In recent years, the push for more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) has been expanded to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, ARTS, Math) to recognize that creativity and science work best hand-in-hand. Sadly, sometimes this effort falls short, missing either the arts or the STEM. Mondrian Blocks manages to work in both, creating a logic puzzle that stimulates the left brain while generating artistic images to satisfy the right.
Following a series of 88 challenge cards, players work up from beginning to very challenging layouts as they attempt to place the full set of red, yellow, blue, and white rectangular blocks around pre-set black blocks on an 8×8 grid. The result invariably resembles a Piet Mondrian composition. At the beginner level it doesn’t even seem like logic at first — just trial and error — but as we gained experience we realized we had been developing a fairly methodical approach. And as the puzzles got harder and more compelling, we kept thinking, well, that didn’t take so long — we’ll just do one more… And then hours had gone by.
To those who find logic puzzles entertaining, there is more than enough to provide a challenge in just this set; despite extensive experience with puzzles of this sort, we still found some that stumped us. There are no solutions provided; this set takes genuine patience.
For the truly gifted who need even more challenge, the Mondrian blocks come in four different sets, each with 88 different puzzles; with two or more sets, players can also work from a single challenge card and go head-to-head to solve it. We enjoyed working collaboratively over a single set. The results are beautiful (if you like Mondrian’s composition work, which we do) and even launched in our family a discussion of Piet Mondrian’s creations.
Emily Crawford ©2020 Parents’ Choice
Emily holds a BSE in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University and a Master’s in computer engineering from Georgia Tech. She is a homeschooling parent and lives with her husband, three children, five cats, and thousands of LEGOs in Blacksburg, Virginia.