Common Sense Review
Updated November 2014

Thinking Time Pro - Cognitive Skills for Early Learning

Challenging games stress memory, logic, impulse control, flexibility
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating
Not Yet Rated
  • On the home screen, kids choose a profile to get started and adults access progress reports.
  • Choose a game to start with or visit the fish tank; complete all four games to earn a fish.
  • Give each pet the correct treat, based on shape or color.
  • Sort first by one rule (shape), then by another (color).
  • Patterns get more complex as kids progress.
Thoughtful, well-researched games explore important, but not commonly addressed, cognitive skills.
Purposeful lack of scaffolding could make play frustrating for some kids.
Bottom Line
Effective and engaging way to address foundational cognitive skills; most kids will need adult support.
Mieke VanderBorght
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 5

Games are fun, and increasing difficulty keeps kids on their toes. Childlike graphics appeal to kids.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4

Four tasks let kids exercise such executive-function skills as working memory, inhibition control, flexible thinking, and reasoning. Tasks get more challenging as kids progress. Kids must pay close attention and follow game rules.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

Kids track their progress through a growing collection of fish; teachers track progress with detailed reports. Play instructions are purposefully sparse, sometimes overly so. An extension guide would help translate skills off-screen.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

Create up to four accounts to allow individual kids to progress at their own pace. Even strong learners may need extra scaffolding; slower learners definitely will, especially at the beginning, so play with kids at first to make sure they get it, and then let them move ahead on their own. Extend learning in the classroom: Play games that require taking turns, remembering, or following rules; tackle logic puzzles that have more than one solution; challenge kids' ability to wait and control their initial impulses to act. Scoring can give teachers some idea of how well kids are progressing and which areas may be strong or weak. Be aware, however, that games haven't been evaluated to see if assessments of executive-function skills are accurate, so a high or low score doesn't necessarily point to any particular genius or learning delay.

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What's It Like?

Kids journey through four games that tap into such executive-function tasks as working memory, logical reasoning, flexible thinking, attention, and inhibitory control. Games ask kids to repeat sequences, continue patterns, and sort by changing rules as tasks get more challenging. For example, kids begin with sorting by either color or shape; then sorting rules change mid-game, and kids must inhibit their initial impulse to sort according to the old rules. When kids successfully complete all four tasks, they earn a fish to add to their aquariums. The parents' section includes a progress tracker that scores overall performance, gives sub scores in the four skills (memory, reasoning, inhibition, flexibility), compares performance to that of other kids of the same age, and details progress in the preceding four weeks. 

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Is It Good For Learning?

Thinking Time Pro gets top marks for attempting to get at very important, but not quite so salient, cognitive skills. A strong research base supports and informs the structure of the games, which increase in difficulty as kids progress. In fact, games can get quite challenging; kids really need to pay attention! Minimal instruction is provided, which may simply be an extra challenge for some kids; most will need more explicit help, however, especially at early levels of the game.

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See how teachers are using Thinking Time Pro - Cognitive Skills for Early Learning