How a Rubik’s Cube Inspired my Kids Love for Algorithms

A couple months ago, my 10 year old son came home from a shopping trip with Mom and showed the family the purchase he made with his own cash – a Rubik’s Cube. We all began to play around with the new toy with mild interest. This cube is much more solid and easier to maneuver than the cube I grew up with, built with colored tiles instead of stickers.

It really didn’t take long for mild interest to become something of an obsession. I think what really made this happen was a combination of the availability of great instructions online and the vast number of videos on Youtube showing amazing feats with the cube. There is a resurgence in popularity of the Rubik’s cube and the number of records broken in the last two years shows that number a quality of competition is only getting better.

The video below is absolutely amazing as it shows many of the other records that have been broken in the last year. I have trouble even wrapping my mind around the blind-folded 41 cube solve.

Cube Solving Guides

The Beginner’s guide for solving the cube is available on the Rubik’s website. The instructions are very clear and I found it very helpful to copy paste screenshots from the online instructions into a document and print it out so that it’s easy to make copies and carry it from room to room. This really made it easy for the kids to pick up the cube and instructions when they were taking a break from school work. Once we got the hang of the Beginner’s guide, I printed out the more advanced instructions using the Fridrich Method. At this point the speed cube really becomes more necessary to improve times. If you want to try something really cool, see our latest guide on How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube Blindfolded.

Ready to get really serious about speed cubing? Badmephisto.com is a great resource for instructions and videos for the cuber really looking to take things to the next level.

Once we had the resources we needed to get started and the extra inspiration, it didn’t take long for us to become proficient in solving the cube and to start becoming a little competitive in trying to beat each other’s times. My 11 year old daughter is currently the fastest in our family and can usually solve it in around 80-90 seconds. This led to another really fun family project – my son and I decided to build a robot with our LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Set.

The Mindcuber robot was designed by David Gilday and we were able to download the building instructions and software from mindcuber.com. I was expecting this project to take a few days to debug, but the quality of the project instructions and software were so good that it really only took one evening (to build) and one morning (to load the software and debug) before we had a fully functioning robot. Curious who is faster – the robot or the child? Watch this video to find out.

To read more about our family’s adventure with cubing, read How to Inspire a Love of Learning. Also, for some really good inspiration, check out our list of the 8 most inspiring cubing videos on Youtube and the stop-motion video we made of a Rubik’s Cube Stop-Motion Explosion. Finally, for those who have already learned to solve the cube, maybe you are ready to learn how to solve it blindfolded.

How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube Blindfolded

Speed Cuber Alarm Clock

Check out our latest Rubik’s Cube inspired project, the Speedcuber Alarm Clock. Watch the video below for a quick preview:

Our 8 Favorite Inspirational Cubing Videos

Rubik’s Cube Stop-Motion Explosion – Rubik’s Cube meets Minecraft

 

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