ThinkFun Inc., a leading provider of mind challenging games, has two new games on shelf expressly designed for the developmental needs of children ages five and older. Clever Castle and Hoppers Jr. are as big on learning as they are on fun, reflecting ThinkFun’s extensive consulting with teachers and moms alike.
Each game teaches important critical thinking and problem-solving skills, while immediately and deeply engaging kids with signature ThinkFun junior games’ simplicity. Clever Castle, based on the award-winning Chocolate Fix, requires kids to use clues to help the king and queen’s party guests find their rooms. Hoppers Jr., patterned after the best-selling Hoppers, asks kids to arrange frogs per instructions on challenge cards, and then hop the frogs around the pond until only the lone red frog remains.
ThinkFun tapped the practical smarts of a dozen teachers for theme and design advice, and sought feedback from an online panel of moms on playability. “We went deeper than ever in targeting specific developmental areas, right from the start, in designing these two great new games,” says Liz Deakin, ThinkFun’s Director of Marketing and Sales. “The teacher and mom input was invaluable to ensure we were building in sensible progressive problem solving challenges, but in ways kids could especially understand.”
ThinkFun’s Charlotte Fixler, a former elementary school teacher, says testing of Hoppers Jr. revealed play aspects that needed simplification. “We rethought things and decided to build in four distinct challenge levels, for example,” says Fixler. “We chose to more gradually introduce certain game skills as players progressed. This really helps build self-esteem.”
Clever Castle and Hoppers Jr. are incredibly fun right out of the box, and give kids impetus to go deeper by celebrating success throughout game play. Each features a large, colorful game board, large game pieces easier for younger players to manipulate, and challenges that are presented in simple, flip-over ledger formats. Clever Castle includes a “finishing mat” which shows children what to do when they’ve completed one challenge and are ready to begin another.
“Students really love the games: they offer success for some who find written problems more difficult. Children visualize and solve them, and we see their confidence build. Some do feel more of a challenge at first, but through it, they learn to persevere,” said Karen Fougere, Head of Mathematics, Ambrae Academy in Halifax, Novia Scotia.
Each game comes with a convenient storage bag that lists the game contents on the front, enabling easy cleanup and storage. The storage bag also loops onto the game board to create a compact suitcase for travel.
Clever Castle and Hoppers Jr. are available in stores now for the approximate retail price of $14.99 each. They can also be purchased at www.ThinkFun.com.
About ThinkFun, Inc.
For 32 years, ThinkFun Inc. has been dedicated to creating games that spark curiosity, cultivate confidence, and nurture life-long learners. Our games encourage interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM), while generating excitement for a world of learning through play. Innovation, creativity, value, and fun are the four elements that comprise the development of every game. Ignite the mind, and change the world for each player.