TDmonthly Magazine!
January 2010 | Vol. IX - No. 1


TDmonthly’s Psychologist Mom

She’ll Put Your Toys on the Couch

TDmonthly Magazine’s Psychologist Mom recently got her tween- and teenaged sons excited about doing their chores, played a strategic pattern game for hours, and enjoyed some historical reenactments with educational paper dolls.

Fair Share Chore Cards by ROBIN DOWNES DESIGN
Gender: Boys and Girls
Category: Creative Activities
MSRP: $14.95

TDmonthly rating:

The Dr.’s Impressions: Fair Share Chore Cards is a deck of 52 cards with a chore on each and very descriptive instructions on how to accomplish the task. The cards are nice to the touch and simply designed.

Kids’ Perspective: My boys, 13 and 10, were strangely excited to do their chores! We went through all 52 cards to see which tasks were appropriate for our family and then randomly selected who would do each chore. The random drawing of tasks seemed fair to them; on our list were "clean mirrors," "vacuum house," "clean bathrooms," "water indoor plants," "feed dog" and "make a dessert." They had less fun completing the task than choosing it, but that’s to be expected.

Recommendation: Fair Share Chore Cards are not only a great way to distribute chores to your family, but are also a great way to teach how to complete simple household chores. The cards tell exactly how to do a task, which is helpful because, for example, my kids didn't realize you're supposed to vacuum in a straight line.

Age: 8 and Up
Gender: Boys and Girls
Category: General Games
MSRP: $19.99

TDmonthly rating:

The Dr.’s Impressions: Trango is a strategic pattern game that comes with interlocking pieces. Each player gets his own tiles with the object to form one of four different patterns. With a roll of the dice, players find out how many tiles they can use to form their pattern.

Kids’ Perspective: My boys, 13 and 10, and I played for several hours as it snowed outside. There is a significant amount of luck involved given the roll of the dice, but strategy became more refined and the game became more exciting and challenging as time went on.

Recommendation: The pieces are a little cheap and it is neither easy nor comfortable to put them together or take them apart. However, it was a fun game and I really liked that it gets more exciting and fun as you work out the strategy.

Famous Figures of Ancient Times: Movable Paper Figures to Cut, Color, and Assemble by FIGURES IN MOTION
Age: 6 and Up
Gender: Boys and Girls
Category: Award Winners
MSRP: $19.95

TDmonthly rating:

The Dr.’s Impressions: This book reminded me of the doll cut-out books from childhood, only with an historical perspective. “Famous Figures of Ancient Times” features some of the great men and women from the past, including a short biography of each figure.

Kids’ Perspective: My boys, 13 and 10, love ancient history and had a great time cutting out and coloring the figures. They acted out several historically accurate and not so historically accurate dramas among Julius Caesar, Jesus and Hannibal … and, of course, the elephant.

This is a pretty fun way to learn history and to work on detail-oriented skills, such as cutting out and assembling. I would not recommend it as a toy or gift, but it is perfect to supplement a history education.

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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