All games are systems: the rules (or constraints), components (game pieces), space (from a soccer field to a game board to a tablet screen), and goal (to win!) interconnect. A game’s interconnected system is driven by player actions; as players learn a game, they also learn its system. Scholar James Paul Gee wrote, “Games encourage players to think about relationships, not isolated events, facts, and skills. In a game like Rise of Nations, for instance, players need to think of how each action taken might impact their future actions and the actions of the other players playing against them as they each move their civilizations through the Ages.” Similar to the aforementioned civilization building game Rise of Nations, the city management series SimCity tasks players with balancing a complex urban system. Another systems thinking game is Plague, Inc., in which players release a pathogen into a map of the world. Playing it illustrates how actual infections spread around the globe.
Unsurprisingly, a frequently asked question at ThinkFun is “How do you find your games?” Or, “Who comes up with your games?” We love these questions because we are hopeful someone will soon be inspired to create their own game!
School’s out and summer is here! While we like to spend as much time as possible spending time playing in and exploring the outdoors (have you checked out our latest summer learning series: the sun? ), we like to have a few games on reserve to play when the craving strikes! Without further ado, here are 6 games we picked that will ensure fun all summer long.
Happy National Week of Making everyone! From June 16th-22nd, individuals throughout the U.S. are encouraged to celebrate innovation, ingenuity and creativity through the power of making! Our favorite craft projects require an item that you already have at home, so don’t throw those tubes away. To embrace the spirit of the week, we’re sharing some of our favorite ways to repurpose toilet paper tubes, straight from our crafty Pinterest board.
Over the past 30 years, the number of teenagers who say that they “never” or “hardly ever” read had tripled (Common Sense Media). This trend, unsurprisingly, is the opposite of what parents would like to see – according to Scholastic, 75% of parents with children aged 6-17 would like their children to read more books for fun. They’re smart to want this; studies have shown that strong early reading skills can positively affect general intelligence in later life, and can improve one’s understanding of other peoples’ mental states, i.e. improve empathy, according to Science Magazine.
They’re everywhere. Fidget toys are trending, but why? Studies have shown that these self-regulation tools help people of all ages reduce restlessness, stress and improve focus. By directing antsy behaviors toward a device, a person is less likely to disrupt the classroom or workplace to relieve their anxiety. Despite recent toy demands, fidgeting itself isn’t a new concept; common fidgeting behaviors include finger tapping, knuckle cracking, hair twirling and pencil chewing. Those outlets for restlessness though may soon be a thing of the past.