Gifts for the Gifted – Asymbol

Several years ago, I thought I would help out the parents of my gifted and talented students by writing about some games, toys, or books that I thought might make good purchases during the holiday season.  I called the series of posts, “Gifts for the Gifted,” and I have continued to do it annually (except for 2019) on every November and December.  These gifts are suggestions for any child – not just those who qualify for a GT program. Sometimes I receive a free product for review, but I am not paid for these posts, and I never recommend a product that I wouldn’t buy for my own child.  For past “Gifts for the Gifted” posts, including my 2021 list, you can visit this page. I also have a Pinterest Board of Games and Toys for Gifted Students. 

When I first ran across this game, I vacillated about whether or not to include it because you can only purchase it, as far as I know, through one of the company’s independent consultants or from their website. But I kept going back to the page I bookmarked and thinking that Asymbol really is exactly the kind of game I would want in my classroom or for my family to play.

Asymbol comes from a company called, “Simply Fun.” Founded in 2008, Simply Fun is dedicated to creating quality educational games. Asymbol has already won several awards, including the “Creative Play of the Year Award for 2021” from Creative Child.

Image from Simply Fun

As with last week’s Gift for the Gifted, Just One, the concept of Asymbol is fairly simple. There are 47 quality wood game pieces that are spread in the middle of 3-6 players. Each player gets a “Pass Token” that can be used once during the game if they don’t want to assemble one of the words on the card they draw. Cards are shuffled, and players take turns picking a card, choosing a word or phrase from the card, and using whatever wooden pieces they want to try to assemble something that will help the others guess the secret word or phrase. A scorepad is provided, and the correct guesser and the assembler get points. If no one guesses correctly, the assembler can choose to end their turn. (Their is no time limit.) Play is continued for the number of rounds determined before the beginning of the game.

This game champions spatial reasoning and creativity, both of which are hugely important. If you’ve ever had students try to use a digital program like Tinkercad to design 3D figures, you can see how playing this game can be helpful. It’s similar to Pictionary, but has the constraint of only allowing you to use the shapes provided.

Though the game is for ages 8 and up, I think any child who can read could easily play this. One thing that is nice about Simply Fun is that there are individual tabs on the product page to inform educators and parents of the educational skills targeted by the game, and even how the game may or may not work for autistic children. (For example, autistic children who are sensitive about keeping things in a particular order or sequence might not benefit from this game, but it would be good for students who like to construct or build things.)

47 wooden pieces are a lot to keep track of, but there is a nice cloth bag to keep the pieces in, and they are large enough that they won’t be easily lost. The cards and box are durable as well. You could try making your own cards with curriculum vocabulary to extend the game into other subjects. Or, for those of you with 3d printers, you could even add some pieces to the pile. Different age groups can definitely play together, so it does make a good family game.

Asymbol definitely ticks a lot of the boxes for a great classroom center or home entertainment!

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