TDmonthly Magazine!
February 2008 | Vol. VII - No. 2
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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 youngest children.

TDmonthly Magazine’s Psychologist Mom recently became a baby frog, learned the origins of common expressions, threw an “X” through the park and more. She rated each product with 1 to 5 TD stars (for TDmonthly!); 5 is the top mark.

Name: Yackle Ball Jr.
Age: 2 to 12
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Developmental Toys

monthly rating:

The Dr.'s Impressions: The Yackle Ball is a X-shaped soft “ball.” It is easy to catch and has quite a throwing radius. The Yackle spins while it flies, which makes for some amount of increasing difficulty so that children can be challenged at different levels, depending on their age and ability.

Kids' Perspective: My boys (9 and 11) played at the park with the Yackle, but it was short-lived. The Yackle is interesting to throw and catch but “not that fun.” When I showed them some of the suggested games on the back of the packaging, they played a little longer. One game they liked was only catching on certain colors of the Yackle arms – it significantly increased the difficulty of the activity.

Recommendation: This would be a good ball for children needing to improve hand-eye coordination. It would also be fun in a group of four to six children – maybe at a party.

Name: Pre-assembled Alpha Male Series 01
MSRP: $4.95
Age: 8 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Action Figures

TDmonthly rating:

The Dr.'s Impressions: The Stikfas Pre-assembled Alpha Male is a 3” poseable, customizable action figure. It is designed with joints to allow for any number of positions and maneuvers.

Kids' Perspective: My 8-year-old boy loves this little toy. He said he wished it was not pre-assembled, but as soon as I showed him it could be completely disassembled and put back together he was happy as a clam. He wants to buy some of the other Stikfas figures to “battle.”

Recommendation: This is a fun, creative, simple toy that allows for hours and hours of fun. I think it is better if you have two or three to play with, but just one is fine. The age recommendation is 8+, but any 6-year-old would enjoy it just as much.

Name: The Origin of Expressions™
MSRP: $29.95
Age: 12 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games

TDmonthly rating:

The Dr.'s Impressions: Origin of Expressions™ is a game in which the players make up a story explaining the origin of a phrase and try to convince opponents that it is the correct version. Points are earned by fooling others that yours is correct or by actually knowing the correct origin. The game comes with 300 expressions, score pads, answer sheets, pencils and a timer.

Kids' Perspective:
The age ranges say 12 years and up, but I think this games is more suited to adult play. It requires a lot of writing and an extensive knowledge of language. You do not have to know the origin of the expression, but it would help to at least know the expression; there are over 300 in the game.

Recommendation: I played with three other adults and we had a good time. The scoring is artificial, however, given it is impossible not to know who wrote which answers. Also, one player has to be the reader so he or she doesn’t really get to “play.” The best part is learning the real origins of these expressions. Do you know the origin of the expression: “An ax to grind?” Remember, the question is not what it means, but from where did the expression originate.

Name: Froggy Boogie
MSRP: $24.95
Age: 4 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls’
Category: General Games

TDmonthly rating:

The Dr.'s Impressions: Froggy Boogie is a creative updated version of the classic memory game. There are eight multi-colored daddy and mommy frogs, several lily pads, six little baby frogs and the two dice. Everything is made out of wood and is very nice to look at and feel. The object of the game is for the baby frog (the player) to get around the lily pads before mommy frog catches him and puts him to bed on the big lily. The player rolls the two dice and matches the color of the dice to the color of the mommy frog – then chooses one of mommy’s eyes. If the eye has a frog underneath, then the baby has been caught and loses a turn. Otherwise, the baby moves to the next pad and rolls again.

Kids' Perspective: For ages four to six you could not ask for a sweeter game. It is very engaging and requires color matching, attention to detail and memory (you have to remember which eyes have frogs to move quickly around the lily pads.) The kids were very focused while playing and had a great time.

Recommendation: Froggy Boogie is educational and great fun. The price is a little high, but given the multi-tasked nature of the play and the beauty of the design I would say it is well worth the price of admission.

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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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