Saturday, December 21, 2013

Addicted to Speed Cubes

I should have saved my Rubik's cube from my childhood; the quality of the product then was probably more remarkable than the quality now.  How quickly the teenager picked up on the poor quality of the current Rubik's offering is something to be noted.  On a whim several weeks ago I grabbed a Rubik's cube at Target and brought it home, knowing that he likes to futz with objects in his hands (see the post on Fidgets if you have a similar kid lurking about your house.)

He took to it immediately and then.....his interest morphed to obsession levels, which is so often the case with this one.  Youtube video after video was perused and studied in an effort to master the 3x3x3 cube.  The cube was always in his hands; it's possible he slept with it.  I can't be sure.  With mastering it behind him, he moved on to such nomenclature as learning how to 'cut corners' and 'trim his time'.  I had no idea about the far-reaching underworld of speed cubing!  Apparently the world record for solving a cube is something inconceivable like just over 7 seconds.  Read that again.  Seven. Whole. Seconds.  Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick.  DONE.  I can't do anything worthwhile in 7 seconds. Maybe get out of a chair or think a thought?

Here's a clip from the 2013 Rubik's Cube World Record Championship held in Las Vegas (of course) in July of 2013.  This is showing Feliks Zemdegs from Australia knocking it out in 7.36 seconds.

A chart showcasing the winning times in various categories of the 2013 championship can be found HERE in case you are curious.

Speed cubing has developed quite a following and manufacturers are paying attention.  There are some pretty neat products out there designed to 'fly' in your fingers, the clever things that they are.  Once you figure out how to solve the puzzle, you can continue to entertain your brain by learning different methods for reaching the solution.  It's crazy fun for someone who likes a challenge and is intrigued by the possibilities.

It also fits into the kinesthetic scheme of learning.  For those types of learners, having an object in hand to manipulate provides a conduit for the brain to absorb new information, or so it would seem.  Thinking back to Max's toddler years, he almost always grabbed a lock of hair at his forehead to rub between his fingers when he was concentrating on something.  Even then signs of his preferred style of learning were making themselves known.

The Dayan 5 ZhanChi 3x3x3 Stickerless Speed Cube is all the rage over here.  It's on the Christmas wishlist and at this writing, is tucked away in one of the closets, waiting for a slick application of wrapping paper.  The Teenager is rather adamant about cubes being stickerless for better play.

3x3x3 Dayan 5 ZhanChi Speed Cube

Ten bucks is not a lot to spend for hours of concentration, skill improvement and good times (pun!) sitting around the fireplace with cube in hand.  There are many different manufacturers and models, some of which get pretty crazy!  I think the 2x2x2's are kind of cute:

And if you really want to push the envelope:

Cubes even come with 'some assembly required' and look like this.  One of these is under the Christmas tree this year, too:

If your child is so inclined, you can locate resources for puzzle solving on blogs, in forums, in Youtube videos or books.  

Here's a picture from yesterday, playing with his friends while waiting for a meal to arrive.  We moms rather like not seeing the phones/ipods/ipads/gaming systems make an appearance!

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