Older Posts…

Greeting and Salutations

Andrea and I back in the day wishing BinaryArts (ThinkFun’s original name) good luck at its launch.

Hello World! This is my debut post on the SmartPlay.com blog, so I figured I’d take a moment to introduce myself, share a little bit about what inspires me, and set some intentions about what you can expect [...]

Why Our Education System Is So Stuck

Thinking Skills: Sigmund Freud Meets Apple Pie

For years I have been ranting about the American education system, how murky and ill prepared it is to consider new ideas. I gave a TEDx talk about this in 2012: one of my slides was a cartoon I had made to describe how profoundly [...]

William and the Windmill

I have shared several posts on the incredible William Kamkwamba, also known as the Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, and I’m thrilled to share the next chapter in his amazing story.

A young innovator from Malawi who taught himself to generate electricity by building a windmill from found materials and scrap parts, William embodies what it [...]

Manipulatives Make Math Meaningful! (say that 3 times fast!)

Several months ago at the TED Conference I received a $100 certificate to Donor’s Choose to help fund a project for a school community in need.

With so many worthy projects to consider, I ultimately settled on one called Problem Solving Produces Productive Citizens.  This 3rd grade teacher in a high poverty community in rural Kansas [...]

Building Game Play into the School Day

The following guest post is by Sherry Olfert, a middle school math and science teacher in Abbotsford, British Columbia.  The other day, I received an email from Sherry, writing to share her excitement in discovering ThinkFun’s free printable resources online!  Sherry was excited to use these resources with her students , and when I asked [...]

Puzzle Piazza Summer Camp... a game lover's dream!

Last summer I spent a fabulous day at camp – Puzzle Piazza camp that is!  The MathTree Puzzle Piazza program is a super fun DC-area summer camp that uses ThinkFun puzzles and games like Rush Hour to teach problem solving strategies through play… a game lovers dream!  In the following guest post, MathTree [...]

TED 2011 - Isabel Behncke: Evolution's gift of play

“Play is the glue that binds us together… Play is our adaptive wild card in order to adapt successfully to a changing world…. will we make the most of our playfulness?  Play is not frivolous, play is essential.”

Primatologist and TED Fellow Isabel Behncke Izquierdo shows how a wild bonobo ape society in [...]

The Case for Play

Came across a fantastic article in the Chronicle of Higher Education that I just had to share.  This piece details the challenges that educators, researchers, and parents face today as free play is squeezed out of kids’ academic lives, marginalized by test-driven curricula, and pushed aside in favor of over-scheduled “downtime” by well-meaning adults seeking [...]

Playing Games with Problem Solving!

The following post is by Dawn Morris, whose blog Moms Inspire Learning focuses on resources and strategies to inspire lifelong learning, reading, and leading.  A former CPA, Dawn changed careers and earned an M.A. in Childhood Education and now shares her passion for teaching kids to embrace a lifelong love of learning!

The following is an [...]

Jump Start Creative Thinking with Brainteasers!

In many classrooms, the day begins with “Morning Work,” an assigned activity to kick start the day.  I don’t know about you, but “Morning Work” doesn’t sound like a particularly exciting way to dive into the day.  Think about tweaking your terminology and see the response you get when “work” time is transformed into a [...]