Thursday, May 8, 2008

Learning How to Think

I have mentioned Thatcher has truly enjoyed his Mind Benders books. He still asks to do them first every day! We have also started reading the Encyclopedia Brown series. Both of these have been great starts to our study of logic.

Getting any seven year old to slow down and pay attention to details can be tough but add in the extra challenge of ADHD and it can get comical at times. Still I have seen improvement in the past few weeks as he is slowly learning how to think - to be more active in the learning process instead of waiting for me to spoonfeed him. It's been such a fun journey and has given me an exciting glimpse into what it may be like to teach an older child. :)

Here are two more resources I wanted to share that I feel have truly helped our Thatcher in this same vein...and they are super-fun board games! Guess Where is similar to it's sister game, Guess Who, but it is more complicated for older ones. The goal is to find what family members are in what room. You can simplify the game by just using a few family members or throw in the whole bunch for a more challenging adventure. Some of the reviewers on Amazon rated the game down because there is not a way to keep track of your guesses but to me that is actually a strength because it forces us to focus and be more deliberate.

Clue Jr. was recently added to our game collection at Thatcher's last birthday party. He loves being a "detective like Encyclopedia Brown!" In this game all the regular clue members are present but this time you are trying to discover who ate the cake, at what time and with which drink. Unlike in Guess Where, Clue Jr. provides a sheet to keep track of the clues you gather which is a great skill in itself. I don't know how long Thatcher will remain interested in this game but for only ten dollars it's worth it for us!

If you have any other board games you like, please leave a comment. I'd love to make a few more purchases for our summer break!



Carisa said...

We have Guess Where and I liked reading your view on it, I was frustrated the first time because it seemed to hard for him (my Paxton just turned 6). After reading your thoughts I realize I actually NEED to play things like this more to develop this skill in him!!

I have always steered away from Clue for the *violent* reasons, but am SO glad you shared about Clue Jr I had no idea they took the violence out!!! :) Pax will love it!

God Bless,
ps-I love the new blog makeover!!

Rhonda said...

My kids are a bit older than yours, but we love Othello, Rush Hour, and Blokus. Othello is very simple to play, and could increase in complexity as the child ages.

My kids have loved Guess Who. I'll have to check the age range on Guess Where.

mom24 said...

Yes - I've heard great things about Blokus and I always loved Othello growing up. But my $0.02 for you is SUDOKO for kids. I found a book called 'My First Book of Sudoku - Numbers, Letters, Colors, & Shapes" by Scholastic (isbn-13: 879-0-545-00016-1).

It is a GREAT introduction to puzzle logic which requires that he hold a little in his head before deciding where to put the answer (which is a letter, shape, or color sticker in this book). The squares are only 4by4. Do you do Sudoku? It's a great brain sharpener - I love it!


ps. In fact I got this book for my 2nd child since shee has trouble with focus, chain of thought, and directionality of shapes and letters. The colors and patterns of this Sudoku should help her with all that as well as building beginning logic skills. SOrry so much here - just excited about this book! It's great for car travel too!

Trivium Academy said...

The blog looks great! What a rich look, good job Y!

You can add margin to your text on the sidebars, just add margin: 8px; to your sidebar code in the beginning.

I adore the pictures of the kids in sepia tone with the color scheme.

Jen, if you come across a good resource to actually teach problem solving skills, please let me know. I really need to work on this with Camille.

:) Jessica

Angela said...

Love the game ideas...I have a 7 and a 4 year old that I really need to spend more "fun" time with. I think playing games is a great idea!
Thanks for sharing!

Sharon said...

We love Blokus in our family, but it's just the adults at the moment. It can get pretty heated though when someone goes in what I had planned to be "my" square.

You can also get a number of (often wooden) puzzle games. One of the simplest is the ancient Tangram, but you can find lots more. These are great for developing spatial reasoning, to complement the fact-based reasoning.

~ Sharon at Equip Academy

PS I love the new look, the colours combine very well.

Ali said...

I've been visiting your site for awhile and thought that I would leave you some kind words on how I've enjoyed it. I plan on using a Classical Christian approach in educating my children and it's been helpful to "watch" someone who is just a teeny bit ahead of me. I have been pondering a name and mission statement ever since I read yours. It's beautiful, your desire for their education to be running water smoothing them out for kingdom purposes. I appreciate your candidness, reminding me that this is not easy, but the alternative is even harder. Actually, in our home there is no alternate plan! So, thank you for sharing. I pray that you do indeed finish strong.

Heidi said...

Hi Jennefer! Thanks for sharing those resources. I'll have to check out the games. I would highly recommend Rush Hour Jr. I think it really helps develop thinking skills and both my 6 yo and almost 4 yo can do the first two levels of cards. The advanced ones were a challenge for my husband and myself. Even the easier ones were fun to figure out. It is one of the most perfect games for our family to play together!

Your blog design looks gorgeous. Very classy. :)

Stacy said...

My ds loved Guess Who! We played it tons and we actually still play it now and then! Other big board game hits were Boggle Jr. and Hang Man, Connect Four, Chinese Checkers, and regular checkers. HTH!
Stacy :-)

Chandra said...

My seven year old son really enjoys chess. There are library books you can check out that give information on the moves, and when he plays on our computer, it shows the options each piece has if you click on the piece. As a game it has the immediate interest factor for a boy in that each move is part of a "battle" and it is great for logical thinking.

Another wonderful game for thinking is called SET and you can find it at Amazon. Even my four year old loves this. I love that it forces them to look at one set of items and see it from several different angles at once.

Amy Jo said...

One game that I have loved since childhood is Pente. It is simple and beautiful and very tactile with a roll-up leather gameboard and wonderful flat glass marbles. Also, if you like Mind Benders you may like some of the items at They offer similar critical thinking workbooks called Perplexors but they come in different formats (Venn Diagram, Lists, etc..) than the traditional logic puzzle so they give a new perspective. They offer several other fun books including one called Directive Detective that requires the student to carefully follow a set of directions in the correct sequence... something my boys could always use extra practice with! :) For a more tactile experience, Logic Links and Noodlers are both very fun.
My oldest will be a 5th grader this year, it is fun to watch their minds grow and change. I think teaching gets more exciting every year!

Jennifer said...

Hi! I was going to mention Rush Hour Jr. and Blokus, but it seems many others already have. Thanks for the tip on Guess Where? - never heard of that one.

I love to visit here - I added your blog to my blog list. Hope that's ok...


Jennifer said...

Thank you for sharing about Mind Benders. Our local library had the Warm up and my 8 year old son loves them. We will certainly be purchasing these! God bless.