Learning Through Play with Rush Hour Jr.

I am thrilled to share the following guest post by Joyce, the mom and writer behind the blog Childhood Beckons. Joyce and her son recently explored Rush Hour Jr., and here she shares fantastic insight on the treasure trove of learning opportunities that emerged through play!

The instant I laid eyes on Rush Hour Jr. I knew it would be a huge hit with my five year old son. And I was right! ThinkFun generously sent us a game to play and explore and it was an immediate favorite. My son loved it because it was fun. He adored the little cars. He took great pride in figuring out the puzzles. I loved it for all of those reasons and more.

I’m a big fan of learning through play, and Rush Hour Jr. delivers. It was interesting to watch him play, and it was obvious to me while doing so, that he was learning. The benefits of this type of play are astounding. He was building thinking skills as he practiced with the principles of cause and effect, problem solving, and planning ahead. He was also flexing his concentration skills as he sat, determined to solve the puzzle and win the game.

The learning started with set up. My son enjoyed setting up the game and took great care to place each car correctly. The act of matching the cars onto the grid, as shown in the cards, was a great lesson in spatial structuring. It’s a perfect combination of visual perceptions and mathematical skills.

The learning and fun continued with each puzzle. The first few cards were relatively easy. They introduced him to the concept of the game and boosted his confidence a little. The next few were more challenging. I could see him slowing down to concentrate on each puzzle. He could no longer move a car out of the way once and be done with that car. He needed to plan ahead to solve the puzzle. He would ask himself, “What is in my way?” He would then go down the line and figure out what was in the way of that car, and so on, until he got to the root of the problem. He was learning to look beyond the obvious. He was developing strategies.

This video shows my son playing a mid-level card. It illustrates the need to plan ahead and move cars several times. Some of the cards were far more challenging for him, and it was then that he was learning perseverance.

We were both highly impressed with Rush Hour Jr. and look forward to playing more games from ThinkFun. ThinkFun games are a testament to learning through play and I’m thrilled to have been turned onto these educational goldmines.

26 thoughts on “Learning Through Play with Rush Hour Jr.

  1. PlayDrMom

    Great post! It’s wonderful to read Joyce from Childhood Beckons here! Rush Hour, Jr is a hit at not only my own house, but at my play therapy office. I love to use it to see how well children can problem solve and learn from each task/card as the difficulty level increases. Excellent game!

  2. amy @teachmama

    Yay!! We absolutely LOVE Rush Hour, too, Joyce, and in fact it’s my go-to game for pre-K, K, and grade 1 birthdays!! We just sent my son to a buddy’s party on Sunday with that very game. It’s awesome. And so is your review–thorough and totally fab to see your sweet little one actually playing on the video!!

    Thanks for sharing, Joyce!!

  3. Didi

    Wow! This looks like a great play-based learning game. Reading about the fun R had while he was building his critical thinking skills makes me want to give this game a try with my kiddo. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  4. MiaB

    This looks like so much fun!! My daughter would love this..for some reason she loves cars and she loves puzzles :) Thanks for sharing!!

  5. Susan Case

    I had one of these in my kindergarten class and the kids loved it. My grandchildren also enjoyed it. This would be something good to take in the car on a trip or to doctor’s office as long as it was in a bag to contain the pieces.

  6. Ness

    This looks great! I love that it aids in concentration and made your son slow down to really think ahead and think about what he needed to do next – to formulate a plan. My son would really love this game, especially with its transport theme. He loves puzzles and problem solving and this would be right up his alley (he’s almost 4). From a parent’s perspective, I love the confidence building aspect of it. This game looks like it has just the right level of “challenge factor” for his age – just enough so it’s not so difficult that he won’t want to play it, but enough of a challenge that he feels good about himself after having solved it and he’ll want to play (learn!) more. Hmmm, his birthday is coming up soon. Think I may have an idea what to get him… Thanks for such an informative review!

  7. Kristen @ Busy Kids = Happy Mom

    I love games from Think Fun! This is going on my 7 year old’s birthday list. He has tried it out several times, but we’ve waited to purchase it. After seeing this boy do it, I think my son is ready! Thanks for the review!

  8. Alissa @ Creative WIth Kids

    Thanks so much for your review, Joyce. I’ve noticed this game before and it’s appealed to me because of the cars, but I wondered if it would actually be fun- I appreciate your description and I think I’ll put it on my wishlist because it sounds like a great quiet time game for my boys.

  9. Jill @ A Mom With A Lesson Plan

    I picked up Think Fun Railroad Rush Hour at a thrift store. I knew it would be a hit, but I had no idea just how big of a hit. Big M (6 years old), his Dad (30 years old) and his grandpa (60 years old) battled over who’s turn it was for days. My husband actually spent 3 hours in full concentration on one of the advanced cards.

    I love a game that gets people thinking, and I especially love a game so well designed that it can captivate a 6 year old and a 60 year alike. BRAVO! (and great post!)

  10. Charlotte Post author

    Thrilled to hear it Jill – it’s wonderful to see how a game can engage (and truly challenge!) players of all ages, and I love that you’ve got 3 generations of Rush Hour fans all hooked on the game play – a wonderful example of inter-generational play at its best!

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