Disclosure: ThinkFun This Holiday Season is a sponsored post. Although I was supplied products and/or compensated for writing this post, all thoughts and opinions are my own. I only recommend products or services I believe in and use myself. This post contains affiliate links.
My girls are proud gamers. Xbox, 3DS, computer, iPhone/iPad, and board games, they love 'em all. So when ThinkFun contacted me to see if I would review Compose Yourself and Code Master Programming Logic Game, I jumped at the chance.
ThinkFun This Holiday Season
Compose yourself was a lot of fun and so easy to use right off the bat. The box says ages 6 and up but truthfully anyone can play it. You don't need to be able to read music or even be able to READ to play the game. With a little bit of help from an adult or older sibling, nearly any child can play this.
When you open the box you will find 60 transparent music cards (two sets of 30 different cards), composer code card, travel bag, and instructions with composing tips.
Simply go to the website, http://composeyourself.thinkfun.com/play enter your composer code at the top of the page and register. Then you are all set to begin composing.
Each card are imprinted with a musical staff and four beats worth of notes. There is no “right way up” on the cards so any way you turn the card is a new combination of notes.
Build your melody by choosing cards in multiples of 4 (up to 16) to create a unique composition (There are over 200 million possible musical compositions!) Be sure to arrange cards in a visual pattern. If your melody looks like an interesting shape, it will probably sound great too.
Enter your melody into the computer by plugging in the codes found in the top left corner of each card.
Then press play and listen to your melody played one of three ways, Marimba (by musician Evelyn Glennie), Orchestra, or both Marimba along with orchestra (recorded at Abbey Road Studios).
If you don’t like how your melody sounds, go ahead and change it. Flip cards, switch the order or enter a completely new card code until you like what you hear. Then name your composition and download an mp3 or sheet music to print and share. It's that easy!
This is Gabby's song, Dancing Fairies, created with eight cards.
Gilly then tried her hand at it, here is Gillian's Song, also created with eight cards.
The girls all had a try and really enjoyed Compose Yourself… even my 17 year old!
From the ThinkFun website:
Start Writing Original Music in Minutes!
You don’t have to know how to write music or even own an instrument to be a world-class composer. Created by the ever-famous composer and cellist, Maestro Philip Sheppard, Compose Yourself teaches children as young as six to play with music. To create your own melody, arrange cards in a visual pattern, enter the codes with our music making software at ComposeYourself.ThinkFun.com, and hear your piece played by a full symphony orchestra at Abbey Roads Studios. Then flip, rotate, rearrange and even add more cards to create your very own masterpiece. With over 200 million musical compositions and endless learning opportunities, Compose Yourself will ignite your love of music.
MSRP: $19.99 Available on Amazon.com
Code Master Programming Logic Game
My girls are really into all aspects of STEM activities. My two oldest are enrolled in TWO robotics clubs. All the kids are interested in coding so I was pretty sure Code Master would be a big hit with the girls.
Created by a computer science educator, Code Master is a 60-level single-person logic puzzle game that makes programming fun by teaching the basics of coding without a computer! Playing Code Master won’t just teach principles behind programming, but also build planning, sequential reasoning and problem-solving skills.
Code Master comes with a Guide Scroll, Map Book, Avatar figure, Portal figure, blue Crystals, instructions/solutions, and a handful of Action and Conditional tokens that are used to create the “programs.”
I'm not going to lie, my eyes kind of rolled back into my head when I unboxed Code Master.
There were so may different instructions I was sure it would be too difficult for my 8 yo to follow.
But she and my 17 yo sat down and within minutes were playing the game.
The game is geared to ages 8 and up and has several difficulty levels. The game has a bit of a Minecraft look to it, and that attracted my 8 yo right away. She was a little impatient trying to learn the rules, but with a little coaching she was flying through the levels in no time.
Although it's a single player game, my girls had fun working together to to collect all the crystals and win.
From the ThinkFun website:
The Ultimate Coding Board Game
Make programming fun by learning the basics without a computer! In Code Master, your Avatar travels to an exotic world in search of power Crystals. Along the way, you use programming logic to navigate the Map. Think carefully, in each level, only one specific sequence of actions will lead to success. Once you collect all the Crystals and land at the Portal, you win! Playing Code Master won’t just teach you principles behind programming, you’ll also build planning, sequential reasoning and problem-solving skills.
MSRP: $19.99 Available at Target and through Amazon.com.
Here are two more really awesome ThinkFun games!
Skill: Logic and Problem Solving
Age: 8 and Up
Players: 2 Player
- 1 White Sphere
- 12 Blue Spheres
- 12 Gold Spheres
- Game-Go Bag
Available for purchase at Amazon.com for only $9.99!
Stratos Spheres was a big hit with the girls. It is a super easy game to learn and so much fun to play. Similar to that other four-in-a-row game, only a lot more fun, and challenging. The girls actually spent a lot of time playing with Stratos Spheres. Because it's a 2 player game they had to take turns playing. We ended up playing it “tournament style” where the winner of the game got to play the next person. (The only complaint the girls had with Stratos Spheres was the pieces were a little difficult to put together the first couple of times they played. But after a few games it was much easier.)
How to play:
Math Dice Chase
Skill: STEM and Creative Thinking
Age: 8 and Up
Players: 4 to 6
- 2 Blue 12-Sided Dice
- 2 Purple 12-Sided Dice
- Game-Go Bag
Available for purchase at Amazon.com for only $6.99.
Math Dice Chase was a little more complicated to get started, but once the girls actually read the directions and figured out how to play, they were off! When my 8 yo was playing we used addition since she isn't quite as quick with her multiplication tables as her older sisters. It was so much fun watching them call out answers and try to get the dice into the next person's hands. Especially when it seemed like they would be stuck with both pairs!
Fun Games that Sharpen Your Mind
ThinkFun is passionate about their efforts to make learning fun. It drives everything they do – and every game, brainteaser and puzzle they create. They love being the spark that ignites young minds and gives children an early learning advantage.
Igniting Creative Thinking
Children are born creative. It’s in their DNA, so to speak. When they are given the freedom to play with less structure and without the limitations of right and wrong solutions, they improve their development and unleash the creativity that has been with them since birth. This free-form learning teaches children that they can make their imagination a reality with problem-solving skills, resourcefulness and ingenuity.
STEM Education and Creative Thinking
Today isn’t the same as yesterday. And tomorrow is a whole new creative, technologically-advanced world. ThinkFun is doing everything they can to help ensure children are properly prepared for it by making learning fun. They are developing games and planning initiatives to help children cultivate STEM skills and be the creative beings that will forever change our world.
Leaders in STEM Learning
STEM is everywhere. It’s the hottest thing in education. It’s also something ThinkFun has been passionate about since before it received the catchy acronym. From engineering toys and coding games to open-ended construction kits, ThinkFun is leading the world in creating STEM games that shape 21st century thinkers.
Visit ThinkFun at http://www.thinkfun.com/