With the holidays coming up, many parents ask me for educational gifts that I would recommend for their children. “Cart Before the Horse” is one that I would suggest. It is a logic puzzle game that can be played independently or in a small group collaboration (or in a center). It’s for children 8 and up, and comes from www.mindware.com, one of my favorite sources for thinking games and activities. Some other games that I recommend from the site are: Rush Hour, Solitaire Chess, Q-Bitz, Knot So Fast, and Gobblet. These are all games that require logic, strategy, and deductive reasoning – making them great for the classroom or as gifts.
This site offers resources for teachers and parents, as well as games, activities, and contests for kids who like challenges. I like the “Living Poetically” challenge, as well as the “Excellence in Reading Award”. In the games section, there is a neat “Family Crossword” that is updated twice a week. It includes clues for kids and for adults, so families can participate together. The “Word Roundup” is a fun way to learn new trivia and vocabulary, and there are several math games as well. According to Mensa’s website, Mensa for Kids just won the 2011 APEX Grand Award in the category of Electronic & Video Publications (Nonprofit/Small Office subcategory). With its treasure trove of lesson plans and entertaining activities, I can certainly see why!
This website is fun to visit for the graphics alone! It is sponsored by Raytheon, and designed specifically to engage middle school students in math and science. It offers games, scholarship information, and much more. Students can register to earn credits with their games, or they can play as guests. Even clicking on different links on this site produces interesting visuals that are sure to catch the attention of kids and grownups alike.