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Best Science Toys That Will Inspire a Generation
Best Science Toys That Will Inspire a Generation

Best science toys – Remember how fun it was to play with toys as a child? You may not have realized then it was also helping your brain development in a huge way.

In fact, scientists have found that the more stimulation a child’s brain receives at a young age, the more developed their brain will be in the coming years.

Playing with STEM toys is a fun and educational way for kids to receive this kind of helpful stimulation.

Best science toys

We all want the best for our child’s development. It’s great to know we can give children the gift of education through play. STEM and science toys make it easy.

Kids are innately curious, and science toys make it fun. These toys will inspire kids to think critically and to develop a growth mindset.

STEM and science toys for older kids

SpaceRail – All About Marble Run Roller Coaster SpaceRails

Best Engineering Toys for Kids– Best Engineering and STEM Toys

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This toy combines critical thinking, coding, and drawing together in one. It develops fine motor skills as well.

It comes with markers for kids to draw paths in blue, red, black, and green. The little robot, Ozobot, will follow the route, enjoying the twists and turns.

Ozobot will also light up with that color when he is on it… when he rolls over a green line, he turns green.

The Ozobot Starter Pack includes a two-sided puzzle track which is fun to use.

Kids will have a great time making their own routes as well. The orb, which is about the size of a ping pong ball, contains sensors.

These sensors are programmed to complete different actions depending on which color is beneath them.

Kids can draw paths for him to follow, and change the color line order for him to do different commands.

My 11 year old had the chance to play with these in science class at school and used his money to buy one that weekend. He still loves it. He bought the Starter Pack. It is enough on its own without buying all the add-on characters, etc., at least to start.

This is a great toy because you don’t need a separate device to enjoy playing with it. It’s also portable but you need a flat surface and to bring paper and markers.

So it’s good for a restaurant but not at the ballpark. As long as your child will be careful with it, young children will enjoy Ozobot as well.

Little Bits

Oh how we love Little Bits in our house. These small sets are sort of like Lego in that the more pieces you have, the more fun it is.

We started getting our kids the smaller set with 10 pieces, called the Electronics Base Kit. They were able to make a lot of contraptions.

Over the years, Little Bits has done more marketing to encourage kids to incorporate Little Bits with objects around the house, to make different “machines.”

My kids haven’t ever done this. They enjoy playing with them on their own, by mixing up the colorful pieces from their different sets.

The pieces are magnetic and easily stick together. We now own four sets total, and they enjoy mixing the pieces to design different sounds, lights, etc.

We plan to get Little Bits’ latest set, the Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit, for Christmas. It looks like a blast!) One of the sets we own is the Korg Synth Kit.

It says on the box it’s for ages 14+ but we bought this for our kids when my youngest was 8, and he was able to do it. Though he had experience with the other Little Bits sets. We like Little Bits for their portability too. Kids can play with some of the Little Bits sets on their lap in the car.

They don’t require a separate device in order for them to work. Most pieces are 1 – 3 inches long. Little Bits uses a 9V battery.

Boolean Box

Kids love screens and electronics. With this toy, your kids can build their own. They’ll develop some serious skills while doing it.

Technology is a great addition to the educational toys of today. And finding a way to incorporate it, rather than making it the central focus of the game, is best.

This kit comes with everything your kiddo needs in order to build their own Raspberry Pi computer. It also comes loaded with software that will promote your child’s understanding of coding.

It’s so great, it made this list: Time Magazines Eight Toys That Can Make Your Kids Smarter for 2017. The only thing we didn’t like about this is that it’s marketed toward girls. We wish the color was more gender-neutral. Still, boys and girls will both enjoy building their very own Raspberry Pi.

We don’t own this toy (because we bought them Kano, but they’ve used the Boolean Box at a friend’s house).


A runner up and similar to the Boolean Box, if you like this idea for a toy is Kano. Our children continue to learn a lot from it and have fun. Our school offers an online subscription over the summer for kids to learn and keep up with coding skills.

My kids have never been interested in doing it but they will pull out their Kano and code. I like that it’s more of a tangible coding toy — more of a manipulative — than just logging mindlessly onto a computer and go to a website to learn coding.

They use Kano for coding to make up their own games. It’s (a more neutral) orange than the pink Boolean.

We bought our kids these for Christmas when our kids were 8 and 10 years old. That was two years ago, and they still enjoy taking their Kanos out of the box to code.

Jimu Robot Kit

With two hundred parts that snap together, six motors for joints, and everything you need to build Jimu yourself, this robot is a blast.

Jimu is challenging to build, and that’s what makes it great. This is the perfect opportunity to join your child in creating something and learning together.

Once built, kids can control Jimu from a smart device, learning coding basics as they go. As they get more skilled in coding, they can do more complex maneuvers.

Kids can also build the robot using their own ideas and construct their own character. My kids used these in a science camp over the summer.

If you have more than one child, definitely start with getting one to share. Jimu is fun to build together. If they play with it often and you have more than one electronic device for them to operate it, you can always get the other models so they won’t be the same.

STEM and science toys for younger kids

Dot and Dash Robots

This is a great toy for starting around 5 – 6 years old. Dot and Dash come already assembled and ready for learning and play.

This makes them great for little ones who are just starting out with STEM toys. They provide another opportunity for early education about coding. Your child can create code that will have Dot and Dash dancing and singing all over your home.

Dash has wheels and comes with the capability for impressive maneuvers. Dot is a bit more basic. It can be programmed to play different games with your child.

My kids, who are older than this age-range, played with these at their cousin’s house. I wouldn’t recommend them for children over 8 years old as they will lose interest in time. However, older siblings will enjoy playing with them from time to time. My kids did have fun with them.


These are small cubes. They’re geared toward younger children (ages 4+) but older children will definitely find them fun, especially if they use them in combination with other toys they may have.

There are different sets, some with more cubes than others. We recommend starting with a smaller, less expensive set.

If you children enjoy them, you can buy the larger sets with more cubes. More cubes makes it that more fun, as kids can do so much more with them.

We love that Cubelets are portable and don’t require any device to make them work. Kids can play with them in the car or at a restaurant.

Something fantastic for my family is Cubelets are compatible with Lego, definitely extends the “playing life” of these toys.

Kids can use them combined with other toys too… that’s what makes them great. Kids use their imagination as well as science. Some blocks serve as motors, some as sensors, some as batteries.

As they try out different combinations, your kid will learn all about component placement.


This one from Fisher-Price is great for the littlest of curious minds. Although this caterpillar-like toy doesn’t involve coding in the way many other STEM toys do, it does provide the knowledge base for children as young as three to get in the mindset of a programmer.

By changing around the parts of a Code-a-pillar’s thorax and abdomen, your child can change the toy’s path as it scoots around.

There are sound effects and music as well. There’s an expansion pack sold separately which gives your child more options, but it isn’t necessary. Your children will grow their skills.

What is a science toy?

You may have heard about science toys or STEM toys. But what are they, exactly?

STEM is an abbreviation for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. STEM toys aim to encourage children to foster skills within these areas.

You may have heard of a curriculum called STEAM. The “A” includes Art.

Although STEM toys do incorporate these subjects, they’re about so much more than that.

STEM education concentrates on how these areas of study link to each other, and how they can be used in the real world.

When kids are using problem-solving skills and having fun at the same time, they will not only enjoy themselves, but they’ll develop a lifelong love for learning.

Best science toys can keep them off screens

Although there are a lot of great games for kids on computers, we think it’s best for a child’s health and development to limit their screen time.

In fact, pediatricians are concerned about this  issue. Studies show extended screen time can lead to myopia, or nearsightedness, in children. For this reason, it’s best to monitor and limit how much time your child spends sitting at the computer. Some screen time is fine, in moderation.

These kids science toys will get your child off the computer and stimulate their brains.

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Science toys make great gift ideas for kids

STEM toys make some of the best gifts for kids to keep them engaged.

When we’re young, all we know is that we want to explore, play, and have fun. Providing children with the opportunities to grow, develop real world skills, and stimulate their developing brain function is one of the greatest gifts that you can give them.

If you want to see success in their future, kids science toys are the perfect way to make that dream a reality.

These best science toys for kids inspire 21st century learning in a developmentally appropriate way. No matter what your child’s age, you can find the perfect STEM toy.

Best Engineering Toys for Kids- Engineering and STEM Toys
Best Engineering Toys for Kids- Engineering and STEM Toys

Best Engineering Toys for STEM – Today’s world runs on technology, and it’s easy to project that the future world will only be more technology dependent.

In order for those innovations to happen, we need more scientists, researchers, engineers, and developers. However, recent education trends show that fewer kids are choosing to focus on the academic subjects that are most likely to lead to technological innovation.

For this reason, engineering toys and games that are directed toward STEM subjects are essential.

No matter the reason or season — holidays, summer break, weekend fun — this is the perfect time to select STEM toys or engineering toys for your child or grandchild.

These gift ideas are all fun, thought-provoking and beneficial to their future.

Best Science Toys That Will Inspire a Generation

Magnetic Toys: Choose Between Magnetic Balls, Blocks, Tiles & More

Best engineering toys for kids

  • Gaming: Osmo – Genius Kit
  • Programming: Dash Robot
  • Coding: Ozobot Evo Starter Pack
  • Construction: Jimu Robot (BuzzBot / MuttBot Kit)
  • Circuit building: Snap Circuits was my kids’ go-to summer toy! Circuit toy
  • Engineering: Spacerails 6,500mm Level 1 Game
  • STEM building kits: Eureka Crate

Getting started early with STEM

You don’t have to wait to get kids interested in a STEM-based subject. The earlier these disciplines are introduced, the more likely kids are to develop a sustained interest.

These subjects are even more interesting to kids when the learning feels more like play. That’s the beauty of these holiday STEM and engineering toys.

Each one provides kids with fun and exciting challenges to discover, allowing them to learn useful skills without realizing that what they are doing is educational.

Just as vitally, many of these toys can be upgraded with modular parts so that they develop with your child’s skill level.

Best engineering toys and best STEM toys

If you want to give a gift that is bound to delight your child or grandchild, you can’t go wrong with one of these STEM toys. Each toy offers a world of challenges to accept and problems to solve.

Kids think they’re just having fun, but they are actually building the skills that will serve them for a lifetime. Any of these highly rated STEM toys will provide hours of fun and learning.

Another option is KiwiCo crates.

Game up with Osmo – Genius Kit

The Osmo Genius Kit lets kids turn an iPad into a multi-dimensional learning device.

This STEM gift is particularly useful because it can be scaled for children 5 – 12 years old.

As the years go by, the child can work to solve more challenging puzzles.

Best STEM toys for Christmas, engineering toys Osmo Genius Kit

Best STEM toys for Christmas, engineering toys Osmo Genius Kit

What will they do with Osmo?

The Numbers and Words games make math and spelling a fun adventure.

  • Tangram develops visual thinking.
  • Newton opens up a world of problem-solving abilities.
  • Masterpiece fosters creative drawing.

The kit includes a base for the iPad and playing pieces.

Other Osmo games — like Hot Wheels, Monsters, and Pizza — are compatible with this system.

If there is a drawback with this toy, it’s that it is only compatible with Apple devices.

Perhaps one day, the developers at Osmo will come up with games that are compatible with other platforms.

If your child already has access to an iPad, this engineering toy will be a hit.

Program with Dash Robot

When kids play with this innovative little robot, the learning and the fun never stop. Dash Robot comes charged and ready to play right out of the box.

Kids will enjoy Dash’s ability to respond to voice commands. Fun programs like dancing and singing make him an instant hit.

However, Dash is capable of much more.

Various apps like Blockly, Wonder, Path and Go give kids the opportunity to teach Dash new behaviors through programming.

Your kids will begin learning programming and then advance their skills as they become more experienced.

In addition to the various apps, several snap-on accessories are available to add to the fun and creative challenges.

Dash is designed for kids who are six years old and up. Reading isn’t required to enjoy this engineering toy. While many accessories are available for Dash, we recommend this, the launcher.

This add-on turns Dash “into a projectile firing machine.”

Your kids are guaranteed to have hours of fun. LEGO fans won’t be able to resist the opportunity to modify their bot with Dash’s building brick connectors.

Learn to code with Ozobot Evo Starter Pack

If you want to introduce kids to coding the fun and easy way, then you will want to get the Ozobot Evo Starter Pack.

This tiny bot packs in tons of effective learning.

Children will enjoy making different routes for Evo, not even realizing they are learning coding skills.

Kids learn elementary coding with paper, markers and a color language.

Evo is the size of a ping pong ball and packed with power.

On the box it says it’s for ages 8+ but younger kids can enjoy it. After a lesson on handling it safely, kindergartners at my kids’ school spend time playing with Ozobot Evo.

Even the fifth and sixth graders enjoy it. (Older kids will too!) OzoBlockly, a graphical drag and drop language, allows kids to drag and drop code to teach their bot even more tricks.

The bot also enables kids to use Ozojis, which are emoticons that the bot acts out. Kids are free to develop their own Ozojis so that they can express themselves like never before.

Remote control mode puts Evo’s personality fully on display.

Once the child has mastered Evo’s basic functions, they are free to participate in a range of activities and functions, which means the learning continues as they advance their skills.

Create a custom-built Jimu Robot (BuzzBot / MuttBot Kit)

Kids won’t be able to resist the personality and interactions that come with the BuzzBot / MuttBot Kit.

This robotics kit teaches children how to build codes that make their robot friends seem to come to life.

It’s the perfect engineering toy for kids who love to build. It comes with six servos and 271 pieces.

Building BuzzBot and his trusty friend MuttBot is a cinch with the instructions, but kids also have the option of building their own custom creation.

Then, they can take it apart and start all over again. The possibilities are endless. This particular kit is designed to entice kids with little or no building and coding experience.

There are additional kits for builders with advanced skills. You can find additional BuzzBot friends to add to their collection.

Draw energy with Circuit Scribe

Do you have a child interested in electronics?

If so, then one of these fun-filled kits may be for them. The Circuit Scribe Basic Kit includes everything needed to introduce beginning concepts and allow kids to make their own hands-on projects.

In the kit, you’ll find the proprietary Circuit Scribe pen, which is able to operate on any paper or surface that an ordinary ballpoint pen works on.

This pen is filled with a non-toxic, conductive silver ink that turns an ordinary piece of paper into a circuit board.

With various modules and accessories, it’s surprisingly easy for kids to learn about the basic concepts of electronics.

You and your kids will be amazed by what they can create as they learn about resistance, transistors and elements in parallel and series.

Other, more robust, Circuit Scribe kits also are available to expand the knowledge and the fun.

Learn programming with Sphero SPRK+

This quirky little bot comes with an app that makes programming concepts surprisingly accessible.

The block-based programming is approachable to even the littlest programmers.

With SPRK+, kids can tell the bot to navigate a maze or play entertaining games.

Because it’s waterproof and shockproof, SPRK+ can go anywhere and do virtually anything without sustaining damage.

The gyroscope, accelerometer and LED lights make every activity interesting.

Kids can connect with other users via the app to create shared projects or find extra inspiration.

Learn engineering with SpaceRail

This is a marble roller coaster marble run that children — sometimes with adult help — put together. They will learn engineering, physics, mechanics, design, math, and even patience as they work their way through the instructions.

The reward will come at the end when they can put the marbles on the run — that they built themselves — to test it out. This is an engaging toy and one that doesn’t offer immediate gratification, unlike everything today in our world of “I want it now.”

Another great thing about SpaceRail is that there are different levels. The idea is you start with SpaceRail Level 1. Once the tweens and teens complete Level 1, you buy Level 2. There are 9 levels total. Each getting progressively more challenging.

This is a brilliant STEM building kit that will build confidence, teach patience, determination, and grit. SpaceRails is challenging.

This is definitely a toy for older children. All of the SpaceRail kits say ages 15+. Younger children can do it but will need an adult’s help. The child will have to build the toy himself/herself, most likely with some adult guidance.

It’s a great toy to bring the family together. Even the Level 1 box says it’s for ages 15+ so it’s definitely a challenging toy. It’s an electronics-free STEM toy that is ideal for teens.

Engineering kit subscription

Something we look forward to every month is our kids’ Kiwi Crate subscription. Each month, they receive a STEM-inspired box. We think Eureka Crate is the best engineering kit. It’s ideal for tweens and teens and isn’t “too young” for them.

The fun is in putting the kits together. They also enjoy playing with their creations. Children will have fun creating and discovering.

There are different STEM kits depending on the age. They are very well-made sets that challenge children and give them a sense of accomplishment when they complete the projects.

What is STEM?

STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

These four disciplines are frequently interrelated.

Education in STEM is the key to producing creative, critical thinkers who have the technical skills and knowledge required to keep making strides in these key industries.

Kids who participate in a STEM program are preparing themselves for a future which may include advances in medicine, infrastructure, building more efficient communities and more.

Why is STEM important?

In earlier decades, the U.S. was a world leader when it came to technological innovation.

Now, the U.S. Department of Education estimates that only 16% of American students profess to be interested in a career in a STEM field.

This means that we have a shortage of graduates with the technical qualifications needed to succeed in these industries.

Students who graduate with STEM-based degrees will find employment in computing, engineering, the physical sciences, life sciences or mathematics, but only if we start them off on the right foot.

Kids need to learn to become critical thinkers. Choosing the best STEM developmental toys is a great start. Best Fidget Toys

STEM toys help with overall academic success

Even if your child eventually decides not to enter a STEM-based career, they will still feel the benefit of playing with these innovative and thought-provoking toys.

Playing with any of these  engineering and STEM toys may spark a wealth of creative talents and foster a love of learning that lasts a lifetime. That’s the kind of holiday gift that we should all love to give and receive.

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SpaceRail – All About Marble Run Roller Coaster SpaceRails

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If you want to buy STEM gifts that the whole family will enjoy, these are all great engineering toys as well as programming and coding toys. In addition, these are perfect to supplement summer learning.

These fun, innovative and smart toys are designed to prepare kids for future challenges in ways that are always fun and accessible.

You’ll love what your children create, and their sense of accomplishment will drive them to even bigger accomplishments.

Questions to Ask the School Before the CogAT Test
Questions to Ask the School Before the CogAT Test

If you have the opportunity, there are so many questions to ask the school before the CogAT test.

It’s important to know, the school will likely not be open to answering your questions. They may view this as giving you and your child an unfair advantage.

Therefore, the more you understand about the test in advance, the more streamlined and relevant your questions will become when faced with limited time in front of school personnel.

Below is exactly what you need to know before you reach out to the school. You will likely only have once chance to ask about the CogAT.

What to know before you talk to the school about the CogAT

We’ve been involved with multiple school districts in five states. Schools DO NOT want to discuss the CogAT until AFTER the test.

At that time, at best, it will be to go over the results. By then — after the CogAT scores have come back — it’s too late for you and your child.

It’s important for you to know as much as you can BEFORE contacting the school so you can choose what’s important for your situation.

In addition, it will help you determine if you should help your child prep in advance and how to go about it.

questions to ask the school before the CogAT

questions to ask the school before the CogAT

Learn all you can about CogAT

It’s important to learn all you can about the CogAT test before going to school administration, the test administrator, or your child’s teacher.

Before you meet with the school, get a CogAT practice test workbook so you can familiarize yourself with the directions and types of questions.

If you do nothing else, at least go over the types of questions in each section.

This will also help you understand the basics before you talk to the school or the teacher about the CogAT.

You do not want to give the impression you are prepping your child. Do not talk to the school about anything on the CogAT test. Act as if you do not know anything about it.

Before your child takes the CogAT

Prior to your child taking the test, let him/her review the practice guides. The CogAT is a timed test.

Ensure your child understands the directions for each section in advance. This way, he/she won’t be wasting time during the test to figure out what to do. This is critical!

Even if your child gets straight A’s or scores in the 95+ percentile for certain subjects, it doesn’t mean he or she will know immediately how to answer CogAT questions.

Get a workbook for your child’s grade or go online for free CogAT worksheets.

Questions to ask the school before the CogAT test

Write these down, and ask them during your meeting.

Familiarize yourself with the questions. You may not have the opportunity to ask everything. Also, depending in the answers, you will likely skip around. Be prepared for your meeting.

It can mean all the difference for your child.

Before you decide about whether to help your child prepare for the CogAT, it’s important to ask the school some questions. Depending on your unique situation, these are some questions to ask.

List of questions to ask before the CogAT

1. Why does the school administer the CogAT?

At my children’s former school in the Midwest, every student in kindergarten and fourth grade took the test.

Gifted placement

While in kindergarten, my son tested in the 98 – 99th percentile in all three sections of the test. We received a letter that he scored high enough for the gifted/talented program; however, there wasn’t a program at the school, so it didn’t matter.

However, when we moved to Colorado, those scores carried over so that when he was in second grade at his new school, he was accepted into their gifted program. He didn’t need to retest to qualify.

Different tracks

It was different for the fourth graders in that Midwestern school. Their CogAT results mattered.

If students scored well on the fourth grade CogAT test, they would be placed in a “fast track” program for fifth grade, at the intermediate school.

A high enough score on the CogAT would have very positive ramifications for the students as they would be in a higher track surrounded with students who are on grade level and above.

Separate math classes

Starting in second grade and later, many larger schools separate students for math based on ability. In this way, teachers can better focus on students at the same level in math. Those who are on grade level will be in one class. The other two classes will be separated out by students who need extra help and those who are advanced in math.

Many schools use teacher recommendations, state math scores, and the CogAT to determine math placement.

You need to know how important the CogAT results are and what it will mean for your child.

2. What score does a child need to place into the program?

If there is a special program or different class or track, what score will students need to get into it?

In order to get into the gifted program at my children’s current Colorado school, a student needs a score of 96% in one of the sections.

That’s not the case in all schools. Some schools take the top percentage of all students in the grade.

3. Does the student need that score in all three sections of the CogAT or just one?

At my children’s current school, once a child scores a 96% in one of the three sections, they need a 93% in one or both of the other sections to be placed into the gifted program in those sections.

You will want to know this.

If your child shows strengths in a particular section when you practice the CogAT, you may want to focus more on that section.

Knowing if a child places high in one of the three sections of the CogAT and can be in the program, even if they don’t place high enough in the other two sections is essential.

If students just need one very high score in one of the sections, it may well be smart to focus on just one area of the CogAT.

Choose the one where you believe your child shows the most knowledge/skills in and is most comfortable during the practice workbooks, CogAT worksheets, and practice tests.

It will be especially helpful to just focus on one area if time is an issue and if the test is just weeks away.

4. How often do they administer the CogAT?

Does the school administer the test yearly? Do all students take it yearly? If your child takes the CogAT and scores very well, will he or she have to take it again?

Find out how soon students can retest. Also, is there a limit to how many times they can take the test?

Be sure to include this in your list of questions to ask the school before the CogAT.

If you child “makes it into the special program,” does he/she have to test in again yearly or is he/she automatically in it?

Will your child have a chance to retake certain parts of the CogAT if he scored lower than the other parts?

At my children’s current K – 5 school, we heard different things. One time, the gifted teacher said students can take it again after a year but only up to three times in their time there. Parents have to ask for their child to take it.

A parent with a child who didn’t score high enough said the teacher told her her child could try again every two years.

Unless your school district has a set plan in place, this is arbitrary. In our school, it seems the enrichment gifted teacher makes the rules. It may also depend on how full their gifted classes are.

5. If my child’s CogAT score is high enough, what program will he/she be in?

In the case at my children’s first school, administrators used the CogAT to place students in the faster-paced program for fifth grade.

At my kids’ current school, the students leave their regular class to meet with the gifted teacher by grade.

There are three sections to the CogAT test. Depending on the number of sections the child scored high enough in (at least 96% in one section, and then 93% or higher in one or two sections) students leave class that number of times to meet with the gifted teacher in those subjects/areas.

In his enrichment class, my second grader learned to play chess, solved tangram puzzles, and played math games.

Schools use CogAT results differently

Another example of a school using the CogAT: A friend who resides in Iowa said her elementary-aged children take the test every year.

If students score high enough, they are placed into the fast-track classroom. This class is a few weeks ahead of the other classes in that grade.

Another is a friend in Oregon. She said their elementary school sent a flyer home about their enrichment/gifted program. In that school, a child’s parent or teacher recommends he/she takes the test.

If the child passes with a high enough score, (95% or higher) they leave school on Friday afternoon, once a month.

The students take a school bus to one of the district’s elementary schools. Elementary school students from the district meet for a two and a half hour enrichment session.

It is imperative you understand how your child will benefit if he/she scores high enough.

What CogAT form will your school use?

If you can get the answer to this question, this will make a big difference. However, if there is one question to skip, this is it.

This question will make it look like you know what you are talking about. You may not want to give that impression.

Feel free to skip this question and prep using CogAT Form 7.

Our current school isn’t well-funded and doesn’t have a set gifted curriculum or test process in place. Teachers “suggest” certain students take the CogAT. They use an outdated CogAT version, Form 6.

For sure, in third grade tests and higher, one of the math sections is different. CogAT Form 6 and CogAT Form 7 have different formats for grades K – 2.

Schools don’t want kids to have an advantage by prepping. This makes sense. So be prepared to not ask this question, and if you do ask it, to not get an answer.

But if you feel comfortable, try to work this question in when it’s appropriate. The answer is VERY important, especially for kindergarten, first and second grades.

It’s likely most schools are using the updated CogAT Form 7 test.

CogAT Sample Questions for Young Students

Why are there different versions?

Based on the schools we were in, it seems the school districts with more money — aka the ones that are better funded — will have the most up-to-date version of the test.

So that would be Form 7 and not CogATForm 6. Also, if they rely on the CogAT results for placing the students, they will likely be using Form 7.

At our (well-funded) school in the Midwest, all of the kindergarten and fourth grade students in the entire district took the CogAT. They mailed the test results to parents and guardians months later.

At our much smaller and not-as-well funded school in Colorado, only certain children took the test. Additionally, the gifted teacher graded the tests BY HAND. In this instance, they didn’t have funds to upgrade to the latest CogAT version.

If you can’t find out which version the school administers, access both CogAT Form 6 and CogAT Form 7 practice questions. Reviewing with your child gives you a chance to encourage critical thinking skills, spatial thinking, logic, process of elimination, and more.

Review them in advance. Then, you can present them logically and straightforwardly in a zero stress environment when you work with your child.

Your child will have had experience working out all the different types of problems.

7. What grades will take the test? Does everyone take it or only certain students?

When we lived in the Midwest, all the students in the grades K and 4th took the tests.

At our school in Colorado, the only students who take the test are the students that the teacher recommends. A parent can also request their child take the test but this is not widely known or advertised.

In this case, it helps to reach out to a parent friend “in the know.” Likely, this is someone with older kids who scored high on the CogAT and were in the enrichment classes.

8. What is the date (or dates) your child will take the CogAT?

This will enable you to know how much time you have to prepare and if it will be worth it.

It will also enable you to be sure your child has enough sleep leading up to the test and especially the night before the test. (You don’t want to stress your child out!)

It will also enable you to be sure your child has a healthy breakfast and lunch those days. You will want a calm, stress-free morning.

When my child took the CogAT in kindergarten, I had no idea he even took the test until we received the results in the mail.

At a minimum, it would have been good to have had made sure he had enough sleep, etc. in the days leading up to the test.

Talk to your child’s teacher about the CogAT test

If possible, find out from your child’s teacher any additional information about your child and the CogAT.

Does your child’s teacher recommend your child take the CogAT?

Does the teacher see certain qualities in your child that leads him/her to believe your child will excel in one or more parts of the CogAT?

If so, it might be worth your time to focus just on one section of the test. This way, you will be focusing on only those three parts instead of all three sections and all nine parts.

After you have answers to these questions, you need to process and really think about your child.

  • Is your child competitive?
  • Will he/she enjoy a challenge?
  • Will your child be willing to sit down and learn about the types of questions on the CogAT and take a few sample questions?
  • Is there a gifted program or separate track or other way your child will benefit from a high score on the CogAT or is the test just a formality?
  • How will you and/or your child will feel if he/she doesn’t get into the special program?

Should I Let My Child Take the CogAT Test

What to ask at school about the CogAT

Is this a program that will change your child’s entire track or experience? This is significantly different than it if it will only be an enhancement to what they are already learning.

If your child will be pulled out of class for a special gifted session, what will your child miss? How will that affect your child, and how will you feel about that?

Sections of the CogAT

The CogAT has three sections, (Verbal, Quantitative, and Nonverbal) usually each administered on a different day. However, schools may administer one battery in the morning, and one in the afternoon. As an example, they may give the CogAT Nonverbal section and later that day, the Verbal section. The following day, they may give the Quantitative battery.

Each section or battery includes three parts. Research some sample questions to know what each of these sections and parts entail.

If you find your child has a particular interest or strength, you may want to get a CogAT workbook and just study those questions.

CogAT Verbal section:

  • Verbal classification
  • Sentence completion
  • Verbal analogies

CogAT Quantitative section:

  • Number series
  • Equation building
  • Quantitative relations

CogAT Nonverbal section:

  • Figure matrices
  • Paper folding
  • Figure classification

Questions to ask the school about the CogAT

Whether or not to prepare your child for the CogAT depends on many factors. It’s important to learn as much as you can before your child takes the test.

In addition to workbooks and free CogAT worksheets, a valuable option is to purchase a month or longer access to a testing site.

We had friends use it to familiarize their younger son with the CogAT format. Their older son just missed the cutoff for the advancement track in 5th grade due to his CogAT scores. They wanted to ensure their younger son made it into the program. This mom said it was immensely helpful.

You can print out the tests for multiple grades and access them whenever you want.

After you gather the information about CogAT test from ordering workbooks online or from an online practice test service, make an appointment to talk with someone at your child’s school.

After your meeting and based on what you learn, you can make an informed decision about how to help your child prep for the test.

It is so important to know the questions to ask the school before the CogAT so that you can make the best decisions for your child. It can be very stressful for your child and for you, so get information first.

At a minimum, find out if this is a once-a-year test for all students. In this way, if you aren’t happy your child’s scores, you can help them prepare for the next time.

It will be helpful if school personnel will be willing to help interpret your child’s CogAT scores if you have questions.

SpaceRail – All About Marble Run Roller Coaster SpaceRails
SpaceRail – All About Marble Run Roller Coaster SpaceRails

Assembling a SpaceRail marble roller coaster is a fun way to keep older children and adults entertained while challenging their problem solving abilities. SpaceRails is an educational and fun STEM toy that requires time and patience.

Think of SpaceRail like a marble run concept but much more difficult. These marble run sets are appropriate for adults and teens. They are advanced.

Each of the SpaceRail levels comes as a set. The higher the number, as in SpaceRail Level 9, the more difficult it is to build. Level 9 has the most pieces and is the most intricate and complicated.

The easiest kit is SpaceRail Level 1. It has less pieces and is more straightforward. However, know that even Level 1 is a challenge and will likely take a few hours to build.

The biggest issue with SpaceRail are the poor directions. They are in roughly translated from Chinese. It will take patience and organization as you organize all the pieces, matching them to the pictures. While these difficult-to-follow directions may add to the challenge and fun, they can be frustrating.

These are complicated sets. They are not easy to build. Because of this, SpaceRail is something that will challenge STEM-oriented tweens, teens, and adults.

SpaceRail marble run set

While SpaceRail offers nine levels, easier versions and very difficult sets, the premise remains the same: Build a marble roller coaster run and get it to work. You know it works when the marble goes up the “elevator” and down the tracks.

All of the levels are challenging, even for adults.

Setting up the SpaceRail marble run also involves the ability to follow directions, patience, being organized with pieces, and more. It will help develop STEM skills.

SpaceRail levels

There are nine SpaceRail sets. SpaceRail Level 1 is the easiest while SpaceRail Level 9 is the hardest.

The idea with SpaceRails is you start at Level 1 and progress through the sets until you finish Level 9. The recommended age for SpaceRail Level 1 is 15+.

You may be tempted to start with a SpaceRail 4, 5 or 6. We strongly advise starting with a lower set.

Even SpaceRail Level 2 and Level 3 are very challenging. Read reviews and be willing to start with a lower level set, even Level 1 or Level 2. Accomplish building those and then move on to the higher levels.

This is especially important if you are buying this marble run for tweens and teenagers. When they accomplish Level 1, they will feel proud and willing to try the next level because of that success. It’s better to do this than for them to get discouraged.

Even if you are excellent as problem solving and strong in the mechanics of building, the not-so-thorough directions make it more challenging. See below for more information on each of the SpaceRail levels.

What is SpaceRail?

SpaceRail is a perpetual roller coaster that you build. It works with steel marbles on an automatic marble run that you put together. Think of it as a build-it-yourself marble roller coaster.

What kind of toy is SpaceRail?

SpaceRail combines the best of beloved building sets such as KNEX, Erector Sets, LEGO, Tinker Toys, and marble runs. SpaceRail is based on the 1980’s SpaceWarp kits.

This is a marble run set that involves building a marble roller coaster. Once completed, you roll steel marbles down the tracks. If you built it correctly, it will work. If not, you need to go back and troubleshoot until it does.

Best Educational Toys for STEM Learning

SpaceRail - All About Marble Run Roller Coaster SpaceRails

SpaceRail – All About Marble Run Roller Coaster SpaceRails

SpaceRail marble roller coaster layouts

SpaceRails Level 1 has directions and illustrations for one build. However, with Levels 2 and higher, you can choose from different configurations. That makes SpaceRail even more fun. You can complete a set, and then build it again in a different layout.

Either way, the goal in each design is to allow the steel marbles to make a variety of movements along the tracks. It’s challenging to build and fun to watch!

Each kit is sold as a DIY project, the designs can be customized as you get better at building. The result? A giant space rail marble roller coaster set.

SpaceRail parts

Each set includes metal rods, plastic rails, clips, and balls. The directions are not always clear. You will be relying heavily on pictures and problem solving skills.

In addition, you will see a number with mm next to it. The number is the length of rails in millimeters that comes with the set. In SpaceRail, the plastic rails aren’t pre-cut to the correct length.

Each kit comes with directions that show you different roller coaster models you can build. You are meant to look at the directions and decide which build you want to put together. Then, you measure and cut the correct length of rail to make the track work.

Example of length of rails:

  • SpaceRail Level 6 includes 60,000 mm. This is the equivalent of 197 feet
  • SpaceRail Level 5 comes with 32,000 mm of rail which is 105 feet
  • Level 3 includes 16,000 mm which is 15.5 feet of rail
  • Level 1 comes with 5,000 mm which equals 16.4 feet

It is the responsibility of the player to cut tracks, form drops, loops, runs and attach them to metal rods on the base.

These activities challenge determination, patience, and resiliency and make them think creatively.

They will look at it from an engineering point of view. They may think of additional ways to build upon or change the track.

Features of SpaceRail

All SpaceRail levels have kits that vary in rail and track lengths and number of parts and pieces, depending on the level to be constructed.

All levels have basic pieces for assembly including tracks, marble balls, and the nuts-and-bolts.

The differences are on the degree of difficulty from rail length, pieces, and parts. All SpaceRail levels require varying cell batteries to power up its high lift elevator.

All SpaceRail games have different ascent, see-saw drops, speed runs, descent, loops, etc. depending on the level you want to construct.

Each of the levels comes with an instruction manual.

Is SpaceRail fun?

When you build a SpaceRail set, you have the fun of building it as well as the fun of playing with it. Much like building a large LEGO set, the fun is in the building and the satisfaction of completing the set.

SpaceRail will take hours to build, even for teenagers and adults. Think of it as a marble run for teens.

The bigger the SpaceRail roller coaster, the more time it takes to assemble because of the various parts that need to be placed in the right places. After you finish building SpaceRails, you have the fun of playing with it.

Putting together SpaceRail marble run

Whichever level you choose, it’s essentially an assembly game where the players can construct their own roller coaster out of the parts.

Each set includes tubing you measure and cut to form the various waves, loops and curves that go into making the track. You hold these in place by fastening rail holders and attaching hooked metal rods.

When you are finished constructing the set, you use the steel balls which are moved along the conveyor to the top of the roller coaster by a battery-powered conveyor belt.

The aim of the game is to ensure that these balls stay in place and do not fall off. You may need to make adjustments or changes to get it to work.

The best part about SpaceRail is that it’s hands on; you have to build everything for it to work. You will rely on the directions, including the illustrations, to complete the set.

It’s important to take some time out when assembling this game. Carefully arrange and organize the pieces. Take your time to be sure you are structuring the parts together correctly.

Going about it in an organized manner will help you enjoy the experience and finish with success.

Giant SpaceRail Marble Roller Coaster Kit

Giant SpaceRail Marble Roller Coaster Kit

Then, just place the marbles in the “elevator” and watch it run. The marbles will glide and slide through the loops, twists, drops, and turns you created.

Advantages of SpaceRail

There are many benefits to doing SpaceRails. One is the sense of accomplishment and achievement you will feel once you complete it. You will be proud you were able to complete one of these challenging sets.

Another benefit is the different SpaceRail levels which increase in difficulty. This means, as teens and adults gain skills and confidence, there are more challenges. This keeps it interesting.

It’s technology-free fun for teens. The beauty of Space Rail is this is a hands-on set which builds critical thinking skills as well as problem solving skills.

It helps the user to work toward the goal of completing steps. There are a lot of pieces and the directions at times can be confusing. This set takes patience and grit.

The end result is your teen will experience an immense sense of satisfaction after completing the set. It’s even more fun when parents participate.

Builds STEM skills

Building any of the levels means you will have built a marble run roller coaster. This involves many skills, including hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, mental toughness, resiliency, solving problems, troubleshooting, and more.

SpaceRail helps develop 21st century skills. This is a STEM activity.

It will help teach teens engineering as well was the laws of physics in a very interesting and creative ways. It’s one of the best educational toys for teens. It’s also a great way to get them off video games.

They may even decide to set up a new course based on what they learned from setting it up the first time. Again, this set will get users thinking, building, and engineering in new ways.

Good kit for teens

SpaceRail is a great way to keep older children off electronics. As they are learning to build the set, it will help them build essential skills for today’s world.

In addition, working on this marble run will help teens build confidence. It’s a great at-home activity.

Marble run for adults

In addition, these are marble runners for adults. There is nothing easy about these sets.

SpaceRail make great gift

This is a gift idea for teenagers. They will have the fun of building SpaceRail along with the fun of playing with the marble runs. They are quite advanced. This isn’t a “toy” or game in the traditional sense.

Another great thing about SpaceRail is that after you assemble and play with it, you can take it apart and build it again.

SpaceRails is a good gift idea for teens that isn’t electronics or a gift card.

Family time with older children

This is a fun activity for families. Parents and grandparents will have fun putting this set together.

Pros to SpaceRail

  • Takes hours to build over several days
  • Sense of pride and satisfaction when completed
  • STEM kit to use science, technology, physics, engineering, math skills and concepts
  • Problem solving, critical thinking skills
  • Troubleshooting
  • Fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination
  • Great for teenagers and tweens
  • Hands-on building kit
  • Way to get teens off electronics
  • Multi-dimensional; you can construct it in a certain way one time and then take it apart and construct it differently another time
  • Play with it after you build it

Disadvantages to SpaceRail

If you start with SpaceRail Level 1 or Level 2, it will be less frustrating. If you are buying this for tweens or teenagers, start with Level 1. When they complete it, buy Level 2.

Also note, these are not easy sets for younger children to complete. They will need adult help. The directions are not always easy-to-follow or clear as they are with LEGO sets.

Another downside to SpaceRail is you have to measure and cut the rails. This can be considered a positive thing. However, when you are new to SpaceRail, it can be intimidating.

Start with a lower level than you think. It’s perfectly acceptable to start with a Level 1, even with a parent helping.

Cons to SpaceRail

  • Poor directions
  • Rails aren’t pre-cut
  • May frustrate some
  • Small pieces, some poorly made
  • Many small pieces
  • Some pieces and the steel balls are choking hazard

SpaceRail levels review

Spacerail Level 1

Choosing SpaceRail Level 1 is a great way to introduce this type of set. You will enjoy spending time with your kids assembling the space rails together.

The assembling is generally fun but can be a bit tricky for young children. Most children will need supervision to successfully build the roller coaster.

As soon as you finish helping your child assemble the roller coaster, he or she will enjoy releasing the steel marbles on the tracks. They will enjoy seeing the marbles go through turns, twists, and successfully through loops.

Let the inner geek in you get out and take a look at features which have made the SpaceRail, at any level, worth your money, time, and effort.

SpaceRail Level 1 marble run review: Level 1 is a good starter set because you will familiarize yourself with the parts, construction, and directions. Once you complete it, you will understand more about it to determine what level you want to try next.

SpaceRail Level 2

Customization of SpaceRail begins at Level 2. This means you can change the design for each time you build it. The directions come with different layout options for Levels 2 – 9.

There are two Level 2 options. One set is glow in the dark. Children will need adult help. On the box, Level 2 says it’s for Ages 15+. Just like Level 1, this is a challenging set. It includes 10,000 mm of rail.

SpaceRail Level 3

Your hand-eye coordination should be picking up speed by now. Customer reviews of Level 3 report the need for ergonomic skills not only to assemble this game but to play it as well.

Level 3 has more steep drops and climbs, 360° degree flip overs, and sharp and high G-turns.

Additionally, Level 3 has more parts to be assembled because its length – all 16,000 mm of it – is longer.

Like with all the levels, you will need to read the instruction manual carefully and pay close attention to all the details. As SpaceRail Level 3 has more pieces than Level 1 and Level 2, you will want to take time to organize the pieces.

SpaceRail Level 3 marble coaster review: We strongly recommend to not attempt Level 3 SpaceRail as the first set you try. Build the first two levels and then attempt Level 3.

As the levels proceed higher, the skill set required gets increasingly more difficult. It’s important for builders to hone skills on Level 1 and Level 2, especially if you are buying SpaceRail for a teenager.

SpaceRail Level 4

It is a good idea to first go through levels one, two and three before starting assembling SpaceRails Level 4. There are more parts to assemble in Level 4 which will take more hours to complete.

The larger the game and higher the level, the bigger space that will be required.

SpaceRail Level 5

With this set comes more intensive labor regarding assembly of additional parts for Level 5 but that is to be expected as you have now reached this stage. You will have 32,000 mm rail length.

There is a glow in the dark version for SpaceRail Level 5 as well.

SpaceRail Level 6

Level 6 is intermediate stage with more accessories than the previous five other levels. Again, this will entail more assembly time.

The degree of difficulty, however, will really depend on how you will customize your SpaceRail.

More accessories mean more potential for more thrilling stunts. You should master them before moving on to the next three levels.

Features of SpaceRails Level 6 marble roller coaster

With a rail length of 60 meters, the SpaceRail Level 6 can be an endless game for those who want more than puzzles to challenge their creativity and skills. There are 1,155 pieces in this set.

To provide even more challenge, it has a 30 centimeters tall automatic lift for the highly entertaining descent of eight steel balls.

It comes with a bilingual instruction manual in English and German and runs on a 1xC cell battery. At only 3.5 pounds, this SpaceRail is lightweight.

Patience is required to assemble this mammoth of a roller coaster since it takes days to put everything together. It’s easy to lose yourself in the process.

As its model name says, Level 6 is an advanced stage which is for those who are already familiar with marble roller coasters. Hobbyists and gaming enthusiasts alike will find the SpaceRail Level 6 as highly entertaining as it is educational.

Once it’s complete, you will enjoy leaving it out to enjoy.

SpaceRails Level 6 review: The SpaceRails Level 6 is a great stage to reach because by this time, the gamers would have become quite familiar with what assembling the game entails. Users will be more confident putting the marble run together.

This takes the game marble runs to a whole new level. It’s a wonderfully entertaining, mind-challenging, and skill-enhancing “toy.”

It will be too difficult for a first-time user to fathom the intricacies of this kit if he or she started at an intermediate level. Start with a lower level.

SpaceRail Level 7

This one escalates, literally, as it has 120 feet of track. Think roller coaster meets oil rig, that’s how the assembled Level 7 will look like.

This level has more parts than the last six levels but these are neatly categorized, with each piece identifiable with symbols at both of its ends, a real time saver for this huge structure.

Have you accomplished lower level sets and are now considering SpacerRail Level 7? Like the sets before this, it will be a challenge. But that’s what’s appealing about SpaceRails. The game is fabulously structured and once you work your way up over each level, you will be able to feel a sense of epic satisfaction.

SpaceRail Level 8

Congratulate yourself as soon as you find yourself at Level 8 with its 40,000 mm of rail length and an assembled size of 92cm x 44cm x 64cm because you are now officially at the advanced stage.

You will still face challenges but will have the benefit of understanding the mechanics behind it. SpaceRail level 8 review speaks of the eighth level of the epic roller coaster game as being quite tough, even for seasoned players.

SpaceRail Level 9

At last, you’re on Level 9 and while all the features of the first eight levels have now converged in this ultimate SpaceRail game, working on 200 feet of rail length will be challenging.

Like the previous sets, this is a marble run for adults as much as it is for teens.

You will be constructing a gigantic roller coaster that you can choose to customize to challenge yourself even more. The majority of enthusiasts who enjoy this popular roller coaster game aim to reach SpaceRail Level 9. It’s the last and most challenging set in the SpaceRail series.

If you’ve progressed through the other sets, it makes sense to want to complete this challenging course. This ultimate level is ideal for advanced players because it’s exacting and will take a long time to set up.

If you are someone who has patience, enjoys problem solving, and gets immersed in tinkering, you will be happy with it.

If you are already familiar with SpaceRail games, you know the assembly will be complex — this is what makes it so captivating.

SpaceRail Level 9 marble roller coaster

Adults and teens who are interested motivated by challenges will enjoy SpaceRail Level 9 after having gone through the previous levels. Know it will still take days to complete.

If you’ve already completed SpaceRail 8, you will be ready for SpaceRail 9. If you’ve never built a SpaceRails coaster, do not buy Level 9 to start.

Review of SpaceRail Level 9 for genius kids

There may be tweens or teens who can successfully build the roller coasters with supervision. However, you wouldn’t want to buy them Level 9 to start. Even the most STEM-advanced teens should not start with this set.

It’s important to start with a much easier level track so they can familiarize themselves with how to build SpaceRail. They will learn essential science and engineering skills to make them more successful and to make the overall experience that much better.

The directions are often difficult to understand. Your kids will benefit from the experience of starting with the still-challenging, smaller, less-involved sets.

Then as your child gets older and has completed some of the sets, he/she and you can decide if you want to get SpaceRail 9.

It’s far better to support your teen’s confidence with a smaller set — which will still most likely be a feat to complete.

Let them learn about the physics and engineering concepts and build on those skills with an easier set.

No matter what lower level set you choose, your kids will be applying STEM concepts and critical thinking skills to complete it. For an older teen who is interested in engineering, this can be an engaging and enriching activity.

Great for teens

It would also be something to set out with a friend or two — much like in the manner of a jigsaw puzzle — for them to work on and collaborate with together.

There are very intricate pieces. You will want to be sure to have an area you can reserve to set this up in order to set out and organize all of the components. Being organized will make it less complex.

SpaceRail Level 9 is the hardest level. The box says it’s for ages 15 and up. It includes 200 feet of rails. Building the track is challenging and complex.

Features of SpaceRail Level 9

Spacerail Level 9 is also called Spacewrap Level 9. It’s advertised as the Hardest Level for Genius Kids for a reason. For certain, it has similar features to the lower level SpaceRails. Yet, it has some differences which make it stand out.

Some of the details in the Level 9 roller coaster include:

  • Track length

Players on this level of the SpaceRail game are able to build tracks of various lengths. These tracks are the ones that hold the steel balls that roll around in the building set and eventually make the various movements captivating regardless of the number of times the balls move round.

  • Battery powered

During assembly, you will attach a battery-powered elevator which will transport balls to the top. The elevator ensures the balls move seamlessly on the roller coaster. Furthermore, the construction material is hard plastic. This also allows the elevator to do its job much more efficiently.

  • Minimum age

As stated above, this set is difficult. This is definitely a set for older teenagers who are interested in STEM activities and who have mastered the earlier sets. SpaceRail sets the minimum age at 15 years old. It is also ideal for adults as it will still be a challenge.

  • Competitive price

For the fun and mental challenges this advanced Level 9 roller coaster game offers players, it is a decent price. If you consider what LEGO sets cost, this will also provide hours of entertainment.

SpaceRail Level 9 is one of the best roller coaster games and marble run sets for people who enjoy challenging tasks. You can use it to help older teenagers to take a break from electronics and have the experience of completing a detailed project. What an accomplishment!

People who are drawn to these types of roller coaster sets and activities tend to have the patience. Working on it for hours is part of the fun for these game enthusiasts.

Once you’ve completed the set, you have the thrill of running the steel balls on the tracks to see if it works.

Constructing the coaster is half the fun. Afterwards, you get to play on the roller coaster you built! This particular level is considered an ultimate challenge for SpaceRail hobbyists.

SpaceRail roller coasters are educational

Building this coaster teaches math, physics, engineering, design, construction, mechanics, and science. All the while, you will strengthen your critical thinking skills.

It will take time and patience to set up. You will want to take the time to read the directions for each step but that is what makes it fun. It’s an educational and challenging set that, depending on the level, takes several hours to complete.

The higher the level, the more difficult the set.

Start with a Level 1 or Level 2 set and let your kids gain mastery over it. It will be doable and enjoyable, and they will learn the basics of setting up SpaceRails. These are great sets for parents and children to complete together.

Your kids may enjoy building with Lego and other types of creative sets. Space Rail is unique and will further introduce STEM concepts. A nice feature of all SpaceRail sets is after you build it, everyone can have fun running the marbles down the tracks.

SpaceRail marble roller coaster building set

Space Rail is a set or game that is educational and challenges your creativity, skill, patience, and persistence.

It’s more than a game in that you don’t take turns playing it. You can consider it more of a model you build and then enjoy playing with. SpaceRail can provide you, your family, and friends hours of learning fun and exhilarating entertainment.

Should you buy a SpaceRail Game?

Know that SpaceRail isn’t a “game” that you play against opponents. If you want an educational game that can teach your child skills like problem-solving, grit, critical thinking skills, and the like, then a SpaceRail marble run set is a good buy.

More than anything, this STEM kit will encourage a child to be patient and inspire creativity. It will improve building skills, and instill self-esteem upon completion of assembly.

Family time with older kids

This is a “must have” item for families who want to encourage their children to learn engineering, mechanics, construction, and more. It’s a great way to spend time with your child or grandchild. Working together completing this project will take hours and teach perseverance.

Note, there are very small parts. You will need to be able to leave the set and pieces out undisturbed in order to come back to it.

The popularity of the game has increased over time because of its ability to integrate both fun and education at the same time.

SpaceRail is a toy that even older children will enjoy as the sets get progressively more challenging. It’s great for building a growth mindset in kids, even into their teen years.

There are beginner sets up to advanced sets. It is a perfect STEM project for parents looking for activities to occupy children who enjoy math, science, and construction.

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Where to buy SpaceRails

You can find SpaceRail sets at specialty game stores, used bookstores, as well as online. You won’t typically find it in mainstream stores. If you see SpaceRail or SpaceWarp on the box, it’s the same thing.

SpaceRail and Space Warp

SpaceRail is based on the Space Warp game. The assembly roller coaster game Space Warp was first created in the 1980s.

Initially, a Japanese company which made toy created this toy but stopped its manufacture in 1988, for reasons unknown.

They still continued manufacturing parts of the toy that might be needed for replacement purposes and kept creating these parts till they ran out of supplies and materials around 1995.

However, after there was a huge demand for the toy in the United States, A US based company decided to start manufacturing and marketing the Space Warp toy specifically to be imported to the United States.

Great STEM toy

Unlike other STEM toys and building sets, SpaceRail is not a fast build. Budding engineers will learn patience and organization as they set it up.

SpaceRail is really about the fun of constructing the run, whatever level it is, and watching the marbles go through your particular creation. It’s a great project to leave out and complete over the summer. In addition, it’s a great indoor activity to keep teens off electronics.

Should I Let My Child Take the CogAT Test
Should I Let My Child Take the CogAT Test

The CogAT is the Cognitive Abilities Test. It’s an assessment test for K-12 students and measures their learned reasoning abilities. Many schools administer it for gifted placement or to separate students by abilities. You may wonder if you should let your child take the CogAT.

Deciding if your child should take the CogAT test

Letting your child take the CogAT test is an individual decision. Before you make it, it’s imperative to find out what the school will do with the test results.

Specifically: What happens if your child does well on the test? What happens if they don’t?

Typically, it’s not a pass or fail with the CogAT. Rather, it’s seeing who scores the highest and placing those students in different classes.

Child Take the Cogat Test

Child Take the Cogat Test

School districts across the country use the CogAT in different ways

If you are unsure whether to have your child take the CogAT exam, you must find out: Why is the school having students take the CogAT?

It’s important to find out what impact the CogAT scores will have on your child’s opportunities at school. School districts do different things with CogAT results.

Using CogAT for gifted programs at school

In some schools, it means students who score high enough will be placed into an enrichment class or gifted program.

This may be a “pull out” type of enrichment class, where the student will miss “regular” language arts or math and go to a gifted language arts or gifted math class.

Gifted class and Advanced class:

In other school districts, it may mean your child could be placed in a more advanced math class or advanced language arts class.

Schools may administer the CogAT if there are enough students in the grade to separate them by ability. They often do this for math classes.

As an example, there may be:

  • Advanced math
  • Math on grade level
  • Math class in which students need more help

Separating the students in this way enables students to learn at their level. In advanced classes, they can keep kids challenged if they already understand the material. Also, they can spend more time on concepts, oftentimes having time for hands-on activities.

In other classes in which kids may be struggling with a concept, the teacher can spend more time ensuring the students understand the material before moving ahead.

Different tracks:

Schools may administer the CogAT to differentiate students into different “tracks,” taking the highest performers for an advanced curriculum across all subjects.

This often occurs in schools with hundreds of students per grade. We’ve experienced this as kids left elementary school and went on to intermediate school and middle school. With 500+ students per grade, the district took the top 90 – 100 scorers and placed them in this advanced track.

Placement in high school:

Many high schools require entrance and/or placement exams. Many 8th graders take a CogAT exam either be accepted into a high school, especially if it’s private or a charter school.

Other high schools may accept all students but administer the CogAT to help place students in math and language arts.

Therefore, having your fifth, sixth and seventh grader start becoming familiar with these types of questions, in a zero-stress, no rush situation (years before they will take the test) will help them as well.

How will the school use CogAT results

It’s important to know the reasons the school tests. To summarize:

  • Some administer the test as just another standardized test, and the results won’t have any bearing on where the students are placed.
  • Other schools use it to find the students with the high scores and them pull them out for enrichment. As an example, the select students might miss a session of math each week (with their usual teacher) to pursue more in-depth math concepts and projects in a smaller group.
  • Other districts and schools use it to put students on a completely different track — more accelerated learning — for all subjects.

These are all very different things. The CogAT results may have a huge impact on your child’s enrichment opportunities.

Therefore, it is critical to know how the CogAT tests will affect your child. Understanding CogAT Scores

See Questions to Ask the School Before the CogAT Test

Is it worth it to take the CogAT?

Remember, the CogAT measures reasoning abilities and critical thinking skills. It isn’t how much your child knows about certain subjects. You child may excel at spatial reasoning — but that likely won’t show up on a report card. However, it will show in the results of a CogAT test.

If you determine it to be worthwhile for your child to take the CogAT, take some time to go over the nine sections of questions on the CogAT test.

CogAT test prep

Reviewing a CogAT practice test is the best way to do this. It will be very helpful for your child to see the directions and types of questions in advance.

CogAT practice will help your child understand the types of questions and directions in advance. Helping them prepare for the CogAT will help them score higher on the test. This is because this test is different than other standardized tests.

In addition, it’s important to understand many in-the-know parents have their kids prep for the CogAT. When you give your kids this opportunity, you are giving them the same advantage.

Parents likely won’t tell you they are helping their child with CogAT prep. They may want everyone to think their kids are naturally “smart.”

What if their child doesn’t perform well on the test? They don’t want anyone to know their child didn’t do well EVEN THOUGH he/she practiced.

After our kids took the test for the first time, we learned about the CogAT practice tests. We were too late but fortunate our kids scored high. When your child has access to the types of questions — the directions for each of the sections — this gives them an incredible advantage.

Because it’s a timed test, kids won’t use as much time trying to figure out what they are supposed to do during the actual test.

Going over the CogAT test in advance will:

  • Familiarize your child with the specific directions in the nine different areas
  • Give kids some practice with actual CogAT questions
  • Ease some test anxiety
  • Your child will know what to do and won’t use time trying to understand the directions

There are other parents who just want to see how well their children will perform. Reviewing CogAT questions will help teach your child how to think critically.

How do I prepare for CogAT test

There are a few things you can do to help your child. One of the most important is to practice analogies with them. In addition to playing puzzles and games, you can access CogAT practice tests.

CogAT workbooks

You can use CogAT workbooks. You can buy CogAT practice test workbooks in bookstores and online. They can help your kids before they sit down to take the CogAT in school. Kids will be able to review the Nonverbal, Verbal, and Quantitative questions in advance.

A benefit to CogAT workbooks is everything will be organized. This will help keep it less stressful than accessing practice tests online.

In this way, you can have your child work through the pages of the workbook and take the practice tests.

If you choose, you can make copies and print them out to test more than once over the course of several months to a year. Alternatively, once you and your child have worked through a workbook, you can buy another. However, going through one workbook will likely be enough for kids to understand the types of questions.

These practice workbooks will be very helpful. Even if you child isn’t taking the test, reviewing these types of questions help build analytical skills as well as problem solving abilities. They are very educational and are appropriate for summer learning and enrichment.

CogAT prep workbooks are an excellent way for your child to practice. You will have the questions in an orderly fashion for when you have some time to sit with your child.

CogAT prep online

In addition, there are testing companies online that offer practice CogAT tests. These are options as well. They will give you immediate access to CogAT questions, and they can be very helpful.

The downside to using online CogAT prep questions is you will have to print out the questions yourself or have your child access them on the screen. They usually aren’t interactive on the screen.

Your child will certainly benefit from these. However, it’s important to remember, you want to keep this as simple and orderly as possible. Be sure to have all of the practice questions organized before you sit with your child. You don’t want it to be more stressful.

Like the workbooks, having your child attempt the practice tests are educational. CogAT questions will encourage your child to think in new ways, including the relationships between numbers, words, patterns and shapes.

Reviewing practice tests can help children learn strategies for solving problems — such as the process of elimination, etc.

Tips about CogAT Practice Test Prep

Here are some useful tips for parents who are helping their children prepare for the CogAT:

  • Test practices should be fun, especially for younger students.
  • The practice test must be suitable for the age group of the student.
  • During the practice test, address incorrect answers right away. Calmly go over the problem with your child. Ask your child how he/she came up with the answer, and why he/she choose it.
  • Make sure the student has enough sleep the days leading up to the test.
  • Ensure the student has a proper start on test day with a healthy breakfast.
  • Encourage the student to do his/her best but do not put extra pressure and stress on the test.

There’s such a thing as too much preparation. It should just be enough so the child is excited to take the test.

Should I let my child take the CogAT?

Reviewing the CogAT test directions in advance will make a big difference for your child. When it’s time for your child to take the actual test, your child will recognize what he/she is supposed to do in each section.

It will ease test anxiety, save time, and make them feel much more confident.

There may be certain types of questions — verbal, non-verbal and/or quantitative — that your child really excels at.

CogAT practice tests are great to see how your children will do and how interested they are. These CogAT sample questions are great to have your child do over the summer and over winter break to keep their minds active.

Taking the CogAT

How Important are the Results of a CogAT Test

Knowing what to expect

Even if you aren’t sure if your kids will ever take the CogAT test, CogAT worksheets and workbooks all help to build critical thinking skills that will serve your children well beyond taking the test.

What you MUST know about the CogAT

Most students will take all three categories of the CogAT. These are:

  • Verbal
  • Non-verbal
  • Quantitative

Each of these three categories has three sections. While the actual questions will change, the types of questions they will ask are always the same.

It is so very important for your child to know what they are supposed to do in each section. In this way, they won’t waste valuable, limited time during the actual test trying to make sense of the directions.

Using CogAT worksheets for their grade is a great way for them to see the types of questions in advance.

Sample CogAT questions

CogAT Quantitative questions:

Example question for third grade CogAT Quantitative section:

Students will see two number choices or problems. They will need to compare both and decide if one is greater than the other or if they are equal.


  1. 4 + 1
  2. 5 – 0

A. 1 is greater than 2

B. 2 is greater than 1

C. 1 is equal to 2

Answer:  C. 1 is equal to 2

There will be an entire section with this type of question. This might be confusing for students when they are first encountering it on test day.

It will be crucial for your child to understand what they need to do. Getting them a practice CogAT workbook will be a huge help.

Example for the third grade Equation Building section:

Your child will be given instructions to arrange the signs and numbers to come up with an equation that equals one of the answer choices.

They will have to work quickly to arrange them to find one of the answers.


Numbers and signs:  3  2  4  x  –

Answer choices:  A. 1   B. 2   C. 6   D. 12   E. 8

Answer is B   3 x 2 – 4 = 2

You can imagine that seeing a 3, 2, 4, x, and – may be confusing for kids who are seeing this for the first time on a test.

This will definitely be the case if they haven’t already done these types of problems in school.

Get them a workbook and familiarize them with the types of questions.

If your children aren’t interested or are struggling, you can then decide if you want them to take the CogAT.

Best CogAT test prep guides

You may want to get them a CogAT workbook for their current grade and the next grade up. Spend a few weeks working on their current grade. Then you can decide if you want them tested that year or the next year.

And even if you ultimately decide you don’t want them to take the test, all of these CogAT workbooks will still benefit your children.

They help to teach critical thinking, relational and reasoning skills.

  • 6th grade CogAT practice tests
  • 5th grade CogAT test practice
  • CogAT practice for 4th grade
  • 3rd grade practice for CogAT
  • 2nd grade CogAT practice guide
  • CogAT practice for 1st grade

You can use free CogAT worksheets with sample questions. They will help your child be more prepared. These practice tests will give your child an idea of how to answer the questions.

Students do not have a lot of time during the actual test to figure it out.

When kids take the practice tests, even over the span of days, weeks or months, they will at least know, “Okay, this is the section where I need to do (this).”

Then they can spend their time answering the questions instead of trying to decipher what they are supposed to do.

Attempt CogAT practice test

There are CogAT practice tests for every grade. You may want to access study materials from your child’s current grade and one year younger.

By seeing the questions from the year before, it will give your kids confidence. It will also give you that many more questions to practice. 

Cognitive Abilities Test is a form of examination which is designed to test a child’s or a student’s aptitude for performing certain things.

Scoring well is important because it determines whether or not they will be eligible to enter gifted and talented enrichment programs.

What you will learn about your child taking the CogAT

What is amazing about the CogAT tests and results is that they really do show you and highlight your child’s particular strengths.

These are aptitudes you most likely won’t realize your child has… skills like spatial reasoning and relations, correlations, quantitative aptitude, nonverbal strengths, etc.

While you may recognize certain tendencies in your child — good at math, spelling, or reading, etc. — it will be interesting to discover your child has an affinity for these types of problem solving skills.

Even if your child doesn’t score high enough to get into the particular program at his/her school, at home there are things you can do to further develop their abilities and interest in these areas.

They can play with tangrams, logic games, mazes, and other games or workbooks for critical thinking.

It’s best when the puzzles, games and toys you use to develop skills are fast, fun and educational!

What does the CogAT test measure

Its primary goal is the assessment of what reasoning abilities students have acquired but it also provides predicted achievement scores. Authored by University of Iowa professor emeritus David F. Logman, the CogAT is not a test of a student’s IQ, albeit there is a known correlation between a student’s performance and his/her innate ability.

The CogAT is important to educators to help them make informed decisions on student placements for their talented and gifted programs.

The CogAT is given in levels as three test batteries that focus on the mentioned areas. Administrators typically give the entire test to students. However, in some instances, they may test them in one or two of the batteries instead of all three.

The comprehensive assessment is based on all three.

Should I Let My Child Take the CogAT Test?

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Trading Cards for Kids

Is the CogAT Intelligence Testing?

Contrary to what most people think, the CogAT is not a test to gauge how intelligent a student is; it measures his/her reasoning ability.

Neither does the CogAT measure a student’s speed in processing information, the amount of knowledge that he/she has retained or other components that are directly linked to an IQ appraisal.

The CogAT is not a measure of the child’s innate ability mainly because the ability to reason is learned.

But while the CogAT is not, in any way, an IQ test, a CogAT score is acceptable for admission to Mensa, the world’s largest and oldest high IQ society, whose members score 98th percentile or even higher on a supervised intelligence test.

Mensa requires a CogAT with a CSI or SAS score of 132.

The Johns Hopkins University program for talented and gifted young people requires a 95% score on a CogAT.

Northwestern University, meanwhile, accepts CogAT scores which are above 90%. IQ is measured statistically by test scores.

Intelligence and cognitive ability may be related and even intertwine, but they are really not the same.

Cognitive abilities are mental processes using skills that are brain-based to carry out tasks and have more to do with the mechanisms of learning, remembering, and paying attention rather than actual knowledge that was learned.

CogAT isn’t an IQ test

A lot of parents interpret the CogAT wrongly as an IQ test which is designed to gauge the general ability of the individual to solve given problems as well as understand concepts.

A high score on an IQ test does not necessarily ensure success in academics or even the workplace.

There are two kinds of norms used by the CogAT for test scores: grade norms and age norms.

Grade norms make a comparison of a student’s performance and the performances of other students in the same grade.

Age norms compares a student’s performance with other students of the same age.

The span of age norms is between four years old and 11 months and 18 years old wherein students are typically grouped in intervals of one month.

Using age norms has proven to be more accurate in the assessment of students who are either old or very young for their grade levels.

The raw score of the CogAT is initially calculated with a tally of the total of correctly-answered questions.

The raw score is converted using the Universal Scale Scores (USS) for each battery test.

Calculation is then used to determine percentile rank, stanine score, and the SAS, short for Standard Age Score.

Is the CogAT a Good Test for Gifted Programs?

The CogAT’s purpose is to determine giftedness in children.

It is a group test, not an individual one, given by professional testers and/or district teachers, not by private psychologists.

The CogAT is a gauge for a child’s ability for potential success and an opportunity to discover possible learning strengths in the child.

Additionally, CogAT can:

  • Measure the student’s development of his/her deductive and inductive reasoning abilities, two factors which are critical for academic success.
  • Appraise the student’s general abstract reasoning abilities as well as his/her capacity to apply these to non-verbal and verbal cognitive tasks.
  • Provide data on the development levels of a student’s specific and general K-12 cognitive skills.

Why Should I Have My Child Tested?

Parents should be aware that standardized testing is only one way of measuring a student’s ability as well as his/her achievement.

An individual’s capabilities are certainly more complex and actually more diverse than what academic ability, learned reasoning abilities, or even achievement tests are able to measure.

The words “gifted” and “talented” are used to recognize students of exceptional abilities who would benefit from additional, enhanced educational programs.

These students include those who have already demonstrated achievement or potential ability.

If you think your child may be gifted or talented, you, teachers, and school guidance counselors can refer him/her for identification to receive gifted services as early as kindergarten level.

The qualifications for these services will be based on the CogAT as well as MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) scores.

At What Age to Give the CogAT Test?

Your child can take the CogAT from kindergarten to grade 12.

The CogAT level of the test is based on the child’s age with the number assigned to each level corresponding to the particular age level of the child.

Level 9, for instance, is given to nine-year-olds and generally administered to third graders.

CogAT Testing Levels

Here is a quick rundown to give you an idea of the CogAT testing levels.

CogAT Level            Grade

5/6                      Kindergarten

7                           Grade 1

8                           Grade 2

9                           Grade 3

10                         Grade 4

11                         Grade 5

12                         Grade 6

13/14                   Grades 7 to 8

15/16                   Grades 9 to 10

17/18                   Grades 11 to 12

CogAT sections

The sections are termed as batteries which may be administered either together or separately depending on the specific needs of the school which administers the CogAT.

The goal is to:

  • Assess particular reasoning skills in the area which has a strong link to success in academics.
  • Measure cognitive development of the student.
  • Quantify the ability of the student to learn new or different tasks.
  • Appraise the student’s ability to solve problems.

Much of the content in the CogAT is nonverbal, which can be effective in testing non-native speakers of English.

Types of CogAT questions

Take a look at what kind of questions are asked in the CogAT to give you an idea of how your child may fare:

  • Nonverbal: subtests include figure matrices, figure classification, and paper folding.
  • Verbal: subtests include picture/verbal analogies, sentence completion, and picture/verbal classification.
  • Quantitative: subtests include number series, number analogies, and number puzzles.

CogAT Nonverbal battery

How long is the CogAT test

Each section is different depending on the grade. Often, students have 30 to 45 minutes per test battery.

The CogAT has 118 to 176 questions, depending on the test level and may take the student between two and three hours to answer all of them and complete the three battery tests.

The current CogAT is known as CogAT Form 7.

However, some schools still administer CogAT Form 6, its predecessor. You need to find out if your school will tell you which version they have.

If they will not tell you or if you don’t want to ask, buy the Form 6 and Form 7 CogAT workbooks and compare the types of questions.

There is some overlap; they are not completely different tests.

CogAT Form 6

Number of Questions Per Level                    Level

120 questions                                                                5/6

132 questions                                                                7

144 questions                                                                8

190 questions                                                                9

190 questions                                                                10 to 18

CogAT Form 7

Number of Questions Per Level                    Level

118 questions                                                                5/6

136 questions                                                                7

154 questions                                                                8

170 questions                                                                9

176 questions                                                                10 to 18

Form 7 is considered more accessible to students who are non-native English speakers.

It is designed in a nonverbal format.

Changes between the two Forms in the primary levels were made to accommodate ELL (English Language Learner) students.

The one section which will require language skills is the section on Sentence Completion. Additionally, all levels have instructions in either Spanish or English.

STEM Educational Toys to Improve Your Child’s CogAT

Can the CogAT Test Contradict Performance?

The CogAT is a challenging test. The increasing number of children whose parents want them in gifted programs has made the CogAT a challenge to take.

Can this test’s results contradict a student’s performance? Yes and no.

Yes, if the student scores a passing grade and makes it to the program.

If the student fails to make the grade, it can discourage him/her because of frustration.

Cognitive ability can predict academic success, not contradict it. Both parental involvement and expectations, however, play a key role in academic achievement as well.

There are several factors that influence a student’s academic performance:

  • Cognitive ability
  • Achievement motivation
  • Socio-economic status (SES)
  • Parents
  • Peers
  • Culture
  • Teachers

Cognitive psychologists have now identified several aspects of cognitive abilities. These include:

  • How efficiently a student processes information
  • How much of this information the student can process simultaneously
  • Is the student able to retain information
  • How well someone solves new problems

An individual’s abilities can either encourage or constrain learning.

One has to understand the direct relationship between a student’s cognitive development and his/her academic performance, especially the cognitive ability of perceptual reasoning, reading fluency, mental arithmetic, and reading comprehension.

CogAT practice test

The trick is to prepare the child for CogAT.

There are several websites that offer comprehensive packages of practice tests that resemble the questions of the CogAT.

Your child’s school WILL NOT suggest the best CogAT practice tests. They do not want you to prep or prepare your child. They want to see what the students naturally know. Do not ask them how to prepare.

Should every child take the CogAT test?

A child’s cognitive ability influences academic performance; it does not contradict it.

In fact, a high CogAT score may translate to high academic performance, whether or not the schools considers them to be “gifted” or “talented.”

Should your child take the CogAT? For all intents and purposes, yes.

Crystallized knowledge

If your child has a high capacity for crystallized knowledge, taking the CogAT will further enhance it. Crystallized knowledge is knowledge they have acquired in arithmetic and vocabulary, etc.

If your child has a high capacity for fluid knowledge, the CogAT can determine the extent with which your child can solve new problems.

Fluid knowledge

Kids acquire fluid knowledge by understanding abstract reasoning. This includes solving problems like identifying patterns and making extrapolations without basing the solutions on acquired factual knowledge.

Students with strong fluid skills have the advantage to acquire crystallized knowledge.

Cognitive ability has an innate component. Students can learn the majority of cognitive skills.

Cognitive ability enables the student to process sensory information that he/she collects to evaluate, analyze, and retain, make comparisons, determine action, and recall experiences.

Deciding what to do

You can let your child take the CogAT test to find out if he/she can place into a gifted program.

It is worth a try. If they don’t get it, you can use their test results to see their strengths and build on them.

These abilities are in the areas of verbal, non-verbal, and quantitative reasoning.

Order prep materials, and then review them in advance, before you sit down with your child. Be sure you understand the types of questions first.

You can make this a fun time with you and your child, offering lots of encouragement.

You and your child will be able to see the the types of questions that are on the CogAT tests. It will be a huge advantage for your child to understand the types of questions before he sits down to actually take the test at school.

Benefits of taking CogAT practice test

The big reason schools administer this cognitive abilities test is to determine which students can benefit and prosper in advanced educational programs for gifted students.

With the right kind of CogAT prep, your child may attain a high score in order to take advantage of special enrichment opportunities.

It’s easy to practice and review for the CogAT test. Many families “in the know” are prepping for the CogAT. (Though they may not admit it.) CogAT Sample Questions for Young Students

Should I have my child take the CogAT test?

Another practical option is to use an online subscription to a site which gives you access to the grade level CogAT test you need.

This is a good option if you want to have access to different grade level tests. This is important if you have more than one child or if you want to see a larger range of questions.

As an example, if you have a second grader, you can easily access the first grade and second grade level CogAT tests. Your child will get to see more practice questions this way. With an online service, you will often have access to all the CogAT tests as well as other learning tools and websites.

Whether you choose workbooks or access the questions online, you can calmly go over the questions together.

If you choose to use the online testing site, you can always print out the questions and then use them whenever you want. This means you can purchase access for a month online, and print them out for now and for future grades. In this way, you can use them when you want.

The smartest, easiest, and best thing to do is to see how your child responds to CogAT prep guides or practice questions.

Note, the CogAT is different than the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test, which only tests for nonverbal skills.

If you can’t decide if you should let your child take the CogAT, you must find out why the school administers the test.

Montreal Cognitive Assessment Diagnose Cognitive Impairment
Montreal Cognitive Assessment Diagnose Cognitive Impairment

The Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) was designed by Dr. Ziad Nasreddine in Montreal, Canada in the year 1996. This assessment method was authenticated and legalized to diagnose slight cognitive impairment in people.

Since then, the (MoCA) has been widely regarded. Professionals administer this test around the world. They consider it a very effective method to assess mild cognitive impairment.

The MoCA consists of a 30-point test. It is usually spread around 10 minutes.

If you are a clinician, you can get access to the instructions associated with the MoCA on the internet.

Though the original test is in English, it can be adjusted for people who speak other languages.

Questions to Ask the School Before the CogAT Test

Should I Let My Child Take the CogAT Test

Understanding CogAT Scores Are Helpful to Parents

Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test ~ What to Know About NNAT

What Happens in a MoCA?

The Montreal Cognitive Assessment diagnoses a number of different areas associated with cognitive impairment.

It assesses the person’s quick memory function which involves the patient learning five nouns in separate intervals and then the patient is asked to recall what he has learned (5 points for this).

It assesses a patient’s Visuospatial abilities and involves clock drawing and a cube which is in 3D.

3 points for drawing a clock correctly and 1 point for drawing the cube.

The MoCA also analyses a patient’s executive function which directly relates to our working memory.

If someone has trouble connecting his experiences from the past to the present and has trouble making decisions, planning, paying attention, managing time and or organizing his life then he is suffering from a loss in executive function which is a part of cognitive impairment.

The MoCA provides (TMT-B) tasks, Trail Making Tasks-B, (worth 1 point), Verbal fluency tasks (1 point) and a Verbal communication intelligence task with two items (2 points).

The patient’s motor skills, working memory, concentration and his attention to instructions given are also evaluated by using different attention tasks.

Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) include:

  • Detecting things using tapping (1 point)
  • Subtracting: For example, being asked to subtract 7 from 40 (3 points)
  • Asking the test taker to place digits either forward or backward (1 point for each)

The Montreal Cognitive Assessment also evaluates a patient’s language fluency.

Various tests like three item confrontation in which you have to name three unfamiliar animals for example a rhinoceros, camel and a bison  (3 points).

Another test engages the test taker in speaking complexly arranged sentences (2 points are given for this).

Lastly, it assesses the patient’s ability to successfully determine the time and date she/he is in.

What is a normal MoCA score?

The range for MoCA scores is from 0 – 30. A score is considered to be normal when it’s 26 or higher.

Montreal Cognitive Assessment Scores

If you are interested in MoCA results and scoring, there is a scale between 0 and 30.

People who score 26 or higher are generally considered to be functioning normally.

Research done be clinicians using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment have concluded that people who succeeded in the assessment usually scored over 27 in comparison to those who score 22.1 .

Which means they may be suffering from a milder form of cognitive imbalance.

Those who scored 16.2 may be likely to have Alzheimer’s.

Is the MoCA convenient?

The Montreal Cognitive Assessment is a relatively convenient procedure which allows medical professionals to accurately and quickly determine whether or not someone is suffering from a considerable imbalance of cognitive function.

The MoCA determines whether or not a person requires extensive treatment in case of Alzheimer’s disease.

Also, the MoCA determines certain symptoms and allows doctors to keep such a situation from worsening.

Doctors who use the MoCA to assess patients are allowed to evaluate whether a person has dementia as a result of mild cognitive impairment.

And the sole reason they can do this is because the MoCA involves evaluating a person’s executive function (as explained above).

Overview of the Pros and Cons of MoCA

Montreal Cognitive Assessment

Montreal Cognitive Assessment

Advantages of the MoCA

Some of the major advantages of the Montreal cognitive assessment include simplicity, easy for the patient, reliable outcome and the screening process involved to determine whether or not a person has Alzheimer’s disease.

Furthermore, the MoCA also measures the various hints of dementia present in a person. The Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) does not measure the components of dementia.

The MoCA also works well to determine symptoms for Parkinson’s disease. Unlike the MMSE test, the MoCA is free to use, involving no payments.

Disadvantages of the MoCA

There is one potential drawback. It’s important for clinicians to administer the Montreal cognitive assessment in memory clinic settings. In this way, they can ensure accurate results.

According to Assistant clinical professor at UCSD and the author of a study on the application of MoCA, in comparison to MMSE, Dr. Stephanie Lessig the MoCA is newer to the scene and originally just looked at patients with milder forms of Alzheimer’s.

The MoCA has since gone on to become useful for assessing additional diseases.

It seems to be a little better at looking in depth at some of the deficits that the MMSE might not pick up.

CogAT Sample Questions for Young Students

Heavy language component

For instance, the MMSE has a heavy language component, but that’s not an area that tends to be as much a deficit in the early stages of conditions like Parkinson’s or other forms of dementia, so that’s where the MoCA comes in at being a little more sensitive.

According to a study made by Stephanie Lessig, the MoCA successfully manages to point out subtle insufficiency in cognitive behavior with the patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

This is not the case with the MMSE. However, many prefer to use the MMSE.

Professionals regard MoCA as a very useful tool in recognizing certain abnormalities in cognitive behavior under normal circumstances. However, with patients who have severe dementia or cognitive impairment, studies have proven it doesn’t work as effectively.

The idea of being examined through the Montreal cognitive assessment — or any other assessment for that matter — can be stressful and may discourage slightly older people.

There are risks of test takers to panic and become confused before an assessment. These factors can skew results.

This anxiety may lead to poor performance on the MoCA. Therefore, it is important to take this test confidently in order to get accurate results.

Best Family Board Games to Play with Kids
Best Family Board Games to Play with Kids

Best Family Board Games – When you play family board games with your kids, you are doing a lot of good. You will never regret this time. In addition to them learning valuable skills, playing games with your children and teens is an easy way to connect.

No matter their ages, it’s never too late to start playing games with your kids. Starting this habit is fun, educational, and will pay off in so many ways.

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Family game night

Just play a game! While the idea behind a structured family game night is awesome, when it’s more of an everyday thing and less of an event, you will do it much more often.

Certainly, parents don’t have always have extra hours each week to play games with their kids; however, you can use the time you do have and make it happen.

There are games you can play a in 10 – 15 minutes.

You can play a quick game of Yahtzee or Connect 4. Or you can start a game that takes longer, and leave it out to play when you have more time.

There are amazing games available. The best family games and board games are ones that you all want to play.

They should be age appropriate but it is okay for your child to grow into some skills.

Even as an adult — with games I played countless times with my daughter — I learned new strategies playing the same games with my sons years later.

Best family board games for kids

We are most definitely a Game Family. I’ve spent hundreds of hours playing games with my family. These games below are all great family games. All of them are educational in some way.

If you are going to buy one game today, choose the strategy card game, SET Game. You can use it in different ways for kids ages 4+, by teaching them patterns, not playing it as a game. Teens and adults will enjoy playing SET Game. It teaches math and critical thinking skills in a fun way.

There are many reasons to play games. Once your kids are older and you start playing more involved games, you can continue to enjoy them for years. They are still lots of fun even as the kids get older.

We’ve owned or own each of these games and have played them all, many times. There are a few other board games we didn’t like, and I have excluded them from this list of games. We have many others I need to add to this list.

This list starts with the best family games for teens because this is an age when it’s sometimes difficult to spend time with them. Playing games is an easy way to connect.

best family board game

best family board game

Best board games for teens

Here are the best family board games for teens. Kids of all ages will learn something from playing games.

In this list of best games for teens and tweens, you will see a lot of games that you can start much younger. However, these are fun games that will still interest teenagers.

What makes these board games classics is you and your kids will continue to improve your skills. They are open-ended games that will continue to challenge you and your family. This keeps them interesting and fun to play.

Spending time with teenagers 

When your kids are tweens and teens, it’s common to spend less hands-on time with them. Between school, homework, and all their activities, when there is downtime, they are likely to be on their electronic devices.

What tween and teen doesn’t resort to going on the iPad, texting a friend from their phone, or playing a game on Xbox? And frankly, parents are usually grateful for the much-needed break.

However, we all know this is a critical time in our kids’ lives. Playing family board games with teens and tweens will help them in so many ways.

It’s an easy way to spend time with your kids, even if you don’t always get them talking. Just having being together, having fun is important.

Even if they are reluctant at first, find some games that capitalize on their strengths. Are they into strategy and math? Do they excel in reading or spelling? Just have fun with them.

Don’t criticize their moves or over-explain. Let them figure some things out. Make it stress-free and fun to be with you.

Start off with a quick game and end on a high note so they will look forward to playing the next time. Playing family board games with teens is something you can do with them whether you have 15 minutes or two hours.

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Apples to Apples

This is fun when your kids have friends over and you want to get them off electronics. You need at least three people to play.

You can play individually or on teams. This is fun for the family but tweens and even teenagers may not know everything on the cards. This makes it great for conversation.


This is a two-player game. It’s easy to learn but you will see your teen’s strengths shine as he figures out ways to strategize.


Use the tiles to make words. Bananagrams is almost like playing Scrabble without the board. You make the grid yourself, making words and connecting them together, trying to be faster than your opponents.

Sometimes we play by the rules, and other times, we modify the rules according to how much time we have and what we’re in the mood for.

You can play for however long you like. No matter your kid’s age, he or she can use these tiles or Scrabble tiles to spell out their spelling words. Your tween or teen can even play this on his/her own.


This is another game that will enhances your teen’s ability to find words. Players try to find as many words as they can with the letters.

It will fun when your kids are really old enough to win against you. In the meantime, depending on their skill level, let them use two letter words.

Or make it so you have to form words that are at least four letters to count. As with all games, remember they are still kids — even though they are older. No one wants to lose all the time.

This is a fun game to play when you don’t have a lot of time. You can play a round in less than 10 minutes if that’s all the time you have. This is a go-to game with my adult family members as well.


This game is called Settlers of CATAN. We refer to it as CATAN.

This is my teenagers’ favorite game. What’s great about CATAN is no matter who rolls, you can win cards so you have to pay attention.

This keeps everyone interested and strategizing at all times. You aren’t waiting around waiting for everyone to take their turns before you go again.

Even though the original version in the red box is fantastic, as your family plays more, the Expansion additions — Seafarers; Cities & Knights; Traders & Barbarians — make it even more interesting.

If you have a larger family or want to play with more than four people, you can also buy Extensions of CATAN so that five or six people can play. Read more below about playing CATAN and which to buy.

Catch Phrase

Be sure to pick out a version that’s appropriate for kids. There are some adult versions.

This has been a fun party game for kids and adults. The more people you have, the more fun it is. We find it’s best when a minimum of four people play but you can play with three.

This is another game you can play quickly.


This is a two-player game. When there are three or four of us, we make a mini chess tournament. After your teens learn the fundamentals, they can build on additional skills and strategies.


I still had my Clue game from when I was a child. Now they have different versions, which is fun too.

We highly recommend you read reviews. Some versions of Clue are better than others. Some versions, such as the Harry Potter Clue we have, has different rules. This is fine, and it’s fun, but just know what you are buying so you can get what you want.

To win in Clue, you have to be first to uncover the Suspect, Weapon, and Room. Teens will definitely learn skills from trial and error, process of elimination, and strategy.

They will learn strategies to deduce different ways to get the answer they want.

For example, if they are trying to learn if someone has a suspect, they may learn to ask an opponent a room and a weapon they already have to flush out if the person has the suspect.They will also learn to be organized on their sheet.

Clue is a very fun game and fun for teens.


It’s a fun game for tweens. We put it on this list because it’s good for up to 13 years old. We like the difference between taking the College track or the Job track and all the challenges that come with each.

Memory Match

The “Memory Game” may seem basic, but it’s fun if you can find cards that your teens are interested in. For us, we have the NFL Memory Match. We play where you have to get an entire division in order to win.

We continue to vary the rules. It’s really fun. See below for our Memory Match review for ages 5 – 7 below. Trust me, your kids will beat you in this game unless you’ve had a good night’s sleep!

This is also a great game to play when you have children of different ages. Teens can play with 5 or 6 year olds and still be engaged.


The different versions of this board game keep it a classic and interesting. You can choose Star Wars Monopoly, Game of Thrones, Pokemon Monopoly, Mario Bros, and more.

We recently bought Monopoly National Parks Edition. We are all learning things from it.

There are also Late for the Sky -opoly versions. These versions are based on cities, animals, and more. Some examples are Chicago-opoly, Horse-opoly, etc.

If your teen is into something, see if there is a Monopoly or a Late for the Sky version. These make great gifts for teens and are fun to play as a family.

Monopoly teaches essential skills about not just living to spend money and pay other people. Make sure your kids play this several times when they are teens so they can really see how in order to win, they need to have income-generating properties.

Like in real life, they can’t just spend, spend, spend and expect to win.

We’ve modified the Monopoly rules so that you have to go twice around before you can start buying properties. We’ve found this to be more fun and interesting.


Get some poker chips and a deck of cards, and you are ready to play. I’m stunned my tweens and teens find playing poker so fun.

On a recent vacation meeting up with friends, every time we made them get off electronics, they joyfully returned to playing poker together. You can have a larger set of poker chips or a smaller set.

When we play with the smaller set of about 100 chips, we can easily play for even just 20 minutes until someone runs out of chips.


You will love playing RISK with your teen or tween because while it’s easy to set up, it takes a long time to play.

This will be a game you can enjoy together for many hours, but you can play in whatever time you have available. This game is best played with at least three people. When you have four or more, someone will most likely be eliminated fairly early on.

You want to make sure that person isn’t the teen you are trying to spend time with! If you don’t have hours to play in one sitting, you will just need a means to set the game board aside and leave the pieces intact.

You won’t want to have to recreate the board once you’ve started. This might mean you move it to the side of the table.

Or, if you don’t have room to leave it out, or have little ones or pets that might ruin the board, you may want to slide it onto a sturdy piece of cardboard and put it under the bed or dresser. (It’s worth the trouble because it’s so fun!)

There are many versions of RISK, including Game of Thrones, Star Wars, The Walking Dead, and more. We’ve always enjoyed the original.

You can play with the RISK Mission cards if you like. Each player gets a card and needs to complete the mission in order to win. Using the cards makes it much faster than without the cards.

Please see below for how much your teens about countries from playing RISK.

RISK Europe

When you think of buying Monopoly in a different version, the game has the same premise, just the characters, cards and board are different.

But you play the same way. With this version of RISK, that’s not the case.

This is a different game than the original. The idea is simple: Take over the world, or in this case, Europe.

However, it definitely has more rules and is more involved. When we bought RISK Europe, my kids were old enough (9 and 11) and interested enough to watch Youtube videos and read the directions themselves, and they taught me to play. That was fanastic!

If your tweens or teens love strategy and are learning history in school, like the original RISK, this is a great game.


This is an easy to play game that will meet the kids where they are with their word-building skills.

They can use their language and spelling skills to put together words. It helps them to remember blends and diagraphs and which letter combinations make words.

Scrabble is a fun game for teens.

SET Game

This remains a family favorite in our house. Talk about keeping the grown ups engaged in a game!

SET is a game in which everyone plays at once; you don’t take turns. You need a flat surface to lay out 12 SET cards.

The goal is to be the find sets before the other player(s). Whoever has the most sets at the end wins.

A set consists of three cards with everything in each of the four categories being the same or different. Players look for color, shape, number of shapes, and pattern inside shape.

In each of these categories, they all have to be the same or all have to be different.

As an example of a SET can be:

  • The shapes on each card are red
  • Each card has a different shape
  • All three cards have the same number of shapes
  • Each card has the same pattern

It’s amazing how a simple game can at times be so difficult.

It really helps develop and cultivate critical thinking skills in your kids (and in yourself!). Teens will look for patterns in the cards, running through all the possibilities.

While I’m all for playing games with your kids, this is something they can even play on their own, as one person.

SET Game is a favorite game. It’s also great because you can play for 10 minutes or however long you want. The game can end when you’ve used all the cards, or you can play another round, etc.


Kids and adults love this game. It’s for two players.

We actually play on my parent’s Stratego game. Be sure if you are purchasing this family game online that you read the reviews and know what you are buying.

You will want to be sure you and your kids can distinguish each piece from the other. Some of the newer versions of Stratego aren’t as good as the original versions.

In this age of battle games online, this is a great way to capture that spirit in a board game.

Players hide their flag and try to capture their opponent’s flag first.

best family board games for teens

Ticket to Ride is a fun board game for teens.

Ticket to Ride

This game involves math, strategy, and geography. You can finish in an hour.

In Ticket to Ride, players build routes from destination to destination, depending on the cards. We played with three players and modified it playing with two players. It’s a fantastic game for tweens and teens.

We only have the original version which is the United States, but there are other versions across the world as well.


You will be amazed at how much your kids’ game-play will evolve playing this game as they get older.

Together, you will be able to talk about probability and the odds of trying for certain dice combinations over others. These games for teens are timeless. It’s likely you and your kids won’t outgrow them.

Other fun games for teens: Blokus, Quiddler (made by the same company as SET Game), Othello (difficult to find in stores now), Scattergories, Trivial Pursuit, Taboo.

Best family games for ages 9 – 11

Apples to Apples

My kids started playing this when they were 7 and 8 years old; however, sometimes they didn’t know what some of the words on the cards meant, so I’m putting this in the older age category.

Of course, had we bought Apples to Apples Junior, they would have been fine.

This version is Ages 12+. We were always able to help them by quietly taking them aside to explain the meaning. This was always fun to play in groups or when my kids’ friends came over. Sometimes we play as a family.

It comes with enough different cards so unless you play all the time, you won’t repeat cards.


My kids would have been ready for backgammon when we all learned chess years earlier, but we never had a backgammon board.

It’s fun and a classic. It’s a 2-player game. Kids will make choices on which of their pieces to move to make it to their “home” side before the other player.

There’s strategy, counting, and it helps kids build critical thinking skills.


Start with the red box, which is the original Settlers of CATAN. Everyone works on their own to build roads, settlements, and cities with sometimes-abundant and sometimes-scarce resources.

The great thing about this game is that when someone rolls, everyone stands to benefit.

It keeps everyone focused on the game and planning what moves they will want to make on their turn.

After you play regular CATAN for months or (like us) years, you can add on another version. It will really take this already-amazing game to a new level.

Before you buy any of the expansion versions, you need to have the original CATAN in the red box.

Make sure you know what Settlers of CATAN you are buying. CATAN Expansion is an add-on themed version.

CATAN Extension versions add more to the game so five or six players can play. Extension means you are buying the pieces so five or six players can play (instead of four players).


Above we discuss how clue helps kids solve the mystery. They roll the dice and move their player to different rooms, trying to find out who committed the crime.

The Game of LIFE

We ended up buying LIFE for our kids because they played it at a cousin’s house and loved it. In The Game of Life, players spin the spinner and travel in a car as their game piece throughout their life until they reach the end of the board to retirement.

Whoever has the most money wins.

It’s a fun game, but my complaints are the game has the same inflated salaries and payouts that it did when I was a kid.

I wish they’d make it a little bit more realistic. Also, I don’t like how you earn money for each additional child you have. (I’m not sure what that’s supposed to be teaching.)

This game teaches concepts though, and some strategy, taking turns, etc., and my kids always enjoy playing.

They really like the pieces. So while it’s not one of my favorite family board games, my boys like it, so I play.


I actually had my daughter’s RISK board from the 90’s and played this with my kids when they were 7 and 8 years old, but only because we had it and I thought they were ready.

They were ready; however, we played for short time periods.

Also, I had to talk with them often about how the game can get heated/stressful when you are losing and how it’s all just for fun.

So, I’ve moved this into the 9 – 11 year old category but my kids and I really enjoyed playing it for years before.

Unless you have hours to play, you will most likely need a place to leave it out so you can come back to it because it’s a long game.

Sometimes, we’ve slid it on a big piece from a cardboard box and put it out of the way until we had time to play again — oftentimes over several days. It is long!

However, it’s fairly simple to learn with not tons of rules like other advanced games.

It’s also ensured my kids know their continents and where each of them are in the world. (Our game board from the 1990’s has North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.)

It’s also encouraged subjects such as how countries have been renamed through the ages.

SET Game

See above in the games for teens section about SET. This is a fast-paced card game. It’s an amazing game to help your child think critically and look for patterns.

SET Game remains an all-time favorite family game. Sometimes it takes awhile to find a SET, and it’s really fun when it’s the child to find it before the adults!


This is two-player game. If your kids enjoy battles, this is a great game. It’s sort of like Battleship.

It helps teach numbers (lower numbers beat higher numbers), strategy (where will you hide your flag and what strategy will you use to find your opponent’s flag first) and logic.

This is a game your family will enjoy as your kids become tweens and teens.


My boys would have enjoyed this when they were younger but received it as a gift when they were 9 and 10.

You learn about balance along with other physics concepts. It’s a fast game.

Other great games for 9 – 11 year olds: Blokus, Pictionary, Othello, Sorry, Tenzi, Ticket to Ride

Games for ages 7 – 9

Look in the lists for ages above and below as well. There are a lot of great games for 7 – 9 year olds.


We didn’t love the rules to this game so over time, we made up our own games. Sometimes we divide the letters evenly and do our best to use all our letters. Other times, we take 15 letters at a time to make words.

When my boys were younger, we would often work together instead of compete against each other.

I’m happy my kids want to play because it helps them figure out what words they can make with their letters.

I’ve seen them put together blends and diagraphs they know go together, like tr-, sh-, sch-, ck-, fl-, etc., and try to make words.

It builds on skills they learn in school.

It’s definitely a game in which you will see your kids’ progress. They will make more complicated words and find ways to use all their letters in ways they wouldn’t have years earlier.


This is engaging for younger kids and still is fun for my tweens. It’s a two-player game.

Kids learn to figure out coordinates on their game board and work to find their opponent’s ships first to win.


You can play this game at any age and don’t have to make it a contest to see who can get the most words.

This is really a great game to help teach spelling and reinforce skills. As kids get older, they will still be able to play. Another bonus to this game is they can learn writing skills as well as math skills when they add their points. You can play it in any amount of time you have.

Chinese Checkers

We never owned this game until recently when I asked for it for my birthday. I owned it as a child, and played it with my kids at the library and at their cousin’s house. This game involves strategy and goes quickly.

It’s best for an even number of players (you only need two) but works when three of us play.

You maneuver your pieces (like marbles) to get them all to the other side before your opponents do.

You can move one at a time or figure out strategies to leapfrog over your pieces to progress faster. Find a set that includes an area to store the game pieces.


See above for Clue. It’s a great game even for kids 7 – 9. It will take them a little more time to understand how to complete their sheet, but once they understand, it will be a fun family game. They will practice counting and learn problem solving skills.

LCR – Left Center Right

Don’t make the mistake I did when we first started playing this with my kids. I thought it would be fun with real coins. It resulted in tears — and my boys weren’t/aren’t criers!

Use the chips it comes with and enjoy this simple game for what it is. It helps kids learn their left and their right and some math skills.

Like Hi Ho Cherry-O described above, this game is all about chance.

Everyone has an equal chance to win.

There isn’t skill involved; therefore, younger players will have just as much of a chance as his/her older siblings.

Also a bonus is that it’s a fast game, and it doesn’t take up a lot of room. It’s just three dice and some chips that you can store easily in the small tube.

It’s a perfect game to bring on a trip and was something easy to bring to grandma’s house and have her play with them.

Tweens may still enjoy playing this. However, we don’t play it as we have a lot of other games that involve strategy.

Maybe it’s just my family, but we always call this Left Right Center instead of Left Center Right!


Like all classic games for older children, Monopoly is one you can play repeatedly, even as an adult, and work to refine your strategies.

It really teaches the kids the concept of having an income-generating asset vs just saving money to pay rent when you land on other players’ properties.

Between all the versions of (Hasbro’s) Parker Brothers’ Monopoly and all the Late for the Sky’s -Opolis versions, you will have endless choices for fun. My daughter owned Horse-Opoly. One of my son’s has Puppy-Opoly. In addition, we have many other versions, including Kansas City-opoly and Seattle-opoly.

We also own many versions of Monopoly, including Pokemon Monopoly, Star Wars Monopoly, National Parks Monopoly, Monopoly Gamer (not exactly like the original version), among others.


This remains a classic for a reason. Your entire family will enjoy it. You can think of it as a more involved version of Sorry.

This is a game older kids will enjoy as well.


I have my game from the 70’s and my kids love playing Payday. It’s a classic game that helps kids learn about paying bills and earning money each month.

It’s really quite realistic and engaging at the same time.

My kids still wanted to play this game when they were tweens.

SET game

Start off your younger kids playing this game. You can start by having them find sets in the cards, not making it a race to do so.

They will learn about shapes, patterns, colors. It’s a brilliant game that they can continue playing into adulthood. It’s fun for everyone and really will help build your child’s brain. Schools often play SET in enrichment classes.

If you have 10 minutes or 30 minutes, you can start introducing SET Game to your kids. Buy it!


Once kids learn the different combinations of dice, this is a very easy game to play. Yet, there is a lot of strategy to this game that you might miss when you first play.

This is an excellent game for teens as well as younger children.

As your kids get better at understanding the rules and learn the different combinations for the dice, they will learn to figure out the odds of getting the different combinations.

After they roll the dice, they will have to choose what combination to roll for in their next two rolls. After their third and final roll for their turn, they will have to decide where to mark on their sheet.

For example, if after three rolls, your daughter has three fives and two fours, she will need to choose to mark down three fives, or three of a kind, or full house.

Kids will definitely hone their decision-making skills. Throughout the game, they need to add up their dice.

At the end of the game, they add all their points together. Yahtzee is a great game to teach math concepts, probability, and strategy.

Games for 5 to 7 year olds

Please also look below for games for younger kids as many of them are still fun, especially if you have children of different ages. They will love many of the games on that list.

Connect 4

Connect 4 spans different ages. Younger kids will enjoy it and have fun dropping the pieces in the slots. There is still enough strategy involved — getting four of your pieces across either vertically, horizontally or diagonally.

Connect 4 is a great game for when you don’t have a lot of time. My kids often made up more advanced rules when they were tweens. They still have fun letting all the chips fall through the slots when the game is over.


You can have your kids play this younger as well.

We own two sets, and the kids use them to build the tallest tower, among other things.

I’m glad to see they are creative with it in addition to playing the intended way.

I bought this for my boys because my younger son played in school. The teacher had multiple sets, and during free play, the kids would compete to see who could get the highest tower.

So while they sometimes are creative with building, if we had more than two sets, they would do this more often. Sort of like with Lego bricks, the more you have, the more you can do.

The fact that they are being creative in this way, makes me love Jenga even more.

How do you play? Set up the tower with three blocks facing one way and on top that, three blocks facing the other way. Continue until you’ve stacked all 54 blocks.

Players take turns removing a block without making the Jenga tower fall down.

This last time I brought my boys’ Jenga sets out, I was surprised to see folded slips of paper in one of the boxes.

My tween boys had made up some additional rules, like “Pick a brick from the bottom half,” and “Use your left hand,” etc.

I didn’t even know they did it! I love to see how they modify and add on to the games as they are getting older.

Junior Monopoly

Junior Monopoly helps introduce the concepts of counting money. It’s a much less involved version than regular Monopoly.

The rules are appropriate for the age range.

What’s great is you will know when they’ve outgrown this version and when to start them on the regular Monopoly.

Once they’ve aged out, you won’t want to regularly play it again, but it’s awesome for what it is.

Memory Match game

What’s great about the memory game is the different versions available. Depending on their age, you can get start with an alphabet version or a character they are interested in. Memory Match is great for all ages.

There are so many options.

When my kids were small, they had a Thomas and Friends and Toy Story memory games. When they were older, we bought the Mario Memory game. This is how I learned all the Mario characters! My kids had fun trying to help me remember their names.

Basically, whatever your child’s interest, you may be able to find some version of the memory match game. Once, my aunt gave my kids memory match cards with famous paintings that she bought at a museum.

When my son was 10 years old, we bought him an NFL memory match set. We still play it a lot. To make it more challenging, we play where we have to find matches for an entire division.

It’s fun to watch how my kids modify and add on to rules to make it more interesting for their age.

It’s a great game to build memory skills. I remember this game being one of the first games in which my kids started consistently winning against me.

Who can remember all of those cards?! Now they beat me in most games, including Monopoly, CATAN, chess, SET Game, and RISK.

It’s awesome when I’m trying my best, and they continue to win.


My son played this at school and had been asking for it. It’s the same classic game you may have grown up with.

It’s fun, and when the kids are old enough, they can play on their own.

Whereas many games involve setting up pieces in advance — especially as kids are playing more involved games — the unique twist to this game is players build the board as part of their turn.

They will have fun rolling the die to see where to move their playing piece (mouse) as they travel the game board.

Depending on what they roll, they might have the chance to build a part of the elaborate mousetrap.

That’s what makes the game fun. And chances are, even if your family plays often, kids will likely get to build different sections and pieces to the game.

Kids and adults will enjoy seeing if the mousetrap catches a mouse, which is one of the player’s. It’s sturdy and fun.

There are two steel marbles so watch for choking hazards and so they don’t get lost. You can replace them with regular marbles but it won’t work as well. You really need the weight to enable the trap.


There are multiple versions but we enjoyed playing the Classic Operation game.

Kids refine fine motor skills as they patiently work to extract body parts without sounding the buzzer.

If you purchase this game, be sure to get something close to the original. It should include real body parts, including the Funny Bone, Wish Bone, Adam’s Apple, Spare Ribs, etc.

Some of the newer versions are much different and not as fun. If you purchase online, buyer beware.

You will want to look for this in a store so you can check out the box and know what you are buying in advance.


My kids loved playing Perfection. It’s great to enhance fine motor skills and the ability to make decisions quickly.

I even had my old Lakeside Superfection game in which you would build cubes in the same timed way you do with Perfection.

Sadly, they don’t make Superfection anymore but Perfection is still fun — just a bit easier as your kids get older. Still, they can have fun modifying the rules so that it remains challenging.


Sorry uses cards instead of dice to move your pawn. This is a great game to start introducing decision-making.

Which of your markers should you move?

It’s still one of our families’ favorite board games. Somehow, it never gets old.


Get the set with the cards, and it will become a game you can play until your kids are teens and beyond.

Tenzi also makes for a great party game. It’s a great game to play over the holidays with family.

It’s a fun and easy game to play when you have a play date or another family over and the kids are different ages.

The rules are simple, and you can make up your own, especially if you don’t get the cards. You can play however long you want — five minutes or however long you have or want to play.

This is a fast game because you can end when the cards run out or whenever you decide.

Also, a bonus…. This game involves everyone the entire game, so no one has to wait for their turn to play.


We had Hasbro’s Trouble Star Wars version but the original is fun as well. This is one game in which the version really doesn’t matter; it doesn’t alter the game in any way.

It’s perfect to learn counting, and like Sorry, to have to decide which pawn to move. You “roll” the die by pushing down on the plastic dome in the center of the board. The die is inside.

After you press and release it, the die pops up and lands on a number.

Whack a Mole

My kids would have enjoyed playing this when they were younger than six and seven.

However, one of my son’s friends gave this to him for his birthday when he was six. Both boys enjoyed playing for years. It’s a two-player game but sometimes we had Whack a Mole tournaments so three of us could play.

This was also a game my kids enjoyed bringing out when they had a friend over.

Games for 3 to 5 year olds

Candy Land

This game involves players turning over a card and moving to the next color that matches the card. It’s great for building on color recognition.

If you are ordering Candy Land online and not buying in the store, you will want to be sure you are buying the one with cards.

Try to get as close to the original as you can.

Some of the game’s remakes have lost what it was that made Candy Land so magical and special to play.

Chutes and Ladders

In addition to counting and moving her playing piece, your child may find herself in the lead, only to slide down to last place.

Like with all games, they will start to learn about winning and losing.

It’s a fun game with all sorts of built-in lessons.

Don’t Break the Ice

My kids loved this game. They played with it until they were nine and 10 and would probably still play if I hadn’t (unfortunately) donated it when we moved.

I’ve known parents to pass down, donate, or let their kids sell this game at a garage sale much sooner in order to clear out their closets. I always wished they’d hold on to it longer.

If you let it be accessible to your kids — and not keep it in the back of the closet — they will return to it. It’s a really fun game and believe it or not, there is strategy involved.

It’s just a little bit of a pain to set it up — dozens of times — when kids are younger, and they can’t do it themselves. Your kids will love it!

Don’t Spill the Beans

This game is always fun, and it helps little ones build their fine motor skills. In my day, the set came with real beans. Now, they are plastic.

It’s a little flimsier and more likely to tip than it was when I was younger. However, it’s still a fun and simple game.

If you play games on a table instead of on a rug on the floor, you will want to be sure you have a tablecloth or something other than the bare table.

You will have an easier time catching some of those beans that don’t make it into the holder after it tips. Like with many of these games, you will want to watch for small pieces if you have young children.

Hi Ho Cherry-O

This game remains a classic for a reason. Kids learn to spin a spinner and follow directions, counting, taking turns, and fine motor skills.

The best thing about this game is there isn’t strategy involved. So the youngest child won’t automatically have a disadvantage, like in many other games.

Everyone has an equal chance at winning. It’s a quick game.

You can play multiple rounds so all of your children will hopefully get a chance to win.

Hungry Hungry Hippos

This is an action-packed game. My kids always loved playing.

We had one of the original versions with marbles. Like other games with small pieces, you need to be aware of choking hazards, especially for younger siblings. This is game is the most fun for little ones when you can play on a carpeted floor.

If you have more than one child playing, it may be hard for them to reach the game if it’s in the middle of the table.

Lucky Ducks

My kids had a blast with this quacking ducks game, and we went through a lot of batteries. The ducks circle the pond, and you try to find four ducks that match your color before the other person does.

It is a fast game and helps kids identify colors and sharpen their memory.

Like with all of these games, children are learning cognitive skills, such as problem solving and decision making.

Play family games with your kids

If you have an extra table or room for one, this is ideal for any game-playing family.

A folding card table is ideal for this. You can start a game and then leave it out.

In some of our houses, this has meant sliding the game board on a big cardboard box cutout and moving it to another part of our house.

Fast games 20 minutes or less

There are many benefits of playing board games, no matter how much time you have.

You can play many of these games for as long as you want, however, you can also play them in 10 – 20 minutes.

This is great for when you have some time — like right after dinner or before bedtime — but can’t commit to playing for a long time.

Most all games in which there are “rounds,” instead of competing to get to the end of the board, are faster to play because you can end them at any time.

  • Bananagrams: You can even sit with your kids and have them spell out their spelling words instead of playing a game.
  • Boggle
  • Candy Land
  • Cards
  • Catch Phrase
  • Chinese Checkers
  • Chute and Ladders
  • Connect 4
  • Don’t Break the Ice
  • Don’t Spill the Beans
  • Hi Ho Cherry-O
  • Hungry Hungry Hippos
  • Jenga
  • LCR – Left Center Right
  • Lucky Ducks
  • Memory Match
  • Operation
  • Perfection
  • Poker
  • Rubik’s Race
  • SET game
  • Suspend
  • Tenzi
  • Whack a Mole
  • Yahtzee: if playing with two players

If you are playing with older kids, there are other games you can play that will likely be shorter than 20 minutes as well.

Reasons to play family games

1. Playing family games is a great way to spend time with your kids.

Everyone can put away the electronics and other distractions and enjoy time with each other.

2. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time.

Even if you have 15 minutes, you can start or play a game, especially card games and games with rounds.

These are much shorter because you can agree to stop at any time. On school nights, this is ideal.

During the weekends or schools breaks, you can play longer games, like Monopoly, Scrabble, or RISK.

3. Playing games teach valuable skills.

Some games are more educational than others. However, with family game, you child will be learning something or build on existing skills.

Your kids will learn so much from playing games.

  • Taking turns
  • Following rules
  • Being a good sport
  • Counting and adding
  • Spelling, forming words and letters
  • Strategy
  • Logic
  • Matching
  • Colors, Shapes
  • Odds and probability
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Math
  • Spelling (Bananagrams, Boggle, Scrabble)
  • Geography (RISK)
  • Generating income
  • Paying bills

4. Your kids will learn strategy.

Even as an adult, I’ve learned some more involved strategy after playing these games so many times.

5. It’s something you can always do together.

No matter how old your children get, you can always enjoy playing games with each other. Playing family board games with teenagers is a great way to spend time together.

6. It doesn’t cost money after you have the game.

So many ways we spend dedicated time with our kids involve spending money.

Playing board games together is a great way to have quality time with our children, at home, without spending money each time.

Different versions of games

Sure, it’s marketing. These big game makers want us to keep buying their games.

But it’s been fun to see the different Monopoly game versions. My one son loves them so much, he’s started collecting them.

Even though it’s usually the same game, it’s  been fun to see the different Monopoly game versions and other versions Parker Bros (owned by Hasbro), Late for the Sky, and Hasbro make.

Sometimes they are the same game with a theme. Other times, as in RISK Europe and some versions of Clue, there are different rules.

Either way, having different themed games changes up your game play and makes for a great gift.

Game sets

When a friend bought my son a game set that included checkers, chess, backgammon for his birthday, we started playing backgammon.

Some include a deck of cards, Mancala, and/or Chinese Checkers.

Popular board games are fun but be sure to remember the classics.

Family board games gifts

Some of our favorite games have been gifts.

Especially when kids have so much access to technology, an age-appropriate board game can be a welcome change.

As you play more games with your children, you will want to find different games to expand upon their skills and everyone’s enjoyment.

Games as gifts

My son was invited to a birthday party. We are good family friends with the parents. I texted them to ask for gift suggestions. The dad responded with, “board games” along with some other suggestions.

The mother wrote back to say to “forget the board games” because they “had too many.” I’ll admit to being shocked.

We love games and are always looking for fun family games. My daughter and sons have always enjoyed getting games and board games as gifts.

One of the best gifts ever was when a relative gave my sons Settlers of CATAN for Christmas. We’d never heard of it. We’ve played 30+ times and will play for years to come. We bought additional versions and change the board so it’s never the same game twice.

Best board games

The best family games are educational, fun, stress-free, and ones you don’t tire of. You want to find fun games to play, and you know your kids best.

Choose games that will interest them and play to their strengths. Consider how many people will be playing and if there will be older or younger siblings playing.

You want to be sure everyone has a good time.

Board games for kids

Playing board games help kids to learn about saving and spending money, costs, having enough money, and running out of money.

They learn logic, strategy and figuring out ways to win. Through all of this, they are learning about taking turns, good sportsmanship, and finishing the game, win or lose.

All the while, you get to spend invaluable time with your children, no matter what their ages.

Bring a deck of cards or some dice, and your kids will always have something to do. It’s a great way to spend time together that doesn’t involve an outing.

And unlike watching a movie together, playing family games together gives you a way to really connect with each other.

Play a game!

I grew up playing board games and card games with my sister and parents. This is still something we sometimes do when we get together.

It’s a great way to spend time with each other without electronic distractions. When you do this often enough, it’s not so much an occasion as it is just something you do.

While the idea and branding behind Hasbro’s Family Game Night is great, it doesn’t have to be a dedicated event. There are great reasons to play games with your kids.

You will never run out of fun family board games. There are popular games and classics. My kids and I have played all of the games I’ve reviewed above.

We just bought Blokus for Christmas and love it. It’s great for 9 years and up. There are many we play that I didn’t include that I’m remembering now, including Othello, Scattergories, Trivial Pursuit, and Taboo.

These are especially fun for older kids.

We also play a fair amount of card games, including Monopoly Deal, Quiddler (made by the same company as SET game) and Uno.

With electronics being so prevalent, now more than ever, it’s important to pick up some family board games, and play with your kids.

Should I Let My Child Take the CogAT Test

KiwiCo Crates Review

Playing games with family

I grew up playing board games, and it’s still something we do when we get together as adults. Because of this, I started playing games with my daughter when she was three years old.

We began with simple children’s board games, like Hi-Ho Cheerio, Memory Match, and Chutes and Ladders. Later on, we played different games, such as Don’t Spill the Beans, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Jenga, Junior Monopoly, and Junior Scrabble, and Don’t Break the Ice.

We played card games, like Go Fish, with a regular deck of cards. We played Old Maid and Uno.

As she grew, we played games involving more math, strategy and skills, including counting money. We played regular Monopoly, Yahtzee, Boggle, and card games, like SET.

Depending on how much time we had, we played quick games or longer games. No matter how much time we played, it was a way to connect us, more so than sitting in front of the TV together.

When she was a teenager, she would still want to play games with her father and me. Even more incredible, a few times she wanted us — her parents! — to play a game with her boyfriend or her teen friends.

What teens want to spend time with their parents?!

Playing family games together always gave us something to do as she aged into adulthood. Games are also educational.

Playing games has always been a big part of our family. My younger sons and I have shared these same positive experiences from playing board games together. And we are all better for it.

Use this list for the best games for teens and end with the best games for younger kids. There are so many to choose.

Summer Bridge Workbooks ~ Best Workbooks Prevent Summer Slide
Summer Bridge Workbooks ~ Best Workbooks Prevent Summer Slide

When your kids are home from school and you want to keep them learning and occupied, these Summer Bridge Workbooks are ideal. While there are great online learning resources, there is still the critical need for students to write by hand.

These grade level workbooks are colorful and not intimidating to do. They cover a few skills each day and are designed to be completed in under 20 minutes. The pages aren’t cluttered; there is lots of white space.

These summer bridge books bridge the gap between the year students completed in school and the next grade they will enter. It’s a good opportunity to review skills with your children and find out what they need help on.

Basically, these workbooks reinforce what students should have learned the previous school year. This way, if the teachers didn’t teach the material or if students didn’t have enough time to grasp the concepts, kids will have another chance for learning and review.

Students can work on them during the summer or anytime to sharpen skills. It will help ensure they learned what they needed to during their school year. It also helps prevent summer slide.

Giving kids the opportunity to be off computer screens and to sit down with a pencil and the workbook for just 20 minutes a few days a week will help keep them active in learning.

SpaceRail – All About Marble Run Roller Coaster SpaceRails

Summer Bridge Workbooks - summer workbooks

Summer Bridge Workbooks – summer workbooks

Best workbooks for at home learning

When my son finished kindergarten, I overheard someone ask his teacher about summer bridge workbooks.

While my kids did workbooks, I’d never heard of summer slide and summer enrichment.

According to NWEA, for kids in 3rd – 8th grades, students lose skills in math and reading. They went on to explain for students who’ve just competed third grade, students lose 27% of their school gains in math and 20% in reading.

They discovered summer learning loss increases with age through kids’ elementary and middle school years. For students who just finished seventh grade, students lost 50% of their gains in math and 36% in reading over the summer.

My kids have been doing summer bridge workbooks ever since. They like they are just the right amount of challenge. Whether or not they already know the material, it’s a great way to refresh skills and concepts.

The workbooks are set up so they just have to do two pages a day which makes it very doable.

Summer bridge workbooks

These Carson-Dellosa Summer Bridge Activities workbooks are ideal no matter when your kids start them. They don’t have to start at the beginning of summer. They can start anytime.

Whenever they start, these workbooks will help reinforce and increase your child’s mastery of skills. In some cases, these workbooks will introduce and teach new concepts.

No matter what your school district’s curriculum or whether they follow Common Core, there are grade-level standards students should know.

Kids only have to do two pages a day for 60 days. Maybe the kids skip some days; that’s okay. The idea is they aren’t going all summer without some enrichment.

These books bridge the gap from the grade your child just completed and the one he/she will start after summer break. The goal is to minimize summer slide and the academic progress they’ve made.

We’ve bought them from K to 1st up to 7th to 8th grade and have been pleased with each book. We have been happy with each bridge workbook from Carson-Dellosa. They also have one from PreK to K.

These workbooks have been worth the cost — even if my kids didn’t complete every page over the summer. Think of the price of a tutor; this is a fraction of the cost. We’ve paid as low as $8 up to $13 for each workbook, depending on when we bought it. It’s truly worth much more.

Helping for standardized tests

These are great books to help keeps kids’ minds sharp for the standardized tests that many schools give early in the school year.

While tests like the CogAT don’t measure grade-specific skills and content, using these bridge books over the summer help kids remain in a problem-solving mindset. These workbooks help build critical thinking skills.

Why use summer bridge workbooks

These workbooks help bridge the gap between whatever grade your child just completed to the grade they will enter when school resumes after summer break. They keep kids engaged over the summer.

You will know your child is prepared to start the next grade.

The problems and questions are rigorous enough to make your child think but not so difficult to cause frustration.

My son, who is going into 8th grade, just started Day 1 yesterday. The first six questions instruct them to figure out the area and volume. He said he had just reviewed this for their state test in the spring.

He quickly set to work on the problems. Interestingly, he knew how to compute the volume but not the area. It was great to see him figure out the problems and be challenged by it, not discouraged. It’s likely he will now know this for the future. This was all from the first six problems on Day 1!

On the second page for Day 1, there were a series of analogies. These are the same types of questions students see on the CogAT test.

For those who are interesting in helping their children prep for standardized tests, these workbooks are great ways to give kids practice with problems to solve.

What’s great about these summer workbooks

There are many wonderful things about these educational workbooks.

It’s different every day

One of the best parts is while they cover all the subjects over the month, there are different subjects and activities each day.

Some workbooks are divided by subject (a math section, a grammar section, a reading comprehension section, etc.). The beauty of these books is there is a mix.

Your child won’t have to do math, history, spelling or science every day. There is always a combination of subjects and types of questions. This keeps it interesting and helps keep them engaged.

workbooks Kids work on different skills

workbooks Kids work on different skills

Your kids will have to read the directions, because they will differ. It also makes sure they read the directions instead of just assuming they know what to do.

One day, the child will complete a math section. On the next page, it may ask for the student to circle the incorrectly spelled words.

Then, she may have to write different types of sentences such as “write a complex sentence” and “write a compound sentence with a prepositional phrase.”

It’s very doable

Really, there are just two pages a day. Your kids will learn and also feel proud they accomplished something.

Maybe you give them a week off when they get out of school or when you go on vacation. Maybe they don’t do the workbooks on the weekends. It’s really up to you, and it’s best to be flexible.

Doing ANY of the workbook pages is better than doing nothing!

reading comprehension page on left

reading comprehension page on left

There’s lots of white space. The font size is appropriate. They use color often. Your kids shouldn’t be overwhelmed with these.

Focuses on reading

When you read about summer slide, much of the focus is on the importance of reading over the summer.

Reading and reading comprehension is interspersed throughout these workbooks.

Lets you know what kids need help in

One of the best parts for our family is there have been many times in these workbooks when my kids struggled.

For whatever reason, my kids didn’t learn the material in a certain section. Maybe the teacher didn’t cover it, maybe my child didn’t understand or remember it, or maybe my child was out that day.

This was a great opportunity for me to be sure they understand the material. This is practical summer learning not just busywork.

Reminds parents to reinforce skills

These workbooks have been good reminders of things to discuss over the summer. Because of these workbooks, I had my kids practice their times tables in the car.

We’ve practiced telling time. We talked about North South East West.

Starts interesting conversations

These bridge workbooks have inspired us to have conversations about many different things.

In one of the books there was a section about Greek gods and goddesses. The students were to use clues to complete a crossword puzzle. My kids loved the Rick Riordan books so this was fun for them to do together to apply what they remembered from the books.

On the next page, there were pictures of world landmarks. I have a degenerative joint disease and tramadol has helped a ton, its probably the only medication that has calmed my pain for more than 5hrs https://medicalspecialistsoffairfield.com/tramadol/

The instructions were to match the landmark with the picture and write down the country the landmark is in. This got us all talking about some of the landmarks. We spent the afternoon learning more about some of them online.

There have been many times we talked about a passage, subject or questions from these workbooks.

Keeps kids’ minds sharp

Keeping kids engaged over the summer — by just doing two pages a day — will help them remember what they studied the previous year.

workbooks have encouraged critical thinking and problem solving skills

workbooks have encouraged critical thinking and problem solving skills

In many cases, it will be a review for them — just presented in a different format — and a way for them to apply the skills they should have learned.

These workbooks have encouraged critical thinking and problem solving skills throughout the summer.

Covers many subjects

Your child will strengthen his or her skills in reading comprehension, math, spelling, writing, social studies, geometry, measurement, science and more.

In many instances, subjects overlap.

For example, there may be a reading passage about something in history or science.

Your child will benefit from the reading practice while learning about something in history, while building reading comprehension skills.

Children will gain exposure to following directions, maps, vocabulary, telling time, finding volume, converting ounces to pounds, fractions, longitude and latitude, measurement, climate, interpreting charts and graphs, statistics, learning about the importance of being active, and so much more.

Skills Matrix

There is a Skills Matrix toward the front of the workbook which will show you the skills the book covers each day.

Examples in the summer bridge workbook 3 to 4, in Section One:

Day 1 covers Problem Solving, Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary.

Day 2 covers Multiplication and Division, Numbers, Punctuation & Capitalization, and Word Study.

And then:

Day 3 covers Addition & Subtraction, Language Arts & Writing, Multiplication & Division, and Prefixes & Suffixes.

Day 4 covers Graphing & Probability, Language Arts & Writing, Parts of Speech, and Problem Solving.

Other skills your child will review throughout the workbook include Character Development, Fitness, Fractions, Geometry, Measurement, Place Value, Reading Comprehension, Science, Sentence Structure, Social Studies, and Spelling.

Skills Matrix for older grades

Wondering about the older grades? The Skills Matrix in the summer bridge workbook 6 to 7 includes:

Addition & Subtraction, Algebra & Ratios, Capitalization & Punctuation, Character Development, Data Analysis & Probability, Decimals & Percentages, Fitness, Fractions, Geometry & Measurement, Language Arts, Multiplication & Division, Parts of Speech, Problem Solving, Puzzles, Reading Comprehension, Science, Sentence Types & Structure, Social Studies, Usage, and Writing.

Offers writing prompts

In school, kids often spend a lot of time doing reports and “writing” on the computer instead of actually handwriting.

I’m always happy for the chance for my kids to be creative and boost their handwriting skills.

The writing prompts in these summer workbooks are age appropriate and interesting.

They include a few lines for kids who may not enjoy writing and include the option to continue the writing on a separate piece of paper for children who have lots they want to write about.

The section may ask the child to write something from experience, from their imagination, something they may have learned, or to write an ending to a story.

Here are some examples of the writing prompts in these books:

Summer bridge workbooks 3 to 4

“What would you do if you woke up with green hair?”

“Write about your experience of learning how to do something new. Who helped you? What did you learn? Share your story using a logical sequence of events.”

Summer bridge workbooks 4 to 5

“You go for a walk one day and find a a large, golden egg with green spots. Suddenly, it begins to shake and crack.” The child is supposed to use the steps to finish the story.

Another in the 4th to 5th grade book is: “Make a list of things that use electricity. Then, write about what you think life would be like without electricity.”

Summer bridge workbooks 5 to 6

“Invent a new ice cream flavor. How is it made? What will you call it? Describe your new flavor.”

“Write a review of a book you have read, telling whether you liked it or disliked it. State your opinion clearly and give specific reasons to support it.”

Summer bridge workbooks 6 to 7

“You have been offered a round-trip ride in a time machine and can travel any distance into the past. What time period would you want to travel to? Why?”

We really like that the kids have the choice to use another sheet of paper if they need more space. In this way, it’s doable for the reluctant writer, yet a child who loves writing can write as much as he or she wants to.

The material and prompts are relevant to your child’s grade level.

Teaches in a fun way

While these are workbooks to prevent summer learning loss, they have been a great way for kids to master skills in math, writing, reading, and more.

Beginning of the book

Skills Matrix: See above.

Summer Reading List: Offers fiction and non-fiction books for the age and grade level.

Three sections

There are three sections, each with 20 days of lessons. Each day contains two pages for kids to complete.

Beginning of each section

Each section starts with three monthly goals your child can set for himself. They give examples such as reading for 20 minutes each day, exercising for 30 minutes a day, etc.

There is also a Word List. They include a list of words that your child will see in the next section. They encourage students to review the words and to use a dictionary for the definition of words they don’t know.

The children are encouraged to come up with two sentences from the word list and write them down.

Bonus pages

There are Bonus pages at the end of each section.

In one of the workbooks, there is a chart for kids to determine their heart rate from doing push ups, jumping jacks, etc. They are instructed to count the number of beats in six seconds. Then, they are to multiply by 10 to compute their heartbeats per minute.

All the while, they are getting physical activity, learning about using a chart, learning about health, and doing math.

Another activity in the bonus section is a map with time zones in the United States. Children can answer questions about figuring out what time it is in different parts of the country.

workbook bonus pages

workbook bonus pages

bonus workbook lessons

bonus workbook lessons

There are so many enriching workbook bonus pages filled with interesting topics would will want your kids to know about.

Back of the book

In the back of the book there are extra opportunities to help enrich your child.


All the books — even the summer bridge workbook 7 to 8 — have flashcards kids can cut out and reference.

The cards cover various subjects, including colors, vocabulary words, homophones, words with Greek and Latin roots, geometry terms, factors of a number, prefixes, suffixes, math concepts, spelling words, practice math problems, and more.


The books from summer bridge PreK to K through summer bridge 4th to 5th have stickers to put on a chart so your child can track his/her progress.

The workbooks from 5th to 6th and higher do not include the stickers.


All of them, even the summer bridge workbook 7 to 8, have a colorful award certificate at the end of the book.


The answers are organized by day and page and are color coordinated by the first, second or third section. They are easy to follow, find and understand.

Answer key

Before my kids “are finished” they have to show me the workbooks, and I check the answers.

At times, we check them together. It’s a nice way to spend time with them reviewing what they learned and talking about anything they had questions about.

Older students can check the answers themselves and be independent with their learning.

Everything you need is in the bridge workbook

While at the end of each Bonus section there is the opportunity to “take it outside” or do a science experiment with mostly-easily-found materials, the vast majority of the book is right on the pages.

All your kids really need is a pencil and the workbook — that’s it.

Reviews what they should have learned

summer bridge workbook 3 4

summer bridge workbook 3 4

State standards often change. Maybe your child moved and changed schools. Maybe your child was sick and missed important lessons. Perhaps the teacher didn’t teach everything or didn’t have enough time to reinforce the concepts with students who struggled.

Regardless, these lessons help kids get the chance to further apply what they learned and master it or to learn it for the first time.

It’s difficult during the school year to know the areas in which your child may have struggled.

These workbooks touch on multiple subjects in different contexts so you can be sure they understand the material they should have learned during the most recently-completed school year.

Bridges the gap from one grade to the next

These bridge workbooks help ensure your child has mastered what she should have learned in the grade she just completed.

It helps keep her skills sharp and her mind working and learning over the summer so she will be ready to absorb what she needs to learn in her next school year.

Takes just 15 – 20 minutes

There are 24 hours in a day — surely we can carve out a few minutes for my kids to sit down and do these workbooks.

Some days we can’t or don’t, and that’s okay. There are 60 days to complete and our summer break is 70 days.

summer bridge workbooks

summer bridge workbooks

summer workbooks

summer workbooks

Some summers, my kids don’t finish their bridge books, and that’s okay too. I’m happy for what they were able to complete because it’s better than nothing.

Depending on your child’s age and grade, some days it may take 15 minutes. Other days, closer to 25.

It depends on your child’s focus and strengths in the subject that day. These books are designed to be done fairly quickly so it won’t be a struggle to get your kids to do them.

Best workbook for 7th and 8th grades

Many workbooks are for younger students. This series goes as high as bridging from 7th grade to 8th grade.

Bridge workbook 7 to 8

The Summer Reading List includes a long list of fiction and non-fiction books. It also reminds students to read for a minimum of 30 minutes each day.

Summer learning loss increases as students get older, so it’s important to keep them engaged over the summer. Again, these books are meant to be doable and take just 15 – 20 minutes each day.

bridge 7th to 8th grade workbook

bridge 7th to 8th grade workbook

Know that there is a lot of white space. Your child should not find these workbooks overwhelming. They are presented so they are not intimidating and will not frustrate your child before he/she begins.

The workbooks are designed so the child can finish each day, be proud of that, and feel a sense of satisfaction.

The goal is to get ready for 8th grade by keeping their skills sharp.

Bridge workbook 7 to 8 Day 1

Here are examples of what your child will get to experience.

The first day starts with measurement. Kids need to “Find the surface area or volume of each rectangular prism.” There are six questions.

Next, they work on grammar. Teens are to read the passage, underline each noun, and draw three lines under each letter that should be capitalized.

On the second page for Day 1, teens work on vocabulary and science.

First, they are to circle the letter next to the word that correctly completes each analogy. There are five questions. The first is:

dessert : rain forest :: ___________ : ravine

A. ocean  B. canyon  C. plateau  D. mountain

This type of reasoning question is what students see on their standardized tests, including the CogAT.

The second activity on the second page tells students to “Write the letter of the word from the word bank that completes each sentence.” There are seven questions. These are science questions.

Three examples are:

In the first state of cell reproduction, the ________ disappears.

The period of time when a cell grows and copies its DNA is called _______.

Plant cells use _______ to capture sunlight.

Even if your teenager doesn’t know all the science terms in the word bank, he or she will use reasoning and process of elimination to figure out the answers.

The best part is that this is all enrichment — it’s not graded.

workbook 7th grade 8th grade Variety of skills each day

workbook 7th grade 8th grade Variety of skills each day

If your teen struggles in this section or in any other section, he/she can take some time over the summer when things are less hectic to learn the material. During the school year, it’s difficult to take this extra time to really understand the concepts. Students are often rushing to complete assignments and turn them in on time.

In addition to truly being able to master concepts they may be unfamiliar with or not understand fully, they may become more interested in a subject and have the time to pursue it in greater depth.

Summer bridge 7 to 8 Day 2

The second day, your teenager will strengthen his/her skills in geometry and language arts.

There are eight vocabulary words. Instead of writing the definition, the directions ask them to determine whether the words have a positive or negative connotation.

Examples:  annoy, unique, cheerful, glorious, worthless

The last thing they will do on Day 2 is to read a passage and answer the questions.

Workbooks for tweens and teens

We have loved all of the workbooks in this series. We have bought one each year, starting with K to 1. However, now that our kids are older, we especially appreciate the workbooks for the older grades.

Oftentimes, we’ve bought workbooks that cover a range of grades, as in a Problem Solving Workbook for 4 – 6 grade. That’s a very broad range of skills.

We love these bridging workbooks for the older grades, 5th to 6th, 6th to 7th, and 7th to 8th. Tweens and teens are often reluctant to do extra work, especially as it gets more challenging.

However, these summer bridge workbooks for older students are engaging, not intimidating, and take the right amount of time to complete. We want to do what we can to prevent summer learning loss and to keep them interested in learning.

We also like that each day the workbook blends subjects together. There isn’t an entire section on just one subject. This keeps the learning interesting.

Makes parents feel accomplished

As a busy mom, I like to look back on our summer days and weeks and feel like we accomplished something. I want to know I’m doing what I can so my kids have the tools to succeed.

It’s really important for me to know my kids will be prepared. I want to know they learned what they were supposed to and are all caught up. I want to be sure they are ready to learn when their summer break is over.

A bonus also is this gives my kids a sense of accomplishment that doesn’t come from playing electronics and video games.

(In our house, my kids can’t use electronics the next day if they didn’t finish their workbook that day. It’s been a big motivator for them to earn their electronics time the next day.)

Enriching for your child

Think of these workbooks as ways to supplement things your children already do. Perhaps they play with educational toys or STEM- and science-focused toys. This is another way for them to learn.

They are portable

summer bridge workbook

summer bridge workbook

This is a really easy workbook to take on car rides and road trips.

My kids know they have to get their workbook pages done each day so if there is a car ride, they will often bring their workbook along to do on the way.

They’ve even brought these summer workbooks to do on the airplane.

Requires a pencil — back to the basics

As mentioned before, there are writing prompts. But even more than writing out sentences, it’s nice my kids get a chance to write — numbers and words.

While we appreciate online learning, my kids don’t need more time in front of screens. These books reinforce handwriting skills.

I’m a big fan of pencil and paper learning, especially because as kids get older, so much is online.

Certainly online interactive skill-building educational websites have their place, but it’s really great to get back to the basics with handwriting with a pencil and a paper workbook.

Can do it together or independently

Depending on the ages and focus of your child, you can sit with them. Sometimes I do — even now that my children are older — and sometimes I don’t. I usually go over the answers with them.

Summer bridge workbooks PK – 8th grade

These workbooks have become part of my kids’ summer routines.

Amazing value

Think of the price of a tutor.

Think of the time it takes to look online for different worksheets to print out to help reinforce or teach skills. Here is everything, all in one place. If there is something you find your child doesn’t understand, these workbooks will give you a chance to then find more resources if you need.

Teaches goal setting

Unless we have other activities, our rule is my kids can’t do electronics the next day if they didn’t complete their two workbook pages. They get bonus time when they complete bonus pages at the end of each section.

Age appropriate

These books are spot on for whatever grade your child is in. You won’t have to worry about these being too repetitive and remedial. They will find challenges in these books.

Summer slide workbooks for older students are especially essential. We’ve found them to be the right amount of challenge.

Great way to prevent summer slide

There are many positive things about these summer bridge books. They help reinforce and build skills as well as introduce new skills. The daily workbook pages have meaningful activities. It’s not just busywork.

Sometimes my kids will sail through a section (have already mastered those skills) while other times they need to take longer either because of the complexity of the section or because the material is a little more challenging. It’s been a great mix.

These workbooks help my kids continue to develop their analytical skills and their critical thinking abilities.

They are great books to help them review as well as prepare them for the next grade. The idea is to keep your child excited about learning all summer long.

I buy summer slide workbooks to keep my kids’ minds active over the summer, to keep them engaged, and to prevent summer slide.

Summer enrichment workbooks

practicing what they learned in school

practicing what they learned in school

There are extra learning activities in the bonus sections. Choose to do these extra activities or don’t — they are there if you want to.

In our district, kids get 10 weeks of summer break. Much of what students learned over the school year can be lost if kids don’t get the opportunity to reinforce and practice those skills.

Making sure your child knows what he is supposed to know

How do you know if your child learned about capitalizing proper nouns or the first word of the sentence? Do you know if you child can tell time? When is he/she supposed to learn that?

Does your child know how to put quotes in for dialogue? Is your child familiar with reading maps or graphing?

Many times I looked at these workbooks and didn’t know my kids hadn’t learned it in school. How would I know? You will discover so much about what your kids may not have fully learned in school, either because they didn’t teach it or because your child didn’t get enough instruction and attention to master the skills.

There are grade standards teachers need to teach. Many school districts are very test-focused. Sometimes there are 25 – 30 kids in a classroom — all at different levels and aptitudes.

It’s difficult for teachers to know if each child understands each concept he or she taught that year.

They may have worked on something for one or two lessons and your child didn’t understand the material. Maybe your child was absent that day or was there but didn’t get the opportunity to apply the lesson and skills.

These workbooks will really help give your child the review they need. They are challenging and colorful and a good-sized font so it’s not overwhelming.

Sometimes there are just 4 – 6 math problems on a page — there is lots of white space.

And if you have an over-eager and interested child who wants to work on the workbook at a faster pace, that’s great! You can always purchase another summer slide workbook. There are many on the market. This will be a very good problem to have!

Something to do instead of electronics

There are some long summer days. It’s easy for kids to play on their iPads, Xbox, PCs, and phones. Instead of vegging out in front of the TV, they can use 15 – 20 minutes to stimulate their brains.

So much in-school work now is done on the computer. Our kids have Chromebooks in school. They do a lot of their papers and schoolwork on it.

What’s great about these summer bridge workbooks is the kids get to use a pencil to continue to build their handwriting skills and fine motor skills. Much of this is lost in school nowadays, especially as the kids are in third grade and older grades.

Summer workbook for tweens and teens

These summer slide workbooks go up to 8th grade. I am looking forward to my seventh grader doing this over the summer to help prepare for eight grade.

We really wish they had a workbook to bridge from 8th grade to high school but they don’t at this time.

These summer slide workbooks for the older grades are very valuable. There are many subjects teachers teach, especially as students are in the older grades. This is especially true with science concepts and social studies.

They will learn about history from the workbook’s reading passages — material about science and animals and nature and concepts that all teachers can’t cover in the short time kids are in school.

In addition, your child will continue to master resiliency and grit. They will feel good about themselves for finishing each day’s workbook pages.

So for older kids, these summer workbooks are great. If you want, you can even tear out the answers in the back so you know your kids are really doing the work.

Summer bridging workbooks

If your kids have been in the habit of doing summer enrichment, doing two pages a day is a manageable goal, even for kids who may be reluctant.

And for parents who have a hard time setting expectations and sticking to routines — myself included — this is easy. You can have the kids finish the day in their workbook before doing electronics.

We really like giving them all day to choose when they do their workbooks. They know they have to complete their pages so they can do electronics the next day. This gives them control. We’ve also found they don’t rush to do the pages like they did when they had to do them that day.

Different than BrainQuest workbooks

We have bought BrainQuest workbooks through the years, starting when my children were in preschool. It was a practical way to teach concepts. When both of my kids started kindergarten, they were off the charts with knowledge. I believe this is in part to these books.

Because the school district we were in didn’t believe in homework for the elementary grades, we used the BrainQuest workbooks a few times a week.

We used it to supplement and review and sometimes introduce new concepts and skills.

We liked them a lot. The difference with the BrainQuest workbooks is they are divided by subject. So you will have say 25 pages of math review, then language arts, then writing, etc.

Also, they are very large workbooks. You can easily tear out the pages for your child to do. Or sometimes we ripped out the pages after they finished the pages. But it’s a more cumbersome book to use and take in the car and on trips.

There are stickers and certificates kids will have fun using and earning. There are also tear out flashcards for sight words, colors, animals, etc., depending on the grade you choose.

We’ve never used the Summer BrainQuest books which are meant to bridge the gap between grades, so can’t speak to how they are. We’ve only used the regular grade-level books.

Since we were hooked on Summer Bridge Activities books since the first book we bought, (K to 1st grade) that’s all we’ve used for this purpose.

What is summer slide

Summer slide is summer learning loss. It’s what the kids lose in the summer because they are out of school for summer break. Many school districts are changing their calendars to include year-round schooling, in part to combat summer slide.

There are many things you can do to help your child over the summer. You can play games and do puzzles. You can involve them in tasks such as cooking and baking. They can help work out a grocery list and learn about budgeting.

Kids will have fun building and creating as well as drawing, doing art, science experiments, including STEM learning, and all sorts of activities.

Workbook for summer learning loss

We’ve bought our share of specialty summer workbooks. We have them for reading comprehension, advanced math, problem solving, and more.

We often start the summer strong with these workbooks and then get a little lax as the days and weeks progress. Part of summer is NOT having to do schoolwork, right?

But using the bridge workbooks has given us a clear goal. We know we will cover all the bases instead of skipping around with other workbooks which may focus on one or two subjects.

Summer Bridge Activities workbooks incorporate science, language arts, math, social studies, geography, and reading comprehension. There’s history and things they simply should just know — like map reading, telling time, using graphs.

Also, you can use them for homeschooling as well or as enrichment throughout the school year.

There’s lots of white space which makes it clutter-free and not intimidating. The directions are clear and easy to understand. Kids will enjoy the variety.

These bridge workbooks can help ensure your child learned what was necessary the past school year. In addition, you will be helping your child keep his brain engaged over the summer to remember what he learned.

It will help ensure he/she is up-to-date with the grade level standards and basically knows what he/she is supposed to know.

These workbooks give kids the opportunity to shine — it lets them demonstrate and use what they learned in school in a relaxed way.

For what is included in these summer workbooks, they are a tremendous value. You will be helping your child to prevent summer learning loss and summer slide.

When you consider what a tutor costs or the hassle of going online and finding materials in each subject at their ability level, it’s so easy to just get these summer bridge workbooks. Everything is in one book, in one place.

Should I Let My Child Take the CogAT Test

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These Pre K – 8th grade workbooks are amazing. As lovers of math, reading, history, science, and learning, we highly recommend them.

Understanding CogAT Scores Are Helpful to Parents

Understanding CogAT scores is essential. The CogAT measure a child’s reasoning abilities in three key areas (Verbal, Quantitative, and Nonverbal) but the results and scores may baffle parents and guardians.

The CogAT is not your typical school test. So, how do you interpret CogAT scores?

While you will want to understand your child’s CogAT scores to capitalize on his or her strengths, it’s especially important to know how the schools uses the CogAT results.

State standardized tests are designed to see how well students retained the information presented to them according to state standards. CogAT tests are different in that they are the same nationwide. The CogAT evaluates how well a child figures out problems.

understanding CogAT scores

CogAT scores

Below we explain the Age Scores, including the Standard Age Score, Age Stanine, Age Percentile Rank, as well as the APR Graph.

In addition, you will learn to interpret CogAT Raw Scores, Grade Scores, and Local Scores.

There are nine sections to the CogAT test. There are three parts in each:

  • Verbal
  • Quantitative
  • Nonverbal

The CogAT is an excellent test of critical thinking abilities and logic, not rote memorization. It assesses students’ problem-solving abilities and spatial reasoning.

It also challenges students to look for patterns and to make connections between numbers, symbols, and words.

Understanding CogAT scores

Schools use CogAT scores in different ways. You need to find out how important CogAT results are at your child’s school. They not matter; however, they may give your child opportunities in gifted enrichment programs.

If you’re not happy with your child’s scores, you should familiarize yourself with the test for next time. Some schools test every year; others only periodically.

It will be so helpful for your child to see the directions and the types of questions for each CogAT section before they sit at school to take the test.

CogAT worksheets and workbooks give you and your child the opportunity to access sample CogAT tests. They have them by grade level, from K – 8th.

Once children understand the directions, they will be able to perform their best. Otherwise, many kids will use their time trying to figure out what to do. Even “very smart” students may have trouble understanding the directions when it’s time to take the CogAT.

The CogAT is a timed test, with 10 – 24 minutes per section.

What percentage is gifted?

When you look at CogAT scores, students who score in the 98% rank and higher are considered gifted.

However, schools with smaller enrollment may determine their own threshold to enter a gifted program. They may lower it. Alternatively, if they are keeping their gifted and talented classes small, they may use 98% for gifted placement.

Is the CogAT an IQ test?

No, the CogAT isn’t an IQ test. It’s a test in which students think critically, noting patterns and relationships between words, shapes, and numbers.

It’s more appropriate to think of CogAT scores as measuring critical thinking skills. It measures how well they problem solve.

What does a CogAT score of a 7 mean?

To interpret CogAT scores, you need to understand what Stanine means. Oftentimes, schools deal in percentages, where 100% is the perfect score.

Stanine is another way to measure and is a common way to rank in educational testing. It’s divided into nine classes, 1 – 9, with one being the lowest, and nine being the highest. A CogAT score of 7 means the student placed Above Average.

With regards to the CogAT, a score of 7 is equivalent to 77 – 88%.

It’s important to know there are different CogAT versions. If you see CogAT Form 7, that’s the version the school administered. It doesn’t refer to a CogAT score of 7.

What is a good score on the CogAT test?

The higher the number, the better the score. However, with CogAT results, it’s more than that.

To answer what is a good score on the CogAT, it’s important to know how the school is using the results.

If it’s to place students on a track for advanced math or for an entire accelerated program, a “good score on the CogAT” will be whatever it takes to meet the requirements. Therefore, it’s essential to know how the school uses CogAT scores.

CogAT scores for math placement

Schools are using CogAT scores — especially in math — as assessment tools to place children in different tracks.

At schools where they separate kids based on math ability, CogAT scores help determine placement. This often starts with CogAT scores in 2nd and 3rd grade as they start separating students for math. In other school districts, they may first start grouping students for math in 5th or 6th grade.

The CogAT nonverbal and quantitative sections test problem solving skills, not just addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division facts. They test how well a child can think critically and figure out how to solve problems. It’s not about rote memorization.

CogAT results in large schools

Teachers and administration use CogAT results to help place students, especially in larger schools. They also use the scores if they have gifted programs.

If you have a school with one or two classrooms per grade, they may not use CogAT scores in this way. However, in schools with three or more classrooms at each grade level, the often have students switch for math before other subjects.

This is why many families take advantage of CogAT math practice.

What are CogAT scores used for

In some schools, CogAT scores determine if a student is placed in an advanced track. This is often the case for larger schools when they don’t want to rely on grades as the only measure.

Schools often administer the CogAT before students leave elementary schools as a placement tool for intermediate school or middle school.

Other schools use the CogAT for acceptance into gifted classes or their gifted program. Depending on the high school, they may use junior high grades and CogAT test scores as part of their entrance requirements. I have been on Xanax for about 20 years, 1mg for sleep https://ochoaspharmacy.com/xanax

CogAT scores can also be very helpful for parents and guardians. They will highlight areas in which your child excels.

With the insights provided by the CogAT, they can work in conjunction with teachers in order to provide the best type of assistance for their child.

If your child’s school doesn’t explain them fully, it can be difficult to understand CogAT results. When the CogAT determines students’ participation in a more rigorous educational opportunity, then these scores are much more important.

It’s important to ask the school why they administer the CogAT.

Just remember, the CogAT measures reasoning and problem-solving skills. However, these are not the only predictors of academic success.

CogAT scores for high school entrance or placement exam

Depending on the high school your 8th grader will enter, he or she may take a CogAT test.

Some private high schools and other high schools where students will need to take a baseline test to attend administer it.

Sometimes the CogAT scores will determine whether a student “gets in.” They use it as an entrance exam for potential incoming students.

Other high schools will use CogAT test scores as a placement tool. They will use it to place incoming freshmen in math and language arts.

Interpreting CogAT Scores

Your child may have taken the CogAT, and the way you find out about it is when you get the test results from the school. You will see the score with little other information from the teachers or administration.

Oftentimes, you get the CogAT results and that’s it. You won’t hear anything from the school about your child’s scores.

Teachers are well versed at interpreting CogAT test scores. But how do parents interpret CogAT scores?

The CogAT tests three different types of cognitive abilities. One is with words and language. The other two are more math-based. One section focuses on math through numbers, equations, etc. The other is about math concepts and relationships through patterns, shapes, and spatial reasoning.

Verbal section scores

The verbal section evaluates your child’s ability to break about words and change sequences of English words.

The way your child understands the words are measured, and so is their ability to infer implications based on the meaning of those words.

This section asks students to find the relationships between words, including whether it’s finding a synonym or antonym.

Quantitative test scores

The quantitative portion of the test is about numbers. CogAT scores measure students’ abilities to find relationships and solve problems with numbers and equations.

The CogAT asks what number comes next in a sequence. It also asks students to use numbers and symbols to form the right equation.

Nonverbal test results

Interpreting CogAT scores in the nonverbal section is likely different than other tests your child has taken.

The three parts to the nonverbal section measures children’s reasoning skills without words. The nonverbal part is mostly about shapes, symbols, and patterns.

Your child may be asked to choose which shapes are most alike, for example. There are paper folding questions for older grades where your child’s spatial abilities will be tested.

Seeing the directions to these types of questions in advance will help your child immensely.

Standardized test scoring terminology

You may have heard of Composite Score, in which the total score is derived for all the batteries of tests.

If your child scores 90 on the composite score, then it means that the child did better overall than 90% of the students in their age group.

Standard Age Scores (SAS)

For each portion and the composite, you’ll then see an age score. These scores tell you how your child compares to the other students in their age group.

The SAS has a mean of 100, which just tells you that a score of 100 is average for the age group.

It has a standard deviation of 16, which is just a way of saying that most students fall within 16 points of the mean (84 to 116).

As an example, a child who has an SAS score of 130 reveals that the child has a higher level and a faster rate of development in verbal reasoning skills than the other children in their age group.

Stanine Age Scores

The next set of scores range from a low of 1 to a high of 9, and they group percentile ranks to give you a clearer idea of your child’s ranking among others of their age.

A score of 9 means that the child is among the top 96% to 99% of the students in their age group.

Stanine, % Rank, Description

9        96-99            Very High

8        89-95            Above Average

7        77-88            Above Average

6        60-76            Average

5        40-59            Average

4        23-39            Average

3        11-22            Below Average

2        4-10             Below Average

1        1-3               Very Low

Age Percentile Rank

This is just a more specific idea of how the child ranks among their age group in the entire country.

A score of 82 on a the verbal portion means that 82% of the students in their age group in the country scored less than your child did.

APR Graph

This is a graph which shows your child’s age percentile rank. The score is represented by the diamond surrounded by a rectangle.

  • Diamond represents the score, such as 82.
  • Rectangle represents the confidence interval.

In other words, the real score of your child is actually somewhere between 72 and 92, for example.

There’s always an expectation of error, so the score offers a plus or minus range.

Understanding Your Child’s CogAT Scores

The error scores are different for each child. For example, the error score may be larger if your child performs inconsistently to question items in the same battery of tests.

Your child may have been unable to provide the right answers for the easier items, but was able to give the right answers for the more difficult ones. That’s an inconsistency, and the error score will reflect it.

Another possible error factor is if the child does poorly in one section of a specific portion (the verbal portion, for example) but does really well in another area of the same portion.

Raw scores

This part gives you three numbers for each test portion.

These numbers represent the number of items on the test, the number of items your child tried to answer, and the number of correct answers for each portion.

Grade scores

This shows how your child compares to other students in the same age group in the entire country.

Local scores

This is important because it shows how your child compares to other students in the same age group in the same school district.

CogAT profile

Taking the various scores for all the portions of the test as a whole also gives the profile for your child.

With the profile, appropriate steps and measures can then be taken so that your child gets the right kind of educational help.

A profile

The A profile means that your child’s scores across all the portions (verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal) are roughly the same.

This profile applies to about 1 out of 3 students.

B profile

The B profile applies when one of the scores is either much higher or much lower than the two others.

This then reveals a child’s relative strength (one is higher than the others) or relative weakness (one is lower than the others).

About 40% of all students get this profile.

C profile

The C profile denotes “contrast”. This is when a child has both a relative strength and a relative weakness.

About 14% of students have a profile like this.

E profile

Finally, there’s the E profile, which stands for “extreme”. This applies when there’s at least a 24 point difference between two of the scores in the CogAT.

So if a child scores a 90 on verbal and a 65 on nonverbal, then the E profile applies.

How CogAT Test Results Can Help Parents and Teachers

CogAT scores a child gets after taking the CogAT assesses his/her reasoning abilities. It’s a practical test and isn’t based on state standards.

CogAT scores can be used by parents and teachers in several possible ways:

The test can identify gifted children who can make the most of special educational programs.

Some schools offer educational programs for gifted students. CogAT scores are often used as determining factors.

Gifted programs offer the ability for students to fine-tune reasoning and critical thinking skills. Teachers generally have a smaller group of students and can focus on projects and subjects in greater depth.

Being in an accelerated program or gifted class assumes the child already understands what the teacher is teaching in the regular class. In elementary grades, gifted classes are often opportunities to leave the regular classroom and make up the work they missed.

The CogAT will help to identify these gifted students so they can take advantage of these special advanced school programs.

It’s really important to know if your child is suited for this type of enrichment so he/she can advance in certain subjects in which he/she excels.

Gifted classes offer enrichment opportunities. They focus on group work and projects. There will be a curriculum but it will be more fluid and classroom-paced based on the students’ engagement.

Gifted programs allow for opportunities to delve into certain areas more than in a traditional classroom setting. Oftentimes, there is more hands-on learning and experimentation.

They can help predict how students will perform in the near future.

The correlation between CogAT scores and school performance is obvious, especially when the test is used in conjunction with other tests such as the Iowa Tests.

A child with much higher scores is generally expected to perform well in school.

However, if the child who scores well on the CogAT does not do well in school, another factor may be affecting the child’s ability to get better grades. It’s important to identify and correct it so the child can be successful.

There are many possible reasons why a child with high test scores in the CogAT may perform poorly in school. Oftentimes, teachers overlook gifted students because they are “doing well.”

Teachers with 20 – 30 kids in a classroom typically need to focus on the struggling students. Schools don’t have resources or curriculum in all subject matters for students who excel and “get it.”

Teachers are busy ensuring students are grasping the concepts and lessons. If your child excels, they can focus on those who aren’t.

By correctly identifying the problem, guardians can take measures to help the student get the grade that better reflects their abilities.

They can be used to gauge a child’s reasoning abilities.

At home, parents can use puzzles and games to encourage a child’s strengths with regards to reasoning.

At school, CogAT scores are also used to evaluate the reasoning abilities of classes and various groups of students.

This can provide teachers some valuable insights as to how their students learn, so that they can tailor and tweak their instructional methods to help students learn their lessons in school.

Teachers can teach to the strengths of the children. They can also plan their lessons around the weaknesses common to most of the children in their class.

Those students who are also having some difficulty may get the extra help they need.

They can help identify children with special learning difficulties.

While the CogAT is more often used to identify students for gifted programs, it can be used for other reasons.

For example, a child may not do well with the verbal portions of the test but get excellent scores on the other portions. This may mean that the student may have some trouble with verbal comprehension.

This can alert teachers to provide extra attention to verbal matters. Some tutoring may be offered for subjects which rely heavily on verbal instruction.

CogAT Sample Questions for Young Students

Questions to Ask the School Before the CogAT Test

Should I Let My Child Take the CogAT Test

Increase CogAT score

CogAT practice materials are very helpful to prepare your child for this test. Many parents take advantage of the resources available. It will  help set your child above the rest and likely net them higher scores.

In general, preparing properly for the CogAT is important.

They can at least alleviate their anxiety by knowing how the exams work. However, the biggest advantage is the kids will see the exact directions for questions.

By familiarizing your child with the types of questions in advance, you will be allowing them more time to work on the problems.

Each section of the CogAT is timed, up to 24 minutes each.

The type of questions they face in the actual test won’t be as intimidating if they have already faced similar questions before. At the very least, they will know what they are supposed to do.

When it comes to these types of tests, it’s very easy to score much lower than what they could have.

However, by preparing, they have a better chance to increase their CogAT score.

With the right preparation, at least your child can increase the chances of scoring the highest score they can possibly achieve. Many parents take advantage of these resources to give their children every advantage.

The CogAT does not measure work habits, motivation, and attention. As a parent you may need to gently help in these areas as well. Summer bridge workbooks and free math worksheets are a great place to start.

Trading Cards for Kids ~ How to Get Started in Trading Cards
Trading Cards for Kids ~ How to Get Started in Trading Cards

Trading cards for kids are fun, developmentally appropriate, and a worthwhile experience for kids. Kids can learn so many lessons and stay off of electronics in the process.

There are many different types of kids trading cards that may appeal to your children. They will become interested in trading cards for different reasons.

Many kids get “into” cards because of their peers. Kids might be talking about Pokemon cards on the bus or football cards at recess or lunch at school.

Yes, it’s tempting to try to let your child’s interest pass before letting them amass a collection; however, there are so many wonderful things about collecting these types of cards.

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trading cards for kids Playing with Pokemon Cards

trading cards for kids Playing with Pokemon Cards

We explain why and how to get started in trading cards.

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Advantages of trading cards for kids

For one, it gives kids something in common with kids they might not have been friends with before.

When children can bond over trading football or baseball cards, they expand their social circles and get to know kids they might not have had anything in common with before.

Second, kids learn responsibility and to care for their collection. They may start being interested in earning money to buy cards.

Even better, it gives them something to do – besides electronics – as they get older.

Kids enjoy sorting and organizing their cards and playing games with them. They are every easy to bring along on car rides.

Younger children may enjoy making up games with Pokemon cards, Yi-Gi-Oh cards, and Magic: The Gathering cards. As they age, they enjoy learning the actual rules to these games. Like with playing board games, they will learn critical thinking skills, taking turns, and strategy.

They will learn point values and important math skills with trading cards such as Pokemon and Yi-Gi-Oh cards. Even if they don’t play trading card games, it’s fun to collect and trade them.

Another benefit for starting a card collecting hobby is there are low barriers to entry. Trading cards are inexpensive and can be stored in a box already at home.

If they get more serious about collecting cards, they can get a special box or use a binder with some plastic trading sleeves. They also don’t take up a lot of room and are portable. Trading cards for kids make great gifts.

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How many trading cards do you need?

Most packs of trading cards cost around four dollars. If your child saved money or received a pack or two of cards they are interested in, you can see how likely it will be they are interested in them.

However, much like with many developmental toys, Lego building, Trio, Zoob, Lincoln Logs, etc., more trading cards means more fun.

Think of it this way, if your child has 50 Lego bricks, he/she can only do so much with them. However, with 2,000, there are many more possibilities. Trading Football Cards for Kids It’s the same with trading cards for kids. So while your child may own a pack of Pokemon cards with 10 cards, it will be exponentially more fun with 50 – 100+.

What kids need to get started collecting trading cards

While you should let their trading card collection evolve over time and let them figure it out as they go, here are some tips to get started.

An interest in a certain type of card

What is your child interested in?

Popular cards include Pokemon cards, football cards, baseball cards, basketball cards, YuGiOh, and Magic.

There are also wrestling cards, soccer cards, college sports cards, and hockey cards. There are Star Wars cards, Club Penguin cards, and other specialty trading cards for kids as well.

Find out what types of cards your child is interested in.

A few packs of cards

One or two packs is great to start. Perhaps the Tooth Fairy leaves a pack or Santa leaves some in the stockings. Maybe your child can earn money toward them.

If your child shows interest, get them a few more packs.

Maybe you will get lucky and find trading cards at a garage sale or Goodwill like my kids have found. playing with Yu-Gi-Oh cards For years, my kids’ put Pokemon cards and football cards on their birthday and holiday wish lists.

If it seems your child is getting interested in them and/or wants to start trading with other kids, they should have more cards. They will need 75 – 100+ cards at the very minimum.

If your children have enough cards, they can have fun sorting them. In addition, they can play games with them. They may even make up games with their YuGiOh or Pokemon cards.

Again, trading cards are sort of like Lego bricks. The more they have, the more fun it is and the more they can do with them.

At the same time, much of the fun with trading cards is collecting them, trading them, and planning how to get them. Giving your child 1,000 cards right from the start doesn’t let them experience what’s fundamentally fun about collecting trading cards.

They need enough to get started but let the collection evolve naturally from there based on their interest and involvement. Don’t take the fun away over the longer term by overdoing it from the start.

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Somewhere to keep the cards

Set your kids up for success by allowing them to have a system that works for storing the cards. Keeping a card collection helps them learn organization and responsibility.

In addition to keeping them organized and safe, you will also want them to have a way to transport their cards.

You may have to use trial and error to see what works best for the way in which your kids use their cards.

Some kids may want to keep their cards in stacks in boxes while others may enjoy seeing them all face-up in a binder. They may want to keep their special cards somewhere else. In addition, they may want to have a place for a certain trading card deck or for cards they want to bring somewhere.

Be flexible when it comes to kids’ card storage ideas. You want to make it easy for them to use their cards so they will play with them more.

As they acquire more cards, ask them how they would like to organize them. They may have seen the way friends organize their cards and already know what would work for them.

Some ways to organize trading cards include tins, boxes, and binders. Whatever system you and your child choose, it has to work for him/her.

  • Will your child be bringing the cards in the car?
  • Will he want to spread them out to play or will it be better to organize them in a binder?

Tins: If your child gets a Pokemon tin, that’s a great place to store dozens of cards. Have your child put a rubber band around it when he/she takes it outside the home.

Shoe box: A shoe box or other box is handy, especially in the beginning.

Plastic trading card box

trading Card Collecting boxes A plastic box made to carry and store trading cards is a great way to store, sort, protect, and access cards.

It will protect them from spills and make it easy to tote in the car, to stack evenly in a closet, etc. It even has a carrying handle.

The best box we’ve found is a small plastic box that holds 1,100 cards. It has five dividers and is great for a large collection or to house multiple collections.

These boxes are made for trading cards and are great for storing and sorting. They stack well on top of each other.

Oftentimes, my kids put several different types of cards in the box to take with them in the car to sort, discuss, trade, and play with.

3-ring binder with trading sleeves

You can buy a specialty trading card binder or use one you already have. Some of the specialty binders for trading cards are very wide. Your child may rather have two thinner binders rather than one big one. Again, be flexible as the hobby evolves.

The important thing is the plastic trading card pages which hold all types of standard trading cards. These plastic pages hold nine cards on each page.

These pages have sleeves which fit all regular-sized baseball, football, basketball cards, Pokemon cards, etc. You can find them at Target or Walmart in the trading card aisle.

Trading cards go in and out of popularity

The fact that cards will be “in” and then “out” is something to know and expect. Don’t be upset with your kids when they put their once-loved trading cards aside.

It’s like with anything else:  Your child will be interested in things more at certain times and less at other times.

It will often depend on what their peers are interested in at school.

The difference with Pokemon cards and football cards, etc. is that usually they will come back “in” again.

Depending on the age your child starts to collect the cards will let you know how many more years you have left with them.

In our experience, it seems like most kids start aging out of Pokemon cards by third and fourth grade. However, when my boys were older, they would play all day, so every child is different. During summer break when my kids were in 5th grade and 7th grade, they played with their Pokemon cards a lot.

There are teenagers who still enjoy them. However, the big talk at school will generally not include Pokemon trading as kids get into the older grades.

You may be surprised to know there are Pokemon events at bookstores and Pokemon tournaments at game shops which attract teenagers, young adults, and people in their thirties who play Pokemon. binder for trading cards Pokemon It seems that football cards start being popular when in kids are in 2nd grade. These seem more timeless. Kids in older grades are often still interested in them.

However, a difference with sports cards instead of Pokemon cards is that kids seem as happy with older Pokemon cards, even from their date of origin: 1995 (great to find at garage sales, Goodwill, etc.), but it seems with football and sports cards kids either like certain teams, certain types/brands of cards, and certain players. Often this often just includes current players though they will be happy to collect rookie cards and legends.

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Save kids’ trading cards

Encourage your kids to keep their trading cards for later use or for when they are adults. They don’t take up room, and stored properly, they will last.

Don’t give away, sell, or donate your kids’ trading cards. Even if they aren’t playing with them now, they may again. Save them for as long as you can. Pokemon isn’t going anywhere. Save them for their kids.

Trading cards for kids

Trading cards for kids can be a great developmental learning experience as your children get older.

Encourage your child’s card-acquiring interest, however short-lived.

Just as when they first decided they wanted to try t-ball or soccer, your child is learning more about the world and their place in it. Maybe collecting cards will be something they stay interested in and want to continue pursuing.

There isn’t much you need to get started collecting trading cards.

Not only is it a timeless hobby, it keeps them off electronics. It’s something to talk about with their friends.

Also, it will keep them occupied even as they age out of their toys. Chances are, they will circle around to them again. Even if they don’t play with them often, they may have fun looking through them when they are older. It helps to let them be kids for as long as possible.

Remember to keep the cards even if your children don’t play with them. Bring them out over school breaks and other times when they have time to play. They may enjoy them.

We are keeping my kids’ trading cards. My kids may forget about them now that they are older but always circle around to them.

There is a great article on www.gogreentravelgreen.com called: What Kids Learn from Trading Cards that explains more advantages. It lists 18 reasons kids should get trading cards because they are such amazing learning tools. Bookmark it, and check it out!

Kids trading cards

Cards for kids are worthwhile. They will gain skills while having fun playing. There aren’t many toys that work across many ages. Trading cards for kids is a hobby that’s timeless.