If you mark off ten divisions on a sheet of paper to represent the chairs, and use eight numbered counters for the children, you will have a fascinating pastime. Let the odd numbers represent boys and even numbers girls, or you can use counters of two colours, or coins.

The puzzle is to remove two children who are occupying adjoining chairs and place them in two empty chairs, making them first change sides; then remove a second pair of children from adjoining chairs and place them in the two now vacant, making them change sides; and so on, until all the boys are together and all the girls together, with the two vacant chairs at one end as at present. To solve the puzzle you must do this in five moves. The two children must always be taken from chairs that are next to one another; and remember the important point of making the two children change sides, as this latter is the distinctive feature of the puzzle. By "change sides" I simply mean that if, for example, you first move 1 and 2 to the vacant chairs, then the first (the outside) chair will be occupied by 2 and the second one by 1.

Solution