A fantastic game for inspiring problem-solving, logical thinking, strategic planning, persistence and concentration. It also helps to promote visual and spatial perception, making it the perfect extension for a child who has engaged in Montessori Sensorial experiences.
This activity is ideal for pre-school and early primary school aged children, but it suits a wide spectrum of ages (and developmental levels) because of its tiered levels of difficulty. I have used the earlier stages successfully with my older preschoolers who require a little scaffolding on occasion. Some of the most challenging levels cause even an adult to pause for thought! The official "recommended age" is 3 to 8 years of age.
The Smart Car game also features a self-correcting mechanism (a classic feature of Montessori activities) which is described in more detail in the "How It Works" section.
The four levels of difficulty are recommended for the following ages;
Level 1, Starter: 4 years
Level 2, Junior: 5 years
Level 3, Expert: 6 years
Level 4, Master: 7 years
This is a guide only, individual abilities and interests should be taken into account and children should be given the opportunity to be self-directed in extending themselves or revisiting earlier levels!
It is described as a single player game, but I have seen young children working together very effectively to achieve the common goal. They suggest strategies to one another, or take turns to attempt a formation, until their collaboration ends in creation!
How It Works...
The set features a wooden car base and four coloured 'L' shaped wooden pieces (in red, blue, yellow and green).
The child (or children!) opens the booklet to a page and looks at a two-dimensional image, such as the one below:
The child has to use spatial reasoning and problem solving to find a configuration for the four pieces that creates the pattern shown in the side view.
The child can then self-correct by turning the page of the booklet to see the three-dimensional image of the solution (as shown below).