Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Bloxels - A Timberdoodle Review

Here is another incredible product from Timberdoodle - Bloxels!!  To sum it up - Bloxels is the 
"Most Kid Friendly Video Game Platform Creation Ever!"
 I'll be the first to admit that I don't know a whole lot when it comes to video games.  My kids certainly know way more than I do, but even my girls aren't super crazy over video games.  But THIS has been a game changer - haha - see what I did there? GAME changer. 
 Bloxels is a unique combination of hands-on toy activity and video game creating.   What kid doesn't want to create a video game instead of just playing one?  The manipulatives combined with an app that you download to play the game brings this product to the next level in video games, critical thinking, HTML coding and more! It helps STEM come to life in our home in a fun and exciting way. 
 Each color block represents something like water, terrain, enemy, coin, hazard, or story.   So depending on where you place the blocks - you can literally create your own story within the game!  

 After you place the colored blocks where you want them, and after you create your own hero, you use the app to take a picture of your creation and it instantly becomes a video game! It amazes me how it can bridge the gap between the physical world and the virtual gaming world.  You can keep adding more art and animation and room layout and keep building your game.  You can even use advanced tools to adjust the physics of the game like how fast your hero runs or how high he jumps.   It was really interesting to see how as the girls started to play their game, how they had to go back and fix different things because it wasn't logical or practical.  There is so much critical thinking, problem solving and out of the box brain processing built into this game!

 Any kind of learning activity, game or toy that piques the interest of the 21-year-old college kid and the 10-year-old, and those in between is a product well made in my opinion!  It is geared towards ages 8 and up but is fascinating for any age - even adults! 

 As with most Timberdoodle products, this will definitely be part of our homeschooling days!  It will be a product that can be very simple or very complex in its learning and processing. 
 You can even share and collaborate with other Bloxel players and let them play the gameboard you have created!  

Bloxels is a product that crosses the age gaps in our home - and will be well used for MANY years to come! As always - Bentley, the world's cutest dog also approved. You can find Bloxels at Timberdoodle and also as part of the second grade curriculum kit

I was sent this product to review as a member of Timberdoodle's blog team.  All opinions are strictly my own. 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Tenzi Game and Card Deck ~ A Timberdoodle Review

Tenzi is one of those games that can be perfect for those times when you just want a fun family and friends game when you can be loud, have fun and not have to think too much.  It is also very versatile in that it can be a great educational tool as well! Timberdoodle always seems to have great products that are not only fun but also educational.  

 The main point of the game is everyone gets ten dice of the same color and you try to be the first one to roll all of the same number - when you do you call out "TENZI!"  You can see in the picture below Hannah started rolling several ones in a row so she decided to go for ones.  Simple and fun! and LOUD! 

 When you are ready to take the game to the next level, the TENZI card deck has loads of fun ideas.  Like this card - everyone has to whistle until they roll a TENZI. 

 The cards really help in coming up with some great educational ideas to keep those math skills sharp.  We will definitely be using TENZI as a fun math tool during our homeschool year. 

 We even managed to catch a smile from the elusive teenager!

 The cards have never-ending fun ideas to add to your TENZI game.  TENZI comes in several different colored sets so you can add another set or two to allow for a large group of people to play. 
 No thumbs allowed TENZI was so fun but very tricky! 

Team O'Steen gave TENZI TEN thumbs up - or fingers, since we couldn't use thumbs! This game is fast-paced, full of laughter and a great way to spend an evening together as a family.  Add in the fact that it is also a versatile math tool for homeschooling and it's a WIN-WIN!! 

TENZI is part of Timberdoodle's Second Grade Curriculum Kit and can also be purchased separately. 

I was sent this product to review as a member of Timberdoodle's blog team.  All opinions are strictly my own. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Extraordinaires Design Studio - A Timberdoodle Review

The Extraordinaires Design Studio from Timberdoodle is a ONE OF A KIND learning tool!  It guides your child to think, create,  and invent some very out of the box ideas.   This design kit can be used for ANY age - like so many Timberdoodle products.  My oldest girl Punkin, who happens to be a Marketing Major heading into her senior year of college had this to say;

 "This would be a great product for anybody interested in business, entrepreneurship or engineering.  I know some college professors who would love to have this to use in their classrooms!"

 The design kit comes with a great sturdy magnetic closing plastic case, a set of Extraordinaires cards, think cards, object cards, award cards, a drawing pen and special pad of paper.   

 Bentley, the worlds cutest dog who thinks he's a cat, gave his typical product review on comfort factor and was quite impressed yet again.
 Your child will choose an Extraordinaire to design for, and then an object card which tells them what they need to design, or invent for their Extraordinaire character.  The think cards and object cards help them to process the details and needs more carefully - this is an incredible tool to develop those all important critical thinking skills.  I have to admit, it was a little tough getting started.  I was asking my kids to use a part of their brains they don't often use.  They really had to think outside of the box.  Did you know 16-year-olds don't always enjoy doing that?  HA! The 10-year-old was a little more interested, but only a little.   Biggest sister was giving directions and encouragement - in the typical biggest sister fashion.  It didn't take long though before those wheels were turning and they both came up with incredibly creative ideas for their characters.   Not only does it provide incredible creativity and critical thinking, it also incorporates art into the entire thinking process.  Having to draw what they are thinking makes it a very rich and engaging learning tool.

 Boo had to design something to sit on for her fairy-like character.

 Exercising those brain cells isn't easy..... deep in thought....
 She came up with a brilliant solution - a "Wing-Hole Chair" - a chair that has holes in the back so that the fairy wings don't get crushed.  I love how the cards really encouraged them to think of the needs of their specific character.  

What a great tool this is for our future leaders of tomorrow!  It teaches them to problem solve in a creative way and come up with new ideas in such a fun way.

 Boo quickly got to work on another card that seemed a little more difficult and abstract. 

 The think cards give more questions to take their ideas to the next level asking things such as how they can take it apart, how it can work with other things the Extraordinaire uses, how to make it work better, can it be used in more than one way, etc. 

 After Banana did some thinking, she got to work on her superhero Extraordinaire.  She had to invent a light source for her character. 
 Boo was creating a place for her VERY LARGE character to sleep.

 Boo created a "Treetop Bunk" for her very large Extraordinaire  (who also happens to wear boats for shoes) and Banana created a "Necklight" for her Superhero.

We loved this product because it really makes you think in a new way.  It wasn't easy at all, which would be the only part we didn't like about it - haha.  The creations and inventions can become SOO much more detailed and involved than the simple ones that we did.  This kit is part of Timberdoodles Fifth Grade Curriculum Kit - which we just happen to be using this coming year! 

I am giving away one Extraordinaires Design Studio to one lucky blog reader - to enter to win just leave a comment below telling me why you would love to have one!  Winner will be chosen at random. Be sure and leave your email address so I can contact the winner for your mailing address.  Good luck! 

I was sent this product to review as a member of Timberdoodle's blog team.  All opinions are strictly my own. 

You can see more Timberdoodle Product Reviews by clicking the links below! 

History Over Time USA Puzzle
Marie's Word Cards
Mixed By Me Thinking Putty Kit
Simbrix Expert Kit
Paint by Number Museum Series
Ravensburger 3D Puzzleball Globe
Aquarelle Monet Watercolor Paint Set

Edited to add that the winner of the Extraordinaires Design Studio goes to Alicia! I have sent you an email!