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Well, it’s back to school for just about everyone by now! What do you do when the weather starts getting rainy or too cold to play outside? I always liked to have some educational toys and games on hand for my kids. Educational games are fun and enhance the lessons your kids are getting at school.
We had a chance to try some educational games with my son who is an elementary school teacher and my daughter in law, who works with special needs children in a school setting.
The first game we tried was called, “Monkeys Up!” by RoosterFin Games. It is a fast paced game where players compete to get the best score by flipping, switching and stealing little red plastic monkeys. Each monkey has a value (number) hidden under its feet that is only revealed when it is flipped. This game was designed by a former middle school math teacher of 11 years. Kids will improve their addition skills as they add their monkeys worth. The game also helps with memory skills and my thought is that it could be used with older adults who are having some memory problems or want to keep their minds sharp as they age. Our thoughts about this game were that it is fun, you can learn, but it is limited to addition skills. It would be nice if some alternative ways to play the game involving subtraction and multiplication were included in the instructions. The die is a regular die with stickers on each surface, doesn’t seem like it will last too long until those peel off. The Monkeys numbers are also just a sticker on the bottom, we were concerned that those may come loose in a short time, too. Monkeys Up was featured at Mensa Mind Games, won the Creative Preferred Choice Award, was the Family Review Center Product of the Year, was featured in the Best of Best Catalog, and was in the Orca Best Product Guide. Monkeys Up retails for $19.99 and can be bought on the RoosterFin Games website or Amazon.
Next on our list was DayTrader, a game of playing the Stock Market. The company who makes DayTrader states, “DayTrader is to the Stock Market as Monopoly is to Real Estate”. Players can learn about the Stock Market and finance because they are exposed to 5 basic concepts of finance, which are: 1) The value of working to earn money 2). Importance of savings 3) Investing basics (buy low, sell high) 4) Retirement planning, and 5) Risk.
The goal is to create and maintain a stable economy. Players must keep their companies stocked with tokens. To do this, they may choose to work with or against other players and their choices may determine how the other players want to treat them when it is their turn. There wasn’t a lot of interest in playing this game at my house, but once played, it is pretty fun. I think this game would be ideal to play at school with students who are learning about finance or the Stock Market. I am thinking of gifting our game to a teacher to use. DayTrader is currently only sold online at www.playdaytrader.com and retails for $39.99.
Matchbox Theater by Leafcutter Designs is a tiny little theater with all you need to put on a play in a matchbox! The characters are put on matchsticks (with no flammable head on them). Inside your matchbook you will find everything you need to put on your play. The parts are easily put together in minutes and even come with a script! You can stick to the script or make up your own story! There are 8 different Matchbox Theater sets, with one being a blank one for you to write your own play. The ones we were sent to review were Thoreau’s Walden, The Poetic Cell (about cells and their functions, really awesome!), and Issa’s Insects (all Haiku featuring different insects). We were also sent an extra one of Issa’s Insects that was already assembled for us, which I thought was really nice!
I actually had the chance to use my Issa’s Insects one in a very practical way. I stuck it in my purse and when I met a friend at a coffee shop, her little daughter got very bored of the adult conversation and started getting very fussy. I could see her Mom getting frustrated. The older sister was trying her best to keep the little one entertained when I remembered that I had the Matchbox Theater with me! I handed it over and told them how to use it and the little one was happy and delighted for a good 20 minutes! Thank you, matchbox Theater! These are really wonderful, and you can learn Shakespeare, Haiku, Thoreau, and more! They are sold online at http://www.leafcutterdesigns.com/shop/matchboxtheater.html and retail for $7.95 each.
Our last game is called, Crazy Legs, by Endless Games. Crazy Legs is an action game with kid-friendly yoga poses and exercises. It gets players UP and MOVING! Each space on the game board represents a new physical challenge for children and families to JUMP, TWIST, SHAKE, and EXERCISE their way to victory! It is made in America for ages 4 and up. It is such a fun game and I love that it gets kids moving! It is sold at many major retailers and retails for between $11.99 and $19.99.
Wow, that was a lot of games! It has kept us busy, for sure! Which game was your favorite?