Apparently ThinkFun fans love their coffee as much as they love their games!
After I shared this photo on Facebook Monday morning, several folks chimed in right away to let us know they’d also love to start their day with a ThinkFun-fueled smile! Always happy to support our caffeine-loving fans, I’ve set up a giveaway so you can win your very own mug – click here to enter! (starts midnight 5/14 - 5/16)
Monday mornings are a lot perkier since our fun new mugs arrived!
And on a related note, I’ve also started an Instagram account for ThinkFun, featuring more “inside our world” photos from around the office and events we attend. Please follow us at ThinkFunGames!
How do you wake your brain up in the morning? Does your secret weapon come in a mug or another form?!
May is National Inventors Month! (Incidentally, it also happens to be National Barbecue Month, so fire up the grill and celebrate!)
ThinkFun’s inventors are the creative brains that drive our new products, and we love any chance we get to celebrate them. To kick off the month, I’m thrilled to introduce two new additions to the ThinkFun Inventor club: The Herbert Brothers!
This loveable duo behind the new card game WordARoundhas been creating clever, quirky – and simple – ways to have fun since they were little boys mixing it up in a family of five kids in Southeast Indiana.
In 2009, Dave and Joe Herbert’s passion for film-making took a life-changing turn when their shoestring production of a Super Bowl ad for a Doritos contest won them $1 million in prize money. But the acclaim didn’t stop there. The hilarious 30-second commercial “Free Doritos!” hit #1 on USA Today’s annual consumer ranking of Super Bowl ads, taking Madison Avenue by storm and leaving 51 “big-budget advertisers” in its wake.
Released in February 2013, WordARound is recent evidence of the Brothers’ knack for balancing the offbeat with universal appeal. The game features words in a circle and players race to call them out. It’s a quick study but surprisingly tough, fueling laughter, frenzied play, and accolades like “instantaneously fun,” “genius” layout and “streamlined elegance.” And just like their famous ad, the acclaim doesn’t stop there. Players build focus, reflexes and vocabulary – fitting perfectly with ThinkFun’s repertoire of addictively fun games that sharpen your mind!
Want more inventors? In this post, I shared several photos of our inventors who stopped by to say hello at Toy Fair 2013, and here are the smiling faces of more inventors in 2012!
While I spent many pre-adolescent hours claiming otherwise, I now feel incredibly lucky to have grown up in an almost entirely screen-free home. As I shared in this post on Mr. Rogers, I enjoyed a magical 30-minutes-a-day of PBS during my preschool years, but after that, our little black box stayed off through high school.
The lack of screens in my childhood is a bit ironic when you figure my father was one of the very first Computer Science PhDs – but fun computer time in the 80′s meant either a game of Pong or learning to program the Logo turtle to walk in a line – both thrilling, but certainly nowhere near the all-consuming appeal of today’s computer offerings for kids.
While there is certainly loads of fantastic digital content available to kids today and quality educational brain snacks served up on a screen, I strongly believe that time spent away from the glass is critical for healthy development. I’ve blogged before about the beauty of allowing – and encouraging kids to be BORED – and the amazing things that can emerge when left to their own devices to create, innovate, and stretch to find new ways to entertain themselves.
I’m so thrilled to celebrate Screen-Free Week this week. This annual national celebration encourages children, families, schools, and communities to turn off TV, video games, computers, and hand-held devices – and turn on life. Instead of relying on screens for entertainment, they play, read, daydream, explore nature, and enjoy spending time with family and friends.
Check out this Pinterest board for loads of fun ideas for games and crafts you and your family can create together – and learn while you’re laughing!
Source: Childhood Beckons
Whether playing outdoors, writing the next great novel, or planning a family game night, there are loads of creative ways to make screen-free time enriching and fun for the whole family! I would love to hear your creative ideas… Want to get involved? For a listing of Screen-Free Week activities in your community, click here!
I’d love to hear your ideas – how will your family celebrate?! (please post – then kiss your screen goodnight and go play!)
We are so excited to celebrate the grand opening of a new exhibit at the Strong National Museum of Play! The permanent Game Time exhibit, which opened April 13th, features 4,200 square feet of interactive PLAY experiences for the whole family!
Featured among the fantastic game experiences is ThinkFun’s Rush Hour – as you’ve never seen it before!
I love the way this cleverly-designed exhibit encourages the whole family to engage in game play together – particularly wonderful with a game like Rush Hour that is typically played solo.
An exhibit designer at The Strong shared some additional photos of this installation before it opened. Rush Hour seems very comfortable in the limelight, we think she has never looked so lovely!
More on the Game Time exhibit from the Strong’s website:
Your turn! Move like a piece on a giant game board through three centuries of American games, puzzles, and public amusements at Game Time! an original permanent exhibit on the second floor of the National Museum of Play® at The Strong. Feast your eyes on oversized toy props, see rare historic treasures from The Strong’s game and puzzle collections, and jump right in for active hands-on family fun.
The Strong is located in Rochester, NY – if you live in the area or are planning a trip soon, I encourage you to check out the fun. Personally, I think a road trip is in order!
Scientific American Mind Magazine is dedicated to innovations in brain science. My geeky heart skipped a beat when I opened the new May/June issue… and saw Rush Hour! This iconic ThinkFun logic puzzle was featured in a piece on brain training games that have a proven effect on improving the way children’s brains work.
This article on brain training games for kids describes several products and programs designed to enhance children’s thinking skills – on page 42, it features an image of Rush Hour and describes the work of our friend Sylvia Bunge at UC Berkeley, who used this game and others (including Chocolate Fix) to improve reasoning IQ of students in a low-income community in Oakland, CA
We are thrilled to continue our work with the Bunge Lab to truly understand ways in which our games shape and improve brains – it is thrilling to be on the forefront of such innovation! This issue is available on newsstands nationwide.
A preview of the article is available here, and the entire issue can be downloaded for a fee.
An Occupational Therapist in Puerto Rico recently shared this great feedback on using Cartoon It! with her patients!
I work as a certified occupational therapy assistant with kids 6, 7, and 12 years old. They loved Cartoon It! I recommend this for children with problems with visual motor integration and with form constancy, although it helps with visual discrimination and visual memory too.
To make it easier since it was their first time, they were allowed to note on the paper the number of the characteristic so they could copy it directly from the board. At first, my patients did some badly arranged drawings. We discussed the problems we were having with the cartoons and how we can make it better. Actually, a kid made a head so small, he had to make the face outside the head.
It’s part of the therapy process to make mistakes and fix them. As the kids continued making the cartoons, the quality escalated to the ones I’m showing you. They can see their progress in the same therapy, so they loved it so much. Hopefully, their writing will become better than before, with the help of your game.
In a 45 minute therapy session, they could do 4-7 cartoons, including giving the instructions and showing the drawings to their friends. Thanks for this awesome game -my patients loved it!
Have you used any games in therapy sessions? I’d love to hear your experiences – which games were used and the skills they targeted!
If you’ve been following my blog over the years, you may have noticed a trend around this time every year… a yellow, rubber, and VERY noisy trend!
It seems fitting that, on the warmest day we’ve had thus far, these Spring Chickens showed up at my doorstep…
Thank you Amazon Prime! Never know when a chicken emergency will strike and 2-day shipping will come in handy!
As background, these rubber chickens are given as awards for Best Team Spirit in the Arlington County 5th Grade Math Dice Tournament that happens in May! Now in it’s 10th year, we can’t wait to celebrate the brainy 5th graders at this year’s competition!
While the quest for Math Dice victory means serious competition, over the years the Rubber Chicken spirit award has taken on a life of its own – and teams have gone wild preparing songs and choreographing performances in hopes of taking home one of these little guys.
Want proof? Check out this amazing performance from last year’s competition – set to the tune of “Proud Mary,” these 5th graders were “Rollin’ On a Math Dice!”
As you can see in year’s past, the arrival of the rubber chickens marks the beginning of an exciting month of preparation. See these past posts celebrating the rubber chickens’ arrival in 2012, and in 2011!
Just had to share this lovely note that came to our customer support team today from the UK! It’s always wonderful to hear about games supporting inter-generational play – and I’ve shared before how important games are in my family, especially with my Scrabble-master grandma! I just love the image of grandfather and grandson exercising their brains side by side!
I have only very recently come across your brilliant game Rush Hour & felt I had to write & compliment you all on such an excellent game for all ages.
My 8 year old grandson & my 66 year old self enjoy it equally!! I especially appreciate the “mind stretching” logic of it, a bit like chess for one! In addition, the simplicity & portability of it make it especially suitable for car journeys etc.
FIRST Robotics is an amazing organization, founded in 1989 with a mission to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders.
Founder Dean Kamen articulates his vision for FIRST, “To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders.”
For years, ThinkFun’s CEO Bill Ritchie has participated as a guest judge – here’s a fun video he shared of a tournament in action! Recently, ThinkFun was thrilled to support the brilliant local teens of Herndon High School’s FIRST Robotics Team. This team recently wrapped up an amazing season, and their coach shared the following update – enjoy!
This past weekend Herndon Robotics participated in the DC Regional FIRST robotics competition! When we went to Raleigh 2 weeks before, we finished 49th out of 54. In DC, my team ended up 2nd out of 59! The finals are best 2 out of 3 matches and we crushed the other alliance in the quarter finals; had a super intense semi-finals where we lost the first match, and thought we lost the second one and were out (unreliable real-time scoring) when we had actually won by 5 points, and won the third match taking us to the finals… Unfortunately, while we won the first round of the finals, one of our alliance partners’ robot died in that round and they were unable to repair it and we lost the next 2 matches. But by keeping our 2nd place standing, we won a wild-card spot to the Championship in St. Louis.
DC is where our team submits essays for some pretty big awards that are based on what your team does besides build a robot. We won the Engineering Inspiration Award thanks to our stepping up and adopting a team from Israel by providing batteries and power tools for them to use since they could not bring their own, for our amazing outreach, including taking our interactive SquareBots to the Udvar-Hazy Center’s Halloween event, Air and Scare and to the Moon and Beyond Event, for our Robotics Poetry book, and for our team creating an animation contest for other teams after Autodesk cancelled the animation contest they had run for more than a decade. The judges we’ve lined up for this contest include judges from Pixar, Autodesk, Disney, and the creator of Pinky and the Brain!
I could go on for hours about this team, so I’ll end it with a few pictures from the event!
Pic 1: Our Human Player, Alex, feeding ED 14.0 while our driver, Megan (orange hat), looks on. The robots can only hold up to 4 discs at a time, and will receive a penalty if carrying more than 4 (this includes any that may bet stuck on any part of the robot).
Pic 2: Scoring Frisbees in the top 3 pt goal (other goals are worth 2 pts and 1 pt).
Pic 3: Our Chairman’s presentation group, Danny, Leah, and Alice. Their presentation was to 3 judges and is what made those judges send other judges to our pit to talk with the team some more and was key to us winning the Engineering Inspiration award. The students talked to 13 judges total (15 if you count the 2 who ask solely about the robot and it’s abilities).
Again your support for our team this season is truly recognized and appreciated by all our members. The accomplishments listed in this email are just as much yours as they are the team members who were recognized this weekend.
Regards, Matthew L.
Herndon High School FIRST Robotics Team 116