Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Duplos and more...

We dug out a box of Duplos (intermediate sized Legos for toddler size fingers and coordination) that were mine (holy cow?!) when I was a preschooler and bought a box to replace any missing or broken pieces which has been a popular item lately. So far the kids like to build towers, but S has started to build other things as well so I thought an activity with a hole punch and card stock might be in order.... (As seen at Filth Wizardry, what a fun idea!!)

I gave the kids (well, mostly Sophia, b/c Maggie is still struggling a bit to put together the Legos at all on her own, though she will happily take apart anything I put together for her...) some cut-out shapes with punch holes placed such that they can place them over the Lego "nubs" to build new structures or animals. We looked at this page  for some inspiration.

Unfortunately, once we got set up at the table with out card stock and hole punch (and bucket of Legos) we found that our standard old hole punch was just a bit too small to make properly sized holes for the Legos. sigh. In any case, mommy was able to rescue the day by jamming the paper over the Lego nubbies, but it was not really something S was going to manage on her own so we put everything away (except our marvellous tree of course, which became part of some sort of game involving a zebra, hippo, panda and a squeaky ball that took turns jumping onto the greenery...) to try again tomorrow, after an expedition to a craft store hunting for a larger than normal hole punch. I wonder what we will find? Will report back.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Zingo! (Bingo?)

Zingo! is another really surprisingly fun game we got this Christmas. Our new family tradition is to spend Christmas Eve together relaxing and playing games, so we let each of the kids open a gift from Mom & Dad that happened to be a game (rather than book or toy).

The idea behind Zingo! is basically bingo, but with a nifty little (durable) gadget that you slide back and forth to get tiles printed with pictures of objects (with their names printed below in nice clear block letters that little kids can associate with the object, and eventually sound out themselves).

When each set of 2 tiles slides out of the dispenser everyone around the table quickly looks at their game card/board and shouts out the object that matches one they need. There are variations to game play, like fill the entire card to win, fill just a row of 3 objects, a diagonal, etc, etc.... Also, each card has a red side and a green side, the green side is apparently easier for younger kids to win b/c the cards have fewer objects that coincide (leading to someone not getting their tile) but the red side is a bit more competitive and fun b/c you have to be fast and shout out for you tile before anyone else.

Even 21 month old M has gotten in on the fun by having her own board and getting tiles than no one else needs in exchange for telling us what she thinks the objects are. (The "CUP" is apparently "TEA", I wonder where she picked that

I am very impressed with the build quality of this game, all of it seems quite durable. We have played every single day since Christmas Eve, probably averaging 4 games a day, and there has been no hint of anything that might break any time soon, and, most important, it remains very fun. (Even for the grownups, which is, let me tell you, really saying something.)

Friday, December 25, 2009


One of the top items of Christmas 2009 at our home was this unassuming little box of blocks. Wedgits are appropriate for even much smaller siblings (no choking hazards!) and easy to put together into all kinds of fun and interesting towers and shapes. We also got a stack of cards with pictures showing structures to build in increasing levels of difficulty, rather like 3-D tangrams. S flew through the beginner levels, but I suspect that the more challenging ones will take some thought and perhaps parent assistance. Fun for everyone!

Also, judging from the "free play" that S has been doing with these all day they will be helpful in sequencing/size concepts as well as interesting balance/motor skills and spatial relations.