Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Review & Giveaway: Acuity Game: Sharpen Your Scanner, Speed Up Your Register

photo: Fat Brain Toy Co.

HAT: Acuity game by Fat Brain Toys
DOES:  sharpens how you register the information that your eyes collect; allows you to practice "scanning" as quickly as possible, encourages you to move things with your mind's eye
INVEST: $ 19.95 MSRP
TOOLS:  Flexibility is My Superpower, Think Like a Scientist/Engineer, Remember to Learn
GIVEAWAY Details Below

Last month, Number 1 Son and I were walking down the sidewalk and he said, "Mom, I saw an egg!" At first I ignored him but then as we were walking home passing the same location, we found it again.

The egg was just slightly larger than my thumbnail.  I couldn't believe he had spotted it on a grey sidewalk ground - especially since he wasn't looking for it.

But clearly he was able to spot something that didn't belong. He has always been good at "seeing" in this way.  He likes those hidden pictures workbooks a lot as well as "spot the difference" books.

It's funny how these things motivate him.   He loves new opportunities to use his visual-spatial skills and thus it should not have come as a big surprise that when he saw Fat Brain Toy Co.'s game Acuity while thumbing through their catalog, he circled it and persistently campaigned for it until it arrived at our doorstep.

Still, I can't help but be surprised.  You'd think he'd ask for one the tons of other cool toys in their catalog but no, he wants a matching card game where there are so many images, you could get a bit dizzy.

One of these X 36?  Not easy.  Look at the images, there is a similarity in shade and design too.
Some folks will get overwhelmed.  Some (like my son) will mentally salivate.

In Acuity, there are four images,  (blue circle, yellow star, green diamond, and red square).  The most common way to play this game is to lay out 36 of the cards (6x6 grid) and find a match to the card that is drawn from the pile.   HOWEVER, the match will come from images on two or four separate cards. Because each card has four images of its own in different combinations thus on a total of 36 cards, you are looking at 144 images.  Moreover, each of the images while in a different color actually appear to all have the same amount of shading as if the same amount of grey color was splashed in.

NOT FAIR!  Impossible, you say?  Not to me nor my son.  He is better at it than me and kicks my butt ALL the time.   Finally, I became tired of losing.  I decided to just flat out ask him how to be better at this game and what he said surprised me.

How Do We Register Info from Our Eyes?

He told me to memorize the entire board. (yes, all 144 images that make up the 36 cards)

Thanks Buddy, the readers will find that helpful.  Sigh....

I find this picture dizzying but still the images have a friendly air about them making this challenging game appear less intimidating. 

When you make a match, you keep the card.  The player with the most cards at the end of the game wins.  Photo: Fat Brain Toys

Truth be told, he is 8 years old and so I don't expect him to understand how he perceives and learns things.  (I'm middle age and still don't know).  But his answer did give me a clue.  That is "memorize."  While it might be difficult to memorize all 144 images, I believe that the more you play, the better you will get at memorizing or "registering" them in your mind.

In fact, I'm sure that some of you or your children will use a similar strategy to mine where you memorize the card that you are holding and try to spot the pattern in the board by trying to see a sequence of two or three images.  Thus, I'll say, blue blue and start looking at the cards to see where I can find two blue circle images next to each other and when I do, I'll see if the other images from the card can also be matched.  If you think about that, you'll see that this strategy is the same one many of us use to do word searches! This distinction is what I think, really gets to the heart at what Acuity is trying to do for us.

Thick cards are sexy.

Sharpen Scanners, Speed Up Registers

It's going to help us with reading and scanning reading passages.  Like the name suggests, Acuity is sharpening how we perceive things with our eyes. Something huge that we all have to do, including our kids is to read and register other fine details.   But the thing is... you may ask... how will this help our kids read?  We are looking at a bunch of circles and stars here....

Okay, that is true but if you listen to your kids while they play, you'll know how it might be helpful.  For me, I see my kid, not mumbling but quietly soaking and digesting with his eyes as he scans the board.  However, for me, I take a different approach: I mumble to myself, while picturing in my head something akin to this:

If you say "Acuity Pie". it sounds like you are saying "A Cutey Pie."

green  red  yellow blue, green  red  yellow blue, green  red  yellow blue, green  red  yellow blue,

while picturing it in a square.  I can't hold the images in my head but I can talk myself through it. 

Basically, I study differently than my son and so perhaps that means we all learn to read a little differently too.  As long as we find out what works best for us, I think we're good.  The great thing about games like Acuity is that we get to learn more about ourselves and our opponents. That is one marker of a truly successful game.   Not only will we get to know how we "study" but we will also have fun doing it.  Like the game Distraction, Acuity is another game where we learn about ourselves through laughter.  Yes, there will be good times and laughter when you see someone get an "easy" card (ie. four circles) or when you get a hard one ( four different colors).  Learning through laughter..... in my opinion, that is and always will be THE best way to learn.

Now it's time to win your own game of Acuity!  This is a U.S. (continental 48) only giveaway and it ends on 9/1/12 12:01 AM

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Can't wait to see if you've won? Use my Amazon link below!

Disclosure: Toys are Tools has not been compensated in any fashion by the manufacturer of any of the mentioned products in exchange for the publication of this post.    This product was submitted to Toys are Tools  for the purposes of facilitating this review.  Reviews are never promised. 



  1. My ADHD 5 year old would LOVE this! He's great at "spot the difference" games.

  2. Oh, and I have no idea what I would buy if money were no object. LOL

  3. I know just what you mean!!!! But that Lego Star Wars toy mentioned by Cammie looks awfully tempting.

  4. I love games like that! Memory was always my favorite card game to play as a kid. I love the bright colours of the tiles, and you're right, the thick cardboard is a great idea!

  5. If money were no option I would get my son a little tykes play castle for the backyard.

  6. Hi there,nice to see your post.I would like to say some words.Acuity is the thing that you may call exquisite fun.The challenge to discernment and imagination is engagingly,delightfully deep.Varieties incorporate solitaire and helpful versions,playing for points or contending head-to-head by disseminating the tiles equally to the players and their racing to see who can match all their tiles first.Thank you.


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