Age level: Upper Elementary, Middle School
Description: This is a fun balance game suggested for learners 8 and up. It’s easy to set up and easy to understand, but challenging to play. The game comes with 24 game rods (of 6 different colors and sizes), 4 frame rods, a colored dice, and wooden base and connector. The idea is to take turns hanging pieces without allowing the structure to touch the playing surface and without having any pieces fall down.
Skills & Modifications: I have introduced this with a few of my upper elementary students with Autism & Aspergers. It tends to bring out a high level of focus. One student said that she felt she was creating abstract art. All but one of my students were able to play the game until it’s natural end. With that student I modified the game by setting a timer, and ending play when the timer went off at 5 minutes.
- Sorting – Because the pieces are organized by size and color, when setting up the game I have the learner sort out the pieces. We sort again when cleaning up to make sure that no pieces are missing.
- Hand-eye Coordination – The game is designed in such a way that good hand-eye coordination is essential for being successful in playing it.
- Critical Thinking – The challenge of this game for my learners is looking at the pieces available to them and thinking about which piece is the best choice and which location on the structure is the best spot to place it. They have to consider balance, size, and placement simultaneously.
- Spatial Skills – This goes hand-in-hand with the type of critical thinking Suspend requires, especially once the learner is required to place pieces that touch two or more pieces already placed on the structure.
- Accepting Mistakes/Errors – This is a great game for practicing the skill of accepting mistakes. Rarely does the entire structure fall down. The instructions state that “If you cause one or more pieces to fall, you have to pick them up and add them to your pile.” For some students, I modify it that if pieces fall, we work together to re-place them, then continue on with the game. It’s an option to teach working together to find solutions for correcting mistakes instead of engaging in maladaptive behaviors when a mistake is made.
- Independent Play – This can also be a great game for some learners to engage in appropriate independent play. They can try to create their own structures, and repeat gross motor actions until they get the desired effect.
Pros: I love that this is a game that can be played solo or with up to four players.
Cons: For some learners, this game may exceed their frustration tolerance. If you want to introduce it, it’s important to be prepared in advance for the types of modifications you may need to use to address that.
Cost: $16.99 You should invest in this game if: you are seeking games to practice spatial skills and motor skills with older learners, you have a learner who enjoys building structures or art, you are looking for a game that might engage a learner with autism to attend to other players’ moves in a game.
ABLLS: B18, K8, K9, L7, L23, Z9, Z25
VB-MAPP: VPS-MTS 7, Independent Play 12, Social Behavior 11