SmartGames USA makes puzzle games for children ages 2 – 10 and up. Their games include board games, handheld puzzles, magnetic puzzles, building sets and puzzle apps. Although the games are designed for individual play, they can supply fun for multiple players. For instance, players can take turns solving the puzzles, or parents may want to help younger children manipulate the puzzle pieces and provide guidance for successful completion.
An example of a puzzle for younger children (4 – 7) is Little Red Riding Hood. This game is set out similar to a board game with moveable character pieces. However, the obstacles (trees to represent the woods) and puzzle pieces (sections of a path) are 3D. And what exactly is the puzzle? Why getting to Grandma’s house, of course! The game comes with a booklet of 24 different ways to layout the trees, the house, and where Little Red Riding Hood begins her journey. Children must then move the sections of the path around so that they lead from Little Red Riding Hood to Grandma’s house. Once children are comfortable with the game, they can try the additional challenge of adding the Big Bad Wolf to the board. Then, the path sections must be used to connect both Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf to Grandma’s house, but they must be set up so that Little Red Riding Hood will get there first! The game booklet has an additional 24 layouts that include where the wolf begins as well. That makes a total of 48 challenges with multiple solutions.
Moving slightly up in age to the 6+ category, Ghost Hunters is a good example of the smaller, compact games. In this game, the player has six transparent puzzle pieces with spot lights on them. There are 30 double sided game cards that sit in the base for a total of 60 challenges. Each card has ghosts in various places on it. The object of the game is to set up the spot light puzzle pieces so that each ghost is caught in the light.
Another compact game is Temple Trap. It’s for 7+ and has an app version. Let me tell you, it may start off easy, but it gets harder as you move up through the levels. When this mom tried it out, I went from a bit bored, to entertained, to frustrated as I continued advancing. I’d like to think of myself as good at solving puzzles, but even the difficult levels had me stumped for a while. So, while 7+ may sound like it implies it’s really only for kids, it can be fun for any age.
Each puzzle game helps children, and grown-ups, develop their cognitive skills. In order to solve the puzzling problems, one must focus their attention. It requires concentration and planning. It also stimulates players’ visual perception. SmartGames USA claims that playing their games makes you smarter, and it would appear that there is some truth to that. To check out these games and more, go to their website at www.smartgamesusa.com.