Have you heard about Scruble Cube? It's like a cross between Scrabble and Rubik's Cube.
This a word game in a cube, with parts that move on six planes, making in necessary to focus on many levels to create words.
The creators of Scruble Cube, RSV Productions, cooperating with The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, sent select reviewers the Scruble Cube to use, play with, enjoy (or hate), and review. I was happy to be selected because I was intrigued by this device. (I received a free Scruble Cube to review; I did not receive any other form of compensation for my review. I try to make all my reviews balanced, reporting the good, as well as the bad impressions I have with any product.)
Since Scruble Cube is similar to Rubik's Cube, I need to tell you right now I was never very good at the latter. The said cube, by the way, had only 9 faces on each plane of the cube. Scruble has 16 squares per plain.
The Scruble Cube comes protected in a sizeable package -- one meant more for display than for storage.
I imagine eventually I will find some sort of box that is something like 6"x6"x4" to store this in. The Scruble Cube comes with a sand "egg timer", a pad for keeping score, and hidden in the box is a set of directions (that I was wondering about for ages, and finally found). The directions are very helpful! :)
Now here's something to make you think... The cube comes with a timer. That means at times you will be racing the timer, trying to figure out your word before the sand runs out. The bottom of the package comes with a warning: "NOTICE: The 4x4x4 SCRUBLE Cube has many moving parts and is not intended for high speed manipulation. Please align all rows before moving them and NEVER force pieces into place while twisting and turning. RSV Productions, Inc. cannot be responsible for damage caused by improper use." If the user needs to be careful not to manipulate rapidly, then I suggest they do not package it with a timer!... I know part of the idea is to limit the time when people are taking turns, but I still think it should go...
So there are many ways to play this cube. There are ways to play with up to four people. It is also easy enough to play alone! For this reason, in my opinion this cube makes an excellent gift to... for instance... a public school teacher. A teacher can find hours of mind-challenging fun just playing it her(him)self, but it can also be pulled out to engage the students at times. I think, though, that it takes a certain age of student, or at the very least a certain type of student, to enjoy the cube.
For example, I am a word-game-player, descended from a long line of word-game-players, originating from the long cold snow-covered winters of a family wheat farm out in the middle of no where, in the northern plains of North Dakota. This is an area where, similar to The Long Winter, snows fall to depths of over 6'. All that to say that I play and am good at these traditional word games, and it has conditioned my family to avoid word games since they seldom beat my scores. So, no matter how I have prodded, I have been unable to interest anyone in my home in playing this game.
So, since I was interested in seeing how others would react to it, I took the cube with me when I went to a meeting. I figured that since we usually sat around for a few minutes before they began, I would pull it out and see if I could interest anyone in trying it out. So, I pulled the cube out and offered it to another meeting attendee. He looked at the cube, looked at me, one eyebrow lifted, and he said, "I'm not very good at puzzles." That was it. He wouldn't touch it. ::sigh::
In addition to many ways that Scruble Cube can be played, there are many ways that it can be used as a supplement to your Language Arts program. It can be beneficial to your child's spelling. It can contribute to their critical thinking skills.
RSV Productions has provided all sorts of supplemental links that can be beneficial and helpful for you and your homeschool. Here are some educational ideas:
Math and Language activities, creating words using a dictionary and adding score (3rd-6th grade);
this one looks real fun, like a scavenger hunt - Scrabble Worksheet (3rd-6th);
Scruble make a sentence (3rd-5th);
Scruble Vowel Math (3rd-5th);
Scruble Word Logic (3rd-8th); and
Scruble Periodic Table fun (5th-10th).
Scruble Cube is available from RSV Productions, Inc. for $24.95. RSV Productions also makes another intriguing game called Jishaku, which I'd also like to check out some time!
You can read more reviews of the Scruble Cube on the TOS Crew Blog.
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