One of the hardest things about having an academically gift child is finding toys and games that are still age appropriate and keep Malone engaged. Malone loves to play games in his age range, but a lot of time those games are just fluff to him.
When this review came up for ThinkFun games, I was stoked. They were very generous and sent us their two hot new games for this year- Gravity Maze and Robot Turtles. While both of these games are ones that any child could play, they both provide a level beyond basic play- perfect for the kid who needs an additional level of play to be challenged with! All opinions are my own.
Background: Gravity Maze is logic puzzle and marble run all in one. It builds visual perception and reasoning skills. It is designed for solo play and recommended for ages 8 and up. There are a series of challenge cards with the puzzle on one side and the answer on the other. The player’s goal is to get the marble from point a to point b by adding the towers shown on the card to the grid.
What we loved: Because there are so many levels to get through this is a great game to challenge your academically gifted child with. Malone is only five but adores Gravity Maze. He is able to complete the beginner card puzzles without looking at the answers on the back. There are other times when he moves on to the higher level cards and uses the solution side like a map to build the mazes.
When he plays I hear things like:
I predict this isn’t going to work because it doesn’t seem like the holes are lined up. Or my hypothesis is that this ball is going to go through the blue cube and fall into the red one.
My husband loves working on the expert cards and I enjoy working on some of the more advanced puzzles with Malone.
I love Gravity Maze because it is hard! I like working playing the map way (using the solution side of the card like a map) and I like playing the regular way too. “
Gravity Maze is a game I can see us pulling out and playing with our grandchildren some day. It is designed for 8+ but if you’ve got a younger child who loves puzzles and mazes, they’ll adore this. The marble stays self contained in the grid and the translucent pieces snap in nicely. It says it is designed for solo play, but siblings or friends could easily work together to solve the challenges.
Background: Robot Turtles is the most backed board game in Kickstarter history. Children as young as 3 or 4 years old can play the most basic level and adults have fun with the most advanced ways to play. It was invented by Dan Shapiro who believes “learning to code is a gift we can give our children.”
Robot Turtles teaches kids to be great problem solvers, which is at the core of learning to code. Through play, they learn how to break one big problem into small steps, to think ahead, to work backwards, to look for patterns and to keep trying to fix their “bugs.” Playing is a lot like coding because:
- When a child lays down her cards, she is writing code.
- When a child rearranges his cards to fix what didn’t work, he is debugging.
- When a child discusses her strategy, she is commenting her code.
- When a child asks a parent to move the Turtle, he is running a program.
- When a child plays a Function Frog, she is executing a subroutine or a function.”
What we loved: Malone picked up the concept of Robot Turtles very quickly. We’ve played it several times since receiving it, but haven’t gotten through all of the different unlockable levels. Because the board game is open ended, every time we play it can be different. It isn’t a linear game where you must get from path a to path b the same way every time. Additionally after Malone makes his first set of code to capture the jewel, we can go back through and think of other codes he could have written to accomplish his goal.
Over Thanksgiving, we spent a lot of time playing Robot Turtles with Malone’s cousin Andrew who is almost five. Andrew loved Robot Turtles so much that he may or may not be getting it for Christmas too. Hint… he totally is.
I like playing Robot Turtles because it is kind of like a maze. I like thinking about which path would be the best one for my guy to move and then playing my cards to get him there. I also like that when me and Andrew play, we can each work on our own moves and there is no winner. If I play a game where there is a winner, I hate it when he beats me!”
Robot Turtles would be a great addition to your board game collection. It is especially wonderful to play if you’ve got an age range of kids or if you’ve got an academically gifted child you’re trying to keep engaged and challenged. If your child is on the younger side, you’ll want to open the box and familiarize yourself with how to play before pulling it out for the first time to play with your kid. It is very easy to learn, but it took me a few minutes to pick up on how to play and how to teach Malone to play.”
The fabulous folks from ThinkFun have are letting me give away either Gravity Maze or Robot Turtles (winner’s choice)! To enter, use the widget below.
My kids LOVE games and these look great. We love all the ThinkFun games.
Tara Newman recently posted..Gluten Free Muesli Breakfast Bites
These are great! My daughter isn’t quite old enough to play with them yet, but I’ll definitely include these on her list of things to buy as she gets older! (Also, I LOVE the name Malone!)
Natalie recently posted..How to Dress at Walt Disney World: Look Like a Princess While Staying Comfortable
Gravity maze looks like it would be perfect for my son. He’s always trying to test his skills.
Holly recently posted..Getting Into Model Building
I have heard about Robot Turtles but hadn’t seen it in action until now. The maze game sounds really interesting too. 🙂
Denine Anderson-Regan recently posted..Best Books For Kids, 6-8
We are always playing fun games like the ones you have above. Those look like great games to play with your kids! Thank you for sharing!
Shop with Me Mama (Kim) recently posted..The Real Frozen (Parody Video) #TheRealFrozen
It sounds like a wonderful way to engage their minds and even stretch them a little. I will have to pick this up for my nephew this Christmas. He would really enjoy it.
Crystal recently posted..Learn How to Draw Baymax from Big Hero 6
I don’t know yet if I have an academically gifted child on my hands but I’ll have to remember these if it turns out that he is. Games like this are so great at engaging and challenging the mind. It’s so important to encourage and nurture a child, especially if they’re advanced for their age and their academic level. I’m glad your little one enjoyed them.
The Gravity Maze is something that my nephew would definitely enjoy. He’s extremely good atsolving things like this, and I’ve seen him decipher online puzzles like this that I would have never thought he could do. Something that he can physically play with like the Gravity Maze would make a nice, challenging gift for him.
Yona Williams recently posted..I’m in Love with my Framed Fulcrum Gallery Print…and So is my Nephew
My 6yo son is among the academically gifted. He’d love the Gravity Maze game!
Virginia @thatbaldchick recently posted..Being Tough Is Being Capable of Great Endurance
My boys are not yet eight. However, I love that your son liked it because it was hard. My kids need to have him as a role model definitely. The game sounds like something I would like to try for myself though honestly.
Giveaways 4 Mom recently posted..Get Your Christmas Cards From Tiny Prints!!!
I love games that challenge the mind for my son, as well as for myself. It’s a not only a good way to learn, but to stay sharp. 🙂 This sounds like a great game for me to get my nephews, too!
Donna recently posted..My New On The Go Best Friend #tpPlus
My son would love the gravity maze! Sounds like a fun game.
I love challenging games that have multiple levels like these. That way, kids don’t get bored easily or tired of the game once they have beat it – in 2 days! It’s nice that the board game offers a new experience each time. So many games get repetitive after a while.
Kecia recently posted..Tips for WAHMs: Designing your Home Office with Flare
Those look pretty neat. I wish that they had been around (or that I knew about them) when my kids were young. They are both bright and I feel kinda bad about not buying them age appropriate gifts. But they get so bored with the games that are designed for their “age.”
LyndaS recently posted..My Kitchen Favorites and Wish List
Having a child in the gifted program I can so relate. It’s so difficult to find something that challenges him. I’m going to go check out these games right now. They look fab.
these games look really interesting. We don’t have kids of our own.. but I imagine when I do I will want them to have games that aren’t just fun and something you can zone out to but games that will challenge them and make them smarter. 🙂 i’m totally all for these over video games!
estherjulee recently posted..Local Adventurer Link Up #14 – More Fun Things to Do in Vegas!
I think the robot turtle sounds quick challenging even for me as an adult, malone is very intelligent boy at 5 saying big words like ‘hypothesis’ lol wow you have an adorably intelligent boy. The gravity maze sounds like a lot of fun and I would certainly want to play this with my family
Myrabev recently posted..Kick the habit ~ The Habit Calculator
My son used to get bored so easily when he was younger. These games would have been great to have. I love it when learning is fun like this.
It never ceases to amaze me the amount of creativity there is in games and activities for kids now days. I agree some children need more stimulation than others. I am all for any activity that challenges their minds!
Avry Byington recently posted..Holiday Home Décor Week “Christmas Plate, Frames and Shadowboxes”
They say that in the future our children will learn how to write code just like we teach them to write stories now. I have encourage my son to understand programming because I think it is that important. I love the Robot Turtle game for that reason. So very cool!
Margarita Ibbott (@DownshiftingPRO) recently posted..Giving Tuesday Teaching your Kids To Volunteer & Donate with the We365 App #WeDay
Wow these games are awesome! I wish they were around when my children were younger!
melisasource recently posted..Watch: New Little Boy Movie Trailer (VIDEO)
That seems like a really great game. Something that is challenging but still in the right age group.
Debi recently posted..Creative Gift Ideas For Dog Lovers and Their Pooch
Games are so important for child development, especially games like these that incorporate reasoning skills, problem solving and visual perception. I would also add that they help build concentration skills, especially the GravityMaze game which the child is required to solve by himself, alone. In a world like today, where kids are have a harder time concentrating, concentration skills are something that musn’t be taken for granted and worked on from a young age. So I am definitely impressed by GravityMaze and will purchase it for my nephew this Christmas. I really loved how you wrote your review and I could learn a lot about how the game is played, what feedback it received, and the overall experience. Thanks for sharing!
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I would choose Robot Turtles for my son
I would choose gravity maze and give it to my eight year old grandson!
My kids love games and either one be a great addition for them!
these look great for my amazing nephews. They’re 2 now, but will soon be needing games like these. Thanks for the review.
I would choose Gravity Maze if I won and keep as a Christmas gift for my daughter. It looks interesting and challenging . I think my daughter would enjoy it.
My kids got both of these kids, but weren’t really fans of Robot Turtle, however, they really loved the Gravity Maze more. I’m more of a puzzle game person myself, so Gravity Maze was easier and entertained me longer than Robot Turtle. However, Think Fun has a ton of fun games, big fan of this company.
Natalie recently posted..Unwrapping of Geek Fuel
We’ve tested out a few Think Fun games and they are awesome! My kids love them and so do i!!
Rabia @TheLiebers recently posted..Post Number 1000!
We’re digging our ThinkFun games still! They’ve been a complete hit here!