Challenge Your Mind with ThinkFun’s New Pocket Brainteasers

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In high school, one of my teachers kept a basket of 3D sliding puzzles for kids who were done with their work and I have fond memories of how I figured out the key to solving them, much to the annoyance of a few classmates who tried everything they could to mix them up enough to thwart me. Sometimes you need the ability to fiddle with something in a non-disruptive way.

A, our fourth grader, has started becoming fond of puzzles and other games with different challenges for your brain to solve. When I saw that ThinkFun had released a new line of Pocket Brainteasers, I was excited to receive a set for reviewing.

What are Pocket Brainteasers?

Pocket Brainteasers are small brain challenging puzzles from ThinkFun that would easily fit into a small bag or pouch. There are four different puzzles to choose from: The 4-Piece Puzzle, The 4-T Puzzle, The Fifth Chair, and The Rec-Tangle. Each puzzle is designed for ages 8+ and has a different difficulty level. The puzzles have a MSRP of $6.99 each.

What Comes With the Pocket Brainteasers?

The Pocket Brainteasers include the following:

The 4-Piece Puzzle

  • 4 Interlocking Jigsaw Pieces
The 4-Piece Puzzle. Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

The Fifth Chair

  • 4 L-Shaped Pieces in 3 sizes
The Fifth Chair. Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

The 4-T Puzzle

  • 4 T-Shaped Pieces
  • Double Sided Tray
The 4-T Puzzle. Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

The Rec-Tangle

  • 8 Pieces
  • Double Sided Tray and Lid
The Rec-Tangle. Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

The pieces are all made of a pretty solid plastic and come in a variety of colors that makes keeping track of which pieces go to which puzzle easier. Each box does have a basic set of directions on the back to let you know what the puzzle goal actually is. I think they’ll stand a pretty decent test of time and they will easily fit into an entertainment bag for kids. 

The Pocket Brainteasers In Play

Once they arrived, A and I busted the puzzles out and started trying to see if we could master them. Some are clearly more challenging than others. 

The 4-Piece Puzzle

Goal: Unlock all 4 pieces.

How We Did: Honestly, we’re still working on this one. Clearly there needs to be a pattern to which piece you shift when and by how much. They’re connected at angles so they don’t just slide apart and we’ve spent some time on and off trying to figure this one out, but it’s currently eluding us.

The Fifth Chair

Goal: Assemble the 4 pieces into one large “L’ or “chair.”

How We Did: After several days, I was finally able to solve this one. I’m not as good with working with things that are 3-D (I blame my bad depth perception). It’s definitely a mental exercise in twisting things around to see how the shapes fit together though.

The 4-T Puzzle

Goal: Fit all 4 pieces into the smaller square in the Tray.

How We Did: This one we did solve between the two of us. It took just enough time and thinking that we didn’t feel it was too easy, but not so difficult that we got ridiculously frustrated, especially with two other puzzles eluding us at the time.

The Rec-Tangle

Goal: Fit all 8 pieces into a perfect rectangle.

How We Did: We also managed to solve this one. Like the 4-T Puzzle, there was just enough work in rearranging things that we felt our victory was earned, but it didn’t feel too impossible either. 

Verdict

Overall, I really love this set. I think it would be great for teachers to keep on hand when classrooms look a little more normal again. The pieces are big enough and plastic so they’d be pretty easy to sanitize for an activity a kid can do while having to remain at their own desk. Two puzzles were easier for us, one took a bit more work, an the final one is still making us think (we’ll get it one day). I do like that there was a variety in the difficulty level which is why I’m really fond of buying the whole set so that you get to work your brain up to the more difficult ones. I might have felt disappointed if I had only bought one of the simple ones or the harder ones, which is why I like grabbing the whole set because I feel like $28 for four helps balance out the the easier and harder ones.

Where Can I Buy ThinkFun’s Pocket Brainteasers?

Right now, all 4 puzzles can be found on Amazon, although I will note they are each selling for between $8.42 to $9.21 there.

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