When I was a kid (who is far older than 8 years old), I remember the Rubik’s Cube coming out. Now my 8-year-old is obsessed with these things and seems to be a part of the Rubik’s Cube comeback! What happened???
Why does it seem like there is a Rubik’s Cube comeback underway? The Rubik’s Cube, an iconic puzzle toy that gained immense popularity in the 1980s, is making a triumphant comeback. With its vibrant colors and intricate twists, this timeless brain teaser continues to captivate people of all ages and has found a renewed following among enthusiasts worldwide. Dozens of YouTube and TikTok videos have fueled a huge comeback of this iconic toy.
When I started seeing my 8-year-old and his friends get into this, I wondered: What is the attraction, and why now?
The Rubik’s Cube
The Rubik’s Cube, invented by Hungarian architect Ernő Rubik in 1974, quickly became a global sensation after its launch in the 1980s. Its deceptively simple design, with six faces covered in nine multicolored stickers, hides an incredibly complex puzzle. The objective is to twist and turn the cube’s layers until each face displays a single color.
The First Wave
During its initial popularity, the Rubik’s Cube became a cultural phenomenon, captivating millions of people around the world. It transcended language barriers and engaged people of different ages, professions, and backgrounds. Competitions were held, records were broken, and the cube became a symbol of intelligence, problem-solving, and perseverance.
The Rubik’s Cube Comeback
After a period of relative obscurity, the Rubik’s Cube experienced a resurgence in the early 2000s, fueled by the internet and a growing interest in puzzles and brain games. Online communities and forums dedicated to cubing emerged, providing a platform for enthusiasts to share strategies, solve puzzles together, and showcase their skills as part of this first Rubik’s Cube comeback.
Why It Is So Enduring
The enduring appeal of the Rubik’s Cube lies in its unique combination of simplicity and complexity. Solving the cube requires logical thinking, spatial awareness, and patience.
It challenges our problem-solving skills and provides a tangible sense of accomplishment when the last piece falls into place. Moreover, the cube’s aesthetic appeal, with its colorful design and smooth movements, adds to the overall experience.
The Rubik’s Cube offers more than just entertainment. It has been used as a teaching tool to improve spatial reasoning, enhance cognitive abilities, and promote critical thinking skills. It encourages perseverance, determination, and the development of problem-solving strategies.
The Rubik’s Cube Comeback (Again!)
And let me stress again what has us here today….Social Media. I cannot tell you how many videos my son watches about solving/using/hacking a Rubik’s Cube. Here are just some of his YouTube favorites that have helped spur the latest Rubik’s Cube comeback:
Now maybe I have blinders on seeing the world through my son. That said, when you see some of the reasons I listed above, you can see why the Rubik’s Cube keeps coming back again and again (and again…..apparently).
Why a Rubik’s Cube Comeback Might Be a Good Thing
A Rubik’s Cube offers numerous benefits for kids, going beyond just being a source of entertainment. Here are some reasons why a Rubik’s Cube is beneficial for kids and why this is a hobby I am happy my son is getting into.
Solving a Rubik’s Cube requires logical thinking, problem-solving, and critical reasoning skills. It challenges children to analyze patterns, make predictions, and develop strategies to solve the puzzle. This helps improve their cognitive abilities, including spatial awareness, memory, and concentration.
Patience and Perseverance
The Rubik’s Cube is a complex puzzle that cannot be solved instantly. It requires patience and perseverance to tackle the challenge. Children learn the value of persistence, determination, and not giving up when faced with a difficult task. They develop resilience and understand that success often comes after repeated attempts and learning from mistakes.
Manipulating the Rubik’s Cube involves spatial awareness and understanding of three-dimensional relationships. Kids learn to visualize and mentally rotate the cube, enhancing their spatial reasoning skills. This ability to mentally manipulate objects in space can have positive effects on subjects like mathematics, geometry, and even architecture.
Fine Motor Skills
Twisting and turning the Rubik’s Cube helps improve hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills in children. The precise movements required to manipulate the cube’s layers strengthen their dexterity and finger control. This can be beneficial in activities that involve precise finger movements, such as playing a musical instrument or engaging in arts and crafts.
Focus and Concentration
Solving the Rubik’s Cube demands concentration and focus. Children learn to block out distractions, maintain attention to detail, and stay focused on the task at hand. This skill of sustained attention can be valuable in academic settings and other areas of life where concentration is required.
Confidence and Achievement
Successfully solving a Rubik’s Cube gives children a sense of accomplishment and boosts their self-confidence. It reinforces the idea that with practice, effort, and problem-solving skills, they can overcome challenges and achieve their goals. This confidence can extend beyond solving puzzles and positively impact other areas of their lives.
Social and Competitive Engagement
The Rubik’s Cube has a thriving community of enthusiasts, both online and offline. Kids can engage with fellow cubers, participate in competitions, and collaborate on solving strategies. This fosters social interaction, teamwork, and the sharing of knowledge and skills with like-minded individuals.
Some of The Purchases My Son Has Made During This Rubik’s Cube Comeback
Oh, there are always purchases, yes??? When I was a kid (waaayyyy back in the day), there was one Rubik’s Cube. Now?
These are just some of the purchases! If the one on the right looks like a run-of-the-mill cube, that is a “speed cube,” and I won’t even get into why that is important (hint: watch the YouTube videos above!).
The Social Nature of A Rubik’s Cube for Kids
My son now takes his cubes to school in his backpack. Why? Because he plays with cubes with his friends during recess.
This might worry me if my son was not getting enough exercise (like maybe he should during recess). The tradeoff of social interaction with other kids in a mentally stimulating endeavor is a good trade (plus, he already gets plenty of exercise, so no worry there). This is what makes me think this Rubik’s Cube comeback is great on a variety of levels.
There are lots of social and intellectual benefits for this type of child behavior, including:
- Cooperative Learning: The Rubik’s Cube provides an opportunity for kids to engage in cooperative learning experiences. They can work together with friends, siblings, or classmates to solve the puzzle. Collaborative problem-solving fosters teamwork, communication, and the sharing of ideas. Kids learn to listen to others, exchange strategies, and combine their skills and knowledge to tackle the cube’s challenges.
- Community and Clubs: The Rubik’s Cube has a vibrant community of cubers, both online and offline. Kids can join local Rubik’s Cube clubs or connect with fellow enthusiasts through forums and social media groups. Being part of a community allows them to share their progress, seek guidance, and celebrate achievements with like-minded individuals. It creates a sense of belonging and encourages social interaction among kids who share a common interest.
- Competitions and Events: Rubik’s Cube competitions and events are organized worldwide, catering to all skill levels and age groups. These gatherings provide kids with the opportunity to showcase their solving skills, challenge themselves, and meet other cubers. Competitions foster friendly competition, sportsmanship, and a sense of accomplishment. Kids can witness impressive solving techniques, learn from experienced cubers, and develop their own strategies.
- Teaching and Mentoring: Kids who have mastered the Rubik’s Cube can become mentors to others who are just starting their cubing journey. They can teach their peers or younger children the basics of solving, share solving techniques, and provide guidance. Teaching others not only reinforces their own knowledge and skills but also promotes leadership qualities, patience, and empathy.
- Problem-Solving Discussions: Solving the Rubik’s Cube often involves analyzing algorithms, patterns, and different solving methods. Kids can engage in problem-solving discussions with their peers, exchanging ideas and exploring various approaches to overcome challenges. These discussions encourage critical thinking, creativity, and the development of analytical skills.
- Showcasing and Demonstrations: Kids who become proficient at solving the Rubik’s Cube may have opportunities to showcase their skills at events, school fairs, or talent shows. Performing cube-solving demonstrations not only builds confidence but also serves as a source of inspiration for others. It can spark interest in the Rubik’s Cube among their peers and encourage them to take up the challenge themselves.
- Online Interactions: The internet provides a vast platform for kids to engage with other Rubik’s Cube enthusiasts worldwide. They can join online communities, participate in virtual competitions, and share their progress through videos and live streams. Online interactions broaden their social circle, expose them to diverse solving techniques, and enable them to connect with fellow cubers from different cultures and backgrounds.
It is hard for me to see any disadvantages of this hobby for my son. As always, there needs to be moderation in anything they do, but this hobby seems to offer tons of benefits with very little downside.