As we enjoy the holidays, it’s a great time to reflect on the learning of math in more fun and festive ways. I find holiday-themed math puzzles and math riddles can often help us do this, as well as facilitate some of the mathematical thinking that we would like our students to demonstrate.

The most popular math puzzles are the ones where students have to figure out the total number of festive objects using some algebra. What I like about these math riddles is that the difficulty can vary and any problem can be made accessible.

This math puzzle is one that can be done by many elementary students, and the solution easily cascades down.

Here is another math riddle. Again, fairly straightforward, but this time there are other operations, and students have to start with the equation that is most accessible and yields the answer for the first object ( the Christmas tree).

Here is a math puzzle that gets them thinking algebraically.

Happy puzzling and have a safe and joyous holiday!