One of the best bits of parenthood is finding activities I enjoyed as a child that my children actually like. Luckily, in many ways, the Young Engineer is quite a lot like me. I used to really enjoy thinking challenges, logic puzzles and the “thinking about thinking” that was so popular in education in the 90’s.
I was so pleased when The Young Engineer was nearly four and I discovered a series of logic puzzle books for pre-literate children. He loves them. In fact when I got the book out to write this review he snaffled it away for some school holiday quiet time.
Value for money
Usability / Readability
Lollipop Logic is a great introductory puzzle book for kids with logical minds. Best for 4-7 year olds. Under 6's will need adult support to introduce puzzles. A nice alternative to colouring books.
Lollipop Logic: Book 1 has 52 one-page “lessons.” Each lesson has a short written explanation for a parent to read to a child, then pictorial puzzles for a child to solve. There are extra instructions for each lesson in a section at the beginning of the book, if the activity is not clear enough.
So it’s not something you can just hand to a child who can’t yet read and send away to work out. But it is a great activity for a certain sort of child, like the Young Engineer, to do sitting next to me while I’m trying to work on something (like this review).
The first 8 lessons are basic sequencing: number these pictures to show the correct order. The extra notes about lesson 3 say:
Preface this lesson in sequencing by explaining that a farmer is going to pick the pears from his pear tree and is going to place them in a basket. They will see six pictures representing the different stages of the picking. Carefully explain that there is only one logically acceptable solution so they must consider carefully the order of the pictures. Students should number the pictures in the order they think will happen.
Other sections are:
Relationships (grouping objects together logically — like Sesame Street’s “One of these things is not like the other”, for anyone who remembers that)
Analogies (A is to B, as C is to ?).
Deductive Reasoning — this section involves more reading from Mum, but it’s also most like the logic puzzles my Mum used to let me do from her magazines. E.g. Lesson 25:
Vegetable Soup: Mrs Wilson’s class brought vegetables to class to make soup. Rob, Tom, Pat and Ann brought carrots, potatoes, onions and celery. See if you can figure out who brought each vegetable. Draw a line connecting the vegetable and the person who brought it.
1. Rob and the boy who brought carrots ride the bus.
2. Ann and the girl who brought celery also ride the bus.
3. Ann did not bring onions.
Part of the reason this section needs more support is that each story has four children and four items. And while the Young Engineer can figure out which item is which (carrots, celery), it’s pretty hard for him to discern Rob from Tom. Also I’ve just worked out that all the children ride the bus. 😀
There are also sections on Pattern Decoding, Inference and Criteria Analyzing Skills.
I don’t expect that Action Man will be ready for this sort of book until he is a bit older. But then he already enjoys colouring.
The Young Engineer has never been that excited by colouring. Each week he would appear after Sunday School with a colouring picture someone had definitely helped him complete. But he learnt to do these puzzles when he was nearly four. He’s a smart wee cookie, but no child prodigy. He certainly couldn’t write numbers down before he started school, so conveniently the books remain blank, and he just points to the order. After all, this is only a fun activity for him, no marking involved. He mostly gets it right, but it’s all about the process of thinking it through, rather than any end result.
This means Books 1 and 2 are a bit easy for him now, as he’s done them so many times. The benefit being I don’t need to explain the activity each section. But might be time to add Book 3 to the mix. There is also a next level logic series called Logic Safari by the same authors.
In my opinion these books are fantastic for kids aged 4-7, if they have brains that like sitting and thinking, and they have access to an adult who is willing to spend a little time helping them learn new ways of critical thinking. Children who love spending hours constructing Lego from the instructions will likely meet this criteria. On the other hand if you have a child who is a wee ball of energy like Action Man — “great at demolition” as the Young Engineer once complimented him — who would much prefer to colour, then please ignore these books til they are older.
Awesome or Average: Awesome
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