TDmonthly Magazine!
April 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 4
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TDmonthly's Psychologist Mom

She'll Put Your Toys on the Couch


Dr. Wright doesn’t just look at toys; she analyzes them. In and out of the box, she scrutinizes them for playability, appropriateness and educational value. The latter quality is especially important to this psychologist/mother, who also homeschools her three children.

This month, TDmonthly Magazine’s Psychologist Mom shares her views on three new toys, rating each product with 1 to 5 TD stars (for TDmonthly!); 5 is the top mark.


Complete Gardens in a Can
by GIFTS THAT BLOOM
Age: 3 and Up
Gender: Boys and Girls
Category: Science & Nature
Price: $7.95

TDmonthly rating:



The Dr.'s Impressions
Complete Gardens in a Can is a garden kit in a can that requires only water. The can includes the soil and the seeds to be planted all in the container it came in.

Kids’ Perspective
My kids were not that impressed with Complete Gardens in a Can: Open the can, pour in the soil, drop the seeds 1/8” deep and water. The plants bloomed in a few weeks and that was that.

Recommendation
This kit might be good for children deep in the city who have no opportunity for any type of gardening, but the kit would be much more interesting if it had, at a minimum, some type of informational booklet about seeds and gardening.

The Authentic DaVinci Dilemma by RUMBA GAMES INC.
Age: 14 and Up
Gender: Boys and Girls
Category: General Games

TDmonthly rating:



The Dr.'s Impressions
I loved this game. The Authentic DaVinci Dilemma is played by traveling around the board answering trivia questions and riddles based on the work of Leonardo DaVinci. A player who answers one of the questions correctly receives a puzzle piece. The best part of this game is that when the puzzle pieces are assembled, they recreate a DaVinci masterpiece, such as the “Mona Lisa” or “Madonna of the Rocks.”

Kids’ Perspective
My kids liked this game a lot. They were pleased that they could find answers based on their knowledge of science and physics as well as by using logic. They also appreciated that completing the puzzle made a famous painting that they recognized.

Recommendation
The Authentic DaVinci Dilemma is a perfect game: aesthetically pleasing, exciting, educational and challenging. While I was happy to see how much my kids learned while we played, truth be told, I enjoyed playing it with other adults even more.

Pitch-a-Story! by IMAGINE THIS COMPANY INC.
Age: 10 to 18
Gender: Boys and Girls
Category: Board Games
Price: $29.95

TDmonthly rating:



The Dr.'s Impressions
Pitch-a-Story is a storytelling game based on how stories are pitched for Hollywood movies. Players must create and act out tales as prompted by cards that include the Character, Challenge, Setting and Props. Once a player tells his story, the other players or teams review the "pitch" and award points.

Kids’ Perspective
Putting together the components of the "pitch" was complicated and, therefore, not ideal for younger kids. My children love storytelling and felt stifled by the requirements. However, the more they played, the better they got and the more fun they had.

Recommendation

Pitch-a-Story is a wonderful way to develop language and presentation skills. Storytelling is a useful ability for children and adults, and this game encourages practice to develop the skill in a fun-filled way.



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Dr. Tiffany WrightWriter's Bio: Dr. Tiffany Wright doesn’t just look at toys; she analyzes them. In and out of the box, she scrutinizes them for playability, appropriateness and educational value. The latter quality is especially important to this stay-at-home psychologist/mother, who also homeschools her three youngest children. Her daughter attends UCLA. Dr. Wright earned her Ph.D. in personality psychology from University of California, Riverside. She is always on the lookout for toys and games that inspire creativity and impart knowledge while bringing fun and laughter to her home. Read more articles by this author

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