Our sneaky bit of Smart Summer Challenge learning today was centered around the always tricky, always mind-boggling Rush Hour.
Okay, so we only went to the pool and back and back again, so we really didn’t battle a real rush hour–instead ours was a super-smart game by ThinkFun called Rush Hour.
A very good friend of mine mentioned Rush Hour Jr to me years ago, but only this year did I pick one up from our local toy store, and it honestly tops our list of favorite games. (It will certainly make my holiday gift guide this year!)
It was a perfect fit for our ‘Me on the Map’ week of our Smart Summer Challenge, since it requires players to figure out their way from point A to point B.
Here’s a look into how we gamed it up today, in the name of some sneaky summer learning:
- Rush Hour: We love this game. Well, we only really know and love Rush Hour Jr, to be honest. But I’m betting if we played the ‘big kid’s version’ we’d love that too.
The focus of Rush Hour Jr. is simple: get the ice-cream truck out of traffic so the poor guy can get ice-cream to the kids. The problem is, there are tons of cars and trucks in his way. So players are required to use their noodles to figure out ways of moving the other vehicles out of his way so that he can make it through traffic. Why wouldn’t we want to help him??! We know how kids need ice-cream!
We played it after lunch, before we hit the pool, and it was just enough time to get my kids’ brains churning as they worked to solve the puzzle and cheered each other on.
Here’s Owen ‘wow-ing’ me with his speeding through level 1:
And here he is really working his way through level 35, with Cora trying to ‘help’:
At this point, Maddy and Owen have zoomed through the levels and are up to the 30’s (there are 40 levels, from beginner to expert), but Cora’s just now starting to feel comfortable playing by the rules and not picking up the cars and moving them to where she wants to go. (Just like checkers, there are rules to how vehicles are able to move.)
Overall, here’s what we love about ThinkFun’s Rush Hour:
- that it requires strategy and logic — and kids need a chance to stretch their brains a little every day;
- that it’s really engaging for kids;
- the size of the game — smallish board, with pieces just the right size for kids ages 6 and up;
- the colors — bright, easy to find when they fall on the floor;
- that it’s not electronic (c’mon, I am all for tech-savvy kids, but I really love board games, too!);
- that it all comes with one happy, cool bright blue bag that all of the pieces fit in (moms love games that clean up easily);
- that there’s even a FREE Rush Hour app for both iphones and droids (and yes, we play it and yes my kids also LOVE it);
- that ThinkFun offers a ton of resources on its site for both parents and teachers;
- that the ThinkFun site offers games kids can play online–right there.
- that we had all of the ThinkFun games because I’m betting they’re all awesome.
SHHHHhhhhh–I never share my faves over here without being able to give some away to my readers, so next week, as part of the Smart Summer Challenge, ThinkFun is sponsoring the giveaway–a HUGE, huge, huge prize pack of a bunch of their smart games to one lucky participant. Stay tuned!
Please join Candace of Naturally Educational, MaryLea of Pink and Green Mama, and me for the Smart Summer Challenge, a six-week campaign where we all pledging to sneak in some sort of fun learning into our children’s summer days.
You can follow our calendar if you’d like, but you don’t have to. You can get really crazy, but you don’t have to do that either.
It can be simple learning–even 5 or 10 minutes a day. Anything and everything counts, and all we ask is that you link up here on Fridays and share what you’ve done (meaning: share one way you participated). Each Friday for the next six weeks, we’ll choose one participant to receive an awesome (and I mean totally worth your time awesome) prize.
Our goal is to show all parents that if we can do it, anyone can do it. And if we want our kids meet with success in school and to enjoy learning about the world around them, it’s our job to create a lifestyle of learning for our families. Join us!
fyi: This is a completely unsponsored post, written about a product my family truly loves that we purchased ourselves. ThinkFun has enthusiastically jumped on board to support our Smart Summer Challenge by providing prizing for next week, but I have received no compensation from the company to write this post. Many thanks to ThinkFun for creating great products I feel I can confidently recommend to others.