March Easy 1

February Medium # 2: In the Stacks

A library-themed puzzle for this entry.

Learning by Design – Tools and Games for Ages 11-13

Yes, there is some overlap here with the previous grouping and the following one.  That said, there are a few key differences in game play that makes this age group appropriate to discuss on its own.  Part of this comes not from the biological changes this audience undergoes or faces, but rather in the core competencies of game play development that occur in this transitory period.  What is different here is the level of sophistication in the style of play and the enjoyment of established concepts matures to incorporate deeper levels of meaning.  What is often embraced at this time are more immersive experiences and a greater awareness of resource management.

What kids can create at this age range starts to include games with storylines of increasing complexity, the use of multiple resources, and more integrated systems.  Rather than being a new skill or tool, this coincides with the greater understanding that comes along with information the child learns.  This is also a continuation of the growing modularity of game systems and the recognition of analogous structures.  Thus, while much of the material is derivative and linear, the games at this age begin to incorporate nonlinear elements as well as a greater level of choice in game play (which coincides with greater awareness of other viewpoints).  The two game tools that fit this intermediary phase are:


  • Introductory resource management systems
  • Development of storylines, predominantly linear, interspersed between game play

Learning by Design – Interactions and Play for Ages 9-12

The developmental milestones for kids in this age group sees a lot of rapid change from year-to-year that makes condensing it into a brief overview difficult.  Kids start out growing use not only to using tools with increasing skill, but also a greater body awareness that, by the latter half of this age range grows into greater awareness of gender differences.  As such, the mastery over self and tools and working until exhausted are some of the key identifiers of this age group.  Sports also become more important as they help with the exploration of physicality and eventually being in a constant state of motion while awake by the end of this age range.  The types of games tend to take these developments into account.

In terms of information and intellectual development, the younger end of this age range is still in the information gathering phase as they continue to commit facts to memory.  It is not until the latter half of this age range that they begin to use logic, categorization, and deep though to better understand and use that knowledge.  The child also starts to internalize physical lessons into mental ones as analogous structures.  Conceptual frames, like time, are elusive for the 9-10 year-old crowd, but become easier to manage and use and can be applied to the worldviews of others.  This growing awareness helps with the social developments of the child discussed below.

Kids begin this age range unwilling to do anything they find unpleasant, which includes chores and often being around the opposite sex.  They can be responsible and carry out chores.  Emotions have more sway over the first half of this age, but mellow out as reason develops.  Friendships grow in importance, but it is not until the second half of this stage that relationship with parents begins to change.  Group activities continue to become more important to the child and by the end of this age range, the desire to conform to peer pressure begins to develop as the drive to feel connected to a social fabric of shared interests grows.  Interests grow more important and sharing is communicated as much by enthusiasm as it is dislikes, which may be more prominent than the former.

February’s Medium Puzzle #1

I have a backlog of puzzles, so here’s another to keep you occupied while I finalize some publishing details and get the variety of blog posts flowing again.

February Easy #2

Yet another puzzle for you.

Feb #1 Easy

The first easy puzzle I did for that month.