33 Math Puzzles (with Answers) to Test Your Smarts

Updated: Apr. 11, 2024

Who says math can't be fun?! Try these math puzzles for a delightful challenge.

Math is not everyone’s favorite, understandably. Hours of math homework and difficult equations can make anyone sour on the subject. But when math problems are outside of a school setting with no time limit, and there’s a more whimsical concept than just finding x, they can be great activities for kids. (And adults, of course!) These math puzzles test your brain and critical-thinking skills and provide some constructive, educational fun.

Math riddles and puzzles come in plenty of different varieties. Some more straightforward number puzzles require calculations to find the solution. Others are more like logic puzzles and challenge you to look for a pattern. Still, others present their brain teasers through pictures, making them great for visual learners. From Reader’s Digest‘s Mind Stretchers books, these math puzzles have a bit of everything!

Get Reader’s Digest’Read Up newsletter for more puzzles, pets, humor, travel, tech and fun facts all week long.

Math puzzles for kids

Symbol sums

Math puzzlerd.com

Can you make this equation correct using three of these four symbols? + – x  ÷

Order of operations doesn’t apply, and no fractions or negative numbers are involved.



Number cube

Math puzzleBrainSnack

Which number should replace the question mark?

Answer: 9

Go figure

Math puzzleBrainSnack

Which figure (1-6) is not colored correctly?

Answer: 6—it should be yellow.

Safe code 1

Math puzzleBrainSnack

To open this safe, you have to replace the question marks with the correct figures. You can find this figure by determining the pattern behind the numbers shown.

Answer: 1 and 4. They’re arranged in groups of two-digit numbers, all ending in 7 and ascending in both rows. Was this a hard math problem, or did you get the answer right?

Safe code 2

Math puzzleBrainSnack

To open this safe, you have to replace the question marks with the correct figures. You can find these figures by determining the pattern behind the numbers shown.

Answer: 1 and 2. Every number in the bottom row is the number above it minus 3.


Math puzzleBrainSnack

How many points does Archer B score knowing that the total score of Archer A is 55 and that different points are earned in the ten zones in ascending value toward the center?

Answer: 30 points. The outer zone is worth 1 point, then 2, 3, etc. The center is worth 10 points. 5 + 8 + 8 + 9 = 30.


Math puzzleBrainSnack

Which pins must be knocked over to score exactly 100 points? (Hint: There are three!)

Answer: 13, 39 and 48.

Number puzzles

Pop numbers


Which number should replace the question mark?

Answer: 4. The sum of the stamps of the same color combinations always equals 10. 1 + 9, 10 + 0, 3 + 7, and 6 + 4.

A bad year?

33 Math Puzzles With Answers To Test Your Smarts Za Bad YearBRAINSNACK

Which year does not belong on the chalkboard?

Answer: 1967. All the other years are formed with the same figures.


math puzzleBrainSnack

Each firework (A-F) contains 6 stars. Which firework has not been launched, knowing that each gives off 1, 2 or 3 stars of its corresponding color?

Answer: Firework C. There is a total of 9 yellow stars in the fireworks, but there are only 6 in the air. Do the firework math (9 – 6 = 3) and you’ll find that 3 yellow stars have not been launched yet.


math puzzleBrainSnack

Which number should replace the question mark to form accurate equations, knowing that three numbers are shown per row (i.e. two of the numbers form a two-digit number)?

Answer: 6. Read every row as follows:
(3 + 2) x 2 = 10
(1 + 9) x 2 = 20
(0 + 8) x 2 = 16
(7 + 5) x 2 = 24

Big game

Math puzzleBrainSnack

Which numbers should replace the question marks?

Answer: 563412. All the other ticket numbers are combinations of the numbers 12, 34 and 56, and 563412 is the last possible combination of these numbers.

Against the clock

Math puzzleBrainSnack

The winner has run the distance in 15 seconds, the second in 21 seconds, etc. How many seconds will it take the sixth athlete to cross the line?

Answer: 39 seconds. This is the formula: 15 + (1 + 5) = 21; 21 + (2 + 1) = 24; 24 + (2 + 4) = 30; 30 + (3 + 0) = 33; 33 + (3 + 3) = 39.

Want to conquer some verbal trickery next? Try solving the viral numbers on a clock riddle.

Credit rating

Math puzzleBrainSnack

Which number is missing on the bottom credit card?

Answer: 8. The number formed by the two first digits is always doubled. 12, 24, 48, 96, 192 on the top card and 23, 46, 92, 184, 368 on the bottom card.

Missing script

Math puzzleBrainSnack

Which number should replace the question mark, knowing that two-digit numbers are always shown?

Answer: 6. Read from left to right as a series of numbers that are always divided by four (or by two if you alternate between the top and bottom rows). 96 ÷ 4 = 24; 24 ÷ 4 = 6 (or 06); 48 ÷ 4 = 12.

Chalk face

Math puzzleBrainSnack

Which number should replace the question mark?

Answer: 3. The numbers under the line are the average of the three numbers in the column above.

Math logic puzzles

Team game

33 Math Puzzles With Answers To Test Your Smarts Team GameBRAINSNACK

Which team (A-E) will win the competition if the logic of this diagram is continued?

Answer: Team C. The order of the weakest to the strongest team is: D, A, E, B, C. The final match is played between C and B.

Safe code 3

Math puzzleBrainSnack

To open this safe, you have to replace the question mark with the correct figure. You can find this figure by determining the logical method behind the numbers shown. These methods can include calculation, inversion, repetition, chronological succession or forming ascending and descending series.

Answer: 6. They’re arranged in groups of two-digit numbers; you add 8 to the top two-digit number (75, 34, 68) to get the bottom number (83, 42, 76).

Keeping score

Math puzzleBrainSnack

Which digit should replace the question mark in the score?

Answer: 6. The difference in the scores forms the following series: –2, +4, –6, +8. Alternating per column you also see the following two series: 7, 14, 21, 28; 9, 18, 27, 36.

Sun power

Math puzzleBrainSnack

Here’s a challenging riddle: How much energy will the newest solar panel generate?

Answer: 04.96 V. The number before the decimal point is the same as the number of columns per panel, and the number after the decimal point is the same as the number of cells.


Math puzzleBrainSnack

This is a number puzzle kind of like sudoku. Fill in the 5 x 5 grid with the numbers from 1 to 5 once per row and column, while following the greater than/less than symbols shown. There is only one valid solution that can be reached through logic and clear thinking alone!


Math puzzle answerBrainSnack

Shooting hoops

Math puzzleBrainSnack

A point is scored when the ball lands on an orange square. Give the coordinates of the last square that should be orange.

Answer: 6F. Points are scored on intersections where the number corresponds with the letter’s place in the alphabet.


Math puzzleBrainSnack

Which cream percentage should replace the question mark?

Answer: 54. The percentages consist of all numbers from 0 to 9, with the larger number first.

Wind chill

Math puzzleBrainSnack

Knowing that there is a logical connection between the temperature and wind direction, which night temperature should replace the question mark? (Hint: It’s “time” for some hard math puzzles.)

Answer: 11. Replace the compass rose with a clock on military time. The red tip of the compass needle points to the hour in the afternoon from 13 to 24 (midnight) and corresponds with the day temperature. The gray tip points to the hour in the morning from 1 to noon and is the night temperature.

Picture math puzzles

Do the math

Math puzzleBrainSnack

Enter numbers in each row and column to arrive at the end totals. Only numbers 1 through 9 are used, and each only once.


math puzzleBrainSnack

Tricky triangles

Math puzzleBrainSnack

How many triangles can you see?

Answer: 23

math puzzle answerBrainSnack

If you got that right, see if you can correctly identify the number of triangles in this puzzle.

Spot it

Math puzzleBrainSnack

How many spots should replace the question mark on the domino?

Answer: 6 spots. The dominoes are on an imaginary grid and the number of spots corresponds to the domino’s spot on the grid. The grid contains alternating rows with numbers 4, 5, 4, 5, 4, 5, 4, 5 and the numbers 3, 6, 3, 6, 3, 6, 3, 6.

In balance

Math puzzleBrainsnack

Which weight (A-D) should replace the question mark so that the scale is in balance?

Answer: B. A = B + C + D, C = B + D, A = 3D. So 3D = 2B + 2D, 3D – 2D = 2B, so D = 2B.

Berry puzzling

Math puzzleBrainSnack

How many unripe berries are missing on the last branch?

Answer: 6 berries. The next branch always contains just as many unripe berries as ripe berries on the previous branch.


Math puzzleBrainSnack

Here’s a visual puzzle for you: Which flower branch (1-6) does not belong?

Answer: Flower branch 2. The top flower of all the other branches has just as many petals as flowers on the branch.

Losing marbles

Math puzzleBrainSnack

Which marble (1-6) should replace the question mark?

Answer: Marble 3. All non-purple marbles are in groups of five and form an angle.


Math puzzleBrainSnack

Which shape (1-6) contains more white than black?

Answer: Shape 3. All the others contain equal portions of each.

Symbol signs

Math puzzleBrainSnack

Which symbol (1-6) is missing a line?

Answer: Symbol 4. From left to right, each symbol has one more line.

For more challenging puzzles…

mind stretchers covers vol 1 and vol 2Mind Stretchers (2)

Purchase your own copy of Mind Stretchers for crosswords, word searches, trivia, logic puzzles and more.

Why trust us

Reader’s Digest is known for our humor and brain games, including quizzes, puzzles, riddles, word games, trivia, math, pattern and logic puzzles, guessing games, crosswords, rebus, hidden objects and spot-the-difference challenges. We’ve earned prestigious ASME awards for our entertainment content and have produced dozens of brain-teaser books, including Word Searches, Word Power, Use Your Words, Fun Puzzles and Brain Ticklers, Mind Stretchers, Ultimate Christmas Puzzles and more. Our 10 published volumes of Mind Stretchers were edited by Allen D. Bragdon, founder of The Brainwaves Center and editor of Games magazine. Read more about our team, our contributors and our editorial policies.