Last year was the first year we worked with Workman Publishing to review some of their page-a-day calendars. This year we had the chance to check out a few more and we’ve had a great time going over a bunch of them in preparation for the coming year. We’re going to break our reviews up into a few different post starting with these four page-a-day calendars designed to challenge your brain and make you think!

Whether you’re a fan of crosswords or mazes or you just want learn a thing or two, there’s some great options out there!

These four not your thing? New York Times crosswords not challenging enough? No worries. Consider checking out the Original Sudoku, MENSA 10-Minute Crossword Puzzles, or MENSA 365 Brain Puzzlers page-a-day calendars!

Anyway, on to the reviews!

The New York Times Crossword & Mini Crossword Calendars

If you love doing crossword puzzles, especially the New York Times crossword puzzles, then you’re in luck with this page-a-day calendar. Each and every day (except for weekends which double up) you’ll have a handy little crossword to complete – and if you take advantage of the free month of New York Times Games that comes with it you’ll have even more games available to you!

Each day features a full puzzle complete with a new puzzle with challenging clues that will definitely make you think. If you get stuck, don’t worry! On the back of each page there’s an answer key – so be careful not to flip over your page until you’re absolutely done (or ready to be spoiled). Avid crossword fans won’t be disappointed with this calendar. The clues aren’t super easy and they’ll definitely get you thinking. I highly recommend it for the people in your life who like play the New York Times games religiously!

Now, if you’re not quite up to the challenge of doing a full New York Times quality crossword puzzle every day (like me) then there’s also the Mini Crossword calendar which offers much smaller puzzles. Most of them have only ten clues but on the weekends they’ll go as high as sixteen to make sure you get a bit more of a challenge. Like the full calendar, it doubles up on weekends.

Either calendar is a great choice for anyone who wants to challenge themselves a little more this year. Pick the one that’s your speed and maybe those of us starting with the Mini Crossword calendar this year will be ready for the full puzzles next year!

Maze-A-Day Calendar

Now THIS calendar is 100% my speed. I may not be quite on the level to do full New York Times crossword puzzles but I am super excited to get to do a maze each and every day. I mean, who wouldn’t be? It’s like going back to the old Highlights magazine days but for adults.

Each day of this calendar has a different puzzle in various different shapes accompanied by adorable little illustrations. Days of the week have a similar theme. You’ll have rectangular puzzles on Mondays and circular puzzles on Thursdays. On weekends – which double up like most page-a-day calendars – you’ll get four smaller puzzles to keep you busy. On the back there are solutions so (again) make sure you don’t flip the page over until you’ve finished your maze!

If you’ve looking for something cute, fun, and low pressure I highly recommend the Maze-A-Day page-a-day calendar!

365 New Words-a-Year Calendar

If you’re looking to expand your vocabulary (possibly to strengthen your crossword game) then look no further than the 365 New Words-a-Year page-a-day calendar. Each and every day you’ll be given a brand-new word that hopefully you’ve never come across before. This particular calendar comes from the folks behind Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary from which the words are pulled.

Every day gets its own page except for weekends which share a page. Much like the dictionary, each word has its pronunciation and definition as well as an example of its use. And then on the back of each page there’s additional trivia about the words, their origins, and more!

Now, not every word is going to be new to everyone, of course. There are days with macabre, exasperate, and berate which most people will probably know. But there are also days with oriflamme, hortative, and punctilio! (We won’t spoil the definitions.)

My only very minor complaint was that they missed the mark with some of the holidays. Christmas and Flag Day have great, thematic words. But days like Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and others just have ordinary words. Otherwise, it’s a great calendar with some great words that I’m sure anyone who gets it will enjoy!

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