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!
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.
Mattel’s clever “Save the Bunny” campaign this month features celebrities sharing the plight of the dwindling chocolate bunny population. These earnest spokespeople urge the public to protect this endangered species by filling their Easter baskets with TOYS instead!
Still stocking up your Easter baskets for the weekend? Consider adding some quality “brain candy” in the form of games and puzzles for some sugar-free fun. Do it for your loved ones – and, perhaps more importantly, for the chocolate bunnies. As one celeb reminds us, “their little chocolate lives are in your hands!”
Need some inspiration? Check out my Pinterest board with lot of creative ideas – both sugary and non – for a fun-filled holiday!
We recently received the following message from our Turkish distributor about a pilot program using ThinkFun games in classrooms – along with a fantastic newspaper article:
We are very happy and would like to share good news proudly with you. Since the beginning of our partnership as we have always told you our vision is to present high quality and educational games that can be played enthusiastically by both children and adults everywhere in Turkey.
We believe that these useful fun games develop children academically and socially. In this way we hope to change the way people see the games in Turkey. Therefore, we have always focused on the good hands on presentations and informed people of the skills that these games improve. We have been holding workshops on how to use these games to improve children’s thinking and problem solving skills. After many years of effort we achieved to attract the attention of a lot of children, parents and teachers.
Now one of the enthusiastic teachers has set off a pilot Project on using mind improving games in classrooms and this is figured in press:) As a team we have put a lot of time and energy while building the base of this Project. Since it covers the grades from 1 to 8 we have graded and grouped the games to have a harmonious flow throughout the grades. This Project appeared on the cover page of the newspaper called “Dünya International Herald Tribune” on March 19th. We are sure that this Project will be the engine of other similar Projects.
The ThinkFun games that are being used are: Block By Block, Chocolate Fix, Hoppers, Math Dice, Math Dice Jr, River Crossing, Rush Hour Deluxe, Rush Hour Junior, Shape By Shape, S’Match, Solitaire Chess, Swish, Tipover, and Zingo 1,2,3
Wow! This fantastic email shares ways our River Crossing game is helping young cadets in the UK improve team communication and build leadership skills – I can’t wait to see photos!
I am the School Staff Instructor (ex Regular Soldier) of the St. Bees School Combined Cadet Force. This is a School Cadet Youth movement sponsored by the UK Ministry of Defense in which Cadets from ages 13 to 18 can experience military activities from the Tri-Services; Navy, Royal Air Force and Army. Cadets are issued the same equipment and uniform as the UK Regular Forces and we have an armoury within the School which holds 30 Army assault weapons for training purposes and live firing on Army ranges,
I digress, this game was purchased by one of our American students and has been converted to a full scale version for Cadets to practice and improve team building and leadership skills by working as a team to solve several of the puzzles. The puzzles are given to the Cadets with a military scenario (possibly with a rescue mission – swapping the dog for a piece of eqpt or ‘civilian’ but in practical Terms it is no different than the game version.
Our Contingent runs a Military Skills competition each year for twenty teams of 6 cadets from around our Brigade. The Perilous Planks Command Task features each year as one of the ‘stands’ that are used to test the Cadet Teams marking them on Leadership, Team Work, Communication, and whether they can complete the several crossings in the time allocated.
The game has also proved as an effective ‘last minute’ backup quick option when we require to operatee a background activity to a main event. Our full scale version works on one metre spaces between the posts and in our case the planks are real. Our Senior Cadets use the game initially to decide which crossings to use for the Full scale version.
So there you are, the version is being used to its fullest extent and maybe not quite in the way you might have considered.