Puzzlejuice combines elements of several different puzzle games and places them into a colorful and upbeat package that challenges spatial and verbal abilities. Multicolored blocks fall from the top of the screen as the player works to arrange them into rows. Once a complete row or a group of 3 or more same-colored blocks is created, the blocks can be turned into letters. The player then makes words from the given letters in order to get rid of the blocks. She has to work fast though, because if her blocks pile up and reach the top the game is over. PuzzleJuice contains no violence or inappropriate content, but due to the level of challenge and required academic skills, it is recommended to kids ages 8+.
Being efficient and aware of our use of time and effort.
The player needs to split her time between two tasks: spelling words and eliminating blocks. She has to make sure that she destroys blocks before they pile while and create words by placing letters that form. If she spends too much time looking for words, though, she may pile up blocks and risk reaching the top of the screen. At the same time, if she spends too long clearing them out, she may miss spelling opportunities, hurting her score. Only by balancing time between these two objectives can she last long enough to achieve a decent score.
Adapting and adjusting to changing conditions and expectations.
Not only does Puzzlejuice challenge her spatial abilities, but it also tests the player's spelling abilities. In order to do well, she will have to quickly switch between two different modes of thinking and playing. She needs to be able to sort and arrange colors, but then shift her attention towards spelling words while still guiding blocks. If she remains focused on only one part of the challenge for too long -- such as forming groups of colors -- she will ultimately fail the level when her letter blocks reach the top.
Developing a systematic approach for setting and achieving goals.
By creating rows or groups of 3 or more adjacent colors, the player can pop the blocks into letters. Doing so takes some quick planning, as players need to create logical groups of colors, as well as pay attention to what shapes are coming up next in order to determine where each block fits best. Once the block appears, she must examine its colors -- as well as those of her current blocks -- in order to find the best possible spot to place it.
Getting started and then maintaining attention, and effort to tasks.
Puzzlejuice is fast paced and quite challenging. The player simply cannot afford to allow herself to be distracted. Even with complete focus, the player is still racing to manage the growing pile of blocks and spelling words. If she fails to direct her full attention towards the game, she will easily become overwhelmed and allow her blocks to reach to top.
Use this PlayTogether guide to learn how you can help your child turn Puzzlejuice play time into a positive learning and relationship-building experience. To learn more about why playing games with your children is so important, check out our Science of Play page.
Puzzlejuice is a single player game, however the game can be played in a "local" multiplayer fashion. In this way, one player may focus on sorting the blocks, while the other player looks for words within the letters. Another way both you and your child may play together is in a competitive fashion, playing to see who can spell the most words or clear the most blocks to earn points. Look over the gameplay goals below, and decide how you'd like to achieve them together.
After you’ve completed the four goals, take a minute to pause the game and talk with your child about how Puzzlejuice is exercising your Time Management, Flexibility, Planning, and Focus skills.
Our Make it Real activites are designed to transform your child’s gameplay into real-world improvements in thinking and academic skills. If you’re just getting started with LearningWorks for Kids, we suggest you try all of them in order to determine which activities are best for you and your child.
Discuss the passage of time with your child, including concepts like “time flies” when they are very involved or busy in an activity. Help your child to understand that if she engages in a very interesting job, or dedicates a certain level of focus during class she will be less apt to watch the clock and wonder when it will be over. This same focus can work against her if she is involved in playing a game or having fun, causing her to lose track of time. Point out the need to keep track of time in order to adequately prepare for completing homework or chores on schedule.
Play two games simultaneously in order to illustrate the way rules vary according to situations. This is described as the “double game challenge” by Adam Cox, Ph.D., who notes that it requires switching back and forth between sets of rules, keeping track of turns, and understanding the different strategies required in each game. You can talk to your child about how this is similar to the way that different teachers, different classrooms, or different parents may have varying rules and expectations.
Use building tasks to strengthen planning skills. Use hands-on building tasks with blocks, Legos, bricks, or lumber to complete a paper-based design. Creative artwork with geometric forms also requires foresight, planning, breaking down the plan into steps, and building a design. Many toys beyond simple blocks or Legos, such as Geomix, Hexabits, and Connex, require planning and visualization skills. Engage in both free play (with a particular design in mind) and tasks in which you use completely pre-designed models. Compare and contrast your approaches and planning decisions.
Refocus. Help your child to see that it is not uncommon to be distracted by thoughts or ideas, but follow that up with self-instructional strategies for redirecting attention back to the task at hand. You could model this for your child when working on a project or a chore, while simultaneously talking about other things you want to be doing, such as reading a book or getting some exercise. Then mention to, or show, your child how you redirect your focus to the task at hand. For example, say something like, “I need to finish emptying the dishwasher, then I can go to the gym.” Prompt her to use similar self-instructional reminders when confronted with numerous distractions.
With such a large portion of the game focusing on the ability to spell words, the player will receive a great deal of practice spelling words ranging from three letter words, to the longest words she knows. Also, when she spells a word incorrectly, she becomes aware that she in fact does not know how to spell that particular word, and may need to look it up later. As an added bonus, the game offers a dictionary feature so she has the opportunity to look up the definitions of words she may have spelled correctly, but does not know the correct meaning. Playing Puzzlejuice will improve her spelling skills naturally as she plays the game and challenges herself to form words of all sizes.
PuzzleJuice is a great way to practice identification and creation of words. Players are benefited by acting quickly to form words and lengthier words are more advantageous for creating space. Children who have difficulty identifying, spelling, and writing words can practice the basic skills required for forming words. This game will also help players to remember common letter combinations and rules of grammar by forcing them to practice creating words continuously and at speed.
How to Use PuzzleJuice for Children with Dyslexia:
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