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Teacher's Stories - Archives

ThinkFun Games Challenge Thinkers of all Ages!

A teacher and her students bring ThinkFun games to a local retirement home!...more

ThinkFun Games Teach across Grades at Armbrae Academy!

A Canadian school incorporates game play into all classrooms, challenging and delighting students at all levels!...more

ThinkFun Games Build Pride and Self-Confidence in Strategies Lab

A school's Strategies Lab program uses ThinkFun games to help kids practice problem solving and talking about their thinking....more

ThinkFun Games Engage Every Type of Learner!

A second grade teacher shares her success bringing ThinkFun games into the classroom and giving her students a ew challenge....more

Students Engage with ThinkFun Games in Classroom Learning Centers

A teacher describes how incorporating ThinkFun games into classroom center time maximizes problem solving learning....more

ThinkFun’s GridWorks Game Enriches a High School Math Class Curriculum!

ThinkFun's GridWorks (now reinvented as Chocolate Fix) helps reinforce math skills in a high school Algebra classroom....more

ThinkFun Games Ignite Minds in a 7th Grade Math Class!

A teacher describes how classroom games provide new avenues for learners to succeed and build confidence!...more

A 5th Grade Math Teacher Uses Games to Motivate All Learners!

A teacher discusses the powerful learning that comes with integrating game play into the classroom...more

Sharpen Students' Thinking Skills with Brainteaser Puzzles!

A high school math teacher explains why begining each class with a brainteaser gets students ready to learn!...more

Problem Solvers Unite to Tackle the 36 Cube Challenge!

A teacher shares her experience challenging students to take on the 36 Cube puzzle. Here she describes the way her students rose to the challenge...more

Playing MathDice Makes Math Learning Fun!

A gifted specialist introduces MathDice to a middle school classroom and reignites students' enthusisam for math!...more

News Archives

Compose Yourself makes Top 10 cool tech toy list!

Many toy companies use last week's American International Toy Fair in New York City to offer a sneak peek at the tech toys being released in 2015...more

Maker Studio wins Best of Toy Fair award!

With 3D printing becoming more affordable, it’s no surprise that it’s found its way into one of our picks for the Best of Toy Fair. ThinkFun’s Ma...more

Compose Yourself touted as key toy trend for 2015

Customization and DIY in every category of toy lets kids put their unique stamp on everything that they play with all by themselves. Kids love t ...more

And the winner is... Gravity Maze for 2015 Specialty Toy of the Year!

Gravity Maze has been named the best toy primarily distributed through specialty retailers for 2015 by the Toy Industry Association....more

Compose Yourself & Code Master named picks for "pint-sized Einsteins!"

At the 2015 International American Toy Fair, there was a bevy of toys that were anything but mindless. Better yet, they're made to get kids inte...more

Rush Hour, Rush Hour Jr & Gravity Maze are "fun single-player games for children"

Similar to the Rush Hour Jr. concept, instead of re-arranging vehicles, players follow cards of varying difficulties to design a functioning marb...more

Kudos from KQED Mind/Shift for Robot Turtles!

Thanks in part to STEM education initiatives and the tech boom, coding in the classroom has become more ubiquitous. Computer programming tasks st...more

Robot Turtles is a great gift for the "science lover"

Wake up with Al's toy expert, Elizabeth Werner, features Robot Turtles as a STEM gift idea for kids. ...more

Gravity Maze: " A-Maze-ing Marble Run Brainteaser"

This brand-new marble maze builder is a fabulous addition to your arsenal of indoor-recess and early-work-finisher options.Students select a maze...more

Robot Turtles: Why gender-neutral toys matter

Not all girls want to play with princesses, nor do all boys want to play with superheroes. In fact, some boys want to play with princesses, and s...more

Gravity Maze is Top 10 Board Game for 2014!

This gravity powered logic maze is sure to put your visual perception and reasoning skills to the test. The colorful, translucent towers can be a...more

Robot Turtles: "Keep Children Engaged for Years -- and Learning"

This is a board game that teaches children (as young as 3) logical thinking and ostensibly programming. It is hard to start, but once everyone u...more

Mr. Dad Armin Brott on the super hot robot trend.

Robots and game figures were really hot in 2014 and we’re predicting that they’ll be even hotter in 2015. Here are some of our favorites as we mo...more

Robot Turtles is Game of the Year!

The Robot Turtles Game from Thinkfun is our top game of the year and we’re not the only ones who think so; this game which teaches kids the basic...more

Top Games to "Secretly Challenge Kids' Minds!"

Sixty challenges to give your frontal cortex a work out. Grow your skills from beginning to advanced as you master this maze/marble run mash up....more

Robot Turtles Touted as Evidence of Kids & Coding Trend for 2015

" Every child born in the next 12 months will learn coding as a core subject alongside numeracy and literacy,"...more

Gravity Maze is a Favorite in Kid-tested Toy Picks!

Which toys do kids like? That’s a question toymakers ask every year when coming up with new products...more

Robot Turtles, Gravity Maze & Laser Maze Make Purdue Engineers' Gift Guide

“It’s important to introduce engineering to children at a very young age – even before they reach kindergarten,”...more

Gravity Maze: Good Housekeeping’s Best Toy Award 2014!

The brain game challenges kids to think. Players use spatial reasoning to move marbles through a maze of towers....more

Robot Turtles is a Top 5 Great Board Game!

The beauty of Robot Turtles is that it subtly reminds you that, at their basis, computers are actually very simple machines, ...more

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio honors us with 3 Platinum Awards!

A fun twist on ThinkFun's usual brain teasers...more

Vote for Laser Maze & Gravity Maze for Toys of the Year!

Gravity Maze is a finalist for Specialty Toy of the Year, and Laser Maze is a finalist for Innovative Toy of the Year!...more

Robot Turtles & Gravity Maze are Best of 2014!

Here's a gift guide for children who can't get enough science. We waded into toy land and found wacky science labs, strategy-filled games and sta...more

Robot Turtles Goes Beyond Coding

The game totally gets your kids’ minds thinking. I love watching my 4-year-old get so into this game ...more

Melissa and her 9- and 12-Year Old Kids Love Gravity Maze!

We love Gravity Maze...because it gets kids using logic and visual-spatial skills....more

Thinky the Dragon in BBC Tribute to Martin Gardner

Maths writer Colm Mulcahy looks back at the amazing career of a man who would have been 100 this week....more

Robot Turtles and the Importance of Failure

Educator Michelle Parrinello-Cason says the game teaches her daughter an important lesson: "It's okay to fail. It's okay to make a mistake."...more

Play Guru TTPM Gives Robot Turtles a Go!

Robot Turtles is "the kind of game kids can get laser focused on!"...more

Zingo! Spanish & Robot Turtles are Best Gifts for a 4-year-old!

Uber popular site calls them "highly recommended by educators and parents and adaptable!"...more

Inventors Honored with Inventor of the Year Nominations!

Robot Turtles' Dan Shapiro is nominated for Rising Star and Gravity Maze's Oliver Morris for Excellence in Game Design....more

Move & Groove is Top 10 Toy for Smart Bodies, Smarter Minds

Sometimes people think of the body and mind as two separate entities but indeed, we know from physical interventions such as swimming, massages, ...more

Robot Turtles & Gravity Maze Win Best Toys for Kids Awards!

Drawing upon their expertise, experience, and commitment to fulfilling play, ASTRA retail members hand-picked the most engaging, unique, open-end...more

Gravity Maze & Laser Maze are Best Gifts for Tweens

These gifts have a bit of the cool factor while also being practical, pure fun, and a bit educational too....more

Gravity Maze Gets Props for its Cool Design

The plastic pieces are durable and look awesome with their translucent, bright colors, and fit securely into the base....more

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio grants us 3 Platinum Awards!

A fun twist on Think Fun's usual brain teasers. ...more

Wired: Game That Teaches Preschoolers to Code

Next month, if you walk into any Target store across the country, browsing one of the main hubs of mass American consumerism, you’ll find a board...more

Bill Ritchie & Andrea Barthello Interviewed by Global Toy News

Husband and wife team Andrea Barthello and Bill Ritchie are not only the founders of highly successful ThinkFun but two of the most fascinating p...more

Gizmodo goes wild for Robot Turtles!

Not only does Robot Turtles teach a love of Herpetology (the study of reptiles) it also teaches them the basics of computer programming—aka codin...more

Back to School, Back to Math Dice!

Get ready for the 11th annual Math Dice competition!...more

BigLeap, with ThinkFun CEO Bill Ritchie & Neuroscientist Silvia Bunge, Launches 1st Crowd-Funding Challenge for Social Good

BigLeap partners with ThinkFun CEO Bill Ritchie & Neuroscientist Silvia Bunge to launch first crowd-funding challenge platform for social good...more

Laser Maze and Zingo Sight Words win ASTRA Best Toys for Kids 2013!

American Specialty Toy Retailing Association names Laser Maze & Zingo Sight Words 2013 Best Toys for Kids!...more

Rush Hour Featured in Scientific American

Rush Hour featured in Scientific American MIND article on brain games...more

Hello Sunshine wins a Parents’ Choice Gold Award

Sunny looks great in gold! Hello Sunshine wins a Parents’ Choice Gold Award...more

WordARound a Top Ten Family Board Game in FamilyFun Magazine

FamilyFun Magazine features ThinkFun's new WordARound in Top Ten Family Board Games...more

First Logic Game With A Real Laser Among Innovative ThinkFun Games Debuting At Toy Fair

First Logic Game With A Real Laser Among Innovative ThinkFun Games Debuting At Toy Fair...more

ThinkFun is proud to partner with Asperkids to share the "Asperkids for All Kids" games collection

ThinkFun is proud to partner with Asperkids to share the "Asperkids for All Kids" collection...more

ThinkFun Celebrates Four Toy of the Year Award Nominations!

ThinkFun Celebrates Four Toy of the Year Award Nominations! - Vote for your favorite!...more

Good Housekeeping Names Yackety Smack a Best Toy 2012!

Yackety Smack Wins a Good Housekeeping Best Toy Award!...more

Run a ThinkFundraiser!

We put the FUN in Fundraising! Sell ThinkFun games and earn 40% for your organization....more

ThinkFun celebrates FIVE new awards from Oppenheim Toy Portfolio!

Five new ThinkFun games are awarded Platinum & Gold Awards from Oppenheim Toy Portfolio!...more

Turnstile Featured on The Today Show's "Toys That Teach" Segment with Stephanie Oppenheim

Turnstile on The Today Show! Named an award winner in "Toys That Teach" by Oppenheim Toy Portfolio...more

Roll & Play and UnHinged named Dr. Toy Best Picks 2012!

ThinkFun's Roll & Play and UnHinged games named 2012 Best Picks by Dr. Toy!...more

ThinkFun Announces Four New Education Games

ThinkFun announces the introduction of four products custom made for the classroom...more

ThinkFun’s Distraction game awarded TWO prestigious honors by Dr. Toy!

Distraction has been selected as a 2012 winner in Dr. Toy’s 100 Best Children’s Products and named one of Dr. Toy’s 10 Best Games! ...more

ThinkFun's Transparent Card Game Swish is CLEARLY a Winner!

Swish, ThinkFun's innovative spatial card game, is getting rave reviews!...more

Roll & Play and Rush Hour named ASTRA Best Toys for Kids 2012!

The American Specialty Retailing Association (ASTRA) names Roll & Play and Rush Hour Best Toys for Kids 2012!...more

Four ThinkFun Games Win 2012 Play Advances Language (PAL) Awards!

Four ThinkFun games are awarded 2012 PAL (Play Advances Language) Awards for supporting speech and language skills through play!...more

ThinkFun Spends a Day at the Cardboard Arcade!

Inspired by Caine's Arcade, a local elementary school created their own and invited ThinkFun to the grand opening!...more

ThinkFun Celebrates Creative Problem Solving at Destination ImagiNation Global Finals!

ThinkFun is thrilled to sponsor Destination ImagiNation and its mission to promote creative problem solving!...more

Distraction Reviews are Focused on Fun!

ThinkFun's new card game is designed to exercise working memory through play!...more

People Love PathWords Jr!

ThinkFun brings the fun of PathWords to younger players with this terrific new "logic puzzle meets word search" challenge!...more

Roll & Play™ is on a roll!

ThinkFun's first-ever toddler game is getting rave reviews!...more

ThinkFun’s Chocolate Fix App Available Now on iTunes

ThinkFun's new Chocolate Fix App is serious brain candy that’s addictively fun to play!...more

Ohanarama and ThinkFun Partner to Bring Award Winning Zingo! to Families Online

Ohanarama and ThinkFun Partner to Bring Award Winning Zingo! Game to Families Online...more

Four ThinkFun Games & Apps Honored with Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Awards!

New ThinkFun games (& an app!) receive Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Awards...more

USA Today article: "Kids: Have an 'appy Holiday" features Rush Hour: Holiday Edition

Rush Hour: Holiday Edition app is featured in USA Today...more

New York Times Travel: "Apps & Games to Keep Children Happy"

New York Times Travel article features Zingo! to Ga in it's listing of apps and games to keep kids entertained while traveling...more

Rush Hour: Holiday Edition – ThinkFun’s Newest Mobile App Available for a Limited Time Only!

ThinkFun releases a holiday version of the top-selling Rush Hour app with 400 all-new challenges!...more

ThinkFun Swish is a featured holiday gift in USA Weekend!

Parents' Choice & USA Weekend name ThinkFun Swish a top stocking stuffer for the holidays!...more

TOTY Toy of the Year - Vote Now!

Swish & Tilt have both been nominated by the Toy Industry Assoc. for Toy of Year 2012. Voting starts Nov 21st!...more

ThinkFun and MAA Host Second Annual Gathering for Gardner Celebration of Mind

Gathering for Gardner Honors Martin Gardner's Memory with Engagement in Logic Puzzles...more

Dr. Toy’s 100 Best Picks Children’s Products for 2011 Features Cartoon It! from ThinkFun

Dr. Toy announces her picks for the 100 Best childrens Products for 2011, including Cartoon It - ThinkFun's new memory drawing challenge!...more

PathWords Named 2012 Game of the Year by Games Magazine

ThinkFun's PathWords is named Best New Word Game for 2012 by Games Magazine...more

Dr Toy's Top 10 Best Creative Products for 2011 features Cartoon It!

Cartoon It! is one of Dr Toy's Top 10 Best Creative Products for 2011!...more

Toys & Games Build Skills as Kids Head Back-to-School

Toy Industry Assn. recommends MathDice, MathDice Jr, & PathWords to help build back to school skills!...more

What's Hot for Tweens and Teens: Toy Industry Association's top picks include ThinkFun's Rush Hour

A Toy Industry Association (TIA) Trend Expert highlights top picks for tweens and teens, including ThinkFun's Rush Hour game & app!...more

ThinkFun’s Rush Hour app wins an Editor’s Choice Award from Children’s Technology Review!

ThinkFun’s Rush Hour app wins an Editor’s Choice Award from Children’s Technology Review!...more

Stephanie Oppenheim of the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio shares her interview with Sam Ritchie, son of ThinkFun co-founders

Stephanie Oppenheim of the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio recently interviewed Sam Ritchie, son of ThinkFun founders Andrea Barthello and Bill Ritchie...more

PathWords Wins 2011 ASTRA Best Toys for Kids Award!

ThinkFun's newest logic game PathWords wins 2011 ASTRA Best Toys for Kids Award!...more

TILT makes the National Association for Gifted Children’s (NAGC) 2011 Recommended Toy List!

ThinkFun's TILT is included on the National Association for Gifted Children’s (NAGC) 2011 Recommended Toy List!...more

NOVA EXEC Magazine Feature: Barthello and Ritchie, Thinkfun Inc.

Northern Virginia Executive Magazine Features ThinkFun Founders Bill Ritchie & Andrea Barthello...more

ThinkFun’s Rush Hour is one of Babble’s Top 25 Android Apps for Kids

Online parenting magazine recognizes ThinkFun's Rush Hour in "Top 25 Android Apps for Kids"...more

ThinkFun’s Award Winning 'Solitaire Chess' Mobile App Now Available for Android

Solitaire Chess Now Available for Android - A Creative Twist Combines Two Classic Games for a Fast Fun Challenge You Can't Put Down...more

ThinkFun's Solitaire Chess App Wins a Parents' Choice Gold Award!

Parents' Choice honors ThinkFun's Solitaire Chess app with a Gold Award!...more

ABC News: Mother's Day gift ideas segment features Chocolate Fix by ThinkFun!

Parenting columnist Meredith Sinclair features Chocolate Fix in a news segment on Mother's Day gift ideas!...more

ThinkFun: Mind Over Matter (Retailer Magazine)

Retailer Magazine profiles ThinkFun founders Bill Ritchie & Andrea Barthello as they share the company's history and vision for the future...more

The Today Show Features ThinkFun Games!

Today Show segment on Smart Toys for Smarter Girls & Boys features Zingo 1-2-3 & the Rush Hour logic puzzle by ThinkFun!...more

Bill Ritchie & Andrea Barthello Honored at Commonwealth Academy’s CARE Awards

2011 Leadership Award honors ThinkFun cofounders for creating games that inspire learning, spark creativity, & build problem solving through play...more

Smart Mouth Wins 2011 Play Advances Language (PAL) Award!

Smart Mouth game honored with a 2010 PAL Award (Play Advances Language) for supporting language development!...more

Treat Your Feet with Customized ThinkFun Sneakers!

We know ThinkFun fans have happy, playful brains... now the fun can extend all the way down to your toes! Get YOUR feet in on the fun!...more

Rush Hour played by veterans with brain injuries.

ThinkFun's iconic Rush Hour game was featured in a NBC segment on brain injury rehab for returning veterans...more

Solitaire Chess App Now Available!

Solitaire Chess is now available for iPhone, iPad, and iTouch! Simple to learn, impossible to master, and addictively fun!...more

Thanks for Voting ThinkFun!

Solitaire Chess & Math Dice Jr. are nominated for 2011 Toy of The Year awards!...more

S'Match wins a 2010 PAL (Play Advances Language) Award

S'Match honored with a 2010 PAL Award (Play Advances Language) for promoting language development!...more

A Very ThinkFun Halloween

ThinkFun employees celebrate Halloween with a "Dress as Your Favorite Game" costume party!...more

ThinkFun & MAA to Host a Reception in Honor of Martin Gardner's Celebration of Mind

ThinkFun celebrates Gardner's work & pursuit of a playful approach to mathematics, science, art, magic, life, literature, philosophy, and puzzles...more

What's GNU? and FlipOver win Teachers’ Choice for the Classroom Awards!

We have a winner... make that two! What's GNU? and FlipOver win Teachers’ Choice for the Classroom Awards!...more

Rush Hour recognized as a Best Seller by the Toy Directory!

Rush Hour recognized as a Best Seller by the Toy Directory!...more

ThinkFun Games Challenge Thinkers of all Ages!

Allison McGee teaches 7th and 8th grade math at All Saints Catholic High School in Kanata, Ontario.
I began using the ThinkFun games with my grade 7 and 8 students four months ago, and they are loving it! In fact, the first thing I usually hear from my students now is, "are we doing Game Club today?!" We usually use Game Club once every couple of weeks, and during each session we focus on developing a different social skill and problem solving skill.

In addition to the in-class Game Club, my school also has a math club that meets once a week at lunch, and our focus is the ThinkFun games the kids already know and love from Game Club. Both Game Club and math club now provide opportunities for students to work together, have fun, and develop their thinking skills all while playing great ThinkFun games!

I recently took my grade 7 math class on a field trip to a retirement home to share the ThinkFun Game Club games with the residents. This was a great success for everyone involved! Some of the residents simply enjoyed watching the students play the games, while others got right into solving the challenges themselves.
As a teacher, it was so rewarding to see my students interacting with the residents and sharing their knowledge of a particular game. The Game Club games were great conversation starters for the students and residents, and the discussions that naturally emerged as they played helped them get to know each other a little better.


This visit was a fantastic opportunity for my students to share the mind challenging games they've been using in Game Club with friends in a new community. What an incredible outreach experience for my students. This trip was a wonderful experience for everyone involved, and we hope to go back soon!

Article by Rick Nuthman. Posted Thu, 09/30/2010 - 15:04


NEW YORK, Feb. 14, 2015 – Toy Fair Booth 1933 – For game company ThinkFun, Inc., the kickoff to the largest toy fair in the western hemisphere on Valentine’s Day is especially sweet timing. It was 30 years ago in February 1985 that Andrea Barthello and Bill Ritchie co-founded ThinkFun with a dream to ignite the minds of children worldwide, and 30 years ago that they were married. Today, ThinkFun is the leading developer of addictively fun games that build 21st century thinking skills like Gravity Maze™, just named Toy of the Year in the specialty category.


The couple’s tale of the day their dream turned to reality reads like a paperback thriller. Working together at a Washington DC area real estate company, Barthello resigned just as Ritchie was being fired. When shortly thereafter the company’s CEO was indicted for insurance fraud and fled the country, they joke the “stars were aligned.”


In the early years of ThinkFun, Barthello and Ritchie’s basement was command central, serving as home office, assembly line and distribution center. “People enjoy hearing the story of how we built our company from basement to global brand in a notoriously competitive and ever-changing industry,” said Barthello who serves as ThinkFun’s chief operating officer. “But heads lean in really close when we talk about working together as spouses for 30 years!”


While quick to add that every situation is different and what works for them won’t work for everyone, Barthello and Ritchie are happy to share the insight they’ve cultivated these past three decades. They cite understanding what each of you is good at (and avoiding overlap), taking time for yourself and banning business talk over breakfast as three simple mantras. It also comes in handy that they each bring distinctive talents to the table, with Barthello the fearless problem-solver in operations, marketing and sales, and Ritchie, the visionary, techie and finance expert.


On an occasion when many couples would be commemorating their 30th with the tradition of pearls or the modern gift of diamonds, Barthello and Ritchie have something way more fun up their sleeves. At this year’s Toy Fair they will unveil the long-awaited two-player edition to their iconic traffic jam strategy game, Rush Hour, winner of 26 awards since its introduction in 1996. Dubbed Rush Hour® Shift, the game features two drivers trying to break free from traffic and reach the other side while the foundation below shifts with no warning. Some might say the game is a clever parallel to the institution of marriage. “Sometimes in marital matters – business or otherwise - you have to go head-to-head to come out the other side with clarity and purpose,” said Barthello. “And just when you have it all straight, there’s an unexpected shift!”




About ThinkFun, Inc.

Now celebrating its 30th year, ThinkFun is the world's leader in addictively fun games that ignite 21st century thinking skills and give children an early advantage. Its broad range of games, brainteasers and puzzles are breaking new ground in homes and on the web. ThinkFun stimulates crucial brain development in logic, visual/spatial, math, language, focus and reasoning, preparing kids for a world where math, engineering, coding and creativity are of increasing


36 Cube™ 

ASTRA Best Toys for Kids Award - 2009

Parents' Choice Gold Award - 2009

iParenting Media Awards Best Products of 2009

European award - 2009


Adams Cube™

Parents' Choice Gold Award - 2009


AHA! Rec-Tangle™

Parents' Choice Recommended Award Winner - 2009



Canadian Toy Testing Council 3-Star Rating - 2004


Block by Block® 

Parents’ Choice Honors Award - 1997

Dr. Toy Ten Best Children’s Games - 1996 

National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA), Honors Award - 1996

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