A childhood spent hoarding Cootie legs and wielding Operation tweezers put gaming in your genes, but a new generation of strategy and coordination builders are vying for space on your family room shelf.
Plan Toys’s Eco Recycling Game ($28) makes it fun for kids ages 4 and up to take out the trash. A roll of the dice forwards pawns on a canvas mat and prompts players to place chips in mini reclaimed rubber wood garbage bins. Chips have designs like glass bottles and plastic bags, so you can hammer the lesson home.
Introduce a sweet way to recognize shapes and colors with Gamewright’s Take the Cake ($13). Players ages 4 and up jiggle a cupcake-like shaker to release wooden “sprinkles.” Match sprinkles with images on cards drawn from a deck to win.
Wii meets Simon meets iPod in Swinxs ($150), a battery-operated game pod from the inventor of Bugaboo strollers. As many as 10 players (ages 4 and up) wear wristbands embedded with microchips that lead them through rounds of hide and seek, musical chairs, tag, and more. Music and narrated books are available for free download. (System comes with four wristbands; additional packs of three are $15.)
Hape’s Stormy Seas ($40) is a topsy-turvy balancing act for kids ages 3 and up. Place wooden bottles, treasure chests, canon balls, and barrels on a wobbly bamboo ship; players that spill the cargo are eliminated until there is a winner. Rounds last just ten minutes — perfect for wee attention spans.
Photos: Courtesy of Plan Toys; Courtesy of Hape