Even More Fun with Two of Our Favorite Authors

Zarlacht Atiqzoy
December 3, 2009

Dr. Seuss Super Stretchy ABC

Can you balance your ear on a drum while your feet stand on a kite and a wagon? Sound crazy? Expect nothing less from Dr. Seuss, and his infamous Thing 1 and Thing 2 characters that continuously find imaginatively fun ways to spend time indoors.

Highly entertaining and educational, Dr. Seuss Super Stretchy ABC game is like playing Twister with little bodies and matching specific body parts to alphabet letters instead of colors. We cheered when our youngest player went first and accomplished all five body part tasks on the first try.

Come Mom and Dad's turn, and the game takes on a whole new meaning. The Alphabet mat is simply not big enough, but creatively and humorously, it can be.

The premise of the game is simple - player's score or earn coins based on how many body parts they can place on the Alphabet mat at the same time - there's no time limit (thank goodness) as to how they can manage the combination. Little ones will need a bit of help, as they become fixated on leaving their left foot on one letter even if they need to stretch clear across the mat or behind them with another foot. "Switch your feet" or "start on your stomach" quickly become common cheers from spectators.

Coins earned get placed into players' toy boxes and pieces not played go back into the "tornado" chute, and the next stretcher tries their hand or foot at the game.

Once all the coins with footprints fill the walkway, the game is over - and the player with the coin that matches the secret letter card wins. After a few rounds, we realized the motivation of having each player earn all their coins - and not give up until they do.

We brought this game out on Thanksgiving, and the mixed crowd enjoyed watching little and big players perform fun balancing acts. The game board is a real treat too, and is a great way to teach beginner learners their alphabet. I love the brilliance behind the tornado board and chute, and the kids love seeing which letter or picture coin will plop out in the next swoop.

All Dr. Seuss lovers will heart this Super Stretchy ABC game - thanks to its ever so creative whimsy - reminding all of us that indoor family fun is a balance act that begins with our imaginations.


Richard Scarry's Busytown Eye Found It!

If you love to play visual games like "I spy" or "hide-n-seek" with your kids, you will all love Richard Scarry's Busytown Eye Found It! game, an innovative family-style board game where players must work together and search for hidden objects around a very "busy" town before all the picnic food gets eaten by the "pigs."

Creatively original with its six-foot long game board (pieced together in 3 sections like a puzzle), this game board is beautifully illustrated with hand-drawn scenarios depicting the active life of characters from Richard Scarry's classic books.  Players take turns traveling across the game board with the spinner, solving a Goldbug Mystery (and advance together), or giving up picnic fare to the little pigs.

My three-year-old loved holding her tiny magnifying glass token to look for objects on the Goldbug cards. Together, we searched for ladders, propellers, and garbage cans -- first looking in the obvious places, but soon discovering that objects are also hidden in unlikely scenes as well.  It sounded easy at first, but quickly proved challenging and fun for the entire family. Our preschooler jumped and zig-zagged across the game board to help find objects - the more we found together, the more (bonus) spaces we all moved.

This game is a refreshing take from games where players must race against each other to reach the finish line. Instead, we encourage each other and try different strategies (like designating sections to each player) so that we could all reach the ferry boat before the hungry pigs eat all the picnic food and win. On our first round, the "pigs" ate all the food (and technically won the game), and our toddler said, "Let's play again!"

And that is exactly the kind of outcome we had hoped for. It wasn't about who won, but rather the nature of all of us exploring the game board, helping each other, and having fun.

We've modified the game a few times already, like not using the sand timer and taking our time enjoying the charming depictions - pointing out objects in unexpected situations, which helps the kids remember where objects are - so that when we do use the timer, and they do draw a propeller on their Goldbug card, they will remember to look for the hippo on the river wearing one on his head!

A perfect first board game for your preschooler, or as a gift, Richard Scarry's Busytown Eye Found It! game helps children learn positive basic game skills such as taking turns, spinning the spinner, following directions, moving and counting spaces, searching for clues together, and of course, racing against time.  But it's the teamwork and confidence building skills children experience that makes this game a true winner. This game is not one to be shelved -- but rather left on the coffee table to play any family night of the week.



From the Parents

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