Take It Easy is a unique mix of a brain-teasing activities, with puzzle games consisting of tiles and numbers. Pieces are placed one at a time on the game board, with the purpose being to create continuous rows of the same number. Points scored depend on the numbers on the tiles as well as the number of tiles used to create the continuous row. Longer rows mean more points, while interrupted rows mean zero points. The difficulty of the levels progressively increase, as more board spaces and more tiles are added to the puzzles. Take It Easy offers three different game modes (classic, puzzle, and progressive) that allow the player to switch things up between challenges, and offers local and online multiplayer options. The game begins simple enough but eventually becomes quite challenging for younger players, so Take It Easy is suggested most appropriate for ages seven years and older.
Developing a systematic approach for setting and achieving goals.
It’s practically impossible to finish levels in Take It Easy without carefully calculating each tile placement. Some levels require specific rows / designs to be created, making tile manipulation tricky. Forethought is even more critical when it comes to earning maximum points in a level. The honeycomb nature of the game board means that some rows can only consist of three tiles, while others may have six or more (depending on the size of the game board). Knowing that points are based on the number of continuous tiles in the row, it would be a waste to fill a long row with a small number, as larger numbers earn more points. Therefore, a strategy that places low-numbered tiles (such as ones) in the shortest rows ultimately allows the longer rows to be filled with high-numbered tiles (up to 9). Failure to look ahead and conceive a strategic layout of numbers opens the door to devastating point losses, and since tiles can't be moved once put down, placing one wrong tile in a row of otherwise perfect tile set makes the entire row worthless; with no points are earned. Unfortunately, one wrong move can have a domino effect and ruin some or all of the tangential rows. Of course, there are many ways to win a single level of Take It Easy, but the best way involves careful planning to ensure higher scores and less time wasted when levels need to be restarted.
Adapting and adjusting to changing conditions and expectations.
The player must be comfortable switching between different rules and strategies in order to do well in all parts of Take It Easy. Certainly, mental flexibility is required between game modes, as the Progressive Mode is timed while the Puzzle Mode is not, for example. Different stages call upon different methods of thinking and acting. However, the rules can also change within a single game mode. For example, in Progressive Mode, some levels require tiles to be placed adjacent to another tile already on the board - as opposed to free placement. Other levels introduce wildcard tiles, locked tiles, or even an already full board of tiles that need to be swapped around. Recognizing the new components within a level and understanding how to use or work around them represents an active mind that can adapt to new situations and overcome unforeseen circumstances.
Being efficient and aware of our use of time and effort.
Within Progressive Mode, levels are timed and require a certain score to be reached before time has run out. This ups the challenge over the Puzzle Mode, limiting the amount of time spent strategizing the best possible tile placement. It's important, therefore, to monitor both the remaining time and the current score, to get an idea of how quickly the player should pace himself to beat the level. Although mulling over moves is important, spending too much to ensure that each tile is perfectly placed is not the way to go in Progressive Mode. Players need to think quickly and accurately in order to do well -- especially when bonus points are added for any leftover time once the level is won. Rushing too fast won't do much good either, as it lowers the player's chances of making smart decisions, possibly costing him to lose the level. Good use of Time Management skills means balancing speed and accuracy, and recognizing that not every decision will be perfect, but that decisions should still follow logic and strategy without too much time for hesitation.
Use this PlayTogether guide to learn how you can help your child to turn Take It Easy play time into a positive learning and relationship-building experience. To learn more about why playing games with your child is so important, check out our Science of Play page.
Unlike many apps, Take It Easy offers local and online multiplayer options above the traditional single player mode. Using an iPad, up to four people can play on the device at once. Or if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, two can play together head-to-head with a split screen. Another option is to battle it out amongst online friends. After you decide what mode will work best for you and your child, review the thinking skills utilized in this game and have fun using them while working towards the gameplay goals listed below.
After you have completed most or all of the objectives above, take a moment to stop the game and talk with your child about how the game is exercising all three thinking skills.
Our Make it Work activities are designed to transform your child’s gameplay to real-world improvements in thinking and academic skills. If you’re just getting started with LearningWorks for Kids, we suggest you try them all to find which are the best for you and your child.
Explain to your child that:
Encourage brainstorming as a tool in the planning process. Sometimes the best way to come up with a plan is to explore alternatives. Teaching and practicing brainstorming strategies can be very useful for a child who struggles with the Planning thinking skill. It’s important to recognize that brainstorming will likely be the first phase of planning. Teach your child the three steps of effective brainstorming. First, generate as many ideas as possible about what is to be accomplished or achieved in a limited amount of time. Next, answer a series of questions by creating a “web.” To create the web, use question prompts such as who, what, where, why, when, and how. Create a visual representation of the web on a piece of paper to show connections between your child’s answers. Sometimes it can be helpful to utilize some of the original ideas from the first brainstorming step in the web. Finally, generate a list of additional ideas regarding the topic based on steps one and two. This brainstorming approach can help with written assignments, planning an activity, and recognizing the necessary steps to completing a task.
Make up a new game. Invent new games by slightly changing the rules, or by taking rules from one game and adding them to another. For example, play a memory game in which players must match opposite images, rather than ones that are alike. Play a basketball “shooting” game in which players get 2, 3, 4, or 5 points depending on the type of shot that is taken. You can even create some absurd challenges, like play horseshoes with a soccer ball, or trying to play baseball using a kickball and no gloves. You can even add a timed element to one of your child’s favorite games, changing the strategy needed to win. After playing, make sure to discuss with your child how he needed to apply different strategies as the rules changed.
Make Time Management a competition. One strategy to help children create a sense of urgency and awareness is to encourage them to compete against themselves or others. Typically it’s best to have a child compete against his or her own skill set, rather than the skill set of another. It may sometimes be useful to have your child compete against you as a parent, particularly in areas where he or she shows aptitude. Think about how you can make a game or competition out of time management. You could challenge your child to complete a task by the time it takes you to finish another task. This could help your child to become more efficient.
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