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.