you have not yet tried adult coloring now would be an excellent time to give it a go. You might just surprise yourself.

Writing Books For Money

If you have ever thought about becoming an author then you are not alone. Literally millions of people every year conjure up a picture of life working from home writing books and earning enough money from their writing to support themselves and provide a lifestyle that friends and family would be envious of. Unfortunately, for most of these people this is nothing more than a dream – often a recurring dream that comes to them at several points throughout their life. Writing Books For MoneyHowever, for a few people, this dream turns into reality and they no longer have to simply imagine what life would be like earning a living from writing books, but can live that reality instead.

So, why do so many people merely dream about becoming a writer, instead of taking action to turn their dream into reality? There are of course many answers to this question, but perhaps the most common answer is that most people believe either that writing is a natural skill, which you have to be born with, or that it is a skill which requires education and many years of study to master. Of course it is true that some people are natural writers, and that others have indeed studied and practiced writing for many years to perfect their art. It is also true that there is a growing band of people making a living (and in some cases a small fortune) from writing – without any natural writing ability and with a minimum of learning.

When we talk about authors we think of names like J.K. Rowling, James Patterson, John Grisham, H. G. Wells, Martin Amis, Stephen King, Stephenie Meyer and others, and perhaps see ourselves rising to these dizzy heights within the writing world. In reality, while such authors are the ‘crème de la crème of their profession, they represent only a very tiny fraction of the number of successful authors who are earning a full-time living from their writing. Indeed, many successful writers names are never known to the public and their work exists only through their pen name (or pen names).

So, what is the secret to becoming a successful author today?

The answer lies in the title for this post – Writing Books for Money.

The aim is not to write another “War and Peace” or to be the #1 fiction book on the New York Times Best Seller List. The objective is to produce a number of books as quickly and as easily as you can and position them so that they each make a good, if not spectacular, amount of money. You may of course be lucky and write that best seller which makes your fortune, but that is not the goal. The secret is to produce several books, so that each produces a good amount of money and together they provide you with a very acceptable income.

WMC Publishing specializes in helping authors to reach their goal by following the model outlined here and we are pleased to say that we are enjoying a growing number of success stories. For example, Ann Lawrence has drawn on a lifetime of experience working with animals to write The Animal Kids’ Books Series starting with her extremely popular volume about Sea Turtles. Also, Sue Taylor-cox had called upon her love for coloring to produce a series of no fewer than 21 adult coloring books, beginning with her highly rated full-color introduction to coloring Flowers. These are just two of the growing number of authors which WMC Publishing is helping to achieve their goal of making a full-time living by writing books for money.