Shape Factory, Story Creations, Movie Director, and Atomic Force STEM Games Review
Shape Factory, Story Creations, Movie Director, and Atomic Force games allow kids to creatively explore and play while learning STEM and other real-world skills.
Shape Factory is a cooperative game that teaches kids about geometry and recognizing basic shapes in the world around them. In this tangram-style game, one player secretly looks at a card and gets 60 seconds to build what’s on the card using the shape pieces. The other players guess what it is, and if they guess correctly, they add the card to the conveyor belt. If not, the card goes to the bottom of the deck, and it’s the next player’s turn. Once six cards have been guessed, everybody wins. The picture instructions show how to build each card, in case you need some help. Some cards are labeled “challenge,” but the instructions don’t say what that means.
Story Creations is a storytelling game that encourages creative thinking while also helping kids build confidence in public speaking. Roll the die and move that number of spaces. Then spin to see which story technique you’ll use, such as including a conversation, telling the story quietly, telling the story loudly, adding sound effects, telling the story while running, and telling the story with your eyes closed (for those last two, we’re just guessing that that’s what the symbols on the spinner mean. The instructions are not specific). Depending on what island you’re on, choose that island’s card, and in one minute, create and tell a story that includes the technique with the card’s themes and words. You earn a pen and paper token if the story matches the theme, if every word is used, and if the technique is applied. Once you get to Rocket Wild Island, draw a card with nine words and create a story with any theme that uses those words. You earn one token for every word used. Once everyone finishes at Rocket Wild Island, the player with the most tokens wins. This game does involve reading, so young kids will need adult assistance.
With Movie Director, kids think critically as they create a scene using the required props. Players take turns drawing a card and reading the card’s math word problem aloud. You then have one minute to choose a set (store, pizza restaurant, park, or farm), identify the props (the pieces that go with the set), and solve the problem. If solved correctly, you earn a movie award token. After five rounds, the player with the most awards wins. Reading is required, so younger kids will need adult assistance.
In Atomic Force, kids learn about basic chemistry as they move around the board building atoms. On your turn, roll the red die and move your pawn on the board. You also get to roll the yellow, blue, and green dice to see how many particles to collect. If you land on a “Collect” space, roll those three dice again to collect more particles. If you land on an “Atom” or “Molecule” space, you’ll need to use your collected protons, electrons, and neutrons to create an atomic structure. Look at the Periodic Table or Formula Data Sheet to see what is needed. If you can solve the challenge on that turn, then you’ll be able to proceed to a new challenge on your next turn. If not, keep working on the same challenge until you have enough protons, neutrons, and electrons to complete it. The first player to reach the finish line wins.
Should I get it?
We like the educational components of all of these games and that they attempt to make math and science fun. The instructions for the games could have been clearer, but with parent participation, kids should be able to pick up how to play fairly easily. The design of the games is engaging, and we think kids will like how some games have a roleplay aspect, such as Movie Director.