Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Fun New Games from Thinkfun That Would Make Perfect Easter Basket Gifts for Kids of All Ages (Review)

Disclosure:  I was sent samples from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.

There are only 19 more days until Easter.  Are you done shopping for goodies to add to your child's Easter basket?  If not, why not skip the sweets and fill their baskets with fun games from Thinkfun?  I have had the pleasure of working with Thinkfun for the past few years, and always make a point to share new games from them, especially around the holidays. 

Spring is always a time when game companies like Thinkfun add new games to their already extensive offering, for children of all ages.  But, unlike many other game companies I am aware of, Thinkfun always makes a point to offer games for children of all ages, including those as young at 18 months old.  I have shared past reviews of some of these toddler/preschool games with you, including their "Hello Sunshine" game that my girls continue to play to this day.

When Savannah is not playing the game above, she loves to carry around the plush sun, especially on raining days. She will hold the sun above her head and say, "Look Mom, a sunny day," as she smiles. :-)

This past Christmas, I ended surprising family and friends with fun and challenging games from Thinkfun.  Some hadn't played games in years, while others are like me and like playing mind boggling single player games. Each and every game from Thinkfun that I had gifted was a hit, and I continue to hear how the games are played during weekly games night, at parties, on when family and friends are looking for something fun to do.

So, as I was putting together my last minute Easter gift guide ideas, I made a point to visit the Thinkfun website and see if they had any new releases that would make for a great Easter basket gift idea.  I was happy to see yet another fun game for children ages 18+ months old, called "Move & Groove." Looking for games for the older crowd, I fell in love with "Square by Square" and Zingo!  Within days of reaching out to the folks at Thinkfun, they sent along samples for my review.

Move & Groove is the perfect first game for toddlers! Designed to inspire movement, creativity, laughter and learning, it’s a fun way to introduce the basics of game play and the joy of movement without the pressure of competition. The rules are simple—toss the plush cube to determine color, choose a matching colored card and perform the given move. There’s no right or wrong way to boogie—it’s all up to interpretation—so players can use their imagination while improving balance, coordination and flexibility. The perfect game to build confidence and celebrate all the things your little one does so well!

Ages:  18 months and up
Players:  2 or more

Large Washable Plush Cube with Storage Pocket for Cards
48 Dance Move Cards – 8 in Each Category

I knew that the new "Move & Groove" game would be an instant hit with the girls, as they love to dance around the house.  Not a day goes by that the radio is not playing in the house and we are not busting out into an impromptu dance party. :-)

Game play for this dance game is easy to explain to little ones.  Players take turns rolling the dice and taking a card from the deck that matches the color they rolled.  Then, they have to do the dance move they see on the card.  There is no right or wrong way to complete each dance move.  Just as long as everyone is having fun as they move and groove around, the game continues, until all the cards are played, or you get tired. :-)

I especially like how this game lets you change up the way you play the game.  When I am playing with just Savannah, I will have her do a few dance moves in a sequence, as this helps teach her memorization and coordination skills.  She loves to hold the plush cube in her hands, which oftentimes results in a game of hot potato between us. You can also choose to play this game with music or without.  While I was born with two left feet, my girls on the other hand really know how to boogie, and love freestyle dancing.

What a fun way to stay active with your kids, and get them off the couch and having fun moving and grooving around.

Zingo! is a fun word building game for children in grades K-2.  

Build Reading Skills, Three Letters at a Time

This word building version of Zingo! is the perfect confidence booster for early readers! Ideal for players who are just learning how to put letters together to form words, it’s great for teaching spelling and vocabulary. With two levels of play, it’s designed to engage and support both beginner and more experienced readers. Just slide the Zinger and claim tiles to fill your Zingo! card with three letter words—pure Zingo “F-U-N!”

Ages:  5 and up
Players:  2 - 6

1 Zingo! Zinger with Easy Cleanup!
72 Letter Tiles

6 Double-sided Zingo! Cards

I played this game with my 6 yr. old nephew and 8 yr. old niece this past weekend, and we all had a blast.  My nephew is just learning how to put letters together to form words, so this game is perfect for him.  Teaching skills like letter recognition, simple spelling, sounding out letters and the difference between vowels and consonants, Zingo! Word Builder is great for beginning spellers.  And, once children are confident in their spelling, you can switch up the game and play a more challenging advanced version.  I love games that offer the option between beginner and advanced game play, as you can play this game with children of different ages and still have a fun time, while making it challenging for them.  

Cleanup of this game was a breeze, as you just had to reload the slots and double-sides tiles into the Zinger.  No need to worry about losing a tile as it stays securing in this base.  And, it will not take up too much space on your game shelf, which is always a plus. :-)

I ended up saving the "Square by Square" for myself, as I have always been a fan of puzzle games like this.  

Learn about spatial relationships as you assemble the 14 puzzle pieces together to build each challenge. When done with the 60 challenges, get creative and use the pieces to build your own patterns!

Ages:  5 and up
Players:  Single player

Game Grid with Storage Drawer
60 Challenges & Hints
8 Blue Game Pieces
6 Green Game Pieces

Game-Go Bag

This creative pattern game has players trying to combine puzzle pieces to match images shown on each challenge card.  There are 60 challenging puzzles that will have you scratching your head as you try to figure out how to make the different patterns.  

After spending an entire day with children under 4 yrs. old, I find games like this to be relaxing, as well as a way to keep mentally fit.  And, like other Thinkfun games, clean up for this game is a breeze. You have the option of putting the tiles, cards and game board back in the box it came in, or put them pieces in a bag for on-the-go fun.  I love this option, and will definitely be bringing this game on summer camping trips and long car rides with the kids.

In addition to the above games, here are some other great games from Thinkfun worth checking out, that would make for great Easter basket gift ideas --

You can learn more about these and other games by visiting the Thinkfun website --http://www.thinkfun.com/ --.  And,when you are ready to purchase, all Thinkfun games are available for purchase through the Thinkfun website, as well as at Amazon.com.  So, what are you waiting for?  Head on over to Thinkfun today and browse their selection of games for the whole family, and pick a few up for game night or as an alternative to candy this Easter.  My girls love playing the games we have been sent from Thinkfun, and are learning in the process.

About ThinkFun

ThinkFun is the world's leader in addictively fun games that sharpen your mind. ThinkFun was founded in 1985 by husband and wife team Bill Ritchie and Andrea Barthello with a dream to change the world through play. Our mission: "To translate the brilliant ideas of the craziest mathematicians, engineers and inventors into simple toys that can be appreciated by boys and girls around the world."

Over the years, ThinkFun has strengthened its commitment to products that inspire learning, spark creativity, and nurture problem solving. We continue to push into new frontiers with appsonline games, education programs – even brain research!

Disclosure:  I was sent samples from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.

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