Monday, October 15, 2012

games games games!

In the past, ThinkFun has sent me games to try out and review (because I'm obviously a serious gamer, duh). Recently they contacted me again to see if I'd like some more games. This always makes me laugh because, um, FREE GAMES?! Why would I say no?!

Days later our box arrived and the kids were thrilled because the ThinkFun games are a real family favorite. It started with Zingo! and progressed to HyperSwipe and Snack Attack and Math dice.

So now we've received a few more games. This time we put them to the traveling test since we were driving to Becca's wedding 8 hours away and the DVD player and books on CD only last us so long.

Pathwords Jr is like a mix between tetris and a word search. You have to know how to read, so Gemma (age 4) doesn't play this one, but the other two can. Donovan (age 7), relatively new to reading, was most excited about figuring this one out. It's a 1-player game (or, trade back and forth, seeing how fast you can get through it!) and comes in its own nifty holder. What I like most about this is that it puts the words in different order (sometimes backward) which the kids aren't used to thinking about, so it makes them problem-solve in a different way than normal. I see there's a Pathwords that isn't "junior" so perhaps in a few years we'll add that to our game closet!

Turnstile is also a 1-player game and combines logic with a maze format. I was surprised at how quickly Ainsleigh (age 10) gravitated toward this game, completing a level and moving onto a new one. This, also, was a successful travel game. I find myself picking up this one when I want to decompress after a day, similarly to how I loved their Tilt game. I will also give a nod to their app called "Rush Hour" that I have on my iPhone. I did NOT get this one for free (so I don't think I even need to disclose that), but I love it like I love a game of solitaire. I figure I'm getting a jumpstart at staving off Alzheimer's or other senility.

The last game they set was MiniMouth, a junior version of their SmartMouth, a game we bought years before I ever even had a blog. The premise is simple - turn over two tiles and try to come up with a word that starts with one letter and ends with the other. With kids of varying ages, we've customized it for them. Gemma only has to come up with a word that starts with one of the letters. Donovan has to come up with a word that starts with one and includes the second. Ainsleigh sometimes follows Donovan's rules, sometimes has to use one as the starting letter and the other as the ending sound. Sometimes we say the kids have to come up with the longest word they can think of with two of the letters in it (and they automatically assign one letter as the beginning). Whoever we deem the winner, gets the tiles. I have found this especially great for Gemma who is just starting to associate sounds and letters and words all together. Because you need to lay them out on a table, I didn't think to take it in the car, but now that I think of it, it would have been easy to draw out one or two tiles at a time. Oh well, now I have something to look forward to for the next trip!

So there you go, with Christmas coming up, pick up some games! And, if you have any other suggestions, I'd love to hear them.