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August 2008 | Vol. VII - No. 8




Tools:

TDmonthly’s Psychologist Mom

She’ll Put Your Toys on the Couch


In her latest round of reviews, TDmonthly Magazine’s Psychologist Mom found a 3-D puzzle up to the challenge, brushed up on world geography, and studied phonics in a flash. Here’s how the products performed:

AQube 3-D Jigsaw Puzzle by RENO PUZZLE COMPANY
Age: 10 and Up
Gender: Boys and Girls
Category: Puzzles & Skill
MSRP: $19.99

TDmonthly rating:


The Dr.’s Impressions: AQube is a three-dimensional puzzle with 32 pieces that interlock in one way to form a cube. All the blocks are the same size but with different post and hole combinations. The configuration is based on the binary process and requires a sophisticated sense of logic to complete.

Kids’ Perspective: I had five kids try the puzzle and all but one lost interest pretty quickly. However, the 9-year-old boy who loves puzzles spent a very frustrating but joyful hour completing it.

Recommendation: Finally, a puzzle that will challenge the puzzle genius. I loved how it captivated his interest for so long and he wanted to do it again. The second time was not much faster, which I consider a good sign of a good toy.

WorldTeasers™ World Culture & Geography Edition I by ELM EDUCATION MARKETING LLC
Age: 8 and Up
Gender: Boys and Girls
Category: Educational
MSRP: $16.95

TDmonthly rating:


The Dr.’s Impressions: WorldTeasers is a world, culture and geography game. There are 150 challenge cards about people, places and things. You stack the cards in groups of 25 different categories. For example, "Women of the World" or "Water, Water Everywhere." The player picks his choice of category. Then the host draws the top card and reads the question and three possible answer choices out loud. If the answer is correct, the player keeps the card. To win, a player must have one card from each category.

Kids’ Perspective: They liked the game aspect, rather than the traditional "Did you know?" Plus, there are a lot of interesting tips besides the answer, such as world region, country, capital, population, land area, life expectancy and literacy rate.

Recommendation: I think this is a very fun and extremely educational game — definitely a social studies/geography class in a box.

Alphabet and Phonics Flash Cards by GALLOPING MINDS
Age: 1 and Up
Gender: Boys and Girls
Category: Preschool
MSRP: $19.99

TDmonthly rating:


The Dr.'s Impressions: These huge, sturdy and colorful flash cards are printed on glossy paper. The alphabet flashcards have both capital and lowercase letters and feature a few words. The set covers more than 200 words.

Kids' Perspective: The 4- and 6-year-olds who played with these thought they were pretty and fun to play with themselves, in addition to learning from with an adult.

Recommendation: These are a very high-quality set of flash cards — not the kind a toddler can easily destroy. The most special thing about them is undoubtedly the thickness and quality of the paper.

doodlebugz™ Crayola Chalk Talk Table Mate by PRINCESS LINENS
Age: 3 and Up
Gender: Boys and Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts
MSRP: $12.00

TDmonthly rating:


The Dr.’s Impressions: This is a table/place mat that is also a chalk board. It comes with two pieces of Crayola chalk and a sponge eraser.

Kids’ Perspective: I had a few children (ages 3, 6 and 12) play with it, and it was not a big hit. The 3-year-old liked it best but only played with it for a few minutes.

Recommendation: I loved the idea of this placemat chalkboard toy; however, it is encased in bulky vinyl. Also, there is very little space to chalk on. The holder for the chalk and sponge take up at least a quarter of the drawing space, and the sponge does not erase unless it is wet. If the vinyl were not so pervasive and if there were more room for drawing it would be much better.



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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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