1. The gamer. Okay, okay, so I’m not talking about video games here. I know screen time is all the rage, but our family loves a good old-fashioned game night. Without old-fashioned games! I’ve told you about Calliope Games before (here) and they have a new game out to play at your next family game night. The goal in Hive Mind is to stay in the hive. This all depends on how you (and others!) answer questions. Drawing on prior experiences, the game promotes conversation as the “worker bees” try to answer the questions similarly to their opponents. The recommended age for this game is 8 and up. I’d say that’s fairly accurate. All players need to be able to read and write since answers are written down. We often make a “team” during game nights with our 5-year-old on a team with a parent or sibling so he can still be included in the fun.
2. The maker. Has anyone else’s kitchen been transformed into slime central lately? My daughter loves making slime and her enthusiasm about it does not seem to be waning at all! It’s not rare to have a few tweens hanging out in the kitchen trying new slime recipes. So I had to make the jump and try out the new Craft City DIY Slime Kit from the slime queen, Karina Garcia. In this kit are directions to make customized slime and all of the ingredients you need to make slime–from basic slime to glow-in-the-dark slime. Since everything you need is included, all you’ll need is a container to mix it in. Which means no running out to the store for glue, shaving cream, conditioner or whatever else your child decides they need for slime-making! And the slime is all safe and Borax-free.
3. The builder. Don’t get me wrong, I love Legos. But my kids are starting to move past the Lego phase and are ready to build things a little more complex. I introduced you to ARCKIT last summer (here). Designed by an architect to have something tangible to work with when designing, ARCKIT has taken off as a great way for kids to design and build their own creations, all using a 1.2M/4ft. scale and real architectural components. The recommended age is 10+ but I’d add on a few years or assume the 10-year-olds have quite a bit of building experience. There are also other sets that are better for even older kids and teens (and adults!)
4. The toddler. I love to find toys that encourage my preschooler to use his imagination. The MIO collection from The Manhattan Toy Company inspires open-ended play with wooden pieces that can be stacked many different ways and people that can be used once your building is complete–so you can actually play with what you built. We have the tree fort with one person. The 15 wooden components can be built and rebuilt. Recommended for ages 3+, I would say some kids this age will still need some help getting the components to set up sturdily, but all ages can enjoy playing with the structure and people. I especially love the cute animal sets!