Friday, November 13, 2009

Christmas Gift Reviews: Games and Puzzles

It's that time of year again, when I start researching for Christmas gifts. I'm always curious to know what other parents are buying for their children. I read countless reviews on toys that I'm considering to buy because I want to know the pros and cons for each toy. The best way to really discover a toy is to ask other parents and children too. I would love to know what your children favorite toys are. So, each week, I will have a different category to review. Click here for the category list and dates. Please feel free to share your views about toys in each category too.

This week's theme is Games and Puzzles.

My daughter currently has two favorite games that we play, a lot! But, I don't mind because I love these games too. They are both fun and educational. In addition, these are the first games that Izzie has actually finished, normally, we start a game and end up not finishing.

The first is The Picnic Game by eeBoo.

The object of the game is to be the first player to gather a table setting and collect food to set your place at the table for a picnic. The game includes a checked tablecloth, a spinner, 4 plates, 4 sets of utensils, and 4 pieces for each category (drink, main dish, fruit, vegetable, and dessert). This game is for 2-4 players, ages 3 and older.

Pros: It's a fun and exciting game to reinforce "taking turns". I also like that it gives Izzie a chance to make a decision during her turn, when she spins a certain category, she has a choice to make. In addition, it has encouraged Izzie to share more. At first, she would get upset if another player chose a food item that she wanted, but now, she understands the concept of the game and is willing to "share" all the pieces. The game pieces are large and sturdy and very detailed.

Cons: It's hard to find in stores; I was lucky and found our game at a consignment shop.

The second game is Picture This: A Puzzle Matching Game by Mudpuppy.

This is a great memory game with a twist! The object of the game is to find all the pieces to your game board.

Each player has a different color board with corresponding pictures to locate. I like that the picture on the board isn't identical to the game piece, but it's an item within the picture. This concept requires Izzie to pay close attention to detail. In addition, the game pieces are color coordinated with it's matching board. Notice the game board above has a pink trim and all the pieces have a pink background. (I haven't pointed this out to Izzie.)

These are the finished game boards. I really like that it shows how many individual pieces make a whole picture.

Pros: A new way to play an old favorite game, requires Izzie to pay close attention to details, and she even enjoys playing it by herself.

Cons: Again, another hard game to find in stores. This was another consignment shop find!

Favorite Puzzles: Giant Floor Puzzles by Hurricane Toys.

Izzie has always enjoyed working puzzles. These are really nice floor puzzles that contain 28 pieces each. They are great for preschoolers, who are seeking more challenging puzzles, but still aren't too overwhelming.

Pros: Challenging for a preschooler, but not overwhelming with too many pieces.

Cons: None

Disclaimer: I did not contact or receive any products from the above companies. These are my opinions, which may vary from your experience with these products.

Please link your child's favorite games and puzzles too!

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