Color code is a fun, challenging, single player game that uses a different skill set than many logic puzzles aimed at similar age kids. It requires kids to use spatial reasoning, but rather than using 3 dimensional shapes, it requires kids to layer a series of flat (2 dimensional) images to make a specified design.
Comments: Our family loves all the Smart Games puzzles. The only problem is that many of them are pretty similar (Bunny Peek-a-Boo, Camelot Jr., Castle Logix, Trucky 3, Smart Car, etc.) in that the child is manipulating 3 dimensional shapes to solve a puzzle. We like those games too, but sometimes I wonder if it was worth buying so many or if they all require and refine the same set of skills. Color Code is not really THAT different. The child still has to use spatial reasoning and visualize what happens when one shape is placed in front of another shape. However, the game feels different, because the shapes are flat, not 3 dimensional.
Also, my 5 year old is fairly good at the 3 dimensional puzzles, while my 3 year old struggles with them. Oddly, my 5 year old seems to struggle more with Color Code, while it is one of the few puzzles that seems to come easily to my 3 year old. (To be fair, I do give the 5 year old harder challenges than I give the 3 year old.) It just goes to show how kids have different natural strengths and weaknesses (though I do believe that it’s possible for weaknesses to be improved to eventually become strengths given time and motivation). The box says that Color Code is meant for kids who are 5 and up. My 3 year old does not seem to struggle at all with the easiest “Starter” puzzles that require only 2 pieces to be layered. My 5 year old can do the “Junior” level puzzles that require at least 3 pieces to be layered, but since they are fairly difficult for him, it will probably be a while before he gets to the “Expert” or “Master” levels.
What I think is most interesting is that the child can instantly narrow down which cards will be used for the solution based on the colors in the picture they need to match. For example, a picture might be made of purple and green shapes, so the child will start by finding the purple and green cards. However, if my 5 year old struggles long enough to make the available purple and green pieces form the specified shape, he will eventually resort to bringing in other color cards, like red or blue. As an adult, I know this will never work, but I think it’s so interesting that he tries anyway. At first, I tried to help him see his mistake, but I’ve come to realize that there’s no harm in letting him try. He eventually realizes on his own that his technique is not going to work and goes back to manipulating the right colors.
I won’t deny that Color Code has resulted in a bit of frustration in my house at times, but I think a little frustration is good for kids, and my son feels so proud when he finally solves the challenge on his own. This is one of the games that we’ve purchased that I’ve never questioned was worth the cost.
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