Here we are again; it’s Friday, and time for another holiday post on “Gifts for the Gifted”. You can see last week’s post here, and it will also give you links to my other recent Friday posts. You might also enjoy my Pinterest board of “Games and Toys for Gifted Students”.
I have not had personal experience with Craniatics – yet. I was skipping along on the web, looking for new ideas, and ran across the Parents’ Choice Toy Awards. As I hunted through the lists, I found an intriguing description of Craniatics, and decided to do a little more research. I then found this blog post that gives a very good in-depth review of the game.
Craniatics is packaged in a magnetic box, which makes it a good choice for long car or plane rides. As Gabriel Fernandes described, “The included brainteasers are a mix of solitaire logic puzzles and multiplayer games with difficulties ranging from fairly easy to demanding.”
The recommended minimum age for Craniatics is 8. My daughter is 10, and I have a feeling this might show up under the tree this year…
During the holiday season (yes, I know it’s a bit early, but we all know that it’s going to come fast!), I have pledged to use my Friday posts to give suggestions for gifts for your favorite brainy child (or teacher of brainy children). I’ve decided to call this “Gifts for the Gifted”. Last week, I posted about the new, augmented-reality-enhanced Guinness Book of World Records. Today, I offer you the game, “Q-bitz Extreme.”
“Q-bitz” happens to be one of the favorite games in my classroom. From Kindergarten to 5th grade, my gifted students all enjoy trying to create the patterns on the cards using the 16 wooden cubes. Some of them create their own patterns. Yesterday, one pair of students delighted in showing me that, not only did they create a pattern on top of the cubes, but that a reverse pattern showed when they flipped them over. Although “Q-bitz” is designed to be a game in which 2-4 players compete, most of my kids prefer to do their own thing – which is fine, because there are four sets of cubes, each set a different color.
I recently found out that there is now a “Q-bitz Extreme“, which has new, curvy patterns to try to replicate. If you visit the website for “Q-bitz Extreme“, you will see that Mindware offers some suggestions for variations on the game, which you could also use with the original “Q-bitz“. In addition, they sell an expansion pack.
For some more gift ideas, you might also want to check out my Pinterest board at http://pinterest.com/terrieichholz/games-for-gifted-students/.
I first learned about the web game, “Refraction“, from Julie Greller’s post on “A Media Specialist’s Guide to the Internet”. Since my 5th grade daughter happens to be knee-deep in fractions right now, I was intrigued by Julie’s description of the game, which involves guiding lasers to power spaceships. I followed her link to the game to check it out for myself.
I really didn’t need another internet addiction, but “Refraction” has all of the elements that make it worthy of adding to your Favorites list. First of all, your mission is to help the poor, lonely spaceships of animals drifting along with no fuel. So, that should appeal to everyone’s heroic inclinations. Secondly, the game slowly introduces challenges that keep it from becoming boring, but also make you do some mental gymnastics. More and more spaceships need fuel, and some need a quarter of your laser beam or a third or a half. Math and logic are definitely necessary skills in order to succeed in this game!
It’s time again for our weekly “fun post”! Art Lab is part of the Tate Kids Website (associated with the United Kingdom’s Tate Museum), which has a lot of other art-related games and activities that you might want to investigate. In Art Lab, you get to be an art restorer. You can choose from several pieces of art, and then go through the stages of returning a work of art to its former beauty. The stages begin with brushing the dust off and end with adding paint where the canvas was once cracked. When you have finished working on your chosen artwork, you can then see a comparison of the “before” and “after” phases, and even choose to save it to your own art gallery if you have registered for this feature. Visit Art Lab so you can virtually experience the joy of saving a masterpiece!
I thought I would post about something light, but fun, today. Recently, in Parade Magazine, there has been a new feature by Ken Jennings, the Jeopardy champion. It’s a puzzle called “Kennections“, and it is pretty challenging. ”Kennections” gives you 5 trivia questions. To solve the puzzle, you must answer the trivia questions and figure out what the answers all have in common. If you don’t receive Parade Magazine, you can go to “Kennections” online for the latest puzzle, as well as the archives.
The puzzles are probably too hard for elementary students, but older kids might enjoy doing some research to find the solutions. Another fun idea is to have kids create their own puzzles using this framework. The “Kennections” site is asking for people to submit their own, but it does require an e-mail address. I think it would be fun just to do within the classroom, or to exchange puzzles with pen pals or e-pals. This would be a great challenge, particularly for the higher level students in your class.
In yesterday’s post about the iPad app, Daisy the Dinosaur, I referenced some ways to introduce kids to computer programming. For those of you who want to pursue this further, I thought you might like this post by Marshall Brain, “Teaching Your Kids How to Write Computer Programs”. This is a fairly detailed summary of different websites and other resources for learning basic programming skills. ”Light Bot” is a website that he recommends for students who are 7 or 8 years old. He also gives a summary of the Lego Mindstorms program, which I highly recommend for schools or other organizations. There are links for learning how to code and how to design apps as well. “Teaching Your Kids How to Write Computer Programs” is definitely a good place to start if you are a teacher or parent looking for this type of resource. Two more resources? Gamestar Mechanic (website) and Sketch Nation Studio (iPad app), both referenced in my post on Genius Hour, Part III.
Silver Sphere is one of many addictive, web-based “brain” games provided by Brain Metrix. In Silver Sphere, you must beat the clock to move a silver ball to its goal. Although this sounds simple, there are obstacles and other inconveniences that make this difficult. According to Brain Metrix, “Being creative is a good thing; in fact it’s essential if we want to make our life better. Stimulating areas of your brain is a healthy process, in this page we will try to wake up (if dormant) the brain creativity potential, SilverSphere has 25 levels, let’s see how far you could go.” And, as the warning states on the Silver Sphere page, it is addicting!
Record Tripping is a challenging and enchanting (and FREE) web game that I discovered by looking at the logic portion of the Weebly site called “Mr. Arbizo’s Traveling Class“. Although the instructions for the game are fairly simple, requiring you to scroll your mouse or hold down the button, this winner of the 14th Annual Webby Awards demands both logic and hand-eye coordination. Record Tripping is not exactly academic, but it is fun and you must exercise your reasoning skills along with your wrist as you play!