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April 6 - Product testing!

Thanks to Chay Costello Sosin from the MoMA Design store for delivering these toys for our subjects to test! For that matter, thanks to Chay Costello Sosin for delivering these subjects to test these toys she also delivered. Happy Mother's Day early, Honey!

Thanks to Chay Costello Sosin from the MoMA Design store for delivering these toys for our subjects to test! For that matter, thanks to Chay Costello Sosin for delivering these subjects to test these toys she also delivered. Happy Mother's Day early, Honey!

Today's activity of Detective Training was pre-empted for Product Testing again! Today we tried out two new games: DR. EUREKA, a test-tube pouring brain teaser game, and MAKE N' BREAK, a timed building challenge game. Both were a lot of fun! Let's review!

DR. EUREKA's test tubes, colored molecule balls, and challenge cards

DR. EUREKA's test tubes, colored molecule balls, and challenge cards

The first game we checked out was DR. EUREKA, and it was immediately popular with the kids. The point of DR. EUREKA is to take plastic test tubes with wooden colored "molecule balls" in them and get them into the permutations shown on the challenge cards by pouring them into one another. The act of pouring one test tube into another is somewhat crucial in this: if anyone spills, they're out of the challenge (in theory). It's harder than it looks, especially for younger kids with little patience. You have to tilt the test tube up juuuuuuuuuust enough to pour one ball out and leave one ball in most of the time, and getting that precise angle requires a bit of fine motor skills. Lyric (age 4 and a half) kept on dropping the balls everywhere, which is probably age appropriate, but Zephyr (age 7 and a half) was starting to get the hang of it.

Not pictured: a bunch of attempts that left little balls rolling around the floor.

Not pictured: a bunch of attempts that left little balls rolling around the floor.

On the one hand, one could call the balls dropping to the floor a mess, but it is WAY less of a mess than if liquid were in those test tubes.  Let it also be said that there is something SO SATISFYING about rolling balls from one test tube to the other, it just seems to scratch an itch like r/oddlysatisfying videos on reddit. And I think the fine motor practice was especially good for the boys, plus the brain teaser element was fun for me (possibly a little advanced for the kids, but they were just learning). All in all, I give this game an A. Definitely a fun thing to do for kids - kids 8 and up would probably use it the right way, but younger kids could still have fun with it.

MAKE N' BREAK's blocks, timer, die, and challenge cards

MAKE N' BREAK's blocks, timer, die, and challenge cards

Next was the construction game MAKE N' BREAK. The point of this game was to make as many of the structures on the challenge cards with the colored blocks as you could in the time allowed. Zephyr took to this game almost immediately.

Lyric was put in charge of the timer for this one, as the building was a bit outside his age group. But he really got into being the timekeeper.

Which is not to say he accurately measured the time, but so what.

Which is not to say he accurately measured the time, but so what.

Zephyr loved playing this game, and got how to build stuff super-quick. He also really loved tearing his things down after he built them up, getting a bit too excited about it at one point and sending blocks everywhere. But when he saw that was a bad strategy, he was more controlled about his demolition.

All in all, another really fun game that helped with fine manipulation and visual thinking. Another A! More product testing tomorrow, with a special guest!