Mental Blox is available from Learning Resources, Inc. This is a great game for a variety of activities and can be modified for a variety of ages. The game targets pattern matching, following verbal instructions, asking questions and critical thinking skills. The game includes 20 blocks with four different shapes and three different attributes and 20 game cards with patterns to match.
Ways to play the game:
Given a pile of blocks, experiment with structures you can build. This way to play can target language concepts of comparison and superlatives (ex., tall, taller, tallest). Stacking the blocks challenges fine motor skills particularly the spherical block which is tricky to stack until you figure out the secret. Make it simpler for younger children by finding all of the blocks with blue or orange, stripes or dots to build a structure.
Children can recreate the structure on a card. Or, to make it harder, give your child a short time to memorize the card and then build the structure from memory. Increase the challenge by trying to decrease the memorization time. Each card has a challenge question such as, “rearrange the structure with all of the blue blocks on the bottom.”
You can take turns with your child giving verbal instructions on how to build the structure. This way to play promotes following directions and great concept language such as sequencing (ex., first, second, next, then, etc.), location (ex., next to, beside, between, on top, above, below, etc.), quality (ex., colors, shapes, patterns), temporal (ex., before, after).
This is a great game with motivating colors and patterns but it is definitely something you can replicate with toys or household items. For example, pull out the spice jars (save empties for play) draw patterns or shapes on each with a marker or tape on pictures. Then create game cards with a variety of structures.
Present the challenge as fun and your child will enjoy playing with you!
Blog post by Janet Marron, M.Ed. CCC-SLP