Monday, April 14, 2014

Stenzzles from ThinkFun

ThinkFun Stenzzles: Tropical Collection

Today's puzzle review is of Stenzzles! I've had my eye on these for a couple months now at B&N (that's my favorite hang-out!)  I finally bought one today, and I'm glad I did!  It is a simple puzzle, but definitely offers a bit of a challenge.

Stenzzles comes with 8 different colored stencils, an instruction guide with challenges and solutions, and a display stand.  You can use the stand to display your completed puzzles for everyone to admire!

The idea behind Stenzzles is to layer each of 8 stencil pieces one behind the other in some particular order.  Each stencil has its own challenge in which it is featured as the top layer.

Some solving tips:  To figure out which stencil comes next, look at the next most dominant color.  It's also useful to look from the edges inward.

What I like about this puzzle is that it's quick to solve so that it can capture and hold someone with a short attention span just long enough to get the job done.  Especially if they like to complete all the challenges in one sitting, as there are only 8.

I think this puzzle might be slightly better if the stencils were made out of plastic of some kind.  Of course, then it wouldn't be biodegradable, and would probably be more expensive.  So just be careful with this puzzle.  If you've got expressive kids, the smaller edges and bits of the stencils could take a beating.  They're made of thick cardboard, but they are not indestructible.

Another interesting aspect of this puzzle is that you can make your own challenges.  Each stencil can be rotated, flipped, and layered in many different ways.  If you or your kids decide to create a new challenge, take a picture of it.  The photo can then be used as the model, and the person who attempts to recreate your challenge can look at that while they work.

I bought the Tropical Collection.  But ThinkFun also makes a Sports Collection and a Dog Collection.  If you had all three collections, you'd have 24 stencils.  You could then mix and match from the different sets and make a TON of crazy layering stencil challenges!

For even more fun, you and yours could make up a set of your own stencils to play around with.  You might need to use an exacto knife and some thick paper to cut the stencils nicely (so be careful!), but you could go completely wild imagining fun things to stencil and layer!

(Did you notice my cat in the top two photos?!)

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