The Story Behind Puzzling Presents

Renee working on prototypes for puzzling presents

Hello! I’m Renee, the creator of Puzzling Presents. We are a small family business run by me with the help of my husband and son. We started Puzzling Presents because we all love escape rooms, puzzles, brainteasers, and logic puzzles. I often brainstorm in my head trying to figure out the next big thing and throw out my crazy ideas to my husband. Usually, he gives me reasons why it won’t work, and honestly those other times he was right (don’t tell him I said that.) One day the idea that I pitched to him with one of my “I’ve been thinking” moments was the idea that became Puzzling Presents.

I am an educator and a lifelong learner. Recently I taught STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) for grades 3 and 4. In my class, I worked to help them develop critical thinking skills, problem-solving, attention to detail, and perseverance. One way I did this was through digital breakouts. They loved these digital escape rooms. They begged me for them so they became a reward for getting work done. They had to use all the skills I was trying to help them develop, but in their minds they were playing a game. A lot of times they would get stuck, and they would ask me for the answer. I am not one to give answers, so I got really good at giving nudging hints. Just enough to get them to think differently and see the solution on their own. I loved the light bulb moments when they solved it. Some kids needed more nudges than others, but I allowed them to get to the answers on their own. To me that was the important part, them not giving up.

Another thing I did with my students for reward was a wall full of brain teasers, logic puzzles, word searches, sudoku, and more. I tried to have a variety of puzzles to appeal to different strengths. What I loved most was seeing students that were poor readers, or had low grades show me what they were really capable of through these puzzles. They would take great pride in solving a hard puzzle and feel a sense of accomplishment that they didn’t always get in their regular academics.

In both cases I learned that even the kids that “didn’t like school” loved these puzzles. It’s kind of like when you hide vegetables in a smoothie to get kids to eat it. Critical thinking and problem-solving are hard, but puzzles are fun! Plus, solving something you didn’t think you could solve gives this great feeling of accomplishment.

So, I came up with the idea of having small scale “escape rooms” for gifts. With lots of trial and error, and experimenting, we came up with something we are truly proud of. Each of our puzzle gift boxes are designed in-house (literally in our house.) We create and connect all the puzzles. This is where the family comes in, each of us comes up with puzzles and ways to connect them so that they lead to a code. I do all the graphic work. I also write all the hint cards. I take time to look at each puzzle and try to figure out where people might get stuck, then find a way to give a hint without giving the answer. We have them professionally printed to provide a high-quality end product. Then we assemble them by hand and get them ready to ship to you.

I hope you enjoy our puzzle gift boxes. If you have questions, please send us an email!

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