Friday, November 25, 2011
Equilibrio, Architecto, Cliko (Blocks for Big Kids)
When I first wrote this post, I used it with my then 7yo. He continues to use it at age 9. My youngest started working some of the easier puzzles at age 4 and is now quite good at the beginning levels at age 5. Some of the more complex puzzles are difficult for me...so these sets really do reach all age levels.
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The Equilibrio, Architecto, and Cliko line by FoxMind rank in my top ten for math education products. I began using them a year ago with my 7yo. The products vary in complexity even within a given book and can be used with children through adults. Here's a brief overview:
Equilibrio could, I suppose, be considered the first in the "series" as the recommended age is 5 and up.
The boxed set comes with a set of 18 specialty blocks that are used to erect structures illustrated in the spiral-bound challenge book. The structures begin deceptively simple ("Oh, this is soooooo easy!") and become increasingly difficult as you progress through 60 different structures. Levels of difficulty are indicated at the bottom of the page, as are guides that tell exactly which blocks are used in the structure. My son can easily build the early structures on his own, but he needs help as the book progresses. A lot of balance is necessary for some of the more difficult buildings. [If you buy the Architecto set below, you get the blocks and need an Equilibrio: book only.]
Architecto, recommended for ages 7 & up, is slightly different, although it uses the same blocks.
This book illustrates 3-D models. At the bottom of each page you see which blocks are used, but you have to look at the 3-D model, using "fairly sophisticated logical analysis and spatial perception" in order to build it. 50 illustrations/building puzzles are included.
Finally, Cliko, the granddaddy of challenges, is recommended for 8 years and up for people who "enjoy sophisticated puzzles." [Link is just to the book and assumes you already own the blocks through one of the above sets.]
In this book you again see a photo of a structure along with a list of blocks needed to complete it. This book, however, shows certain viewpoints of the structure...and the player needs to consider all viewpoints in order to determine whether a structure is feasible or not; sometimes the structure is shown at 3 different camera angles. Tough stuff. My 7yo can do beginning levels. I'm not sure if I can do the most advanced.
Note: You need one set of blocks to complete the structures in all books. The books can be purchased separately. So if you buy one book/block set, you just need other books (without blocks) to do the other activities/puzzles. Clear as mush? :)
Disclaimer: I bought my own set--one set of blocks and all 3 books--and have no contact with the company that produces it. If you use the Amazon link to buy your own, Grace and Hope (foster care for kids in China) will make a few cents (at no cost to you.) My blog policy, however, is that I don't blog about things that I don't like. I love this.
Happy Building! ;)