Critical Thinking, Games, K-12, Problem Solving

Gifts for the Gifted – Building Road Breakthrough

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) 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. 

For this week’s gift recommendation, I went with a logic game that can appeal to a wide range of ages (3+) for different reasons. It initially appealed to me because I thought my nephew, who is about to turn 3, might like it. It has 2 things that he currently likes — a truck and marbles. Surprisingly, my teenage daughter also found it fun, so this toy definitely scores highly in the area of multi-aged/generational play.

This game scores low on durability because there are many pieces that could easily get lost, including a few marbles. No containers are provided other than the plastic they are packaged in, which isn’t reusable. However, I found a gallon storage bag keeps everything together nicely other than the 4 large pieces that fit together to make the base of the game.

A challenge book is included that scaffolds the puzzles from primary to master. The object is to get the windup truck from the starting tile to the final tile, where it deposits its marble. The colored pictures in the primary level show where to place the tiles, gradually adding more pieces, so young children can work on copying the 2d version to their 3d pieces, and then cheer when their truck reaches its destination. After that level, the puzzles show how to set up some of the tiles, and then the player must figure out where the other tiles need to be placed in order for the truck to have a successful journey. Like many logic games, this toy is technically for one player, but I would suggest that two or three could collaborate on solving the challenges. As I usually suggest, it’s good to go through the challenges in order as the easier puzzles build up skills that are useful in the more advanced ones. Of course, my daughter did not follow this advice; after doing a challenge in each section with some considerable trouble, she went immediately to the last one…

Though I found this particular product on Amazon, there seem to be a lot of other versions out there with slightly different names, so you can definitely shop around.

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