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Roller Coaster Challenge is a STEM single player game that is great for kids ages six and up. It includes cards with 40 challenge. This article will walk you through the process to complete a challenge. We received a request for clarification on how to play from a reader when we featured the the game in our article Games for Beginning Readers. Confessions time, I have terrible spatial relations, so I had the help of my son to complete the challenge below.

If you do not already have a copy, buy Roller Coaster Challenge on Amazon!

Step 1: Select A Challenge Card.

There are four difficulty levels Easy, Medium, Hard, Very Hard. The cards are all numbered, and each card is slightly more challenging as the numbers increase. Each card has the starting locations of some of the pieces, and the other pieces that are needed to complete the challenge are at the bottom of the card.

Pieces needed for Card 10

Step 2: Place the Starting Pieces Per the Card

Use the icons on the card to set up the initial board. Some of the icon can be confusing at first. As you get more familiar with the pieces it become faster to pull and set up the beginning pieces.

Step 3: Complete the Challenge Using the Remaining Pieces

Using the pieces listed at the bottom of the card complete the roller coaster so the ball can go from the top to the bottom. This can take much trial and error. If you really get stuck the answer is on the back of the card.

Step 4: Test Your Roller Coaster!

See if your coaster makes it to the bottom!

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to complete one challenge, you can go thought the deck to more and more challenging setups. These steps are also applicable to other games by Thinkfun. There are an array of challenges and themes in Gravity Maze, Laser Maze, and Circuit Maze.


What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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The changes as children move into their 6th year is impressive, Many 6-year-olds are in first grade and there is a huge amount of growth over the year. (I have a soft spot for this age as a first grade teacher for over 20 years!) At the age of 6 children begin to be a little less literal and see that some words have more than one meaning. This allows them to better understand jokes and puns. Attentions spans begin to lengthen and they can sustain for 15 to 20 minutes more easily.

They are learning at an incredible rate and just seem to be soaking up information and skills. This is also the point where most children begin reading beyond the very beginner books and by the end of their year, are often into beginning chapter books. Games can begin having some text, but it should still be limited. There can be a huge range of reading skills, so recognizing what is comfortable for the individual child is critical.


Ticket to Ride: First Journey

Catan Junior

A popular game which has been simplified for younger gamers is Catan Junior.  This is a route building  resource management game for ages 6 and up and is for two to four players.  Like the original Settlers of Catan you are collecting resources based on the numbers that  come up with each roll. These resources used to build or get Coco the Parrot cards which provide resources or the ability to build at no cost. Instead of building settlements, cities, and roads in the full version you are building pirate ships and hideouts.  The first player to build seven pirate hideouts wins.

Ticket to Ride: First Journey takes the formula of its predecessor and strips out several of the more complex concepts in favor of a streamlined experience that can be played by kids who are even younger! We have always said that the Ticket to Ride series was accessible to savvy kids, but this new version is even better. The map is simplified also. The game board is large, and the various cities are larger and more defined.  Each of the cities includes a colorfully illustrated image associated with it. The winner is the first person to finish six routes. This game teaches players the general flow of a game of Ticket to Ride without the burden of some of the finer details of the senior game.

Dragon’s Breath the Hatching

Dragon’s Breath The Hatching fits into two categories: Games for Young Gamers and If You Like. Haba took the popular Dragon’s Breath game, which is a great game for young gamers, to the next step. The Hatching is a versatile addition to any family’s game collection. It can be a stand alone game, or expansion to the original Dragon’s Breath game. As an expansion it adds a fifth player.

Slamwich

Slamwich - family card game

Slamwich is a fast-paced, silly, and energetic card flipping game reminiscent of Slapjack, War, Uno, etc. The game is recommended for ages 6 and up for two to six players. Taking turns, each player takes the top card of their deck and flips it onto a center pile. If a set of criteria is met, players race to slap the pile. The combinations are easy to understand. A Double Decker-If the flipped card is identical to the card directly underneath. A Slamwich– If two identical cards have exactly one card in between them (like a sandwich). Special cards like a Thief or a Muncher add unique criteria and help to make winning more random. If a player runs out of cards, they are out of the game. Whoever collects all of the cards wins.

Roller Coaster Challenge

Roller Coaster Challenge is a single player STEM game focusing on engineering for ages 6.  It come with 60 challenge card in a range of difficulty.  The player sets up the posts and required pieces on the challenge card.  They then need to design a roller coaster that travels to the bottom successfully using some of the additional posts, 39 tracks.  The roller coaster is successful if the roller coaster car makes it to the end.  This was a Toy of the Year Finalist in 2018.

I also created an article that explains how to play step by step if you want more information. You can go to the article Step by Step How to Play Roller Coaster Challenge by Thinkfun here.

The Magic Labyrinth

The Magic Labyrinth is a memory and grid movement game for ages 6 and up and plays two to four players. In this game you are playing apprentices that have lost various objects, which are now in the Magic Labyrinth.  The twist is there are invisible walls!  Players must move and remember where the walls are when they or a competitor hits a wall.  A series of wooden blocks in a grid under the gameboard create the walls.  The walls are movable so the maze can be different each time you play. The pawn is magnetic and a ball sticks to it. If you hit a wall the ball falls off and rolls to one of the trays on the side and you go back to the start corner.

At the beginning of the game players draw a few lost objects tokens and place them on their corresponding picture throughout the maze.   A player landing on the space with a token they get to keep it.  A new token is then drawn out of a bag and placed on the board.  The first player to collect five objects wins.

Cauldron Quest

Cauldron Quest is a cooperative game that will fit right at home in any house full of Harry Potter fans. It is for players 6 and up and plays two to four players. Players are working together in Cauldron Quest to brew a magic potion that their kingdom needs to break a magic spell cast by an evil wizard. They do this by trying to move special barrels of ingredients from the outside of the board into the cauldron in the center. This might SOUND easy, but the evil wizard is trying to stop them by putting magic barriers in the way. Players need to get the correct three ingredients to the center before the wizard blocks all six paths.

Qwirkle

Our favorite family games are easy to learn and hard to master. This is the case with Qwirkle, the rules are very simple, but there is so much strategy at play each turn. Players build lines of matching attributes without repeating. They may match either the shape or the color. With a bank of six different tiles to choose from each turn and refill from a bag of tiles.

One of the challenges with the original game was there was no way to tell tile colors apart in poor lighting or if there was colorblindness. Mindware released a Color Blind Friendly version which has a shape in the center that matches the color. Buy Qwirkle Color Blind Friendly here on Amazon

Beat the 8 Ball

Challenge your patience and test your timing with Beat the 8 Ball. Players need to time when they will release their ball after the 8 Ball is sent into the funnel. If you beat the 8 Ball you score points, but landing after the 8 Ball will cost you. The challenge is to be the one closest without getting behind the 8 ball. See if you have the skill to beat the 8 Ball!

Candy Conquest

Making sets and getting four in a row is a classic mechanism that works well for young children. Candy Conquest adds a three dimensional aspect to the set making. Players can stack their pieces on top of other ones regardless if the bottom piece is theirs or an opponents. Since squares are never taken and closed off, it opens up significantly more strategy and options.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Many children begin Kindergarten at age 5. At this age, they are able to follow a simple set of rules and take turns. That skill may need more reinforcement especially with younger 5-year-olds. Attention spans tend to still be short, with 5-10 minutes of focus being typical. As they grow and get closer to age 6 that begins to get even longer. Attention is also easier to sustain when there is high interest. Children in this age benefit from games that help with memory and attention by practicing the skills. Games should have little to no reading for this age, as they often are just at a early reader or prereader stage. Lots of words could be overwhelming.

Stomp the Plank

  • Ravensburger
  • Players: 2-4

Elephant pirates are on an adventure, and want the treasure. The elephants are trying to get treasure from Captain Giraffe. Players can draw as many treasure cards as they wish, but for each repeated card they draw their elephant moves forward on the plank. Who will be the last one remaining on the pirate ship?

Buy Stomp the Plank here on Amazon

Exit Kids Jungle of Riddles

  • Kosmos
  • Players: 1-4

In the jungle you have found nine treasure chests, can you solve the puzzles to open all of them? The popular Exit Games now have a version for kids. Unlike the standard Exit games these games are re-playable and none of the components are destroyed. The puzzles are designed without any reading, and the game contains escape room style puzzles and brainteasers.

Buy Exit Kids: Jungle of Riddles here on Amazon

Dog Man The Hot Dog Card Game

  • University Games
  • 2-4 Players

The Dog Man books are very popular with kids, and Dog Man the Hot Dog Card Game taps into the popular aspects of the books. The rules are very simple, players put all the cards faced down (mixed up of course). Players flip over one card on their turn. If they flip a hot dog card it stays face up. However if Petey (the cat) is revealed all the cards are flipped back face down. If Dog Man is revealed, players us only one hand to gather as many hot dog cards as possible. The game comes in a tin making it very portable and convenient to take to places.

Buy Dog Man the Hot Dog Card Game here on Amazon.

Dragomino

  • Blue Orange
  • 2-4 Players

The game Kingdomino took the boardgame world by storm winning the Spiel De Jahres in 2017. Now there is a My First version that is for players ages five and up, with a dragon theme. Dragonmino takes the same tile drafting and placement mechanism, and simplified it further for younger players. With each match with the tiles players earn a dragon egg and are trying to collect eggs with baby dragons inside. 

Buy Dragomino here on Amazon.

Outfoxed!

  • Gamewright
  • 2-4 Players

Outfoxed! is a cooperative game deduction game where the players are…chickens. Chickens chasing clues to catch a fox that has absconded with a prized pot pie.  What family can resist working together to solve such a heinous crime? The game includes a special evidence scanner to rule out the different fox suspects by showing if the thief is wearing a particular object. On each players turn they declare if they will Search for Clues or Reveal Suspects. They then have three chances to roll the dice to get all three dice icons to match their choice. If they success they complete the stated action, but if not the culprit moves closer to escaping with the pie. 

Buy Outfoxed here on Amazon.

Hoagie

  • Monkey Bear Games
  • 2-5 Players

Hoagie is a fast paced game where each player is trying to build the perfect sandwich without any part getting spoiled by three oogies (pictured on the spoiled food and special action cards). Hoagie’s gameplay is very easy and takes just minutes to learn.  Each player is dealt a hand if 6 cards to start the game.  On each players turn they play a card from their hand on their sandwich or an opponent’s. Several actions with the cards can occur, but only one can occur per turn. In order to win, a player must begin their turn with a perfect sandwich, which consists of bread, meat, cheese, lettuce, and bread.

 Buy Hoagie here on Amazon.

Rush-hour Jr.

  • Thinkfun
  • Single Player

Rush-hour Jr. is one player, portable, colorful, and mentally wonderful for ages 5 and up. The board is small and packed with vehicles which have set directions that they can move. The goal is to move the vehicles in a particular order to get the little red car out of the traffic jam. A negative is that every piece is important. Don’t lose them! This game is great for waiting rooms or car trips as it comes with its own board and it small enough to hold in a child’s hand or lap. The junior version has 40 challenges and 15 blocking pieces. 

Buy Rush Hour Jr. here on Amazon.

Rhino Hero

  • Haba
  • 2-5 Players

Rhino Hero is a competitive  3-D stacking game where players are building a tower of cards and moving Rhino Hero up the tower.  This dexterity game directs players were the wall cards need to go on each turn.  Players have wall and ceiling tiles.  On their turn, the player first builds the wall in the place indicated on the ceiling tile and then place their ceiling tile.  Actions indicated on some of the ceiling tiles and those benefit the player, such as skipping the next player.  The game ends when the tower fall, a player places their last roof card, or all the walls are built.  

Buy Rhino Hero here on Amazon.

Rhino Hero- Super Battle

  • Haba
  • 2-4 Players

Rhino Hero- Super Battle is the sequel to Rhino Hero.  The game is for ages 5 and up and plays two to four players. This game adds three more superheros:  Giraffe Boy, Big E. and Batguin.  The walls now come in two sizes; tall and short and there is a superhero medal.  Additionally there are spider monkeys which attack. 

The gameplay has additional steps they includes: 1. Build!, 2. Spider monkey attack (place a spider monkey hanging from the floor if there is a spider monkey symbol and see if it makes the tower fall), 3. Climb the skyscraper! by using a die to determine how many floors to climb, 4. Super battle if two superheros are on the same level, 5. Superhero medal goes to the players if their super hero is the furthest up at this phase in their turn, 6. Draw another floor card.  The game ends when all or part of the tower collapses or all the floors that are playable have been used.

Buy Rhino Hero Super Battle here on Amazon.

Monza

  • Haba
  • 2-6 Players

Monza is a racing game for ages 5 and up and plays two to six players. Movement of your race car in this game is based on rolling six color dice.  Players must utilize strategic thinking to use the colors you roll to plan the path for your car. Players can only move to a forward space and may not enter a space with an obstacle.

This game is more thoughtful than a straight roll and move because you need to plan your path based on the colors you roll. With a luck roll and good planning a player can move six spaces. Any die that do not correspond to a color ahead of the player on the board are discarded for that turn. The first player to the finish line is the winner. 

Buy Monza here on Amazon.


What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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By the age of four children have a lot of skills and abilities which impacts what they can play for board games. Most children have better fine motor skills and can do more precise stacking. Their hands typically can hold a pencil or a crayon with the traditional grip. An important cognitive development for four-year-olds, is they can understand the difference between fantasy and reality, so games can take on more fanciful themes. This skill also means children begin to pretend to be someone else (such as a chef) as they play. Another skill that can be key to certain games, is they are beginning to understand time. Helpful skills to develop and reinforce include using their imagination, counting simple things up to and beyond 10, and problem solving. Playing developmentally appropriate games can help with language development, sharing, and taking turns too.

Dinosaur Escape

  • Peaceable Kingdom
  • 2-4 Players

Players work together and need to save three dinosaurs before the volcano erupts. They roll the dice to move around the board and turn over tokens. If it is a fern it gets flipped back over, so there is a memory component to the game. If it is a matching dinosaur to one they are trying to rescue they get to go to the safety of dinosaur island. However, watch out for the T-Rex it will scare the dinosaurs back to their starting point. The volcano gets built each time the volcano icon is rolled on the dice. The 5th time the volcano “erupts”.

Buy Dinosaur Escape Game here on Amazon.

Spidey and His Amazing Friends Labyrinth Junior and  PAW Patrol Labyrinth Junior

  • Ravensburger
  • 2-4 Players

Labyrinth is a classic every changing maze game. Ravensburger has come out with two junior versions with less moving parts and simpler rules. Plus they included themes that are well loved by this age group. Players need to navigate the maze to find the shortest route and collect the most round tokens, which match pictures within the maze, to win.

Buy Spidey and His Amazing Friends Labyrinth Junior here on Amazon.

Buy  PAW Patrol Labyrinth Junior here on Amazon.

Monkey See Monkey Poo

  • Spin Master Games
  • 2-4 Players

Kids and adults alike find endless humor in poo. Monkey See Monkey Poo has taken that and made a hilariously ridiculous game. The plastic monkey figure had a spot to load in banana scented dough in the main body, which is then pushed out the back end to form the poo to fling. Players use the launching mechanism to fling the poo at targets on the three dimensional tree and move their monkey up the vines, trying to be the first to the top.

Buy Monkey See Monkey Poo here on Amazon.

My First Castle Panic

  • Fireside Games
  • 1-4 Players

In My First Castle Panic players work together to defend their castle during this cooperative game. The game is for one to four players ages four and up. This is a much simpler version from the original. My First Castle Panic takes away the reading and instead incorporates the early skills of identifying colors and shapes, simple problem solving, and turn taking. The path to the castle is a single path protected by one wall. To defeat a monster a card must be played matching the location of the monster. If the players can defeat all the monster before the castle is destroyed they win.

Buy My First Castle Panic here on Amazon.

Animal Upon Animal

  • Haba
  • 2-4 Players

Animal Upon Animal has slightly smaller pieces than the First Game version. This game is for ages 4 and up. Players are asked to roll to determine how many animals they are stacking or they may be asked to add a piece to the base adjacent to the crocodile. The dexterity involved is harder than it looks and can be a challenge even for the adults playing too.

Buy Animal Upon Animal here on Amazon.

Spot It! Animals Jr

  • Asmodee
  • 2-6 Players

Spot It! Animals Jr is simple, inexpensive, and portable. Oh! And your Preschooler has a decent shot at beating you in it. This is a matching game with multiple variables of play.  There is one matching animal on every card so you are trying to be the first to find the matching animal.  This is great for even the youngest gamers and helps to develop their observational skills.

Buy Spot it! Animals Jr. here on Amazon.

There are multiple variations of Spot It. Some of them are recommended for ages 4+ and some are recommending for 6+. Other Spot it versions that are for ages 4+ include:

Kitty Bitty

  • Blue Orange
  • 2-4 Players

“Kitty Bitty is a remake of the beloved Blue Orange classic, Froggy Boogie. This adorable wooden game has little minds use memory and color recognition to help their kitten make it around the yarn balls and back to the basket. Each turn, players need to find the correct mommy cat. Then pick up one of her eyes; if it’s blank they can move on to the next yarn ball. If there’s a kitten printed on the bottom they stay put and it’s the next players turn. The first kitten that makes it around all the yarn balls and back to the basket wins!”

Buy Kitty Bitty here on Amazon.

Hoot Owl Hoot

  • Peaceable Kingdom
  • 2-4 Players

Hoot Owl Hoot! is a cooperative game to bring the owls back to the nest.  The goal is to get all the owls back before the sun comes up.  Each player has three cards dealt in front of them.  Players choose a color card to play, and draws a card to refill at the end of their turn.  With a color card, the player selects an owl and move it to the next corresponding space of that color. If a player has a sun card they must play it, and the sun moves one space on the tracker. The difficulty can be increased by adding more owls to put back in the nest.

Buy Hoot Owl Hoot! here on Amazon.

Zingo

  • Thinkfun
  • 2-6 Players

Zingo is a bingo game with a few twists by Thinkfun.  The game is for players ages four and up and can play two to six players, and game play is quick and a game take 15-20 minutes. Zingo is a great game to have for young players.  Thinkfun has also created  multiple versions of Zingo published by Thinkfun. They include: Zingo 1-2-3, Zingo Sight Words, and Zingo Word Builder.  These can be great ways to develop beginning reading and math skills, and for preschool and primary students the Zingo variations are a great fit.  The random nature of the game allow for play with the whole family.

 Buy Zingo here on Amazon.

 Build or Boom

  • Goliath 
  • 2 Players

Buy Build or Boom here on Amazon

Build or BOOM is a block stacking dexterity game designed to be played by even the youngest member of your family. Check out our review here. Your goal is to race your opponent to complete a tower out of uniquely shaped blocks. Then BOOM their tower to keep them from winning. This game is absolutely playable by everyone in the family. It is designed for kids 4 years old and over, but is still fun and playable by the more mature members of the family. The concepts are simple to understand and no reading is required. The plastic pieces are big enough for tiny hands to manipulate and the towers are challenging for  for all ages. 

Buy Build or Boom here on Amazon.


What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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As parents we are familiar with the world of edutainment. We have endless choices of games and programs that are games with a focus on learning. A free site that gets used in my classroom is www.abcya.com  That said, how do we know what is the best choice for our children? Do these games and programs even work?

Learning Styles

Before we go into the actual games, we need to discuss learning styles. Your child’s learning style will determine the type of game they will be most likely to enjoy and get the most out of. The three primary learning styles that impact children in games are Visual Learners, Auditory Learners, and Kinesthetic Learners. Visual learners are going to enjoy games with lots of graphics, bright colors, fun artwork, and maybe charts. Auditory learners will enjoy games where they get to listen to snippets of stories and hear others have discussions about different aspects of the game. Kinesthetic learners enjoy games where they get to be hands-on that have lots of pieces to move and manipulate. It’s good to think of the people you are going to be playing with to come up with the best game for your group.

Eduplay Games

While this article focuses on mainstream family-style games that are available, we would be lax if we didn’t mention that there is a huge world of board games designed specifically for classroom learning. These games are designed to drill down and reinforce specific learning concepts like letter recognition, language acquisition, phonics, reading comprehension, storytelling mechanics and so forth.

Lakeshore Learning and Edupress are staples in the educational field. We’ve played a few games in this style, and they do not have the spark that we like to have in our games. Unless you were using your gaming time as a type of additional homework, we don’t find the replay value to be very high or the desire to play to be very high. But, there is no denying that this type of game is a useful learning tool. They at least add a skin of fun over traditional learning.

What is all the buzz about The Science of Reading?

In and around the instruction of reading there has been a paradigm shift in the education field. Without going deep into the weeds of educational theory and practice, the shift has been building up and really came to the foreground of the education field in the past few years. Educational practice has moved from a Balanced Literacy Approach where there is explicit phonics instruction, but the greater focus was comprehension and utilizing cues in the books/texts instead of first looking at the letters in the words.

Now there is a greater focus as an educational community on the data about how students best learn. What has been learned is explicit high quality phonics and phonemic awareness instruction. (Just as a quick definition, phonics are working with letters on the page, and phonemic awareness is manipulating just the sounds in words without any text.

Florida Center for Reading Research has free student activities Pre-k to 5th grade. Check it out here!

With this new knowledge working with letters and word building for beginning readers is even more critical to develop the bank of skill needed to fluently read. There are quite a few games that involve building words, and with a little background about the phonics of the English language it can be a huge asset when you play a word game with a beginning reader.


Here at Engaged Family Gaming, we have come up with a collection of games that are a lot of fun to play that teach some of these Literacy concepts as well.

Games with Literacy Concepts

Scrabble 8+ (Vocabulary Development and Letter Arrangement)

Scrabble, by Hasbro games, is a classic for a reason. It has retained its popularity through the years (think Words With Friends) because it is fun to play and challenging. In case you’ve never played Scrabble, it is a word game in which two to four players score points by placing tiles, each bearing a single letter, onto a gameboard which is divided into a 15×15 grid of squares. The tile must be placed in a crossword pattern (words flow left to right in rows or downwards in columns). The words must be standard and acceptable words in an agreed upon dictionary. Players score points based on the numbers on their letter tiles and can add bonuses from cues on the gameboard.

Scrabble has many variations, including a Junior version designed to help younger kids with letter matching and recognition. This is a great game for kinesthetic learners because there are small pieces to manipulate which these learners LOVE to handle.

Bananagrams 7+ (Vocabulary Development, Letter Arrangement, Time Management)

Bananagrams, by Banagrams, is a similar game to Scrabble, but it doesn’t require a game board, pen, paper, etcetera. It is a letter tile game that comes in a fun banana shaped zip up pouch. It is easily portable and gives you more freedom than Scrabble because you play independently for speed while making your individual crossword board. There are no complications from trying to get the perfect spot on the board, or waiting for a slow player to make a decision, or from losing out on the triple letter space. This game moves quickly because you are working against a clock. There are some unique challenges and ways to manipulate game play which add some fun elements into the game and can allow you to put a crimp in your opponents’ play. In our playtests of this game, we found that this game can be more of a challenge for younger players because it lacks some of the structure built into Scrabble, but some of your outside the box players will enjoy this one much more.

Much like Scrabble, this game appeals to kinesthetic learners because of the tile manipulation. Also, since there is no game board, please make sure to play this one on a smooth surface. The tablecloth became way more of a hindrance during play than any of us anticipated.

Rory’s Story Cubes 8+ (Language Development, Vocabulary Development, Story Sequencing, Storytelling)

Rory’s Story Cubes, by Gamewright, is a pocket-sized creative story generator. The original game comes in a box with 9 cubes (dice) with different images on each side. Players simply roll the cubes and let the pictures spark their imagination and tell a story out loud based on the pictures on their cubes. There are several expansions to the base game with different themes (actions, voyages, clues, Batman, intergalactic, etc.). There are infinite ways to play with Rory’s Story Cubes. The rules suggest playing solitaire or with others. The 8+ age suggestion is misleading. This game can definitely be played with younger players.

We’ve used this game as a party game or ice-breaker and I’ve used it to work with my youngest on speaking & listening skills. My oldest finds a way to use these as story starters for creative inspiration in his writing activities. They can also help early learners with literacy development and problem-solving. Again, because this game involves dice rolling, it is great for kinesthetic learners. And, because the stories are told aloud, we’ve had great luck honing our children’s auditory learning skills with this game. Finally, because of the creative images on the cubes, this game works as a great inspiration for visual learners. All around, these are a terrific learning tool to add to your arsenal.

Buy the original Rory’s Story Cubes here on Amazon!

Last Letter 8+ (Vocabulary Development, Letter Recognition, Picture Cues, Time Management)

In Last Letter, by ThinkFun, each player gets five cards featuring intricate, fun, and brightly colored illustrations. Players must race to come up with and shout out a word from one of the picture cards in their hand. The word MUST begin with the last letter of the word previously called. The first player to get rid of all of their cards will win the round. This game is an awesome game for visual learners! The fast paced nature of this game might make it more challenging for younger players who are slower to process what they are seeing in front of them. If play around the table gets too excitable and loud, you may lose younger auditory learners as well. But, be prepared to be surprised by the creative words kids come up with from the images that adults would not normally think of.

Buy Last Letter here on Amazon!

Zingo 3+ (Letter Arrangement & Recognition, Vocabulary Development, Picture Cues, Time Management)

Zingo is a new classic with a few different variations of the game available. It’s like Bingo with a fun twist. The original Zingo is a matching game that encourages pre-readers and early readers to match pictures and words to their challenge cards. The Zingo! Zinger dispenses tiles as players race to be the first player with a full card and yell “ZINGO!” With two levels of play, this matching game builds language skills through fast-paced play. This game is designed to develop early literacy skills for very young players. Zingo Sight Words and Zingo Word Builder are also available and these games introduce more challenging literacy skills. Our children request these games regularly and LOVE to play them. While these are learning games at their core, they use fun and exciting game mechanics to keep young players engaged!

Buy Zingo here on Amazon

Dixit 8+ (Language Development, Story Sequencing, Storytelling, Picture Cues)

Using a deck of cards illustrated with dreamlike images, players select cards that match a title suggested by the “storyteller”, and attempt to guess which card the “storyteller” selected. Each player starts the game with six random cards. Players then take turns being the storyteller.

The player whose turn it is to be storyteller looks at the six images in his or her hand. From one of these, he or she makes up a sentence or phrase that might describe it and says it out loud (without showing the card to the other players). Each other player then selects from among their own six cards the one that best matches the sentence given by the storyteller. Then, each player gives their selected card to the storyteller, without showing it to the others. The storyteller shuffles his or her chosen card with the cards received from the other players, and all cards are then dealt face up. The players (except for the storyteller) then secretly guess which picture was the storyteller’s, using numbered voting chips. If nobody or everybody finds the correct picture, the storyteller scores 0, and each of the other players scores 2. Otherwise the storyteller and all players who found the correct answer score 3. Players other than the storyteller score 1 point for each vote their own pictures receive.

A large part of the skill of the game comes from being able to offer a title which is neither too obscure nor too obvious. The game ends when a player reaches the end of the board (30 points). Much like Rory’s Story Cubes, this game helps children to learn storytelling skills, story sequencing, and helps broaden appreciation for art and gives players the ability to articulate thoughts concisely and to comprehend metaphor.

About the Authors:

This article in its initial format was created by Jenna Duetzmann.

The update for the article has been done by Linda Wrobel, who as a first grade teacher is on the ground learning the shifts in educational practice, and seeing the impact of beginning readers.


For Additional Games to Support Learning


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Finding engaging games to play with toddlers and preschoolers that are not excessively tedious for the adults can be a challenge.  Memory, Candy Land, and Chutes and Ladders are classics and likely in any collection with young kids.  I can vouch that they are in my kids’ collection too! There are many more games to choose from that are engaging for young players.  These games have are appealing, have cute themes, and you will enjoy playing with your toddler and preschooler.


Games for Two-Year Olds

By the age of two children are beginning to develop skills that allow them to begin playing board games designed for them. First they have some beginning fine motor skills. Those are skills involving the hands and fingers, such a building a tower of 4 blocks or scribbling with a crayon (hopefully on paper not your walls!) Besides their motor skills two-year-olds can follow directions with two steps (such as, go in the bathroom and get out your toothbrush). These early skills in following directs means they can begin learning games with just a few steps and rules. Other early skills they have that can be incorporated into board games to reinforce and build success include: sorting shapes/colors, counting up to three, simple puzzles, and early problem solving skills.

At this age, children have a very short stamina for activities and also struggle with sharing. The following games are geared for these youngest games and tap into their early skills as well as support skills that need to be developed.

Panda’s Picnic

Panda’s Picnic in the Park is a matching game for players age two and up. The game comes in a picnic basket and players take turns pulling items out of the basket and matching them with things on their plate. There are multiple ways to play. Learning skills include: Color and Shape. Pretend play, turn taking, gross and fine motor skills, and vocabulary building. Buy Panda’s Picnic here on Amazon.

My Very First Games: First Orchard

My Very First Games: First Orchard is a cooperative game where players are trying to collect all the fruit before the raven reaches the end of the path. The game has large brightly colored wooden fruit and a chunky wooden raven.  The path and orchard are easy to set up and reinforces sorting skills. This is a simplified version of Haba’s Orchard game. Buy My Very First Game: First Orchard here on Amazon.

My Very First Games: Animal Upon Animal Jr.

My Very First Games: Animal Upon Animal Junior combines three animal games in one. With chunky pieces and only about a 10 minute playtime, it is a good fit for the very youngest gamers. Toddlers can develop their fine motor skills and hand eye coordination. These gameplay options also help develop observation skills. The rules allow for one to four players which can help provide experiences playing by the rules of the game. Buy My Very First Games: Animal Upon Animal here on Amazon.


Games for Three-Year Olds

Children at the age of three have gained some more skills. There are more options for board games that tap into their skills as well as reinforce skills that may still be challenging. Their play skills have advanced and they are more likely to join children playing rather than playing along side. Three-year-olds are able to follow two to three step directions.

Language skills typically have developed to the point where they can answer questions that include what, when, why, and where. By the age of 3 they are beginning to be able to name their emotions and can tell you if they are sad, happy, etc. Games geared for this age can help develop skills with opposites, matching, and problem solving. Many games for this age tap into their beginning skills and can foster strengthening those skills.

Bandit’s Memory Mix Up

Bandits Memory Mix Up is a game for two to four players ages three and up which challenges memory. This game has players take the spy glass and placed five garden tiles inside then shake it up. Then one player removes One garden tile secretly. The challenge: remembering the removed tile. The first player to identify the missing tile wins. There are also variants which support solo and large group play. Play reinforces the skills of turn-taking, visual discrimination, and memory. Buy Bandit’s Memory Mix Up here on Amazon.

Smoosh and Seek Treehouse

Smoosh and Seek Treehouse is a cooperative game for 2 to 4 players ages 3 and up. In this game players are working together to find all the different Woodland animals playing hide and seek in the tree before Mr. Prickles climbs the ladder. Players worked together to remember the location of the different seekers when they think they have located a seeker they state who they think it is pick up the disk and smash it into the smash to to reveal who’s hiding. If they successfully find a hide or they place a token to show that seekers has been found. Game play reinforces memory, simple strategy, cooperation and fine-motor skills. Buy Smoosh and Seek Treehouse here on Amazon.

Unicorn Glitterluck

Unicorn Glitterluck is a roll and move game with some added components for ages 3 and up.  Players move their unicorns along the path and collect crystals.  If they land on a crystal image they have to roll a special die to find out how many crystals to take.  The player to reach the sun first ends the game and players count their crystals.  The player with the most crystals wins.  The back of the game board also has a counter track so players can lay out their crystals by the player and visually see who has the most. Buy Unicorn Glitterluck here on Amazon.

The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game

The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game is where you are collecting acorns to feed your hungry squirrel.  At the beginning of each turn you spin the spinner and that dictated the color acorn you can take or if another event occurs.  If a player lands on a storm cloud their acorns get blown back onto the tree. A sad squirrel means you lose a turn.  The thieving squirrel picture allows the player to steal one acorn from another player. The first person to fill their log with acorns wins. Buy The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game here on Amazon.

Educational Insights have developed a line of games with a squeezer that also include: Hoppy Floppy Happy Hunt, Frankie’s Food Truck Fiasco Game, Shelby’s Snack Shack Game, and Sophie’s Seashell Scramble.

Happy Bunny

“In this cooperative counting game, players work as a team to help the bunny pick the best carrots from the farmer’s garden. Each turn, one player picks a number of carrots from the garden and sorts them into two piles, one for the bunny and one for the farmer. At the end of the game, everyone helps line up the piles for comparison. If the bunny’s line is longer, the players win! The durable carrot pieces are firmly planted inside the box, so the self-contained game helps little hands develop fine motor skills.” Buy Happy Bunny here on Amazon.

Snug as a Bug in a Rug

Snug as a Bug in a Rug is a cooperative game for player ages 3 and up.  The game is also designed with three levels of play to increase difficulty as players get older. The bugs in the game have multiple features.  They are different colors, have shapes, have different numbers of shapes, and have large or small eyes.

The basic gameplay has the players roll the specialized die to determine the attribute they are looking for in their bug and then spin the spinner to specify the attribute.  For example, if they roll the color attribute on the die, the spinner would tell them to find the blue bug.  Once they find a bug with that attribute it goes under the rug (the game board). If there are no bugs that match that feature a stink bug is placed on the rug.  The game ends when all the bugs are under the run, which means players win, or there are three stink bugs on the rug. Buy Snug as a Bug in a Rug here on Amazon.

Count Your Chickens

Count Your Chickens is a cooperative game where you are trying to get all 40 chicks back to the coop before the hen reaches it.  On each turn, the player spins the spinner that has various pictures that correspond to picture on the path.  The player moves the mother hen to the next space with that picture and counts the number of spaces they travel.  The number of spaces is how many chicks they put in the coop. If the spinner lands on the fox one chick is taken out of the coop and put back in the farmyard. Buy Count Your Chickens! here on Amazon.


Games for Four-Year-Olds

By the age of four children have a lot of new skills and abilities which impacts what they can play for board games. Most children have better fine motor skills and can do more precise stacking. Their hands typically can hold a pencil or a crayon with the traditional grip. An important cognitive development for four-year-olds, is they can understand the difference between fantasy and reality, so games can take on a more fanciful themes. This skill also means children begin to pretend to be someone else (such as a chef) as they play. Another skill that can be key to certain games, is they are beginning to understand time. Helpful skills to develop and reinforce include using their imagination, counting simple thing up to 10+, and problem solving. Playing developmentally appropriate games can help with language development, sharing, and taking turns too.

My First Castle Panic

In My First Castle Panic players work together to defend their castle during this cooperative game. The game is for one to four players ages four and up. This is a much simpler version from the original. My First Castle Panic takes away the reading and instead incorporates the early skills of identifying colors and shapes, simple problem solving, and turn taking. The path to the castle is a single path protected by one wall. To defeat a monster a card must be played matching the location of the monster. If the players can defeat all the monster before the castle is destroyed they win. Buy My First Castle Panic here on Amazon.

Animal Upon Animal

Animal Upon Animal has slightly smaller pieces than the First Game version. This game is for ages 4 and up. Players are asked to roll to determine how many animals they are stacking or they may be asked to add a piece to the base adjacent to the crocodile. The dexterity involved is harder than it looks and can be a challenge even for the adults playing too. Buy Animal Upon Animal here on Amazon.

Spot It! Animals Jr

Spot It! Animals Jr is simple, inexpensive, and portable. Oh! And your Preschooler has a decent shot at beating you in it. This is a matching game with multiple variables of play.  There is one matching animal on every card so you are trying to be the first to find the matching animal.  This is great for even the youngest gamers and helps to develop their observational skills. Buy Spot it! Animals Jr. here on Amazon.

There are multiple variations of Spot It. Some of them are recommended for ages 4+ and some are recommending for 6+. Other Spot it versions that are for ages 4+ include:

  • Spot It: 123 (recommended 3+)
  • Spot It Paw Patrol
  • Spot It! Frozen II
  • Spot It! Pixar
  • Spot It! Disney Princess

Kitty Bitty

“Kitty Bitty is a remake of the beloved Blue Orange classic, Froggy Boogie. This adorable wooden game has little minds use memory and color recognition to help their kitten make it around the yarn balls and back to the basket. Each turn, players need to find the correct mommy cat. Then pick up one of her eyes; if it’s blank they can move on to the next yarn ball. If there’s a kitten printed on the bottom they stay put and it’s the next players turn. The first kitten that makes it around all the yarn balls and back to the basket wins!” Buy Kitty Bitty here on Amazon.

Hoot Owl Hoot

Hoot Owl Hoot! is a cooperative game to bring the owls back to the nest.  The goal is to get all the owls back before the sun comes up.  Each player has three cards dealt in front of them.  Players choose a color card to pla, and draws a card to refill at the end of their turn.  With a color card, the player selects an owl and move it to the next corresponding space of that color. If a player has a sun card they must play it, and the sun moves one space on the tracker. The difficulty can be increased by adding more owls to put back in the nest. Buy Hoot Owl Hoot! here on Amazon.

Zingo

Zingo is a bingo game with a few twists by Thinkfun.  The game is for players ages four and up and can play two to six players, and game play is quick and a game take 15-20 minutes. Zingo is a great game to have for young players.  Thinkfun has also created  multiple versions of Zingo published by Thinkfun. They include: Zingo 1-2-3Zingo Sight Words, and Zingo Word Builder.  These can be great ways to develop beginning reading and math skills, and for preschool and primary students the Zingo variations are a great fit.  The random nature of the game allow for play with the whole family.  Buy Zingo here on Amazon.

 Build or Boom

Build or BOOM is a block stacking dexterity game designed to be played by even the youngest member of your family. Check out our review here. Your goal is to race your opponent to complete a tower out of uniquely shaped blocks. Then BOOM their tower to keep them from winning. This game is absolutely playable by everyone in the family. It is designed for kids 4 years old and over, but is still fun and playable by the more mature members of the family. The concepts are simple to understand and no reading is required. The plastic pieces are big enough for tiny hands to manipulate and the towers are challenging for all ages. Buy Build or Boom here on Amazon.


What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Education has made a drastic shift, and distance learning has become a major instructional format. Parents and caregivers now must facilitating their children’s distance learning. Distance learning has evolved from the first versions in March and April, yet it still presents challenges. Any tools that encourage hands on work and engage children are more valuable than ever.

Below are some games that are easily available, or you may already have on your shelf at home. These games support educational concepts in a way that is more fun and approachable. Games by no means replace the schoolwork and instruction, but they are a nice supplement. Check out your game collection and see what games you have with educational elements too.

STEM Games

Roller Coaster Challenge and Gravity Maze are single player puzzle STEM games. Each game has a series of cards with challenges that get increasingly more difficult. These are all engaging with hands on, that encourage problem solving and flexible thinking. While these are single player families can create opportunities for collaboration. Kids and adults love to build and see their construction succeed.

See the reviews of Gravity Maze here.

Coding

Understanding coding is a critical 21st century skill. There are several great board games that teach the skills of coding.

The most well know is Robot Turtles, which hit the world by storm on Kickstarter in 2013. It is simple and super fun.  The goal is for kids to place directional cards on a board to get their turtle to a matching colored jewel. It starts out easy, but as your child learns, you can add obstacles to make it more complex.   The children get to be the programmers and take control by playing out cards.  See our review here.

Two other great coding games are Coder Bunny and Coder Mindz both created by Samaira Mehta as a second and fourth grader respectively.  Coder Bunny gives players thirteen variations of ways to play, which incorporate different elements of coding. Coder Bunnyz also has a strong educational benefit.  It introduces the basics of coding in a friendly and accessible format. Younger beginning players benefit from coaching and direct instruction on the best way to program the motion of their bunny.  Older and more experienced players can create greater challenges with the board layout to refine their strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.

Coder Mindz presents the concepts of coding in an accessible format for a young player, but it is also engaging for older players.  Having three modes of play with two levels of difficulty at each level makes the game easy to scale based on the age of the players as well as the experience they have with creating code.

See the review of Coder Bunny here, and Coder Mindz here.

Reading

In Blurble, players race to say a word first that starts with the same letter as the picture on the card. There are lots of additional educational options with the cards too. Blurble contains a booklet labeled Educational Exercises. Within it explains other uses of the cards in Blurble as an educational tool for parents. The activities include Object Identification/Vocabulary, Spelling, Storytelling, Identifying Characteristics, Information Retrieval, and Group games. These activities range for ages 2 with object identification to age 11 with storytelling.  See the review here.

Spot It and Spot it Jr. are simple, inexpensive, and your child has a decent shot at beating you in it. This is a matching game with several variables of play.  There is one matching picture on every card so you are trying to be the first to find the matching picture.  This is great for even the youngest gamers and helps to develop their observational skills, and language. There is also an alphabet version that can develop letter identification.

Zingo is a bingo game that incorporates a Zinger, which distributes the tiles. Kids love using the Zinger and it adds a fun component to the game. Thinkfun has also created  multiple versions of Zingo. They include: Zingo 1-2-3Zingo Sight Words, Zingo Time-Telling, and Zingo Word Builder.  These can be great ways to develop beginning reading and math skills, and for preschool and primary students the Zingo variations are a great fit.  

Math

Cross Curricular Connections

Zeus on the Loose has players building up “Mount Olympus” which is the discard pile, to equal 100, but watch out, by playing a Greek God all kinds of special powers can happen. On their turn “Mount Olympus”, the discard pile and state the new total for the pile. This is a great way to practice mental addition to 100. The Greek gods themselves can also be a launching point for reading about the Greek myths, or other books incorporating Greek Mythology, such as the Rick Riordan books.

Number Recognition

Roll For It! is a simple and quick dice and card game. The object of the game is to be the first player to collect 40 points by managing dice and matching the appropriate dice to the cards in play, which is perfect in building subitizing in young children. Subitizing is where you can look at the pips on a dice, or at a small group of objects and instantly know the number without counting. One of the best features of Roll For It! is its simplicity. Players who do not play games often will pick up this game and understand how to play after seeing one turn. See the review here.

Addition and Subtraction


Skyjo is a set collection card game for two to eight players were your goal is to get the least amount of points per around. The recommended age is for eight and up. The game does scale down especially once children can understand the negative cards by relating them to take away. Unknown cards in front of each player and fifteen different cards that can be revealed, gives Skyjo just enough suspense to provide just a bit of tension in the game.

Creating Sets and Probability

Dragonwood is a light set collection game with a fantasy theme and beautiful art. You take on the roll of an adventurer defeating monsters. Players have three different ways to defeat a monster and each attack requires a different type of collection. Players can collect sets of the same card, the same color, or numbers in sequence. These different ways to sort cards helps support flexible thinking probability, and sequencing.

Science

Life Science

Photosynthesis is a beautiful science themed game that features the tree life cycle and a rotating sun to collect light points. The trees are three dimensional and provide a beautiful visual as the forest “grows”. Photosynthesis plays in rounds. Each round consists of two phases: the Photosynthesis Phase and the Life Cycle Phase. The game ends after the sun makes three complete revolutions around the board.  Points are then calculated based on scoring tokens and unused light points. See the review here.

The Evolution Series by North Star Games has multiple games in this line. In the Evolution games you are evolving your creatures with various traits to help their survival. Each animal needs to have enough food or they die out and can go extinct. There is something for everyone in this series. For elementary age students you can start with Evolution: The Beginning. This is a simplified and streamlined version of the game good for ages eight and up. For older children: Evolution, Flight (which is an expansion), Climate, and Oceans.

Physics

Ice Cool is a flicking game about penguins in a frozen high school. Players take turns flicking their penguin pawns through the halls. The goal is to get your pawn through open doorways to catch fish  and earn points. This is more complicated because each player takes a turn as the hall monitor who’s objective is to catch the other players. Ice Cool is more fun than I expected and the kids love it. You may be wondering how this helps with science, and this is where it helps to think outside the box. All the shots you are making involve Physics!

Ice Cool 2 is the sequel to the original Ice Cool game. If you combine it with the original Ice Cool game you can play up to eight players and set up multiple layouts. These new layout options can also become a learning tool for Physics may lead to finding which setup creates easier shots and which produce more complicated shots.


What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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Amaze is a single player maze game from ThinkFun, and recommended for players ages 8 to adult. The maze board is changeable with 16 different mazes, and puts an interesting spin on maze games.

Game Contents

  • Maze board and an attached stylus
  • 16 challenge settings available on the back (with three difficulty levels)
  • Instructions included in the box provide further directions and also proved the solutions to all the mazes

Game Play

Amaze is extremely easy to set up.  There are red indicators on the left side of the board, and those indicators program to one of 16 mazes.  These settings make the maze progressively harder.  Once the player set the maze, you trace your path through the maze without lifting the stylus from start to finish.  During play, the player pushes the red bars left or right to open up a new path, or potentially trap you.  

Family Gaming Assessment

Amaze is a perfect travel game for families.  Amaze has the ideal design feature, attaching the stylus so it can not be lost.  Additionally, the maze itself is small enough to fit in a purse or backpack. For as simple as the design is the mazes are challenging and don’t present obvious solutions.  Being a single player game kids or adults can work on the maze for a while and put it away easily when they need a break.  Another advantage of Amaze is this is a battery free quiet game.  Amaze is perfect for a waiting room, since play is quiet.

Conclusion


Since this game has come into my house is has been played by children as young as five and up to adults.  The appeal is in the simplicity of the game, yet challenging nature of the mazes.  This is a great addition to a game collection for travel or quiet play and will appeal to anyone who enjoys mazes.

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Compose Yourself by Thinkfun is a fascinating product for those who are musically inclined or interested in classical music.  It is an intriguing activity where you can use the cards to create a composition using an website.  There is a great deal of focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) activities.  Compose Yourself is a product that supports STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math).

Contents

  • 60 Transparent Music Cards ( in Treble clef )
  • Composer Code Card
    • This code allows you to access the website to create your compositions
  • Instructions with Composing Tips
  • Online Tools and Resources
  • Travel Bag

Gameplay

Compose Yourself is played by arranging the cards on the table.  The clear cards allow them to be rotated and flipped to create the look and sound you want.  Next, you enter the code on the cards into the website provided.  As you arrange the cards you can place up to 4 in a row a create 4 rows.  That is the maximum you can input into the website. The cards have unique codes on each corner of the card so it can be input as  you have arranged it.  Once entered you can flip and rotate the cards digitally.  Additionally you can drag cards to rearrange them, and remove ones you do not want. Each card can be played to hear it individually. You are then able to play your composition using three sound settings: Marimba, Orchestra, or Both.   Finally, once your piece is complete you are able to print it and download it as an MP3.  

Family Game Assessment

Compose Yourself is an intriguing activities for families who enjoy classical music.  It has a great deal of potential for the family to create and share short compositions both together and individually.  The website is very easy to navigate and the cards are simple to lay out and arrange even with younger participants. To use the website you do need to register using the enclosed code.  There is one detail that is noteworthy; you need to agree to license it under a Creative Commons License.  Under the Help option in the Play page of the website it summarizes it well:

Please remember that you are free to share, sample, play, and have fun with your composition so long as it is not for commercial use.”

While this license can be considered a minor detail it informs the user of the nature of the music they are producing.  While it is your original work, it is not exclusively yours to do as you please and limits exist.

Compose Yourself is absolutely appropriate for  ages 6 and up as recommended by Thinkfun. The music is limited to the treble clef, and the tempo and the key signature can not be changed.  While there are some musical limitations for a more sophisticated musician, especially for children, it is a fun and easy way to play around with music in a very accessible way.

Conclusion

For the novice or less experienced musician, Compose Yourself allows you to dabble in creating original compositions.  I hesitate to call this a game in the traditional sense, however Thinkfun does lists it on their site as a game.  Regardless of what you call it, for those interested in music is a fun product that provides immediate reinforcement by hearing you music immediately.  

 

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Color Cube Sudoku by Thinkfun is a single player puzzle game.  It is a spin on the traditional Sudoku by utilizing colors instead of numbers, and allowing players to physically manipulate the colors to find solutions to the puzzle.  This is a logic game recommended for ages 8 to adult.  

Contents

  • 1Display Tray
  • 9 Color Cubes

Gameplay

The gameplay mechanics are quite simple, however, it is challenging to find a solution.  To play you flip, rotate, and rearrange the cubes in the tray until no colors are repeated in a row in any direction.  This follows the same core mechanics of traditional Sudoku by having there be no numbers repeated in a row.  Per the box, there are “2 trillion color combinations,  more than half a million solutions”.  For those who enjoy logic puzzles there are Bonus Pattern Challenges you can incorporate into the game, which include: No diagonals, Big X (creating a x using two colors), Outer Box( (two colors form a square diamond), and Long Knight’s Path (reference to the knight in chess, form 4 cubes in a row and one to the right or left with six squares of the same color).

 

Family Game Assessment

This is a fun puzzle that is appropriate for the whole family and can be done as a single player or cooperatively. This game is recommended for ages 8 to adult, and for the challenges of the logical reasoning involved and the abstract thinking 8 and up is a good recommendation.  However, since there is no reading involved and the pieces are large and easy to handle this could also be used by younger members of the family with support. This would be a good tool to play together and scaffold the logical thinking process for children. This would allow them to see the productive struggle through trial and error needed to reach a solution.  

 

Conclusion

Color Cube Sudoku is a kinesthetic logical reasoning puzzle game that is good for a wide range of ages.  For families that enjoy puzzles this is a great addition to their collection.  This could also be a light hearted way to introduce puzzle games and the Sudoku mechanics to the whole family.

To find more educational games from Thinkfun keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming!

 

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