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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cranium's Got Some New Things

We've all played the game Cranium right? And loved it, right? Well, now the lttle ones can have fun AND learn with some new products by Cranium.

Cranium Bloom is a new line of preschool games that are aimed at helping kids learn while they have fun. My five year old daughter Kestrel and I had the opportunity to try out a couple of their products: the Let's Go to the Zoo Seek & Find Puzzle and the Let's Play Count & Cook Game.

We started with the puzzle and it was relatively easy to assemble, with big sturdy pieces and identifiable markings. The goal is to find certain items in the puzzle and circle them with a pen. Oddly enough, the puzzle we received was slightly misprinted only on one piece, so it did not match up entirely. Nonetheless, Kestrel had a great time going through first the "beginner" booklet, finding and circling all the items easily. The nicest thing about this is that it comes with a dry erase pen and the ink comes off easily so the kids can play again and again. She moved over to the "advanced" booklet in no time, and even though she can't yet read, it was pretty easy to figure out what she was to look for. I wondered if she would get bored after a few times of playing it because she already knew where everything was, but the beauty of the five year old memory, or at least hers, is that she could remember a few and still had fun finding them again and again. I love this game and would definitely recommend it to parents.

The Count & Cook Game comes with a gameboard, dice , tokens and playing pieces, as well as a "recipe" book with real recipes. The tokens are put into slots on the gameboard. You select a recipe from the book and roll the dice. You can move your playing piece in either direction to collect the required tokens to complete the recipe. The person to put the last ingredient down is the "winner". It was a simple enough game, but a great introduction to more complex board games later on, I thought. My son fought with my daughter over the little playing pieces (cute little people in chef's hats) and they both seemed to be interested in the game for more than an average length of time. This game is an excellent way to help kids with counting, as well as introduce them to cooking. While we did not actually make any of the recipes together yet (a project we shall save for a rainy day), Kestrel gave this one the thumbs up too!

Thanks to Mom Central for giving us this opportunity to try out some fun new games!

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