What do gelato cones, blue plate specials and elephant trunks have in common? All three are featured in a batch of fresh new games that are going to tickle players in your family. This season there are many clever and fresh game formats that work on important learning skills while players laugh as they play and learn. Here are a few of our testers' favorites.
Blue Orange Tricky Trunks Game
(Blue Orange Games $24.99) Using the playful elephant trunks to pick up colorful marbles shown on the playing cards, kids race to be the first to fill their trunks. Game play involves visual discrimination as well as dexterity. Noticing details as they look at the game cards must be followed with speed and memory. It’s marked 5-12. We’d think some 5s will have trouble playing with older kids, but it’s a fun game for family night.
(Peaceable Kingdom $12.99) Kids need memory skills to play this restaurant game. To play: put out five pairs of “plate” cards with food on them. While the timer is going players must remember what foods are on all the pairs. Ready? Turn them over so you cannot see the images. Next, turn the smaller food cards over and quickly try to match and place the food cards on the right pairs. Now you are ready to turn over the food plates and see how well you matched them. For any pair that do not match
the food cards, put an angry customer card on the playing board. The game ends when there are five angry customers. A fun variation on the classic game of concentration and by the way, one that younger players are likely to play with greater ease and success than adults. 5 & up
eeBoo Simple Math Lotto
(eeBoo $15.99) Each player gets a colorful board with nine “simple” math facts. Some boards are addition; others are subtraction. Players draw number cards from the slush pile and cover the math facts with the right answers. There are several ways to play this, cooperatively or solo or play to see who covers her board first. This is the kind of game that's best for kids who know their facts, but need to pick up speed with knowing the answers. Can be played by kids of mixed ages. Marked for 5 & up, but a lot more on-target for 6s and 7s.
(Blue Orange Games $21.99) Our testers had great fun playing with the colorful cones and gelato balls. The trick is to match the gelato orders as seen on the challenge cards AND to do so without touching the balls of gelato. It’s a game that calls for logical thinking as well as dexterity and speed. It’s marked 6 and up and that’s on the mark, although kids may need some modeling to see how the game is played with the empty cone as the mover. Fun, fast-paced, and easy-to-learn.