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How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube: So Easy a 3 Year Old Can Do It! SLAP Method

How to Solve the Rubik’s Cube Easy using the “3 Year Old Slap Method”

The full name of this method is “3 Year Old Beginner/Intermediate Rabbit/Fish KISS Slap Method”.
3yo Slap KISS Method for short.  (Child friendly version of KISS = Keep It Super Simple)

This is our version that combines standard Beginner and Intermediate Layer by Layer Methods of solving the Rubik’s Cube made easier by utilizing critical thinking and intuition in place of following long chains of sequences, very little memorization is necessary.

See also: (videos coming soon)
“How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube: So Easy a 3 Year Old Can Do It!  Beginner Practice Steps & Strategies”
“How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube: So Easy a 3 Year Old Can Do It!  Intermediate/KISS Method”

Keys Points to this Method:
– Slaps
– Special Rabbits
– Line/12-9
– Fish

In this video we will learn an easy method to solve the Rubik’s Cube.
This is the same method that Emily used to solve the Rubik’s Cube when she was 3 years old (video).

Instruction Youtube Video HERE *** not yet finish

The Cube instructions below are meant as a supplement and reference for the video above.  Without watching the video the instructions may be difficult to follow at some points. (I plan to update so this post can stand alone as instructions but will take some time due to graphics or photos needed)

I believe this is the easiest method to learn to solve the Rubik’s Cube because it focuses primarily on understanding the Cube, how it works and what is necessary to solve it with very little memorization, only a few easy algorithms.

Website of the iconic Rubik’s Cube: https://www.rubiks.com

Companies that donated product for this instructional video:
Magnetic Cube: https://magneticcube.com
Gan Cube:  https://www.gancube.com
The Cubicle:  https://thecubicle.us

 

Understanding the Rubik’s Cube

First, we need to understand that the cube has 6 sides of different colors determined by the Center pieces.  For the most part the colors are standardized* and will match from cube to cube with the Yellow opposite White, Blue opposite Green and Red opposite Orange.  This is important for familiarity and recognition.
The edges & corners can be manipulated and moved but the Centers cannot, they can only rotate.

Rubik's Cube Brand 3x3x3 Cube Puzzle

Below is a layout view of the standard Western Color Scheme

For illustrative purposes, I will use cubes with some of the stickers removed.

Insert Photos 

Here we have the Centers & Core of a disassembled cube.

Insert Photo

So the trick is to place the edges & corners in position relative to the Centers.
The Centers have only 1 sticker or color.
The edges have 2 colors & the corners have 3 colors.

Insert Photo Show removed edges & corner pieces

 

To Solve

To solve the Rubik’s Cube we are going to use the Layer by Layer Method.
For simplicity and familiarity we will always use Yellow for the Top Color which will make the Bottom White.

First we solve the First Layer, the Bottom Layer.  Notice this isn’t just one side but an entire face and the 4 sides of the layer corresponding to the Centers.

 

Next we solve the Second Layer, the Middle Layer which is really just inserting 4 Edges, since the Centers are stationary.

 

Then we solve the Last Layer the Top Layer.

 

Terminology and Notation

Before we begin we need to learn Cube terminology and notation.

Faces
Each of the six sides has a name.
Whichever side is facing you is the Front with the other sides relative to it.
From here we have the Right, Left, & Back.
The top is called Up and the bottom Down.

A CW and CCW turn is always as if facing the side being turned.
A CCW turn is called Prime or Inverted but you may hear us call it “back,” as that made more sense to a 3-year-old than the words Prime or Inverted.  Be careful not to confuse this with the back side of the cube.

CCW can be represented with an apostrophe  ( ‘ ) or an ( i ) for inverted.

Notation of Turns
R     = clockwise turn of the Right side.
R’    = counterclockwise turn.
L     = clockwise turn of the Left side.
L’    = counterclockwise turn.
U     = clockwise turn of the Up or top side.
U’   = counterclockwise turn.
D     = clockwise turn of the Down or bottom side.
D’   = counter clockwise turn.
B     = clockwise turn of the Back side while facing it.
B’    = counterclockwise turn.

 

Rubik's Cube Notation

2 means turn twice CW or CCW, whichever you prefer.  This is a 180 turn, so direction doesn’t matter.
Therefore R2 means turn the Right side twice.

A lower case letter means we turn that side and the Center layer with it, whether it be the Right, Left, Front, Back, Up, or Down.

Rubik's Double Layer Turn lower case

” d ”  Double Layer Turn

Axis Rotations

Now we have axis rotations of the entire cube, meaning you rotate the entire cube in your hands to change which side is facing you.
An x rotation turns the Bottom towards you and it now becomes the Front.
An x’ rotation turns the Top towards you and it now becomes the Front.
A y rotation turns the Right side towards you as it becomes the Front.
A y’ rotation turns the Left side towards you as it now becomes the Front.

 

Don’t get too hung up on this notation though as most of what we are going to do is visual and intuitive, with very little memorizing.

To solve the cube we have to pick a color to make the bottom. Beginners should always use the same color for simplicity and familiarity.
We will use White as the bottom, which will make Yellow the top.

 

Now to solve the cube:

LAYER 1

  1. White Cross

Slap

We must first form a White Cross on the bottom by placing the 4 White edge pieces in the bottom layer with the adjacent edge stickers matching their centers.

The beginner method to do this is to first place the White edge pieces on top with the Yellow center.  This may take 1 turn or 2.

Then turn the Up layer to orient the edges one at a time so that the adjacent sticker matches the side center, then spin it down to the bottom layer (R2) slap the side.

 

  1. Corners

Slap the White

Once we have the White Cross on bottom we now need only the four corners to finish the first layer.

To do this, we find a corner on the top layer with a White sticker facing to the side (not facing up), then place it above the intended location.  If we have a corner with Red/Green in needs to go between the Red & Green Centers.  A quick shortcut is to notice the color adjacent to the White sticker and place it touching its colors Center.

We want to insert this into the corner without knocking out our bottom layer edge piece (show knock out).  An easy way to do that is if the White sticker is on the Right side perform R U R’ to insert the corner.  (Slap the white)

If it’s on the Left perform (L’ U’ L) (kick the same piece out insert left)

It’s not important to try to memorize this.  The first 2 layers are visual and only require understanding, critical thinking and practice. If you make a mistake inserting a corner it will be obvious and easy to correct. Soon you will be inserting corners and edges intuitively, without thought.

 

If the White corner sticker is on top, bring it down from the top to the side then insert as before using (R U2 R’ U’) insert (R U R’) or (L’ U2 L U) insert (L’ U’ L)
If a White corner is already in the bottom layer but incorrect, just kick it out however you like with something like (R U R’ or R U’ R’) and then insert corner in the correct location.
Remember, don’t get hung up on notations and following directions, just think about what you’re trying to do and find a way to do it logically.

 

 

LAYER 2

Special Rabbits

In order to solve the second layer, we need to locate and place the 4 middle layer edge pieces relative to their corresponding Centers.

First, we look on the top for an edge that does not have a Yellow sticker. Yellow is the top color so no middle layer edges can have a Yellow.

Once you have located an edge, notice the color on the side (not on the top face of the edge piece) and turn the top so that color rests above the same color Center.  This is Red (or any color) so we turn the top so the edge is over the Red (same color) Center.

Edge Blue side color above Blue Center color

Now notice its intended location, we need to place it here without disturbing the first layer.
(Show disturbing the first layer in video) Insert pic here.

So, what we want to do is remove this corner, pair it up with this edge, and reinsert them together like this (show corner solved same cube) insert pic here .

One simple way to do this is to look at the top sticker of this edge piece and turn the top 1 turn away from that color’s Center so that it is on the opposite side from that Center color.

(insert picture)

Now take the corner piece beneath where the edge piece goes and move it up and towards the edge piece, chase it (R U R’) then put the corner over the empty spot (U’) and solve as you normally would for the corner piece (Slap the white side).

The entire sequence is (R U R’ U’ y L’ U’ L).

We call this sequence “Special Rabbit” because you kick out the corner, chase the edge, but the edge ran away because its a special rabbit.  So we go back to the starting point.  How do you catch a special rabbit?  Unique up on it…  pairing the edge and corner before reinserting both.

Now if the edge piece is on the other side we do the same only using the left side this time (L’ U’ L U y’ R U R’).

Be sure to notice, as we solve this corner it connects with the edge piece.
Make sure you actually see and understand this and don’t just follow a sequence of instructions, noticing only the result.

If an edge is already in the second layer but in the wrong location or reversed, just kick it out (R U R’ U’) and re-insert the corner (x L’ U’ L), now find the edge piece on top and solve it.

Again, it’s not important to memorize the turns but rather understand the principal of connecting the corners and edges before reinserting them.  Try to understand what it is we are doing in this step…  we are catching Special Rabbits.

 

LAST LAYER

Now for the last layer we will have to memorize some algorithms. The more you know, the faster you will solve the cube, but to start with we are only going to use a few.  We will go over more in Part 2 “How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube So easy… Intermediate Method”.

 

  1. Yellow Cross

Line/12-9

The first step to solving the last layer is to place the 4 Yellow edges on top forming the Yellow Cross.

Yellow Cross on Top

 

To do this we perform one easy algorithm (F R U R’ U’ F’)  1 – 3 times depending on the situation.

Possible stages to Yellow Cross

 

If we have 2 Yellow edges forming a horizontal line on top we only need to perform the algorithm once.  Disregard any corner yellow pieces for these steps, we are only looking for yellow edge piece positions.

F R U R’ U’ F’ one time

 

If we have 2 edges in the 12 o’clock 9 o’clock positions we do the algorithm twice.  12-9 can also be considered a backwards L.  Clocks hands may be a difficult concept for a child if you only have digital clocks.  At 3 years old, Emily just knew the orientation as 12-9 and had no idea what 12 o’clock 9 o’clock meant.

F R U R’ U’ F’ two times

 

If we have no Yellow edges on top we will have to do the algorithm 3 times.

F R U R’ U’ F’ three times

 

Download Yellow Cross PDF here:  Rubik’s Cube 3yo Slap Method Beginner Algorithms

 

  1. Orient Last Layer

Fish

Now, we must orient all the corner pieces so that the Yellow sticker is on top.  This is called Orient Last Layer, OLL.

All Yellows on Top / OLL

Once you have the Yellow Cross there can only be 7 possible arrangements, each with its own algorithm to get all the Yellows on top.
We are only going to use two algorithms: 1 forward and backward, and 1 variation of another we already learned (Line 12-9).

 

– Fish Patterns

We start with the Fish patterns, which get their name because someone thought this looked like fish.
Notice that, although these 2 patterns look the same from the top, they are different because of the way the yellow stickers are oriented on the sides.

 

Little Fish in on Left  /   Right is Big Fish

My children called this first one Little Fish and the other Big Fish for no other reason than they like the song “Down by the Water” by PJ Harvey.

To solve Little Fish we hold the cube so that the Yellow top corner sticker is at the Front Left side with a yellow corner sticker facing us right front side and perform (R U R’ U R U2 R’) which places all the Yellows on top.  Performing these simple algorithms is much easier than it may seem after just a few times practicing it in a row.  This is actually the very first step Emily learned when she was 3 and she learned by watching her brothers practice.  See video of fish practice here: https://youtu.be/y_uwaxcReEI

Lil Fish R U R’ U R U2 R

 

To solve Big Fish we place the Yellow top corner sticker at the Back Right side with a yellow corner sticker facing us left front side and perform the inverse of the Little Fish algorithm (R U’2 R’ U’ R U’ R’).

Big Fish R U’2 R’ U’ R U’ R’

Once you know an algorithm well it becomes intuitive to perform it backwards without much thought or effort.  Performing the algorithms forward then reverse is a great way to practice the muscle memory.  See our “Beginner Practice Steps & Strategies” video here:

 

Now we look at two Yellow Crosses with no corners on top.
The first, which we call “Double Fish” has 2 Yellows on the Left side and two on the Right.

Double Fish (LF alg twice)

The second which we call “No Fish” has 2 Yellows on the Left side, 1 on the Front Right, and 1 on the Back Right.

No Fish

To solve Double Fish, place the yellow corners on the Left and Right sides and perform the Little Fish algorithm twice (R U R’ U R U2 R’) (R U R’ U R U2 R’).
Now as you can see, you do some unnecessary moves by performing this two full times, namely the R’ R, but as a beginner its best to just do them fully for now.

To Solve No Fish,  place the two yellow corners that are on the same side to the Left side and perform a slight variation of the “Yellow Cross” algorithm “Line”:  instead of Front Right Up, it’s Double front Right Up (f R U R’ F’ U’ f’), then standard Yellow Cross “Line” alg (F R U R’ U’ F’).

At one time for No Fish we used the algorithm (R U’2 R2 U’ R2 U’ R2 U’2 R) but we stopped because it takes more moves and it’s one less algorithm to memorize by ditching it.  However, you will see Emily using it in some of her Youtube videos from when she was three.

This allows us to solve 4 of the 7 possible OLL arrangements for the Yellow Cross with only two algorithms, one of which we already learned and use.

If we get one of the 3 OLLs we haven’t gone over simply perform the Little Fish algorithm 1 or more times until we get one of the OLL arrangements we are familiar with.

These 3 OLL cases we haven’t learned yet we call Chameleon, Chameleon’s Ugly Brother and Bugs Eyes.
We will learn these in our “Intermediate” video once we understand and can solve the cube with beginner method.

Download PDF of Fish OLLs here: 4 Fish Algorithms PDF

 

 

  1. Final Edges

Now we have our first 2 layers complete and all the Yellows on top.
We just need to position the top correctly relative to the Centers.

There are several methods to do this, but I found for beginners visually it’s better to correct the corners first, then the edges.  It’s easier to associate 2 corners to the correct side rather than 1 edge piece per side.
A quick and simple short cut to correct the corners is to find a side that has 2 corners the same color.

Place these to the back and perform (x R’ U R’ D2 R U’ R’ D2 R2 x’).
This will move the corner pieces as seen in diagram below.

x R’ U R’ D2 R U’ R’ D2 R2 x’

 

If no side has 2 corners with the same color, just perform the algorithm once and then one side will, then repeat which will solve all the corners.

Now, turn the Top to line up the corners with their respective centers.

 

We will now have 3 or all 4 top edges out of place.
We are looking for 3 edges out of place and one solved side placed to the Back.

Insert Photo

R2 U R U R’ U’ R’ U’ R’ U R

If the edge piece on the Left side needs to move to the Right side we perform the following algorithm once (R2 U R U R’ U’ R’ U’ R’ U R’).  Emily voice “So…  this one goes here, I do it once”

It the Left side edge piece needs to move to the Front side rather than the Right side we perform the algorithm twice.

If all 4 edges are wrong, perform the algorithm then place the solved side to the back and perform 1-2 more times.

The Rubik’s Cube is now Solved.
Emily voice “I’m done solving the whole thing”
Me “wow Emmy thats pretty good”

While this may seem difficult at first, with a little practice it becomes quite easy.  We learned the principle by which we plan to solve the cube and we only had to memorize a few easy algorithms, the rest is just patience and practice.

 

Algorithms

Yellow Cross
Line
– F R U R’ U’ F’

OLLs
Little Fish
– R U R’ U R U2 R’

Big Fish (LF Backwards)
– R U’2 R’ U’ R U’ R’

Double Fish (LF twice)
– (R U R’ U R U2 R’) (R U R’ U R U2 R)

No Fish
– (f  R U R’ U’ f’) (F R U R’ U’ F’)

 

Last layer Corners
x R’ U R’ D2 R U’ R’ D2 R2 x’

Last layer 3 Edges
R2 U R U R’ U’ R’ U’ R’ U R’

 

General Notes:

Insert First Layer Corner
White sticker on Right:  R U R’
White sticker on Left:  L’ U’ L
(Slap the white side)

Second Layer Edges
Align Edge to Center
Move it away
Remove Corner (kick out)
& Chase the Edge (chase Rabbit)
Pair Edge & Corner (Unique Up on it)
Re-Insert Corner (Slap the White side)

Second Layer Edges
If an edge is in wrong
Kick it out (put another in)
Re-insert Corner
Find Edge then insert

Last Layer Yellow Cross
F R U R’ U’ F’
Repeat 1 – 3 Times
Until Yellow Cross

 

Rubik’s Cube OLL Fish Algorithms PDF

Rubik’s Cube 3yo Slap Method Algorithms PDF

 

* The two primary Rubik’s Cube Color Schemes are:
Western Color Scheme as described in our tutorial
&
Japanese Color Scheme – White opposite Blue, Red opposite Orange, Green opposite Yellow.
I have only seen this is pictures as I live in the US.

 

Emily solving the Rubik’s Cube her second time ever.

We didn’t know she could solve it so once she solved it we got the camcorder and recorded the second solve.

We didn’t think is was possible for her to solve the Rubik’s Cube at such a young age but she learned the FISH algorithms so easily and wanted to solve it so she practiced the steps for weeks before putting all the steps together and solved the whole thing.

3 Year Old Emily Gittemeier solving the Rubik’s Cube 3x3x3

 

3 Year Old Emily Gittemeier Solving the Rubik’s Cube 2x2x2

 

Kids practicing Rubik’s Cube Youtube Playlist: https://youtu.be/DUdq2vqybpU

 

See our “3yo Intermediate/KISS Method” video coming soon.
A few weeks after solving with our beginner method Emily learned more intermediate methods including.

  • White Cross intermediate method.
  • “12/9” algorithm in addition to “Line” alg.
  • All 7 OLL algorithms from Yellow Cross.
  • One additional Last Layer Edges algorithm.
  • One addition Last Layer Corners algorithm.

All of which were easy and fun to learn but really should only be learned after fully understanding the Cube and being able to solve it easily with the beginner method.

Intermediate method will discuss Slice Turns M E S and go over some patterns.

 

Check out this awesome Magnetic Dice Cube Video

From https://magneticcube.com

3x3x3 Blue Translucent as seen in the Video: https://magneticcube.com/home/olie-atz2q8

 

Gan Infinity 354M  https://shop.gancube.com/product/ganinfinity-354m

 

 

First Look and prep of Cubes donated for this project.