When I was a kid, I used to spend my time playing with marbles and catapults.ome of my friends had a Nintendo console that I used to borrow and play sometimes. Nowadays, as the world is getting more fast paced, parents want to leave no stones unturned in moulding their child. It is not uncommon to see young kids enrolled into coding classes or entrance exam places, instead iof playing games and using the playground all day. Time has changed and one of the activities that is catching up is speedcubing.
The current 3x3 world record holder, 12 year old Ruihang Xu from China, started cubing at the age of 7 and went on to get world class with just 5 years of practice. Anything is possible with young kids and young talents and we just have to do the seeding step and watch the interest flourish. At no time, we have to push the kid to try and improve more. Cubing is a creative process where the improvement happens in bits and intervals, we must be patient and just watch the curiosity grow. Enough with the intro stuff, lets get on with what this article tries to address.
Young kids have abundant curiosity and it is often tough to channel it. Especially the toddler age of 3-6 when the exploration and learning is at its all-time peak. The puzzles 2x2, skewb and pyraminx are official WCA events with the fastest times being 1.21 seconds, 2.03 seconds and 1.83 seconds. TLDR, these puzzles are intuitive & easy to solve and take a short amount of time to finish. There are tons of brands and good quality 2x2 cubes, skewb and pyraminx cubes available on the Cubelelo store. Once you buy those for your kid, it is time for doing the first step right, which is to introduce them to the world of twisty puzzles.
Step 1: Introduction To The Puzzle
Buying a puzzle is easy nowadays. Once you get them, make sure the kid is also involved in the unboxing process and the anticipation and excitement should build up. Once the kid understands the shape and turning of the puzzle, it is important to show that we have to be gentle with turning and try to explain what a solved state is when all the colors match. 2x2 cubes, skewb and pyramid cubes are all equivalent, you can introduce to any one of these puzzles, maybe not all of them otherwise the kid will get overwhelmed with this activity and will move on to something much easier to play with.
Step 2: Boundless Turning
Toddlers do take time to understand that the solving process goes from a scrambled state to the solved state. For a few days, there will just be boundless turns, where the kid will make a few turns, laugh out the situation, make a few more turns, laugh more and repeat. Being patient is the key, as eventually the kid will discover what the solved state is, and the strategy to make that possible with just legal turns.
Step 3: Showing The Solving Process
After a week or so of treating these puzzles as a toy, it is the job of the parent to step in and show the solving process and how you do block building in 2x2 cube and pyraminx, and you make one side on a skewb and do the sledge algorithm. Make the kid imitate these baby steps, before you go on showing them the entire process or doing the last layer in 2x2 cube, pyraminx and skewb cube. The last layer is always tricky and takes time, so it's important to hear out all the queries the kids have to say, and address them in the best possible way. The best example I can give for this step, is how Tyson Mao (Founder of the WCA) and his wife taught their kid Victor about the solving process. They documented the progress quite well and made sure that Victor enjoyed the cubing activity. Tyson also puts out his experience with Victor in detail on his social media.
Step 4: Getting A Stackmat And Timing Your Kid’s Times
Finally, after the kid gets used to the puzzle and the solving process, we should introduce another dimension to this activity by telling them to time their solves. Making them chart out their improvement and enjoy the process is the crucial last step that a cuber parents can do. You can use a phone app or a cube timer to just make a record of how fast the kid is able to solve these puzzles. One good example I would like to give here, is of Miki Park, mom of Max Park, a 3x3 cube NAR record holder. Miki has been one of the best cubing mothers out there patiently timing and scrambling for her kid, Max while he keeps on practising and gets more competitive.
I hope you enjoyed this blog. Check out other cool blogs on Cubelelo website.