The teachers-turned-inventors behind ThinkFun’s newest game!

When describing my work at ThinkFun, I’m often asked where the ideas for our great games originate.

ThinkFun is incredibly fortunate to have expert puzzler Tanya Thompson as the Head of Inventor Relations!  Tanya travels the world meeting with inventors, gathering prototypes, and determining which games are the best fits for the ThinkFun family.

Through our connections with these wonderful inventors, ThinkFun is able to consistently serve up a rich variety of new game challenges each year, and our latest release is one with a great story I’m excited to share! ThinkFun’s Swish is a multi-player card game that challenges players to mentally flip and rotate transparent card images to line up like colored balls and hoops – a serious spatial workout! Here’s a quick video to show you how its played:


As a former teacher, I’m particularly thrilled we produced this game because the inventors, Zvi Shalem and Gali Shimoni, are teachers themselves!  Both from Israel, Gali has taught math for 20 years, while Zvi has taught math and physics for the past 10!  Introduced to ThinkFun via a mutual friend and math specialist, these math educators develop materials and thinking games and travel the world speaking at math education conferences.

To further support the educational backing behind this great brain challenge, Swish was recently shared with Professor Nurit Yirmiya, Ph.D. in Developmental and Clinical Psychology at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem!  Here’s what she had to say:

This game is appropriate for the young and old.  But what will it develop?  What will you achieve?

Sequential thinking – thinking what comes before and what comes after, because you need to plan ahead and hold a sequence of moves in your mind.  Sequential thinking is an important component of intelligence.

Working memory – an important component of learning and memory – actively manipulate and monitor information – once you have the plan – you have to remember it.

Perceptual perspective taking – because you develop expertise in manipulating the cards in your mind visualizing how they could fit if turned over and/or rotated.

Selective attention to spatial relationships and matching of shapes and colors – strengthening the ability to resist the temptation of acting before thinking

Creativity – there are just so many different ways to create the triads – let your imagination free to examine the various possibilities.

Have you played Swish or other great card games with your kids or students?  Which are your favorites – and what brain benefits do you observe during play?!

One thought on “The teachers-turned-inventors behind ThinkFun’s newest game!

  1. Pingback: Big Thinkers Need Big Games… Giant Swish is a Hit at TEDActive! « SmartPlay

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