When I was a child my favorite game was Mousetrap because the experience wasn't simply about rolling dice and moving around a board. Rather, it was an invitation to construct environments with the reward of something special happening.
I still enjoy games where you build but I especially love it when they offer clever, valuable lessons as well. Circuit Maze teaches spacial reasoning and electrical engineering with simple to understand concepts. As you play, the levels naturally get more difficult and are challenging even to adults.
If your child is interested in games at even higher tech levels, there's also a game series called CODE that teaches the valuable superpower of computer coding concepts. I only wish I had access to these games when I was young. Read the rest
I was just introduced to an excellent game called Roller Coaster Challenge that melds puzzle solving, creativity and fun. It's a logic-based, free-form, build-it-yourself kit that tasks you to get from point A to point B by using a limited number of coaster parts.
Every level in the game challenges you to build new structures while building on learned concepts. As you complete tasks, you’ll be surprised by what’s possible and it will make you want to go off the grid and create your own layouts.
As you can plainly see from the video below, John's "Blue Flash" invention was no doubt inspired by this game.
My wife tutors children who have a very difficult time focusing but Roller Coaster Challenge captures their attention and instantly gets them into the concentration zone.
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Robin Lehman is an Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker who created a beautiful collection of 1970s educational films for young (and old) people, including "Wings and Things" about flight (clip above). Below, a clip from "Ocean Life." DVD collections of Lehman's films are available from Phoenix Learning Group. (via toys and techniques)
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