Monday, January 28, 2008

Kid Tested, Parent Approved

E3's birthday is two weeks after Christmas, and the gift-receiving seems to just go on for a whole month. One advantage to this is we only have to make one 'wish list' and we can let her go to town and add many things to cover all gift-givers for both events. E3 is the youngest of three girls, which means we already have loads of toys and girl stuff; it's often difficult to come up with gift suggestions for her. This year, when asked what she wanted - what was on her list- she told someone, "Everything at Target." I think she meant the toy department, but who knows?

She turned four this year, and four is a wide-open age as far as toys. The concerns of choking are pretty much past, they can follow most simple rules, they understand (even if they don't always practice) taking turns. With that in mind, I'd like to applaud a couple of toys/games that we received this year that have just been an awesome addition to our household.

Playschool's Honeybee Hop is, in a nutshell, jumprope for beginners. The little bee circles the hive, and the kids hop over the arm that connects the two - simple, right? The first time we tried this there was non-stop giggling for at least 30 minutes - and boy does E2 have an infectious giggle. It was as much fun for me to watch them, I think, as it was for them to participate. Whether they were hopping as intended, or running as though the bee was chasing them, it was a good time. If the game is out, any one of the girls (ages 4, 7, and almost 10) will give it a start and hop for a while - and if one of them is hopping, more almost always join in the fun. One note: stock up on C batteries.

Cranium's Hullabaloo is another age-spanning game that all three girls, and their similar aged cousins enjoy. It's a fun format that encourages movement while teaching color, shape, and picture recognition, and it's simple enough that they can set it up and play it without a parent directly involved. I know, that's SO not the way we parents are supposed to be, right? But crikey, sometimes it's nice that they can play an organized game without parental involvement. I need time to eat my bon-bons you know, or for frivolous things like folding laundry and preparing meals.

Both of these games have been great for working off excess energy during the cold winter day. We give them both an A+.

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