What I Learnt From Wooden Block Puzzles

I am a huge fan of wooden block puzzles. Having playing since I was a child, I have always appreciated the elegance of these puzzles. The pieces can seem very simple at the first glance, however, The simplicity is deceptive. Not only they are a great entertainment for both children and adults, there are also a lesson or two that designers can learn from them.

1. Problem solving (forward and backward)

Sometimes you know the last step first. Sometimes you know step 2 and 3 but then have to work out step 1 first and see how you can get to step 4. This isn’t a straight forward liner process, but this is a situation that designers face sometimes. We could have a clear picture of what a product should be and work backwards to figur out how to make it happen. It’s helpful to have the confidence that early steps will become clear, even if initially they are hard to see.

2. A understanding of three-dimensional relationships