Things I Bought for My Teenagers and They Liked: Shashibo

When I buy gifts for the kids Christmas stockings, I still like to include a sensory/open-ended fidget-type toy. Both of my kids are sensory seekers, and one, in particular, is also a fidgeter. They both like patterns and love logic games, although the logic games that they each prefer are very different.

These Shashibo, thanks to being embarrassingly spendy, were a bit of a gamble. The kids haven't aged out of a lot of sensory toys as much as they've aged out of the packaging and marketing for those toys, so I was having a hard time coming up with something that filled a sensorial need but would appeal to a couple of jaded teenagers. The Shashibo looked sophisticated--with a price point to match!--and when I researched I did note a lot of older kids and adults playing with them.

So I bought a set of four. And my teenagers like them!

Here's what we like about them:

They're fiddly.

You can make specific shapes and patterns, but you can also literally just fiddle with the Shashibo, and beautiful shapes and patterns just appear. The flipping and folding feel nice, as does the little tug to separate the magnets.

The patterns are appealing.

The way the color schemes work, there's always an interesting visual pattern to look at as you fiddle with the Shashibo. And when you land on a shape that you like, that's pretty, too, as is the color combo that makes up that shape. 

The Shashibo fit together to make bigger patterns.

This is personally my favorite part of the Shashibo, and the fuel of my great desire to own MORE SETS! The shape that you make with one cube will often work symmetrically with the same shape made with one or more of the other cubes, or different shapes will somehow nest interestingly inside another shape. If you're a pattern lover, it will make you very happy!

Repeating the patterns is challenging.

Syd is, like, a visual-spatial genius, so she usually helps me mimic a particular shape when I get stuck, since my own method for mimicking a shape is just to fiddle with it like I fiddled with the previous cube to get the previous shape.

Since we've got four cubes, whenever one of us lands on an interesting shape by fiddling with a single cube, there's always the question of how can we make that shape with the other cubes, too? But because whoever made the cool shape was usually just doing it through mindless fiddling, it's quite a lot of mental work, sometimes, to figure out how to purposefully mimic it with another cube.

Here's what I don't like about them:


OMG I'm literally embarrassed at how much I paid for these, and I will forever scour garage sales and thrift stores to add to my collection rather than buy anymore new, because I need that money for college tuition now.

They might not be super durable?

This isn't a complaint that I have about them, but a complaint that I've seen in some reviews. Some people say the stickers peeled off of theirs after a while, making the cubes unusable since the stickers are what make the folding possible. I dunno, though--we handle ours quite a bit, but we are always super careful with them, and we've made it to May with them looking brand-new still.

What I really need is for Shashibo to get into the educational supply game, like some of my other fun building toys have. I'd probably manage to justify a large set that was discounted for use in my homeschool, especially if it came with lesson plans and extension activities, something like what Zometools has. I have a BIG set of Zometools AND a bunch of their lesson plans and books of extension activities, and I didn't feel guilty at all about blowing my homeschool budget on them because (turn on the homeschool parent voice) they're EdUcAtIoNaL!

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