Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Review + Giveaway: Disruptus: The Kids Will Blow You Away

 You will want to be a disruptive person after you read this review and everyone will think you're awesome!

WHAT: DISRUPTUS by Funnybone Toys
INVENTOR: Julien Sharp
DOES: it really is possible to practice creative problem-solving with real-life themes in a controlled game setting, excellent way to practice communicating ideas via speech and/or drawing
INVEST:  $24.99 MSRP
Box says 10+ but we went a bit lower. See Adaptive Play ideas here.
TOOLS: Think Like a Scientist/Engineer, Express Yourself, Work Experience
GIVEAWAY: Two winners will each get a game of Disruptus- Open to U.S. and Canada

This sentence is probably the 50th that I've written before scrapping to start over again. This is because it is very hard to introduce something so amazing. Usually, when this happens, I give up and decide to just let you in on the big secret right away. So here it is:

When you think your child is ready, make sure you get Disruptus. There are very few games that are great for everyone. We all know that. However, as soon as your child is able to communicate with you, show problem-solving abilities, and has seen a bit of the world, you would be doing your child and possibly your community a big favor when you bring
Disruptus to your inner circles. Like green living, I think we would all be better served if Disruptus became viral.

Can you improve the name sticker?

Can you improve the backpack? Are you satisfied with what is out there?

How is Being Disruptive a Good Thing?

Doesn't sound very pro-social, does it? But on the contrary, to me, this game is one of the most pro-social, humanity-respecting games out there.  Have you ever heard this about you, your child, or your spouse: "Your son was doing X,Y, and Z, and ended up disrupting the group."

During an evening game, #1 made up a crazy idea.
Mom, how about an underwater supermarket? Because it will be fun and use less energy.

But if we take a step back to think, I believe, when someone is being disruptive, it is likely the result of a problem-solving tactic gone wrong. Disruptus is all about effective problem-solving and overall, making the world a better place.  Here's how:

Disruptus has 100 cards, with images of things we know in the world: fire engines, hospitals, hangers, forks, balconies, bicycles, etc...  With the roll of the die, the game challenges each player to either improve, transform, create (by taking components of things on 2 cards), or to totally disrupt something by taking the purpose of what you see on the picture (ie. hospital) and fulfilling that same purpose in a completely different way (ie. deliver healthcare via new methods... hmmm. ever heard that before?)

This is how I want directions to look like in the future because this is how we explain games to friends.  The video below is lovely.

Think of your last stay or last visit to the hospital. How was it?

I think we can thank Luke Williams for coming up with this way of thinking. He is a consultant, professor, speaker, and author of Disrupt: Think the Unthinkable to Spark Transformation in Your Business.  You can read more about him at http://www.disruptive-thinking.comI love this concept. When I worked in an office (with people), I would often complain (sometimes only to myself) "Why does this have to be like this? It's so stupid. There has got to be a better way."

Can you improve this? I would like to invent a mouthpiece that goes in your mouth and you don't have to brush at all.  Just take it out after two minutes but I guess that would be a bit expensive... sigh..
Transform- Use the object or idea on the card for a different purpose.  What can you do?
Confucius being carried by students.  Sources say the first evidence of wheels used to transport people were from 6th BC.  Photo: Wikimedia

Stay Gold Ponyboy*

One day, after muttering "This is stupid." one too many times, I buckled down, took a class in a particular computer program (I hate computer classes) and created a system at work that changed things and lessened the chaos. In hindsight, it wasn't the best system but it was WAY BETTER than what we were doing. To do this however, I had to change my mindset:
  • I had to believe in myself and my ideas.
  • I had to KNOW nothing was impossible.
I think kids don't have to start to believe that nothing is impossible. They are just born thinking that. They only stop thinking this way because they keep hearing "no" from everyone else.This is not a horrible thing btw, since my kids used to say to me, "If you have no more money, just go to the ATM!" 

But seriously, kids and their unfettered creativity really does amaze me. After I first played Disruptus with my nine year old, I was really blown away. He played this game with his tutor for a quick break and she was floored as well.  

There is a timer but we never use it.  I may if I were to play with older people. When playing 3 or more people you will have a judge.
Number 1 took a picture of me not knowing how to improve a picture of three knives. He loves when I am stumped.  I kept thinking of the Curious Chef's knives!  I was drawing a total blank!

Are We Used to Dysfunction and the Mundane?

And what about us? Both adults who played with him felt a little embarrassed by our boring ideas. You know what it feels like.  At the conference table, a co-worker blurts out a genius idea and you wish for a fire drill. 

But yes, as adults, we sometimes are afraid to ask questions and while there is some merit in that, I think it is important to support our children's creative sparks by opening up a dialogue in this game and challenging their ideas to become even better.  (in a supportive way)

So now that we have that the Spork, how else would you improve this.  What about the Hapifork?
According to Wikipedia, patents for the Spork date back to 1874. photo: Wikimedia

Disrupt and Empower

That is why I appreciate Disruptus.  It's only a game but everything we are talking about is real. And the kids end up amazing themselves with their own creativity and ideas for improvement. And that realization is the gift you find in your box of Disruptus.  When I realized what I had, I saw an opportunity.

I am grateful that Disruptus provided a special pad for players to draw out their answers or to further articulate themselves via drawing.  I would also suggest you grab a handful of LEGOs for the 3D thinker in your family. Not everyone is articulate verbally. This is my kinda lame idea to offer free water to everyone.

"I would build a water collection system for each balcony and use these rubber things to collect the water so that go into pipes. It would have a filter too," said the child to his mother who was blown away. "Why can't you solve your own problems like this?" thought the mom.

One night, Number 1 and I were playing Disruptus.  We had a long day and it ended sort of messy.  He had an emotional vacuum effect after having tons of fun with a friend. The playdate was so much fun, he couldn't get back to our humdrum family life after his friend left.  This happens to us very often. And I heard myself saying those familiar words in my head, "This is so stupid. There has got to be a better way."  

Until then, I thought that I should be the one to come up with all the solutions but seeing my son come up with brilliant ideas when playing Disruptus, I challenged him RIGHT THERE ON THE SPOT to solve the problem he had earlier that day. I didn't even draw out his problems on the blank cards (Disruptus give you 10 dry erase cards).  I just told him to picture it and come up with a better way to do things.  He came up with a great suggestion, I helped him refine it and now his suggestion will be ready for a test drive when the next playdate comes. 

He didn't want to spell out the entire reminder to himself but he left a picture with one word to remember his goal.
Who Should Play?

This is a game for everyone.  I played Disruptus with my nine-year old and I think that he could have played this with me when he was six or seven.  I would wholeheartedly recommend this game to child psychologists whose main job is to teach problem-solving strategies through talk and play.  I would also suggest Disruptus for certain speech and language pathologists who want to work on pragmatic social and speech skills with their clients.  Every question is about either improving, transforming or creating something new (but useful), thus there is a chance to embed perspective-taking teaching goals because "useful" warrants taking in others' perspective!  

Additionally, for those leadership camp organizers, Disruptus is also a must.  Future leaders need practice in convincing others of their ideas and taking in helpful feedback. On the flip side, I know for sure that Disruptus is going to offices where creative people can always use another mental jungle gym to keep those juices flowing.  For them and for all the others, Disruptus has it all.

I am so stumped by this!
Can you take elements from these two things to create something totally amazing?

And now try to win one of these guys!  Can ship the prize to Canada and the U.S.  There are 2 games to be won.  Don't miss it!  Let's have fun with this one.  Start thinking disruptively now!

Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway educational toy, best educational game, best educational toy, learning tools, toys for learning, toys are tools, child development, therapeutic toys, special needs toys, gifted children toys, games for gifted kids, 

Want to get it on Amazon? 

Disclosure:  Toys are Tools was not compensated by the manufacturer for the publication of this review.  The reviewed items were provided to Toys are Tools to facilitate a review.  Reviews are never promised. 



  1. Ummm.... where's the Rafflecopter form?

  2. sorry... it's up now!!!! thanks for spotting!

  3. No problem. THanks for fixing so quickly.

  4. This is hard! Improve the toothbrush by having bristles on both sides so you can brush your top and bottom teeth at the same time. Or a double head - same purpose in the other direction?

  5. For my arthritic hands, I would give the toothbrush a wider, rounder handle. (Also, I would make it blue to match my bathroom!)

  6. This would be a great gift for my mother, who hates games but loves getting kids to think outside the box!

  7. You are a stellar example of just how brilliant the people who read Toys are Tools are. Double sided toothbrush? That is simply crazy. I absolutely love it!!!! Seriously, get that to market! Make one for kids please!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. I haven't read The Outsiders in over 30 years, but I'm pretty sure it means "Stay true to your ideals." (I've heard my daughter say it as a farewell. She's thirty years my junior.)


  10. I remember crying when I watched the movie. I loved it.

  11. I didn't even know that would help arthritic hands. Now I'm going to get something like that for my mother. thank you!!!

  12. I would give it to one of my friends who collects board games and is trying to find smaller games that are just as fun to play as big board games, just much smaller, shorter game and not a million pieces to keep track of. This game looks like it would be a lot of fun to play!

  13. If I had to give it away, I would give it to our school. I think it would be a good game to play during break, summer camp or incorporate into collective work.

  14. It's used in the great novel The Outsiders by S.E.Hinton. Stay Gold Ponyboy means to continue being innocent and pure. Often used as a way to say, "Good-Bye."

  15. I like the idea of not using the timer for younger players. It's on my wish list for christmas now :p Maybe santa will bring us one ;) Gotta sleep over your pictures. I can see how hard it is to think out of the box and in 1 min? Ha!

  16. Since the spork is already done, I would put the spoon and fork on the same handle, one at each end, and lengthen the handle a little. Round the shape of the fork's outside roundish so it's comfy to hold, but still functional. It's probably been done already :)