Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Tuesday Lovin': Castle Logix

When we went to Ireland in April, I wanted to buy one new toy for T that could hold her attention for a while so we didn't have to drag her whole toybox with us.

I've written about my toy pickiness previously, so you know I didn't want anything that makes noises or lights up, or is drowning in pink plastic and/or "just for girls".  I thought we might bring it out on the plane, so I didn't want a lot of tiny pieces either.

I decided to buy her a puzzle game called Castle Logix which I learned about from Cloud's blog.   It's made of sturdy wood, has just a few large-ish pieces, and best of all, helps kids work on their spatial skills, something I am *sorely* lacking. 

Once I took a horrific engineering aptitude test which had a bunch of pictures of exploded 3-D shapes and I had to choose what they would look like when assembled.  Torture, I tell you.  I'm not sure I got a single one correct.

Castle Logix puzzle in action with a toddler
Castle Logix in action.  In Ireland!
The recommended age range is 3 - 8 years old.  And in fact, we adults had fun with it too.  It's a one-player puzzle, where you look at a photo and combine the blocks and towers to make a castle that looks like the one in the photo.  The puzzles range from easy to 'expert'.  On the expert level, the colors of the blocks aren't specified, only the outlines, so it's even challenging for adults.

I wasn't sure if T was ready for it, and she knocked my socks off.  After a few tries and some coaxing (my girl likes to get things right the first time - something else we need to work on!), she was off and running.  She would play with this toy for 45 minutes straight, a major bonus for any parent with a toddler, right?

Three months later, she still likes it, and will work on it by herself at home.  She is very methodical about the order in which she does the puzzles, and can do most of the ones in the first two sections of the book.  (Starter and Junior levels, I think.) 

It's definitely helping her spatial skills - yesterday we made an American flag out of construction paper and I printed out a photo so she could see what it looked like.  I asked her to tell me where the blue rectangle went, and where the stars and stripes went, and she could place them correctly on her paper based on the photo.  Very cool.  I had no idea a 2 year old could do that!

CastleLogix setI also love that this toy will grow with her, and be challenging for more than a few months (as long as she doesn't get sick of it!).  We do rotate the toys we leave out, so after some time "in hiding" it's new again.  Tricky parents!

I love that I found a toy that's educational and fits all my crunchy granola parameters, that T actually likes and plays with.  That's no small feat.

Smart Games is the company that makes it, and they have a TON of other logic games like these, at different age ranges, so I can't wait to explore more of them as T gets older.  A few are already marked for her wish list!

Have you played with this?  What do you think?


  1. DC (age 5) just zoomed through these the other day. So we picked up Rush Hour Jr., which is also fun (though I'm pretty sure he cheated on the expert level for Rush Hour since I'm still stuck on #38 and DC claims it was easy. I don't believe him.) Rush Hour Jr is sadly, plastic, so not quite crunchy granola. But we do have magnetic Tangrams that he has loved for a few years now.

    Castle Logix is AWESOME!

    1. Wow, your DC is better at it than I am ;) because I still have to work to figure out the Expert level!

      I'm actually mostly ok with plastic, it's more the junky plastic I don't want (like the $1 section at Target).

      Rush Hour is definitely on my list for when T is older!

    2. Well, zoomed through for a 5 year old, which meant kept him occupied quietly for hours without complaint over the course of a couple of days.

      Turns out it was #36 I was stuck on with Rush Hour Jr. and I finally did get it yesterday. It was complicated!

    3. OMG, occupied for *hours*? I can't wait :)

    4. I gotta say, age 5 is *awesome*. I say that about every year, but it seriously does get more awesome every year.

  2. That is *awesome*! I'm going to get it for Henry. Can I wait until Christmas? Probably not. In a similar vein, one of Emmett's favorite iPod apps is called "unblock me" - one of those games like rush hour. He's done hundreds of them. (I get frustrated by that sort of thing easily and go find something else to do.)

    My kids play with tangrams, but they don't do the puzzles, they just make shapes. Maybe someday...

    1. Hah! I totally wanted to buy this game as soon as I saw it, but since it's not super cheap, forced myself to put it on the Wish List and stare at it for a while. I was glad when our vacation presented a good excuse :)

      Christmas is a long way away, you know :D

      Not sure if there's an analog on the iPod, but we have an Android app called 'Collect Figure' which is an easier tangram-based game for toddlers. It basically gives you only the pieces you need and "snaps" them into place when they get close. (And you build them directly on the puzzle, rather than trying to recreate it.) T likes it quite a lot.

      I think the version we have also has a more traditional tangram game too but she doesn't like it as much. (Then again, she likes to work on things she's already mastered. Amazing how similar she is to me, sigh.)

  3. Hey! I'm glad you found a toy you liked via my blog. That's cool. I originally heard about it from FeMOMhist. Who says blogging isn't good for anything?

  4. Background information about the creation of SmartGames can be found here:


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