Mind Benders Review

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With their interesting puzzle sets, strong explanations, easy open and go nature and affordable price tag, Mind Benders is a series of logic books that can help readers of all ages challenge and hone their logic skills in a simple, effective and even enjoyable way.

What We Like

Excellent and focused deductive logic practice
Progressively challenging puzzles won’t get too
Available in print, digital and app formats
Easy to use, open and go
Easy to follow demonstrations and explanations,
students won’t get lost too easily
Detailed, thorough answers in the back for
Pictograph and verbal puzzles available to get
kids learning logic early

But watch out for

Doesn’t offer a huge amount of puzzle variation
Not a complete course in logic

What Are Mind Benders Workbooks?

Written By Anita Harnadek and published by the Critical Thinking Co., Mind Benders is a series of books designed to help students hone their logical thinking and problem solving skills through dedicated deductive reasoning puzzles and practice. 

The series comprises a variety of workbooks that contain a wide assortment of progressively challenging elimination-style logical grid puzzles and related instruction. 

What Ages Or Grades Are Mind Benders Intended For?

The Mind Benders series has materials aimed at Pre-K to 12 (and beyond) students, beginning with read aloud deductive puzzles and progressing to more sophisticated and multidimensional puzzles with extended clue banks. 

The series is divided up into different levels, which the company aims at approximate grade levels, as can be seen below:

LevelApproximate Grade RangeApprox. Difficulty
1Pre-K to KBeginner

Earlier levels (e.g. Verbal – 2) are typified by simpler grip problems with more visual information and simpler puzzles and directions, which allows pre- and early readers to use the materials more effectively. 

As the series progresses, the puzzles become more challenging, contain more written information and, as mentioned, include more multidimensional sets, making them more appropriate for more developed readers and those progressing through the series who are more experienced. 

Overall, when it comes to age and grade range, the Mind Benders series is really more about honing general logical skill and, filled with word problems of varying complexity.

In general we don’t feel it necessarily or precisely corresponds to any specific grade or age, being more dependent on a reader’s ability to read and comprehend written information, decipher and organize clues, keep information organized and so on. 

Precocious younger students who are more capable and experienced in reading and in logical games may, for example, be able to start at a higher level without much of an issue as the content of the questions (in our experience with it, anyway) are based on fairly common concepts and facts and don’t depend a great deal on grade-level knowledge.

With that said, the series is fairly challenging and can have something of a learning curve for some students (particularly if they’ve never done grid-style puzzles before) and, as a result, we feel the company’s recommended leveling system should act as a good guide for most readers. 

In terms of getting started, it isn’t really necessary to start at the beginning of the series and most students should be able to jump into their approximate difficulty or grade level. 

Those who wish to jump into the program can do so fairly easily as each book tends to run students through a fairly thorough explanation of its methodology and offers sample problems that it solves in a step by step manner.

This walkthrough can be pretty effective at helping readers understand the basics of an elimination grid and the overall series structure. 

Mind Benders Look, Feel and Style

With the exception of Verbal (which contain puzzles intended to be read aloud to younger students), most of the books in the Mind Benders series tend to have a similar look and feel. 

For the most part they are short (less than 100 pages) softcover black and white consumable workbooks that contain pages of progressively challenging grid puzzles. 

At the beginning of each book, Mind Benders contains an assortment of helpful tips and instructions for students to help them learn to solve the subsequent puzzles. 

There are, for example, tips on how to read clues, how to go through problems sequentially, explanations of US conventions (useful for international readers) and tips on what students should pay attention to, particularly when it comes to tricky phrasing in the clues.

picture showing mind benders tips for solving problems

As mentioned previously, they also contain full puzzles that are worked out in a step-by-step manner, which serves to introduce the concept of deductive elimination, the use of clues and how to work with a logic grid. 

picture of mind benders book showing step by step instructions

Following this, the books then dive into their puzzles.

These puzzles follow a consistent format, with the problem being laid out at the top of the page and followed by a series of clues and a pre-formatted grid for students to work with.

picture demonstrating look of mind benders puzzle page

This consistency of format means that, although the puzzles can take a little time for novices to get used to, once readers get the hang of things it becomes easier for them to focus on the underlying problem rather than concentrating on filling out the grid correctly, even when grids expand and become more complex and multidimensional, which is nice.

On the downside, the books are fairly plain looking. 

They are black and white and, with the exception of some pictographs used in earlier levels, are largely text-based and contain very little in the way of illustrations or graphics for kids to look at.

As a result, they may not be the most visually stimulating and interesting for some kids to look at for extended periods of time.

Mind Benders Apps

In addition to the workbooks, Mindbenders also offers its puzzles in an app format for levels 1-6 (at time of writing). 

Available for iOS, Android and PC, these are essentially the same puzzles as the workbooks but translated to a somewhat more colorful, digital format, which can be a plus for students who prefer to work on their mobile device or computer and/or who have accessibility tools they would prefer to use when reading or writing. 

screenshot of mindbenders app on pc showing look and feel

The Mind Benders apps make the puzzle grids clickable, with red for “No” and green for “Yes,” which can keep things a bit neater, and the apps automatically grade and keep track of reader progress, which busy homeschools should appreciate as they allow students to work far more independently. 

screenshot of mind benders progress tracking function

Like the books, however, the apps do keep things simple and to the point and, while they work well, respond well and do what they’re supposed to, there aren’t a lot of the attention-grabbing animations or higher end graphics that might be found in other game and puzzle options and that some students may have come to expect from their apps. 

How Mind Benders Approaches Teaching Logic

Deductive Reasoning 

Mind Bender workbooks aim to hone a student’s deductive reasoning skill.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, deductive reasoning is a method of drawing a valid conclusion from an organized series of presumably true premises. 

One of the most commonly used logical reasoning methods in math, deductive reasoning tends to be viewed in contrast to inductive reasoning, which is a generalization drawn from (usually limited) observations or experiments. 

To do all this, Mind Benders provides its readers with pages of progressively difficult deductive puzzles.

Each of these is designed to give students practice at deriving logical assumptions from specific statements, referred to as clues, which in turn help them come to the right answer. 

As a result, Mind Benders can be a great addition to any introductory exploration of logic as it provides focused practice in deduction, which isn’t always all that common these days.

This in turn can help students hone their mathematical reasoning skills (especially if used alongside the company’s more specific books in the subject), particularly when it comes to dealing with tricky word problems and algebraic thinking.

That said, as it is so specialized, it is important to note that Mind Benders can’t really be considered a full resource for logic instruction, as it does miss out on helping students develop their inductive reasoning skill, which is sort of the other half of it all. 

Grid-style Elimination Problems

In order to help students sharpen their skills, Mind Benders uses a series of logical puzzles. 

In general, there are a few different puzzle styles that can help individuals practice deductive reasoning, including tour problems, knights and knaves games, syllogisms, chess puzzles and more. 

Mind Benders focuses on one particular type – elimination grid puzzles. 

In such problems, students are given two or more sets of information and, with the help of certain true statements or clues, are expected to match items from these sets on a grid until a statement can be derived from the end result. 

sample picture of grid puzzle used in mind benders series

In general, such puzzles are a classic, tried-and-true method of practicing deductive reasoning, helping students come to a valid conclusion through the premises they make. 

The grids printed on the page, as we’ve mentioned, help keep things organized and the books do a good job at introducing problems in a very systematic, progressively-challenging way, from simple to multidimensional puzzles for example, which eases students into the practice and can make the process a lot less frustrating and intimidating.

On the downside, the series really only specializes in one kind of deductive reasoning puzzle and, without a huge diversity of problem types to work with, students who aren’t huge fans of the format may tune out.

Supporting Self-Study and Practice

For homeschools and those simply working on logical skills at home, it is important to note that, with the exception of the Verbal editions (which are read aloud), Mind Benders can be something of a self-study/independent-practice system for most students.

Even in upper levels, while the challenge is certainly there, the language is short and fairly easy to read (albeit information rich and occasionally quite tricky). 

Further, the books’ consistent format and style mean that, if a student is secure enough in their reading/comprehension ability and understanding of the instructions, they should be able to follow along and complete the puzzles on their own.

As a result, as we’ve mentioned, parents should be able to give these puzzles to their students and, after perhaps some introduction to get things rolling, set them to work as they step into a more oversight/administrative role. 

One thing parents do have to be careful with, however, is that the books contain a solutions page in the back, which can be something of a temptation for frustrated students. 

How It Works

Overall, Mind Benders workbooks are pretty straightforward as far as logic practice goes. 

Each page in the books contain a logical word problem that students have to work out by means of elimination. 

To help solve them, the book pre-prints grids that students will mark up either with “+/-” or “Y/N,” depending on the instructions and level, which represent true or false statements. 

The books start off with simple, single dimensional problems, where students match one piece of information to another.

In later levels, students are then quickly introduced to so-called multidimensional puzzles that contain more than 2 pieces of information, such as by asking a student to match a type of animal to a name and where they sleep. 

Most of these puzzles should be familiar to parents, being similar in style to math riddles.

picture of mind bender question form showing similarity to math puzzle

Each of these questions has one or more true statements associated with it, the “clues,” which form the basis of the premises that students will use to form their deduced solution. 

Students have to read these quite carefully as the way in which they phrase information can often be an important part of deriving an answer, which in turn can be an interesting way of helping students learn to pay attention to detail. 

For example, some problems may use gender-neutral names when dealing with mixed-sex sets of people (e.g. father, mother, brother, sister), so students will have to carefully read through the clues and use specific pronouns and assumptions to figure things out.

As they start working through the clues and make assumptions to create matches between sets, students then begin to fill out the grid as they see fit until there are no spaces left and an answer is laid out. 

At the end of the book, as we’ve mentioned, is a complete answer sheet that contains a fully filled out grid as well as an explanation of the premises a student should have made with the associated clues in parenthesis. 

Our Thoughts 

On the whole, we feel that Mind Benders can be an excellent resource for students learning logic. 

The books are straightforward, easy to use and pretty open and go. 

They contain sample exercises with step-by-step guidance for students to learn from, showing rather than telling students how to solve puzzles, and contain pre-printed grids, which can help immensely in organizing the information from a problem. 

The books also progress in challenge at a fairly easy pace, starting off easy and slowly introducing more complicated problems over time, which can help reduce frustration in the long run.

That said, the puzzles themselves contain quite a few solid headscratchers, which should provide students with ample deductive practice and keep them working and thinking for quite some time. 

Finally, the books also contain fairly detailed and thorough explanations at the end, which makes it a lot easier for parents to check student work (and students to learn from their mistakes). 

picture of mind benders detailed answer

On the downside, as we’ve mentioned, there really is only one kind of puzzle in this series, so students and parents really need to pace themselves in our opinion so as not to burn out too quickly,

Similarly, the simple look and style of the series can be a drawback given how much time students will likely be spending looking at each page.  

Pros and Cons


Can provide strong practice in deductive logic

Each book in Mind Benders contains dozens of challenging elimination-style grid puzzles, as well as step-by-step guidance on how to solve them, that can provide students with focused, effective practice using deductive logic. 

Progressively challenging

Mind Benders books start with simple, single dimensional puzzles and slowly but surely become more complex, allowing students to stretch their skills without becoming too frustrated or overwhelmed. 

Available in digital and print formats

Mind Benders resources are available in print, ebook and digital app formats, so students and parents have a fair amount of choice and can tailor practice and learning to their needs and preferences. 

Open and go

Each book in the Mind Benders series contains fairly useful and sequential instruction about how to solve each problem, as well as a pre-formatted grid to do so. 

Consequently, students can simply open up a book at their approximate level and start working without needing a lot of prerequisite learning or prep work.

Good demonstrations and explanations

Rather than simply explaining deductive reasoning or telling students how to solve grid problems, each book in Mind Benders contains a step-by-step instructional component that goes through both single and multidimensional grid puzzles in a highly detailed and organized manner. 

This show-don’t-tell approach can make it a lot easier for students to understand the basic premise of the series and its puzzles, allowing them to get started faster and more effectively. 

Detailed answers in back

Each book in Mind Benders contains detailed solutions for each puzzle in the back, with explanations as to each proposition and how they relate to the clues provided. 

This can make it a lot easier for parents to correct their student’s mistakes and for students to learn from them. 

Can offer some good, tricky problems

Particularly towards the upper levels, Mind Benders can offer a variety of interesting, sometimes tricky and challenging problems that can really push a student’s logical thinking skills to their limit and keep them on their toes. 


Not a huge variety of puzzle types

Mind Benders books are largely made up of a particular type of deductive reasoning exercise, known as a grid type problem.

While they can be very interesting and effective, some students may tire of the format after a time. 

Not the most interesting books to look at

Mind Bender books are really focused on the learning, with no real illustrations or animations to speak of (in the apps). 

As a result, they can be a bit plain to stare at and use for extended periods. 

Who is Mind Benders Ideal For?

Homeschools looking to supplement a full course in logic with deductive reasoning exercises

With page after page of challenging deductive reasoning puzzles to work with, Mind Benders books can be an interesting and focused supplement for any student taking on a course in logic. 

Fans of math style word problems

The types of deductive reasoning questions found in Mind Benders are similar in style to logical word problems commonly found in most math curricula, and fans of one are likely to enjoy the other. 

Those looking for affordable, effective logic practice

Mind Benders books don’t just provide effective and targeted deductive reasoning practice, they’re also quite affordable, coming in at less than $15 per book and $10 per app.  

Those looking for logic puzzles students can do on their own

Once students get a hang of the style and format of Mind Benders puzzles (and assuming they are fluid readers), they should be able to do most of the puzzles on their own with parents only really needing to step in and correct their work or prevent any cheating should things get too challenging. 

Consequently, Mind Benders can be a great resource for busy homeschools and families working on logic at home.

Who Is It Not Ideal For?

Those who dislike elimination style puzzles

Grid-style elimination puzzles aren’t necessarily everyone’s cup of tea and those who do not appreciate or like their format may not enjoy Mind Benders, as these puzzles form the bulk of the serie’s offerings.

Those looking for a full course in logic

Mind Benders is a series of books intended to help students work on their deductive reasoning skills and is not itself a full curriculum in logic and reasoning. 

Students won’t, for example, work on inductive reasoning, fallacies and errors in logic, methods of constructing an argument and so on.


Note: All prices are correct as of writing. All prices in USD. 

Mind Benders is available in print, ebook and app format (for levels 1-6).

Its workbooks (print and ebook) cost between $9.99-12.99, depending on level. 

Its apps are offered on PC with 2 or 6 license options (for 2 or 6 individuals), which cost $9.99 and $19.99, respectively.

Its mobile (iOS and Android) apps cost $7.99.



Are They Worth It

Overall, we feel that Mind Benders can be an effective, valuable and affordable addition to any homeschool interested in helping their students develop their logical reasoning skills. 

Through their many problem sets, the books offer students a thorough introduction to and practice in deductive logic, which can serve as a good reinforcement to a student’s mathematical skills as well as offer a strong balance to the more traditionally practiced inductive reasoning found in most science courses. 

Further, the books are very easy to use as they are well laid out, offer detailed step-by-step instruction and come with pre-printed, organized grids.

They’re also designed to become progressively complex in terms of puzzle complexity, which can go a long way in preventing students from becoming too frustrated or dispirited over time.

The use of easy to understand pictograms and simple English in lower levels also means that the books can be used with pre and early readers. 

This, in turn, means that parents can get students thinking and reasoning logically quite early, helping set students up for success from an earlier age. 

Bottom Line

Deductive reasoning is an important part of any logic course and can provide students with the ability to logically and effectively make decisions and work through problems. 

With their interesting puzzle sets, strong explanations, easy open and go nature and affordable price tag, Mind Benders is a series of logic books that can help readers of all ages challenge and hone their logic skills in a simple, effective and even enjoyable way.

Picture of our tech author David

About the Author

David Belenky is a freelance writer, former science and math tutor and a tech enthusiast. When he’s not writing about educational tech, he likes to chill out with his family and dog at home.