You know how you watch a sport on television and are fascinated with it and wish you could try it at home? Did you maybe research curling after the last Winter Olympics? I know it isn’t just me! In our house, our new fascination is with Speed Stacks, which are the cup stacking that is done competitively around the world.
We were introduced to it at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair, and there were demos set up at the booth where people could learn how if they chose. Little Miss had the US National Champion immediately take her under her wing and teach her, which was pretty awesome. It started out slow, since this is something you need to learn to do right – muscle memory is key, just like with any sport. Little Miss had her teacher hold her wrists and move them to pick up and deposit cups in the right order until she could do it on her own.
After only a little while, it was amazing to see how fast Little Miss could stack and unstack not just the basic cups but the 3-6-3 competitive formation, too. By the time I was able to drag her from the booth, Little Miss was able to stack and unstack the Speed Stacks in under 10 seconds. She was pretty proud, and I was, too. We actually had to return to the booth later so she could play with them again.
Fortunately, we came home with a set of Speed Stacks. We have the full size with the competitive mat and timer, as well as the cups and an instructional DVD. This is sold online for $39.99 (although it’s 25% off until December 31). You can choose a variety of colors from purple to red to blue to orange and more. There are also mini-stackers for $7.99 (currently $9.99 with a mini-mat until December 31), and other packages from extra cups to bags and other sets, depending on your needs.
We’re happy with the standard Speed Stacks that we have, and the wee ones have been having fun with them, too….
I like it for several reasons:
It’s quiet. It’s competitive but encourages teamwork. It requires practice but provides constant feedback that you’re getting better. There is variety to it. It aids in fine motor skills (something handy for Mister Man, who is on the spectrum and struggle with that).
It actually is good therapy, something I recognized from our years – and thousands and thousands of dollars – spent in and on therapy for Mister Man. Speed stacking has bilateral, cross body movements, which have all sorts of benefits. We do therapy that focuses on improving Mister Man’s bilateral awareness and abilities, and this only furthers that. It helps not just autistic kids, but movements that cross the midline of your body help generate new connections in the brain, and there are studies that show this promotes academic achievement.
It’s a – ahem – no brainer, right?
I love it when the wee ones’ toys are good for them. The Speed Stacks have gone with us on the road to St. Louis to visit my in-laws and to Mister Man’s tae kwon do, where Little Miss can quietly entertain herself. They’ve played them on the kitchen table while I’ve made dinner. And I’ll admit to using Speed Stack play time as an incentive for good behavior.
But please… don’t tell the wee ones that I sometimes take it out when they’re at school and play with it myself because, quite simply, it’s fun.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received a set of Speed Stacks cups while at #ChiTAG. I was not otherwise compensated, and all opinions remain my own.