From a young age, we’re taught how to identify shapes—even before we learn our letters and numbers—but just because we’re older now, that doesn’t mean we’ve outgrown this kind of exercise. To the contrary, shapes can be made into even more challenging puzzles to suit your advanced cognitive abilities. Just try this one and find out.
Here is a tricky, hidden-shapes puzzle that will be a challenge for the best of us. Take a look at the geometric image below, consisting of right angles, and try to identify and count up all the squares contained therein. It’s a lot more challenging than it looks; of course you are going to count some, or even most of the squares, but can you successfully count them all?
Count up all the squares that you can find before you scroll down. When you think you’ve counted them all, check down below for the correct answer.
As you may have noticed, in this puzzle there are different-sized squares, and there are smaller squares that make up larger squares. It still might seem relatively simple to find them all, but you’d be surprised just how well some of them are hidden within each other. And even if you miss just one, that’s enough to ruin your perfect count. Let’s analyze this step by step
You can start any way you like, but in order to be as thorough as possible, we’ll start from the smallest squares and work our way to the largest. So, starting with the smallest squares, we can see that there are a cluster of 4 small squares in the center, but is that all of them? If you scan the rest of the puzzle, you’ll see 1 more hidden in the top-left corner, amidst the larger right-angled shapes. See what we mean? You gotta keep your eyes peeled. So, now we have 5.
Now, let’s start looking for squares that are twice as big as the small squares, which is our smallest unit. You may notice that there are larger squares jutting out above, below, and on either sides of the small square cluster in the middle, overlapping each other in the middle. Pretty sneaky, right? So that’s 4 more squares. But is that all of them? Look carefully. There! Don’t forget the one in the middle with the four small squares inside of it! That’s 5 more squares, giving us a total of 10.
Now, let’s look for larger squares that are three small square units in width. Most of you will probably find it pretty quickly, but there is only one large square, and it’s located in the top-left, nicely hidden within the small- and medium-sized squares. It seems like the real trick was finding those medium-sized squares. And a quick study of the overall shape tells us that there are no super-sized squares four small square units wide, and so that means we’re done!
If we add up the small, medium-sized, and large square, we get a grand total of 11 squares.
Did you feel your brain stretching and working hard to be able to find them all? According to neuroscientist Richard Restak, who has authored several books on the power of puzzles: “By learning more, doing more, and experiencing more, we form of greater number of circuits in the brain and thereby increase its functional power. As a result, we become smarter, faster, and more astute.”
So take this opportunity to share the shape puzzle with all your friends and family and see how they do. If they’re struggling, just let them know that it’s good for them. You can always tell them that their brains will get better, and that should be motivation enough.