BrainPlay Wiki
Kansuko for Kids
Kansuko - Image 2
Posting Details
Country of origin United States
Created by Jonathan Meck
Posted by Jonathan Meck
Date first posted February 10, 2014
Game details
Game genre Math based
Game summary Kansuko is a logic game based off of the classic Sudoku that uses a modified board and incorporates basic addition to challenge your mind and your patience.
# of players 2-4 players (or 2-4 teams)
For ages 6+

Other details

Game Designer / Creator[]

  • Created by Jonathan Meck

Game Summary[]

Kansuko is a logic game based off of the classic Sudoku that uses a modified board and incorporates basic addition to challenge your mind and your patience! Kansuko for Kids takes these puzzles and transforms them into interactive, engaging activities for children. The escalating difficulties of the puzzles allow for a broad range of age-appropriate challenges.

Players / Moderators[]

  • Target age range: Variations available for children ages 6 and up!
  • Number of players: 2-4 players (or 2-4 teams) for turn-based collaborative gameplay or competitive play with multiple boards.
  • Moderator: During games with multiple people, a moderator can be used to set up the starting position for each puzzle, monitor group dynamics, and suggest solving approaches. The moderator can also have the solution available for double-checking answers, and can determine winners in competitive play.

Game Set-up and Construction[]

There are only two requirements for playing Kansuko for Kids:

  • A game board of some type
  • A way to fill in the squares with numbers.

These few requirements allows for a tremendous amount of flexibility and creativity when decided how to construct the game. For team play and competitions, each team should have their own version of the game board so they can complete the puzzles independently.

Options for Materials

Game Boards


Duct Tape/Painter’s Tape ($4)

Create the board using strips of tape on the floor or on some other easy-to-remove surface

Create your own!

Use sturdy construction paper or cardstock -

laminate if possible

Playing Cards ($1-$3)

Use Ace-9 of each suit, where Ace = 1

Counting Flashcards ($3 x 4 = $12)

Use flashcards with large numbers 1-9 on them

Posterboard/Foamboard ($2-$5)

Use markers or tape to draw the lines

Fabric Board ($5-$10)

Cut and hem a piece of fabric, then either sew on the game board or draw with permanent marker. Great to roll up for easy storage!

Dry Erase Board ($10-$30)

Use a permanent marker and ruler to carefully draw the game board onto a portable dry erase board. Perfect for competitions and easy clean up, numbers erase but the board remains!

Dry Erase Markers ($5)

Use different colors for the given numbers and for filling in the puzzle.

Individual Laminated Sheets

Laminate printed-out 8.5x11 game boards for students to use individually (attached)

Be Creative!

The game board & numbers can be constructed out of pretty much anything -

Here are some crazy ideas to get you started!

Whiteboard with Projector – Project a puzzle from and fill in with markers

Plastic Tarp with Duct Tape – Go large scale with 8.5x11 laminated numbers

Felt Board with Numbers  - Create or purchase a felt board and cut numbers out of felt

String with clothesline pins – String up 9 strings and the numbers as needed

Shoeboxes/Toilet paper rolls – Create a 3D game board and numbers to solve puzzles

36 Slot Shoe Organizer – Create numbers that will hang from a shoe rack or fit in the pockets

Constructing the game board

Regardless of the materials you use, each game board should be constructed in the same manner. Using the diagram in Section 5, construct your game board in the following manner:

  • Create a grid that contains 9 rows and 5 columns. The 4th column should be colored in completely and can be thinner than the other columns. 
  • Reinforce the outline of the three 3x3 grids on the left side of the table.
  • Optionally, add plus signs & equal signs as noted.

How to Play / Game Rules[]

How to Play

The help differentiate between the two, we'll refer to solving a Kansuko puzzle as "Puzzle Rules", and we'll refer to variations of players and competing as "Game Rules".

Puzzle Rules

The rules of Kansuko puzzles are consistent across all media and styles of play. The game board consists of three 3x3 grids stacked on top of each other, with a fourth column on the right, called the sum column (See diagram below.) Each puzzle begins with a certain number of “givens,” or numbers already on the board. Using the three rules of Kansuko, players use logic, the process of elimination, and simple addition to fill in the rest of the puzzle.

  • Each 3x3 grid must contain the numbers 1-9, so no number is repeated.
  • Each of the four columns must also contain the numbers 1-9, no numbers can be repeated. This applies to the sum column as well, a zero is not an option.
  • The number in the sum column must equal the singles digit of the sum of three numbers to the left. For instance, if the numbers from left to right were 3, 7, 4, you would place a 4 into the sum column. (3 + 7 + 4 = 14) You are allowed to have the same number in the sum column as earlier in the row, like in the example.

Game Rules

There are several ways to play Kansuko with a group, though the easiest is probably straight competition between 2 or more teams racing to solve a puzzle

Competitive: 2 or more players/teams race to solve the same puzzle with multiple game boards. Moderators can give printed out puzzles to each team, pull the puzzle up on projector, or prepare the game boards in advance. Teams copy the given numbers onto the game board and begin!

Collaborative: 2 or more players/teams take turns filling in numbers on a shared game board. Moderators provide students with the starting puzzle, then allow the teams to work together to solve the puzzle.

Individual: 1 player or team solves a puzzle and optionally records their time. This can be completed on individual game boards, printed out Kansuko puzzles, or on a computer or mobile device/tablet.

Kansuko - Image 2

Templates / Diagrams[]

Kansuko Game Board

  • 9 Total Rows
  • 5 Columns - 4th column is thinner and colored in
  • Darker lines after the third and sixth rows to help identify the 3x3 grids

Height & Width

Adjust accordingly depending on the size of the material you are using for the game board and for the numbers.

  • If you are using cards or pre-made numbers, a good rule of thumb is to measure the size of the card, and then round up to the nearest half-inch. Multiply that by 9 for the height and by 4.5 for the width.
  • If you are using a constrained space, like a posterboard, calculate the size that will fit best or use the following steps:
    • Draw a large rectangle
    • Draw 2 dark lines to divide the rectangle into thirds horizontally
    • Draw thinner lines to divide these sections into thirds as well
    • Now vertically, divide into 5 columns with the 4th column smaller than the others
    • Color in the entire 4th column

Related Web Links[]

Visit for ad-free puzzles in three different difficulties! is optimized to work on most mobile and tablet devices as well, with drag and drop functionality. Use to project the initial starting position of a new puzzle or to print out copies for each competing team. The website also has a “Check My Work!” button to doublecheck your answers.

Custom worksheets can be created by contacting Kansuko through the website.

Other Details[]

For Teachers – strategies on how to teach and solve Kansuko puzzles

  • Each puzzle has a unique solution that can be reached by systematically following the three rules.
  • It may be useful to break apart the rules and teach them separately until the class or group has mastered them.
  • By following the rules, you can eliminate possibilities for blank cells until only one option remains.
  • Sometimes it is helpful to write the possibilities into each blank cell then cross them off or erase them one by one until only one option remains.
  • Kansuko is a great way to introduce the themes of Sudoku and other number games. If your students like Kansuko, be sure to check out the following:
    • Sudoku
    • KenKen
    • Nonograms (Pic-A-Pix)