smarty blocksI’m sure most kids would agree that the best part of summer is no school, but sometimes, kids tend to get rusty on the skills they acquire during the school year. Designed for two to four players, Smarty Blocks, from Fat Brain Toys, is an educational game that helps kids improve their motor skills, spatial skills, and visual recognition by challenging them to complete as many challenge cards as they can in one minute.

To start, players place all 10 blocks in the center of the play area. Each block has a number, animal, letter, two colored faces, and dotted face. One player flips the timer, and the other draws a card from the deck double-sided challenge cards and completes the challenge as quickly as they can before the timer runs out. The next player then works against the clock to complete the challenge cards, and at the end of three rounds, the player with the most completed challenge cards wins. Smarty Blocks can also be played as a single player game, where the player tries attempts to beat their own time.

The challenge cards have different levels of difficulty. On the orange side, reading is not required, but it contains images that players can reproduce. The blue side, however, is more advanced, and the players must read each card and follow the instructions.

The cards and the blocks are durable and well made, and all the images colorful and distinct. The best part of this game is that it facilitates friendly competition and critical thinking at the same time. Parents can also participate, especially for the more advanced set of cards, which can be more challenging for kids who are still beginners in reading. Smarty Blocks is a fun solution to the lull in learning that tends to happen during the summer months.