One of the highlights of my job are the emails and letters I get from teachers, specialists, parents, even kids, sharing their game experiences! The following post is from a Child and Adolescent Therapist in Texas who emailed me her story of using Rush Hour as a therapy tool, neat!
Finding New Uses For Rush Hour In a Therapy Practice
Jennifer S. Berliner, Child and Adolescent Therapist
Austin Travis County MHMR Center, Austin, Texas
With Rush Hour, I set up a puzzle and tell them the object is to get the “red car out of the grid lock, you make up the rules…there is only one rule: cars must stay on the road/track they are currently set up on.”
Some observations my colleagues have noticed, anecdotally speaking, are that adolescents seem to be the group that tries to “cheat” by lifting the cars off the road and moving them! Also, overwhelmed parents tend to give up and throw in the towel and disengage before teen (Mmm, telling information for the teen that keeps running away from home, skipping school, etc.).
Interestingly, the game Rush Hour is also a GREAT metaphor for parents/teens:
- Does the teen like to break other rules or take short cuts?
- Siblings (or team members in a class), what was it like to “establish the rules of the game?” Where the rules fair? Did you all agree on the rules?
- What are the house (or classroom) rules?
- What (if anything) happens when you break a rule?
- (If a parent ‘gives up on the game’): Have you, the parent, ever walked away when your teen gets into a complicated jam?
- Have you ever been in a jam?
- Did you get out of the jam on your own?
- Have you been helped out of a jam?
- Have you helped others out of jam?
- What did you do to get out of a jam?
Social-emotional skills are vital to development, yet often overlooked because they are learned mostly by observation and modeling. Social-emotional skills include tasks such as sharing, taking turns, waiting your turn (very difficult for kids with impulse control & ADHD), and reading non-verbal communication cues. Also, playing Rush Hour promotes team work and problem-solving together rather than in competition.
The ThinkFun Education site is great and I look forward to the newsletters! You might consider putting together some activities around the social-emotional education that ThinkFun games offers players! Keep up the GREAT work!