Tag Archives: games

Colorku

Colorku Game

ColorkuA different, ‘right-brained’ take on the addictive Japanese game of Sudoku. A strategy game  for kids age 8 and up, and their parents, using colors instead of numbers. And unlike Sudoku, Colorku can be played by 2 working to solve the puzzle together.

104 different puzzle cards provide 5 levels of difficulty. The object of the game is to fill the game board grid and the 9 small grids within it with colored balls such that no column or row within any grid contains a repeat. It’s a brain challenge of the best kind teaching thinking, problem solving and logic skills.

Keep this stimulating game on your list for great gifts– for the Holidays or Birthdays.

 

Dominos

Dominos

DominosMy girls LOVED playing with dominoes– way before they know how to play the real game as it’s meant to be played. Matching them up, building labyrinths with the matches, the really fun domino snake that gets knocked over with 1 ‘flick’ of the fingers. It’s math, it’s spatial, and they’re fun.

Dig them out of the attic or go buy a set for your kids and you’ll have an engaging activity for them when they need one.

Here’s a shout out to handsonaswegrow.com for the reminder about domino fun.

Go Sum App

Go Sum Math App

Go Sum AppFollowing on yesterdays post about the value of educational apps, I just had to pass this one along.  It certainly appears to skill build through practice rather than actual learning, but where arithmetic and math are concerned practice IS really important. Here’s a shout out to coolmomtech.com for bringing this to everyone’s attention.

The game plays like Scrabble, but with numbers and arithmetic– the basic four of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Just like Scrabble, each player builds on whats on the board with their virtual tiles. Play with friends, family or an internet opponent- no language barriers here! 2, 3 or 4 player game formats.

Looks like good fun!

 

 

Unhinged Puzzle Fun

My FAVORITE edu-toy company is out with a new one. Think Fun’s new ‘Unhinged‘ looks to be a Rubik’s Cube style brain teaser, for kids and adults age 8 and up. A spatial logic puzzler (which is of course math related), like all brain teaser it teaches problem solving and perseverance while providing entertainment. What’s not to like?

At less than $15 on Amazon as of this date, Unhinged makes a great little gift, either a birthday party present or a ‘for-no-reason’ gift to your favorite somebody. You get the game itself, directions, plus 40 challenges, all with solutions. Hours of concentration.

So much of what I like about the Think Fun games is that they provide solitary pleasure for those times when no one else is around. Which helps to teach kids that alone time CAN be pleasant and rewarding and fun; they don’t always need someone else around to entertain them. A valuable learning. And it’s a different ‘alone time’ than with a video or computer.

You can even enter to win an Unhinged game at myfourmonkeys.com. Scroll down to the entry form- you have until July 23rd to enter. Good Luck!

 

Disney Busy Book

FREE Busy EBook

Disney Busy BookIt’s pretty hard to turn down a freebie, and when it’s got ideas for keeping your kids busy you should grab it. Happy and Busy Child is a Kindle edition ebook at zero cost, at least as of this writing.

Written by a mom of kids between 4 and 15, this ebook is a compilation of all the things she’s done to keep her kids busy, engaged and learning while having fun. And all apparently have an eye on your pocketbook and the activities aren’t budget busters. And with another eye on your pocketbook, this book also gives you ideas for homemade versions of store-bought activities.

One reviewer even suggests leaving these kids activity suggestions for your next teenage babysitter so everyone doesn’t sit in front of the TV the whole time your gone. Brilliant!

The book is full go all kinds of games– indoor, outdoor, winter, vacation/car games, card games. There are old favorites and ones you’ve never heard of and foreign games too. 45 pages of free kids activity ideas sounds great to me.

Happy and Busy Child is not for kids who aren’t reading chapter books yet, but it’s great for parents or older kids who are the game leaders.

In my book, almost ANYTHING is better than TV or violent video games, so grab this freebie and pull out one or more of it’s fun activities next time your hear “I’m Bored!”

 

Outside The Box

Outside The Box

Outside The BoxAs either a family oriented kids (teen) activity or for a teenage party, the Outside The Box game looks like a winner. It’s the recipient of  The Toy Man® Product Guide’s 2011-2012 Award of Excellence as well as other awards, so give it a look. Currently priced at almost $50, but it does function as both a party game and a family game, so you get twice the value for you money.

Challenge those teen brains and you’ll be surprised what you find! They’re not only old enough to know a whole lot, they’re old enough to enjoy the mental challenge and stimulation and, in a party setting, to show off. That’s the perfect combination.

This is a trivia type game with hundreds of categories and in excess of 15,000 possible answers. The difference between Outside the Box and Trivia is the players aren’t being asked to answer questions but rather to put together entire categories of answers in alphabetical order- a whole different and to my way of thinking a more complex thought process. It’s less directed and more all encompassing in the thinking required. Not necessarily harder- just different.

This game has been given all 5 stars except for 1 on Amazon, that exception being one reviewer giving it 4 stars and he/she being a game creator rather than just a casual player. The rest say it’s loads of fun and never gets old.

So the next time you’ve got a houseful of teenagers needing something to do, have this one one your shelf and you’ll keep them entertained and out of trouble. It’s great for that teenage party or just Sunday nights around the kitchen table having fun as a family. It’s a two-fer! Maybe even a three-fer: give this game as a gift to a teen. Join up with another party goer and give it together to make it more affordable.

Land Of Me

Land of Me Pre-Reader Video Game

Land Of MeCreativity building games and toys make good and thoughtful party gifts as well as terrific activities for your own children. And this interactive video game from the UK certainly fits the bill. A bit pricey as a gift from just one party guest at 19.95 british pounds (just over US$30 as of this date), but certainly reasonable when shared by two party guests.

I’m a big fan of Geek Dad’s reviews and comments over at wired.com, and this game certainly passes muster with him. What really grabs my attention is his recommendation that this is a learning game to be enjoyed with the child, not one to hand to them so they stay out of your hair for a while. Anything that encourages parent-child interaction and is fun while still educational is a big bonus.

The Land of Me game was designed, according to it’s creator James Huggins, to be “interactive children’s media that was beautiful, enchanting and as much fun for me as it was for the kids”. It’s not a traditional video game but rather more like a toy with many creative possibilities. And get this- it actually encourages one of the most important developmental skills for young children- TALKING!

The game has 6 chapters all that unfold according to the choices made, and each chapter has many printable off-screen activities to continue the fun and learning. Again- unlike the traditional video game- only limited screen time is needed to get the imagination and creativity flowing and continuing beyond the game.

I encourage you to give the Land of Me game a free try yourself here, and once you’re hooked on it’s educational value, find another parent to share the cost and make a child and family very happy with this unique gift. Do, of course,  consider getting one for your own family to enjoy too.

Advent Activities

Advent Activity Countdown

Advent ActivitiesSorry for being 5 days late in getting this Holiday Advent kids activity to everyone– I just found it! Not that we all need to build more excitement toward Christmas, but it IS fun!

Thanks to Activity Mom for this printable, downloadable series of advent kids activities. The printables include countdown cards, the activities and materials list, all to make the countdown to Christmas fun AND educational.

Make a big deal out of the countdown cards and your child will look forward to everyday’s new activity. Activity Mom has several good suggestions for how to do this, but my favorite is to choose the activity in the morning so they have all day to look forward to it. Pick the activity card out of a Santa Hat, unwrap it ( if you’ve got the energy to wrap each one), pluck it off the Christmas tree- the how doesn’t really matter.

The Advent activities themselves are both games and crafts, so if you want to order them (as opposed to a random pick each day) to vary the activities- go for it. And it’s a good idea to gather up all the materials needed for all the activities so you can just grab and go.

Looks like Activity Mom has lots of good ideas for little kids – take a look. It’s always a good idea to have a storehouse of things to do you can pull from when you hear ‘I’m bored’.

Math Dice

Fun Math Dice Game

Math DiceI’m beginning to get the idea that ThinkFun just plain makes great educational games that kids are just plain going to have fun playing. And for kids birthday party gifts, I’m ALWAYS in favor of educational instead of plastic, throw-away junk.

Seems every night on the news we hear how we need to develop more math and science skills in our kids, and this game will sharpen those math skills while being fun. Under $10 right now at Amazon and geared for kids 6 and up. The games are quick so they don’t lose interest in the middle. A great game to keep those math skills sharp. Solid 5 star reviews from parents on Amazon. [NOTE: If you make a purchase through the link on this page, I make a commission from amazon and that seems fair to me.]

Easy to play. Roll the big 12 sided die to get a target number, then roll the 6 regular die and use the 4 basic math operatives ( + – * / )to get to that target number. To quote one of the parent reviews on Amazon “It’s small, cheap, and a great way to get kids to practice math with out it being dull!” The other often repeated comment among the parent reviews is ‘flexible’.

Why not give a present that you can feel good about and that actually builds needed skills while still being good fun? How about getting one for your house when they need a kids activity and you’d just as soon it be educational as well as fun?