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Are you the creative type, who is tired of finger painting? If you’re in need of an art project upgrade, we’ve found some easy, unique ideas and pinned them to our Getting Crafty Pinterest board.

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December 21, 2017
Matthew Farber

Games, Hacking, and the 21st Century Skill of Systems Thinking

Kids And Creativity, Creativity, STEM Education / Play, Learning Through Play

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.

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November 02, 2017
Melinda Contreras

How to be a Game Inventor

Insider, Compose Music, Kids And Creativity, Creativity, Learning Through Play

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!

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June 27, 2017
April Johnson

6 Games to Play This Summer

Kids And Creativity

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.

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June 17, 2017
Rachael Rufino

6 Fantastical Ways to Repurpose Toilet Paper Tubes

Kids And Creativity, Creativity

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.

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May 15, 2017
Mike Ritchie

How Can You Get Your Kid Reading?

Kids And Creativity, STEAM

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.

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April 03, 2017
Rachael Rufino

6 Fidget Toys for the Person Fidgeting as They Read This

Kids And Creativity, Creativity, Learning Through Play, Brainteasers

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.

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