Have you been waiting until your toddler is old enough to enjoy family game night? There is no need to wait. There are several games that your toddler is old enough to play. I think Hasbro makes some great tot games and would like to tell you about some of them-
Hungry, Hungry Hippos: This is a great game for tots because of the simplicity. There isn’t too much explanation required, as the aim is for the hippos to chow down on as many balls as possible. My daughter doesn’t put items into her mouth but if you have a little one that does, they should be supervised as there are many small balls. I’ve played this game with a number of children and it is always a winner, including with special needs children. The only problem I see is that sometimes children can be a bit too aggressive with the game and I can see the game breaking if hit too hard over a period of time. I was initially interested in this game for nothing but pure fun but it actually does have some learning potential. It does help with hand-eye coordination and my daughter always practices counting the number of balls her hippo was able to munch. The game says it is for 4 and up but my 2.5 year old has absolutely no problem playing this game and even winning! I like to play this game when my little one is cranky or getting ready to go into tantrum mode and it really seems to help. Approximate retail for this game is $16.99.
Twister Hopscotch: This is a new way to play hopscotch. Using plastic rings, you can create a variety of shapes to play this hopscotch game and the spinner makes it even more fun by having players do various activities while hopping, such as dancing. I was somewhat disappointed in that I thought it would be more like twister but the only similarity is not stepping on certain colors and doing tasks. I do really like the easy storage for this game, as it comes in a mesh drawstring bag, so it can easily be taken anywhere. This game is great for getting little bodies moving. I have to say that a con of this game is that the circles aren’t very easy to snap in place, so kids almost always need an adult to set the game up for them. I’ve played this with 5 different children ranging in ages from 2-12 and they all needed help setting up this game. I don’t think my daughter is quite ready for this game.She did seem to have fun for a short amount of time, but quickly lost interest. This game retails for $19.99. Again, it says 4 and up but my 2.5 year old plays easily.
Cranium Hullaballoo: I am a HUGE fan of this game and it is definitely my favorite game for toddlers but kids of all ages seem to enjoy it. In fact, I honestly really do enjoy playing this game with my child. I like everything about this terrifically designed game. Playing this game, the whole family will be moving and laughing together. The Hullaballoo console gives directions for the players to bounce, dance, crawl, and do other movements to a category such as “musical instrument”. There is SO much learning potential for this game and I think it helped my daughter to learn her colors and shapes. I love the element of surprise in never knowing what type of pad you’ll be instructed to go to next. Also, nothing beats watching my husband do a “funky dance” as the console instructs. Each round, there is a new winner where the player on the lucky pad gets to take a bow, do a funky dance, or make a victory jump. I really like the listening skills it teaches as well. In a few weeks, I’ll be giving out awards for the products I’ve reviewed the past 6 months. I can already tell you that this one is getting the award for best game. I’ve played this game with several children and every time it has brought high praise from them, laughter, and pleas to play another round. This is an active play game, so it also gets the little bodies and adult movies up and moving. The storage is very simple and the games is highly durable. This game is the only 2 time Toy Industry Association Game of the Year winner in history. Approximate retails is $24.99.
NOODLEBORO Learning to Listen Pizza Palace Game: I love the concept of all the Noodleboro games because they help to learn social skills. Each NOODLEBORO game comes with a storybook and CD so kids can “see, hear, play and then live each NOODLEBORO life lesson.” The book that comes with this game is about when two kids don’t listen and really mess up a Pizzeria. The cd’s that come with these games are wonderful with really catchy tunes. My little one loves to put in the cd and dance and sing along to the Noodleboro theme song, especially. The premise of the game is for players to listen carefully and remember what has been said. Players take pizza orders and must make a pizza with the correct toppings. This game won the 2008 Toy Wishes All Star Award and 2008 iParenting Greatest Toys. When I first played this game with my daughter a few months ago, she just wanted to make a pizza and not play it correctly. However, this week she has been able to play correctly easily and really enjoyed the game. She isn’t always the best listener, so this is a great game for me to help teach her the invaluable lesson of listening skills.
Monopoly Town: This game is a little bit hard for tots, but with a little help can easily be played. Mr. Monopoly’s car talks you through how to play, so there is no reading required. He even counts with your little one as they move and lets them know if they make a mistake. There are many opportunities to practice counting. The track quality isn’t the highest and I do wish it was a little more durable. You have to move the car slowly or it will go off track or count incorrectly. My daughter enjoys moving the car, but doesn’t get the concept very well except for counting. This game retails for $15.99.
Elefun: This is for sure my daughter’s favorite game. What is not to love? A motorized elephant with a seriously long trunk blows butterflies into the air for your toddler to catch with the included butterfly nets. This game helps with coordination as it isn’t as easy to catch the butterflies as you might expect. Also it helps practice paying attention as the butterflies come in spurts so you have to be ready. I do wish there were more butterflies. They are easily lost and game play ends quickly so you have to keep reloading the elephant. My daughter asks to play this game quite often and it is always a huge hit. This game retails for $20.99.
Hi-Ho Cherry O!: This is a classic preschool game that I’m sure most of you know about but may have forgotten about. Cherry-O is the counting game in which players race to be the first to have 10 cherries in their basket. No reading is required so it is is perfect for toddlers. It has really helped my daughter in learning how to play board games, such as taking turns. Also, what better counting practice is out there? She also loves putting the puzzle together! Every preschooler needs this game and since it is around $10 is affordable.
Operation Silly Sounds:I reviewed this game on my blog in late January, so sorry for the repeat! She is still really enjoying it. While this game is an absolute BLAST it is really great for developing fine motor skills. Children use the tweezers to extract strange items from Cavity Sam and this develops muscles required for pencil grasp. With all of our "learning toys" when you stop and think about it...is there anything better than operation for fine motor skills? I have to tell you that I did NOT think of Operation of anything more than a fun game but it is so wonderful for this purpose. Furthermore, it is a great game for toddlers who do not put items in their mouth as reading isn't required for this version, nor do you have to count money. There isn't a lot of strategy of understanding of rules either, other than removing the pieces without the buzzer going off. I like that it can be used for YEARS to come. This version is a little different than the original Operation game in that it is sillier sounds and kids who enjoy body humor are sure to get a laugh out of it. Noodleboro Fun Park Sharing Game: This game is all about sharing and fair play. In this game, kids play together to collect as many sharing stars as they can before the park closes.Each Noodleboro game comes with a storybook and audio CD. The carnival games are a lot of fun but maybe a little too easy to beat. Right now, she likes playing it and I’m glad it isn’t too much of a challenge. However, I don’t know if this is a game a 6 year old would enjoy too much because of the simplicity. I think the manufacturers should figure out a way to keep it simple for the tots but have advanced features as well for the older children as their skills progress. Still, I like its originality. I haven’t seen any other games where the child gets to pretend like they are at a theme park. It has a really high fun factor.
Would you like to win these games for yourself? Simply share a favorite memory of playing games either as a child or with your own children. A second option is to tell me what your favorite HASBRO game is you play with your children.
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* Contest ends at 11:59pm CST on May 7, 2009
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