Thursday, August 25, 2022

Dice, Decks, and Boards: Challenge Your Mind With Horse Academy

 A Mom's Quest to Teach: Dice, Decks, and Boards: Challenge Your Mind With Horse Academy; horse photograph in the background

I received a COMPLIMENTARY copy of this game from Timberdoodle in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy page. Thank you.

Games are a great way to challenge your mind. There are many ways you can keep different skills fresh no matter what kind of game you are playing. Games help us: 

  • Build critical thinking skills
  • Practice cooperation, collaboration, and learning to win or lose with grace 
  • Keep reading and/or math skills in use
  • Use logic
  • Practice problem solving 
  • Work on planning
  • And more! 
Some games are better equipped to help you and your children work on these skills and ideas than others. For example, while the popular -opoly games may help us learn and practice how to lose graciously, games like Horse Academy can help build cognitive skills like spatial insight, planning, and problem-solving. As it is a one-player game, it can also help with patience if there is more than one who wants to work on the challenge at one time.

A Mom's Quest to Teach logo; Horse Academy box and game in session

What is Horse Academy? 

Horse Academy is a one-person puzzle game from Smart Games where players need to create a path for their horse to jump over obstacles in a specific sequence to reach the exit gate. The box contains
  • 1 game board 
  • 1 exit gate 
  • 10 puzzle pieces with obstacles and paths
  • 1 horse with a rider
  • Booklet with 80 challenges
  • 1 sticker sheet with instructions on where to download timesheets 
There are five levels of challenges: 
  • Starter
  • Junior 
  • Expert
  • Master
  • Wizard 
You look at the challenge to pick out the pieces you need and find out where to place the start and finish pieces (except at the wizard level where they don't tell you the starter or end position). Your horse follows the path in the order laid out in the challenge without changing course. There are some additional specifications regarding turning, order, and color in the booklet. 

A Mom's Quest to Teach logo; challenge book and game in session for Horse Academy

Our Thoughts on Horse Academy 

At first, I was a bit confused, but I found once we started trying to solve the challenges, it was easy to get the knack of this one-person puzzle game. I did not give our daughter too much instruction once she got started. We ran through a couple of the challenges together, and then I went to help her brother with another one-person puzzle game from Timberdoodle that he is helping us review.

When I asked our daughter what she thought of this challenging puzzle game, she told me that it would help people learn about horses. She said, "the puzzles are not difficult. They are fun. They are not too hard." She also gave the advice that "you have to stay on the road. Make your horse jump over the fences. Some paths are wriggly and shaky. Like challenge number 10."

A Mom's Quest to Teach; Horse Academy game in session

I really liked how she took quickly to Horse Academy and worked through the challenges without even realizing she was using critical thinking skills. Her mind was being challenged but she did not know it. She just saw it as having fun. 

The pieces are hard plastic and fit well together on the game board. It all fits neatly in the box too which is wonderful for storage and organization. I really appreciate games that go back into the box easily. 

As a homeschooling mom of two elementary-aged children, I like having one-person games that focus on cognitive skills. While working with her brother, our daughter can have fun while building her critical thinking skills. 

I would recommend Horse Academy to families of both homeschooled and non-homeschooled children. It is a great game for those times when a child needs to amuse themselves. It is part of the 2022 Third-Grade Curriculum Kit at Timberdoodle which seems like a perfect fit to me. Our daughter is going to be in second grade and while she can do the easier challenges, I think the higher-level ones will be a bit too challenging without help. 

A Mom's Quest to Teach: Dice, Decks, and Boards: Challenge Your Mind With Horse Academy; game in session with challenge book visible

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