Summer is here and it is a welcome change of pace from the oh-so-busy routine of the school year. No more early wake ups, heaps of home work, and cramming so many activities into a single day. Instead, it's time to recharge the family batteries, stay up a bit longer, linger in bed and (most importantly) play! And I don't mean video games. I mean good, old fashioned running, swimming, bike riding, hide-and-go-seeking, laughing, smiling, get out and play time. Mix in a few trips to the library and the thrill of discovering a new favorite book and you're on track to setting your kids up for a great summer. But what about spatial and mathematic development? Thanks to Blocks Rock!, I have discovered just the ticket to keeping spatial skills sharp in a way that's super-fun for the whole family (even for Mom and Dad!) I can't wait to tell you about my new favorite game and you're going to love the discount code and giveaway that Blocks Rock! is generously providing for Kinder Craze readers. Ready to see the game your whole family is going to love?
Thank you to Blocks Rock! for sponsoring this post. While this was a sponsored opportunity, all content and opinions expressed here are my own. This post also contains affiliate links. I earn a small commission each time someone makes a purchase through one of our links, which helps to support the blog. I sincerely hope you enjoy today’s post!
Getting Started with Blocks Rock!
The Blocks Rock! game comes in a kit with two decks of playing cards (with two different levels of challenges), 24 solid wood building blocks, a game play bell, and a convenient carrying case. The game is super-easy to set up, just distribute the blocks equally between both players, choose a deck of cards for your game and set them face down, then place the bell within easy reach of both players.
It wouldn't be right to try out a new game for kids on my own, so I invited two sisters – Emma, age 8, and Cobie, age 11, to help me give Blocks Rock! a spin.
When we were ready to begin, Emma drew a card off the top of the pile and placed it face up for both girls to see.
Playing the Game
The card illustrates a block construction that both players compete to recreate in the shortest amount of time. The Level 1 deck features simple constructions, while the Level 2 deck challenges players to recreate more complex creations. Since these girls were older, we used the Level 2 deck. As soon as the first card was flipped, both girls raced to complete their structures.
Even with the level 2 deck, some towers were relatively simple, while others were a bit more complex.
The first player to recreate the image displayed on the card signals completion by hitting the call bell.
Even though she was three years younger than her competition, Emma quickly demonstrated her incredibly fast skills and attention to detail.
And again! I'm telling you this girl was fast.
We had to decide pretty early on how much we wanted to be sticklers for detail – particularly with the triangles. (The triangle blocks included with the game were isosceles triangles so their orientation mattered.) Since these girls were older, we all agreed that you had to be the first person to construct a perfect arrangement with the triangles oriented correctly and lined up exactly as the picture demonstrated to win the round. If someone rang the bell before perfecting their tower, the other player would have a chance to swoop in and correctly recreate the structure to win the round.
After losing several rounds to her little sister, Cobie finally finished her tower first and excitedly rang the call bell – only to discover that her tower was ever-so-slightly misconstructed.
Can you see the problem? Look at the lower triangle in her tower and compare it to the drawing. Yup, the triangle block was placed sideways, which meant Cobie begrudgingly watched her sister swoop in with a correctly built tower to win the round.
After watching Emma repeatedly school her big sister in Blocks Rock!, we upped the challenge for her. I handed Cobie the camera and stepped in to see if I could dethrone the queen. As it turns out, Emma was really fast. She beat me for a few rounds and I was determined to beat an eight year old at the game. I finally beat her during the fourth card that we played.
And then I got to win on a technicality – thanks to those green triangles.
I wasn't the only one who was determined to win. After seeing that someone could successfully built a tower faster than Emma, Cobie wanted back in the game for the satisfaction of a win. It took a few rounds, but it finally happened.
The face of victory!
And that right there is the reason why all three of us fell in love with Blocks Rock! It was fun, interactive, fast-paced, and the oldest person didn't have an automatic advantage. The fact that the youngest player was so good made us even more competitive (in a friendly way) to win a round.
Once we had been playing for a while, it was time to add up the points and see who had won. You may have noticed a small number in two of the corners of each card. Each tower was worth a certain number of points (from 1 to 4) and each time a person won a round, they kept the card from that round.
How to Win the Game
Figuring out who had won the game was simple – each player just added up the total number of points in his or her possession. Figuring out Cobie's total points was even more simple. She won a single round that was worth 4 points.
Her sister, Emma, had a bit more math to do. Emma added up her cards to determine a total score of 24 points. She was the winner by far. I'm sure you already figured this out, but Blocks Rock! packs an extra educational punch through addition practice. It's great mental math to add the points from a stack of individual cards.
Don't let the addition make you shy away from playing this game with younger children. If the players are too young to add the points, it's perfectly ok to just count how many cards each player has. So simple and so easy to adapt!
With a whopping 24 points, Emma was the reigning champ!
Additional Blocks Rock! Challenges on the FREE App
Ever since I became a mom, I've found myself stepping away from screens and technology – especially with children. I fear that most children have far too much exposure to screens and technology and I love any opportunity to replace screen time with hands-on, care-free, constructive manipulation of materials. That being said, I am kinda impressed with the Blocks Rock! app (available for iPad and Android) – which is free to download. The app has new challenges for game play that are much more complicated than the playing cards which come in the game. Players are still required to build physical versions of the images displayed on the tablet, they just use the app to generate challenges, rather than flipping a card. I might not be chasing after technology, but I do understand how screen time can be an incredible motivator or a special treat for a child. It's also a great way for a child to spend their daily screen time – since it involves a screen but is far more engaging than playing a video game or watching TV.
Blocks Rock! and STEM Development
Ok, so we know that Blocks Rock! is fun to play. We also know that it helps with spatial development and comes with the added bonus of addition practice. But can you believe that Blocks Rock! actually helps to develop critical STEM skills?
Sounds a little far fetched? I kinda thought so too, but I was reading up on some of the research on the Blocks Rock! website and learned about an interesting study from the Indiana University Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences:
This study corroborates with past research that structured block play needs to be a part of the young student’s classroom experience. With block-building games, like Blocks Rock!, being played, students will develop higher spatial reasoning abilities.
These students with higher spatial reasoning abilities will have a higher likelihood of furthering their education and future careers in STEM, a field that the United States so desperately needs to improve.
Save 10% on Blocks Rock!
I truly cannot say enough good things about this fabulous game that is so simple, but so much fun. If you're looking for a new way to keep the kids entertained this summer or for a great addition to your family's game collection – this is it! Blocks Rock! is available on Amazon and it is one purchase that you will not regret! Best of all, Kinder Craze readers can save 10% on Amazon if they purchase Blocks Rock! on Amazon. Just add Blocks Rock! to your cart and use promo code STEM2018 when you enter your payment information. It's super-simple and it's a great deal.
Enter to Win a Free Blocks Rock! Game
The only thing better than playing Blocks Rock! is winning a free game to play with your family. And one lucky Kinder Craze reader will get to win a free Blocks Rock! game for their home or classroom. Ready for your chance to win? Use the rafflecopter below to enter – good luck!