Thursday, April 16, 2020

It's Child's Play, Games and Toys with 2020 Vision

Board games like these act as three-dimensional books to engage children in meaningful and educational play.
These are unique times.  Especially in my NYC/Metro Area with the Wuhan Corona Virus outbreak has families under "stay at home" orders. Many families are having to "emergency homeschool" as the schools have been shut down since even before spring break. So there are some excellent options to keep children harp in addition to online video schoolwork. Thinking back to some of the board games and toys I had as a child makes me appreciate this new era of entertainment now available.  The main focus of many of the games we played was to teach how to think ahead.  Chess and checkers were always being played but also board games like Stratego which my older brother Lenny loved to beat me at...every time!
So these new games and toys allow children to have more practical, hands-on play that will introduce them to solutions to real-world problems.  Better than that, these eco-educational games from Adventerra show them how they might be able to help based on everyday choices.

Water Game shows children how to conserve one of Earth's most precious resources, fresh water.  This is something we all are faced with every day and children can learn quite early not to waste water. This boardgame show the importance of fresh water while helping them to develop daily water-saving habits. This game balances cooperation with competition which is a GOOD thing.

Global Warning is for older children 10+ as it includes a bit more advanced scientific subject matter.  Still, it is a great starting point for discussion as children will most certainly be studying this material in school. Rather than being competitive Global Warning stimulates cooperation between players to reach a common objective.

Recycle Rally teaches children how to recycle properly with the main call to "Clean Up Your City!" Remember the "Don't be a Litterbug" campaign? 
This game is for ages 7+ but is excellent at showing the impact of waste and pollution at the local level.  More importantly it the environmental impact different types of rubbish inflict.

Power Haus will perhaps be the most relatable because it involves appliances and items children interact with every day in the home: the refrigerator, lighting, etc.
What's really unique is how the game challenges the players to make the house more energy efficient before spending all your money on energy.  An introduction to economics is included here!  Ages 7+
All these board games are made in Europe and can be found at

Le  Toy Van and Dolly Family Set
Le Toy Van and Dolly Family Set
Beautifully crafted traditional wooden toys for hours of creative playtime. Le Toy Van has realistic tires and reminds me of our Volkswagon Van (also known as the "Twinkie").  Made in Sweeden and very detailed with a little bed and removable surfboard.  A wonderful alternative to plastic toys.  Available on Amazon:

Daisy Lane Dolly Family 

Think Big by Kat Kronenberg
Think Big by Kat Kronenberg, illustrated by David Miles takes children on a wonderful wildlife adventure of helpful problem solving, decision making, and community cooperation.  Large, boldly colored illustrations of animals native to the African Savanna bring the story to life, taking you to their world.  Highly recommended, easy to read and not very long, it will keep even very young children's attention from start to finish. Available on Amazon May 12th, 2020.

The Classic Three-Dimensional Book Series
Three Dimensional and Pop Up Books
Books like these are available to cover a variety of subjects but especially science and history. I've gifted these types of books to my children on: anatomy, Medieval Castles (architecture), geography and more. The book pictured here, The Human Body, by Jonathan Miller and David Pelham, is published by The Penguin Group and offers 3-dimensional moveable illustrations. DK Eyewitness is also another great book series for children. These are keepsake books! Also, you can get a leatherbound edition of the child's favorite storybook as a gift. I gave gifts of many of my children's classics from school which encouraged them to cherish books and reading.

Betsey from the Colonial Williamsburg collection
Colonial Willamsburg Historical Toys
Colonial Williamsburg in VA is a great attraction for American History buffs of all ages. My children and I volunteered as Colonial-era docents for many years for our local historical society. This was a way to both teach and appreciate our unique American history. So it's only natural that our home is filled with toys and items that replicate the clothing and from that time. We also have the little Leicester Sheep once kept by George Washington.

The Betsey Doll pictured here is soft and authentically clothed in period dress which is removable.
Under her dress (petticoat and overdress) are a set of panniers and a chemise that are just like the ones I wore as a docent!  Each doll comes with a little storybook sharing her life and adventures in colonial times. See her and other dolls like Sarah in the Blue Cape at The Colonial Williamsburg SHOPS.

Sarah in the Blue Cape

Healthy Brain Food for Children
All of these games and toys help stimulate a child's mind and imagination.  This is why it's so important to factor in nutrition as well.  Studies have shown Omega-3's such as DHA and EPA are integral to healthy brain development and function. Likewise nutrients like choline provide the building blocks for proper neurofunction.

Brainiac Kids Applesauce Pouches - come in three flavors and provide Omega-3 DHA & EPA (fish oil), Choline, mixed tocopherols (vitamin E) and rosemary extract for memory and cognitive acuity.
I gave a 3.2 oz pouch to my little Joey who's only three.  He loved it and immediately asked for another!  Made with natural fruits like banana, strawberry, and blackberry they contain no added sugars and are non-GMO.  Absolutely delicious and great for adults too.  Check them out at:

Brainiac Kids Applesauce with BrainPack

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