[Math Lair] Recreational Mathematics

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Recreational mathematics is mathematics done for recreation or as a hobby and intended to be fun. Typically it involves games or puzzles that relate to mathematics, although the term can cover other material. Typically, recreational mathematics involves general logical and lateral thinking skills, as opposed to advanced mathematical concepts, so that the average person is at least able to understand and appreciate a recreational problem and its solution. Recreational puzzles can also increase people's appreciation of mathematics as a whole.

Recreational mathematics can be surprisingly popular, with millions of people at one time or another having enjoyed Rubik's Cube, fractals, Sudoku, logic problems, certain types of lateral thinking puzzles, and many other diversions. Other mathematical recreations include mathematical puzzles, mathematical chess puzzles, Conway's Game of Life, tangrams, and more.

However, it should not be assumed that recreational mathematics is without any practical use. Recreational mathematics has spurred the development of several fields of mathematics; to take one example, the problem of the Königsberg Bridges influenced the development of the field of graph theory.

Many pages on this site relate to recreational mathematics. Here is a selection of such pages: