There’s nothing quite like gathering the family around for a family game night and hearing the laughs, the glees of delight, and cries for ‘one more round.’ Playing games helps bring the family together, turn the electronics off, and share a night of fun focused on each other.
Game company, Thinkfun has created a fantastic array of games that are fun and exciting but also help educate (discretely) along the way. Games like Robot Turtles and Gravity Maze have been named a Best Toy for Kids and Roll & Play, and Move & Grove are popular early learning games for toddlers.
As a parent of a toddler, we were very interested in the two early learning games and found them to be very entertaining and engaging for our little one. The oversized soft dice was a hoot for him to toss and watch roll around. He loved looking at the cards with all the actions printed on them, and while he didn’t always understand, he had a blast playing anyway. The game is designed for those 18 months and up, so we’re a few months early. Regardless, Roll & Play and Move & Grove are wonderful games to help get your kids moving, learn to correspond colors, and how to do certain actions. The beauty of the game is really in its simplicity, non complicated actions and an activity they can play alone (with supervision) or with others. Just keep an eye on the cards, they’re easy to slip away our end up ripped, torn, or lost altogether.
Just to be up front, as you’ve read, our toddlers are a little young for this and the Gravity Maze games. However, we sat down and played them to see what all the raves were about. Robot Turtles is described as the “game for little programers” and started as a Kickstarter funded project that far exceeded the goal. Geared toward preschool to second grade, the one thing I loved when watching the video about the game, was the creator talking about why he designed a board game rather than an app. “I don’t have any problem getting my kids to look at a screen,” he said. It’s a great point and Robot Turtles is a wonderful game to help build family engagement. Robot Turtles disguises coding and programing in game form and gives kids a foundation to build skills as they get older. In an age where computer skills, programming, and more, are mandatory, this game is a fun introduction. Mostly, it’s a fun experience for you to share as a family and shows the importance of setting the electronics aside and spending that face to face time with family.
Warning: playing Gravity Maze can be addicting, even for adults. I cracked open the box wondering exactly how this game was going to work, and as I studied and fumbled around with the towers, suddenly it all started to click. For tweens on up, there is a bit of a learning curve to get it right, but once you understand the concept the game is very fun. There are small objects and some jagged edges so be aware, this game is not for the real young kids. Make sure you keep the parts safely away if you have younger kids. Each game comes with pre-made towers, cards to help construct the maze, and your ball to see if you executed it correctly. Conceptualizing what the card is showing you forces you to talk with your kids about how you might build the track, and then the fun part is actually using the towers to assemble it. Gravity Maze is the 21st century version of Marble Run that many of us had growing up. It’s a smarter and more thoughtful (and educational) version that helps kids work their brains and hands together.
Thinkfun is a company that believes being educational doesn’t have to be boring. They’ve found a great mix of toys that allow kids to be kids yet create an underlying learning component parents crave. With Christmas just around the corner, I know we’ll be playing these games with cousins around the fire and cheering each other on. As a parent, it truly doesn’t get much better than that.
Disclosure: Thinkfun provided the products to facilitate this review but as always all thoughts and opinions are strictly our own.
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