This summer, The Pea got to attend two summer camps -- a math camp and an engineering camp -- and she's finished both of them already, so she spends her mornings with me while 3Po and Jammy are at summer school. To pass the time, we run errands or go for walks; when we're at home The Pea reads or plays with her dolls. I also ask her to complete some exercises in her summer math workbook. I don't force it, because I don't want to make schoolwork a priority over the summer, but I also don't want her to lose the skills she's learned in 2nd grade.
Enter the Rubik's Cube, that iconic 80's brainteaser. Everyone is fascinated by it -- it's the world's top selling puzzle game and world's best selling toy -- and everyone wants to solve it. The Rubik's Cube is also a great educational tool because it helps with visual spacial skills and logical thinking skills. And if you're one of the lucky few who do get to solve it, boy does it increase your self-esteem and sense of achievement!
With that in mind, the makers of Rubik's Cube are launching a campaign in the USA -- You CAN Do the Cube -- with the goal of teaching 8-18 year olds how to solve the Rubik's Cube. It's a wonderful program because it involves teachers and youth programs working with young people to actively engage and challenge them, and help them develop patience, focus and higher self-esteem. The You CAN Do the Rubik's Cube program website provides all the necessary information a person or group needs, including free downloadable solution guides, an online community where enthusiasts can share their Cubing experiences, free downloadable certificates of achievement, lesson plans using the Rubik's Cube for math teachers The website also sells a complete solution kit for educators and youth organization directors.
We were given a press kit that included a Rubik's Cube, solution guide and solution DVD with step-by-step instructions on solving the puzzle in a group or alone. My kids had never seen a Rubik's Cube before, and they were just fascinated! Alfie set out to solve the cube right away -- but realized it was going to take a bit longer than 10 minutes and shelved the project for later. It seems a bit over The Pea's head; even though she's really good at math, she's only 8, so she's at the lower end of the recommended age range, but Alfie and The Pea are going to tackle it slowly, reading the solution guide bit by bit, and I have every confidence that she can solve it eventually. I can see how it can be a great summer activity for older kids -- it's cheap, challenging, fun, and educational. And whether it takes ten seconds or ten days to solve the Rubik's Cube, the sense of satisfaction kids get is real.