Let's face the facts: Every game you play is a learning experience. Battleship
teaches how to use logic. Monopoly educates about real
estate. Sorry teaches the joy of getting revenge on those
who have unjustly sent you back to start – over and over, and over again.
But to cater to those who really want to get more IQ points for their
pennies, check out these new and classic educational games that make learning
Cadaco’s Shape Time (ToyShow)
($17.99) helps preschoolers learn all about matching colors and shapes.
The game comes with a collection of soft foam cutouts and lively boards
full of clowns and furry animals. Like Cadaco's other educational games,
Sum Time and Spell Time, Shape Time is
packaged in a plastic suitcase, making it a great take-along game for long
waits at the post office or on airplane trips.
Pre-K's will get a kick out of Aristoplay's new color
matching game called Buzz Off ($16) (ToyDirectory).
Armed with foam fly swatters, children are challenged to smash the proper
colored fly before their opponent does. Perfect for the kid who dreams
of being an exterminator when he grows up.
Lolo Company’s Bucket Blast
Where in the World
Made for Trade
Lolo Company’s Bucket Blast (ToyShow)
boasts 15 different games that cover both indoor and outdoor fun for kids
5 and up ($29.95). With buckets, beanbags, blindfolds, cones and more, Bucket
Blast is ready to teach younger kids skills like teamwork, strategy, counting
and most importantly, fun. The game comes equipped to keep a bevy of kids
busy, and best of all, parents, kids and teachers can pack of the equipment
into a compact totebag, making it easy for them to transport it.
After twenty years in the educational toy market, Aristoplay has brought
back two of their most popular educational board games, each designed with
Social Studies in mind.
Long before Carmen San Diego made the idea famous, Aristoplay developed
Where in the World ($30) (ToyDirectory),
a game where players use their knowledge of geography to "claim"
a country. Imagine owning Italy, and you don't even have to speak the
Made for Trade ($25) (ToyDirectory)
lets players live life in Colonial America, buying and trading goods in
order to survive, all the while learning lessons in economy and history.
Think of it as an early American Monopoly.
From the Revolution Game to the Civil War Game,
EMA Learningames (ToyShow)
has been selling historically based board games to museums and teachers
for more than thirty years. This year they are bringing back an updated
classic, just in time for the 200th anniversary of the Lewis and Clark
expedition. Expansion of the US ($14.95) takes players
on a grand adventure with the famous explorers. Players travel along on
the 18-month journey, discovering new and wondrous sights west of the
Mississippi. As a bonus for the true history buff, all EMA games come
complete with an educational poster and a booklet of additional historical
Expansion of the US
Widely known for their puzzle game Rush Hour, Binary
Arts is pressing forward to help reorganize the educational toy
world. Changing their name to ThinkFun (ToyShow),
the company is challenging themselves and their buyers. New to ThinkFun’s
roster is River Crossing ($14.99) for ages 8 and up. Like
Rush Hour, players are presented with a visual challenge – in this case,
how to use a set of planks and logs to traverse a river full of hungry alligators.
This perilous plank puzzle will remind kids of The Crocodile Hunter, providing
hours of suspense-filled fun.
Aha! Brainteaser Classics
And for something really simple, ThinkFun has packed
a box full of great brainteasers. Can you turn four shapes into the letter
“T”? Remove a ring from the metal puzzle? Turn only two blocks into a
pyramid? They all look easy, but they're not. Packed in a box of eight
for $19.99, Aha! Brainteaser Classics are sure to be
a favorite with kids, if they can get them away from mom and dad.
Metanon, a new board game by the educational experts
at kSero (ToyShow),
gives kids an entertaining introduction to genetics and other scientific
topics. Players take a Candyland-type jaunt around the board collecting
“biocodes” and assembling them into patterns to obtain parts for their
spaceship. Children ages 5 and up can choose from six different alien
characters as playing pieces ($29.99).