I received Horse Academy from Timberdoodle Co in exchange for my fair and honest review. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I would never recommend or promote a product my kids and I didn't find useful or helpful in our own homeschool journey. Horse Academy is part of Timberdoodles 3rd grade curriculum kit. I used this game with my 14-year-old 9th grader, 11-year-old 6th grader and my 18-year-old niece. My husband and I even challenged each other on who could complete levels the fastest.
I have always been a big fan of smart games and Horse Academy kept up the high standards I've come to expect from their amazing collection of critical thinking games. Horse Academy is for ages 7 to adult with 5 levels of difficulty. While there are 32 challenges between beginner and junior, I feel anything past that will be a little difficult for a 7-year-old. I found the master levels very difficult and still haven't been able to complete a wizard level without a hint or two from the solution page.
The game comes with 1 gameboard, 1 exit gate, 10 puzzle pieces with colored gates and paths, 1 horse with rider, and a booklet that includes 80 challenges with their solutions as well as some simple instructions. Everything fits nicely inside the box, so it is easy to take out and put away for your smaller children. While it is a single player game there are opportunities to create your own challenges between multiple people. We would time ourselves to see who could complete the challenges the fastest. Or we would set a timer and see how many challenges we could complete in set amount of time. There is no limit to what you can do to enhance and already great game.
Setting up to play the game is simple, figuring out the challenges not as much. It is so nice that it has 5 levels of difficulty. It allows so many different ability capabilities to enjoy the same game. All you have to do is open the included booklet to a challenge and follow the pattern to get the horse from the start to the exit gate. Not every challenge will use every puzzle piece and sometimes the horse will make a loop and reuse certain gates. Sometimes just because a puzzle piece contains the first gate to jump doesn't mean it will be the first piece the horse will use as far as the path is concerned.
I love that homeschooling has afforded us the opportunity to add critical thinking to our learning in a major way. Critical thinking is such an important life skill that will prepare kids for adulthood. Horse Academy is a great way to sneak in these opportunities for higher level thinking. It doesn't hurt that it is incredibly fun as well. If you love critical thinking and outside the box thinking, then this is the game for your family. We often use it for brain breaks or boredom busters when one kid finishes faster than the other. Horse Academy is an excellent example of learning through play.
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