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Kanoodle Jr.

Lower Age: 4
Upper Age: 7
Price: $15.99
Year Added: 2020
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"Puzzle play isn't just for the big kids anymore!"

Kanoodle Jr.

Kanoodle Jr. is a bright and challenging puzzle game that teaches children to think critically about a problem and adapt to a set of rules and constraints.

Kanoodle Jr. is a puzzle game by Educational Insights for children ages four to seven. The game comes with an instruction booklet, six colorful game pieces, and a case, which is utilized during play. There are 60 puzzles inside the instruction booklet, and stars are used to rate their difficulty from one to five. There is also an answer key on the last page. To play, turn the instruction booklet to the page of the desired puzzle and slide it into the lower section of the case. The puzzles require the child to place the game pieces according to a specific set of rules; some puzzles (blue “color-match puzzles”) have colored symbols which must align with the matching color game piece. Any blank spaces can be covered with any color piece. There are other puzzles (purple “path puzzles”) which include a path for an animal to take indicated by footsteps - pieces may only be placed on blank spaces or colored spaces. The last type of puzzle (green “wall puzzles”) requires pieces to be placed such that they separate all the symbols on the page. To finish a puzzle, there must be no blank spaces left and all color spaces must match with the piece placed above. 

Kanoodle Jr. has a fun and colorful design and a fairly straightforward set of rules. The challenge comes in applying the spatial reasoning skills required to complete each puzzle. A child needs to be mindful of the criteria and constraints set in place for each individual puzzle, and the harder ones often require several attempts to get right. There is a good distribution of puzzle difficulty and puzzle type for a child to choose from. This toy is excellent for developing perseverance, problem-solving abilities, iterative techniques, and pattern recognition. 

Framework Categories

Engineering Thinking
Computational Thinking
Spatial Reasoning

Moore, T.J., Glancy, A.W., Tank, K.M., Kersten, J.A., Smith, K.A., & Stohlmann, M.S.  (2014). A framework for quality K-12 engineering education: Research and developmentJournal of Precollege Engineering Education Research, 4(1), 1-13. 

One reviewer said,

"Kanoodle Jr. encourages problem solving and spatial reasoning skills as well as critical thinking and design skills. Children are provided with pieces in a variety of shapes and colors. The set comes with a booklet that includes instructions and 60 puzzles. Some puzzles simply require the children to line the pieces up on the colored squares on the puzzle challenge grid, while other puzzles provide only some of the color square requiring children to figure out how each puzzle piece must fit into the grid. The harder puzzles provide no color guide and only block off spaces that can't have pieces. Children must figure out what pieces to use and how to arrange them on the grid. The puzzles promote iterative design and problem solving as it may take multiple attempts to correctly arrange the pieces."

A review's recommendation

"It is a great gift as it is fun and helps a child build upon their critical thinking skills at any early age."