Here’s a photo of a real-life Rush Hour traffic jam sent to me by Laura Efinger, a pediatric occupational therapist (and big Rush Hour fan!) in Cairo, Egypt. Laura writes, “I have attached a picture of some Cairo traffic, which may explain why we love Rush Hour in Egypt! Some is parking and some traffic, but it probably is the worst in the world, and no one follows the lines in the road and rules!”
A Real Life Traffic Jam in Cairo, Egypt
All that’s missing is the Red Car!
A much more enjoyable "Traffic Jam" challenge!
For several years, Laura has used many ThinkFun games, including Rush Hour (which she reports is the hands-down favorite!) in her occupational therapy sessions with children in Cairo, Egypt. Laura writes, “I love them [ThinkFun games] as they develop the children’s visual motor/perceptual skills, fine motor, memory and planning skills.”
At a 2008 Occupational Therapy Conference, Laura presented a therapy-based workshop called “Recipes for Fun” in which participants were shown ways to use games like Rush Hour as tools to help children develop academic and sensory motor skills. Looks like fun was had by all!
Laura is preparing for this year’s Conference which will take place at the end of the month. Here she plans to host a workshop focusing on the benefits of using card games to help children with skills such as attention, sequencing, memory, fine motor, etc. Stay tuned for an update!
Toy Fair was particularly fun as I had a chance to step out of my education/product development bubble and see the real impact of the games I help create through the eyes of the people who buy and sell them!
As the bulk of my communication is with educators, the only regular interactions I have with buyers come during my own “reconnaissance missions.” As my very patient husband will attest, regardless of where we are or what we’re late for, it’s impossible for me to walk by a toy store without stopping to ask how ThinkFun is selling, jot down feedback, requests, critiques, etc., share new developments– and more often than not end up playing a few challenges!
For me, Toy Fair was a rare opportunity to connect with hundreds of our retailers from all over the world (without a tired, hungry husband in tow)! I’d expected to meet almost exclusively with buyers purely interested in stocking their shops with ThinkFun product, and I was pleasantly surprised to be completely wrong! I met so many people who know our products inside and out and have identified all sorts of new uses and populations to target with them!
A sampling of the various buyers and fans who visited our booth these last 4 days…
A non-profit that donates games to sick children at NY hospitals. I learned that the 40 challenges in games like Rush Hour and Hoppers make them well suited for these kids who often tire quickly or are interrupted frequently. This progression allows kids to complete as few or as many challenges as they can handle at a time and feel a sense of accomplishment, tackling the next when they’re ready.
A reporter who downloaded our new Rush Hour Android app in the booth was so engrossed he took a seat and played challenges on his phone until forced to leave for his next appointment!
A Temple bookstore that can’t keep bilingual Hebrew Zingo on the shelf!
A speech and language pathologist who reviews games for a blog! She lit up on the improvements to our What’s GNU? game and gave me new insight on new ways to use this in a theraputic setting!
A consultant who uses our games as adult team building exercises
A hobby shop in Pennsylvania that hosts the Pinewood Derby event each year for local boy scout troops was thrilled to see Knot So Fast! He felt this competitive knot tying game would be a perfect challenge for these scouts!
The Director of a summer camp program looking for new enrichment activities and interested in using ThinkFun games as part of a game invention unit.
The developer of a new web site interested in linking ThinkFun games to specific types of learners and their strengths based on Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences theory.
A buyer looking for products suited for children with autism. She really lit up on our new Zingo To Go, explaining that the push-to-flip action on the playing boards is a manageable, non-overwhelming task that provides appropriate tactile and visual stimulation.
A retailer searching for games for a nursing home community that would to keep older adults’ minds sharp with fun, appropriate challenges. He felt the leveled challenges and chunky pieces in many of our spatial games like Brick by Brick made these a good fit.
Returning from Toy Fair I’m even more energized to continue doing everything I can to make our games the kinds of products that make our customers and buyers stretch their own thinking and see the potential that these games have for use in a huge range of settings!
Before closing down the booth, a few of my ThinkFun buddies and I couldn’t resist seeing how we measure up on the ThinkFun Games to Grow with display… I came up a bit short
I just made it past the line!
ThinkFun Designer Josh is all grown up!
Here's Edoardo from Marketing! Was he stooping to make me feel better?!
Just wrapped up day 3 of Toy Fair here in New York and wanted to share some quick high points. While ThinkFun has been exhibiting at this show for the past 24 years(!), this was my very first experience, and I’ve been completely star-struck to put it mildly… Wow!
Welcome to Toy Fair!
A few highlights:
We unveiled our 2010 products! The incredible reception these games have gotten is amazingly rewarding… buyers are as excited about them as we are! Lots more to share about these in the near future, so stay tuned!
ThinkFun buyers, distributors, and fans from all over the world have come to visit us in the booth… it’s so neat to see how well known and recognized our games are worldwide!
A fantastic group of ThinkFun supporters from Colvin Run Elementary, including Barbara Ross (the brilliant teacher who created Strategy Labs!) came up from VA for the day to see the booth and explore the exhibit halls!
Donny Osmond and his son stopped by the booth to play a game of Rush Hour!
A puzzle store owner whose sister solved the 36 Cube (aka the “World’s Most Challenging Puzzle”) 2 weeks after it came out and has been holding it over her head ever since! She came to ask for a hint to the solution (nice try—but my lips are sealed!)
I solved an Expert level Solitaire Chess challenge! This giant version of our newest single player strategy game has been a huge hit in the booth (and a great way to keep ThinkFun staff entertained when we have down-time!)
I've shrunk! Our enormous Solitaire Chess display was a hit at Toy Fair!
Loads more highlights to share, but wanted to give you a taste of the fun I’ve had. Looking forward to a great final day!
A coworker recently passed me a link to the “100 Games Cupcake Game” (Cupcakes + Games = my two favorite words!) and, in the sugary fun spirit of Valentine’s Day, I had to share!
Each of the 100 Cupcakes is inspired by a particular game…
A few of my favorites…
There were some surprises in here for me… How many can you guess?!
Looking for ways to extend a baking project into a fun learning opportunity?
Shop for Ingredients! Check out this post from Pioneer Woman for a super creative way to incorporate math learning into your cooking project! Setting up an at-home grocery store offers a HUGE range of learning opportunities – reading recipes, making ingredient lists, pricing household ingredients, adding up the cost of items, etc.
Build Math into Baking! Measuring ingredients and exploring equivalents (how many tablespoons in a cup? Ounces in a pound?) is a natural way to bring learning into the kitchen! Here are some tips to build math into your fun baking activity!