Building things—whether it’s a 3D puzzle, a metal replica of a pirate ship, a mini model of the Millennium Falcon, or a tower out of plain wooden blocks—is one of the best ways to spend time with your children. But half of the fun of building something is knocking it down. Here are some of our new favorites to build and smash (plus a few others).
Build or Boom (Proto Toys)
Like a lot of games these days, this one starts with a card. In this case, it’s a two-sided one that has a picture of a structure that both players race to build. What makes Build or Boom so much fun, though, is that you do your building on special platforms that are connected to a simple pump that looks like a pile of dynamite. Hit the dynamite and the tower falls. As you can guess, your opponent can blow up your tower, and vice versa. The game is a blast and comes with 30 cards divided into three levels of difficulty. But for younger children, it has the added advantage of being a great way to learn about shapes, patterns, and following directions. For two players, ages 4 and up. $29.95.
Kaboom (Blue Orange)
Like Build or Boom, Kaboom starts with cards and involves building, blocks, and smashing. But the approach is very different. In this enervating (in a good way) game, one player tries to build as many towers as possible (using cards as models) within 30 seconds. That would be plenty of fun by itself, but while the builder is frantically building, the rest of the players are gleefully trying to knock over those towers using ammunition-launching catapults. If any towers remain standing after time expires, the builder keeps the associated card. In the next round, there’s a new builder. Whoever has the most cards wins—unless someone is able to build the mega tower, which is an automatic winner. For 2-5 players, ages 6+. About $16.
Brix (Blue Orange)
Think tic-tac-toe, but add a dollop of color, a hint of sneakiness, and a few drops of inadvertent self-sabotage. You and your opponent are combining to build a wall of Xs and Os. The first player to line up 4 of their symbol (or 4 of their color, or both, depending on how complicated you want to make it), wins. The magic of Brix is the blocks themselves. Each Orange X is attached to a Blue O, and vice versa. That means that when you place your piece in that oh-so-brilliant location, you’re also putting your opponent’s piece right next to it. The rules and game play are easy, but the strategy is challenging. For two players, ages 7+. Under $20.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles RC Skateboarding Mikey
In keeping with our theme of smashing and rebuilding, the best part about Skateboarding Mikey is making him wipeout—and then watching him get up all by himself so you can do the whole thing over and over again. Ages 4+. About $50 at Amazon and other retailers.
Y Flyer Stepper Scooter (Yvolution)
With this scooter’s sleek design and cool-looking foot pedals, your child is definitely going to turn some heads—and work up a sweat at the same time. If he or she wipes out, there’s no self-righting mechanism, which is why riders should always wear a helmet and other safety gear, and an adult should always be there to supervise. But it’s a ton of fun to ride. And with its 220 lb. weight limit, you can take it for a spin after the kids go to bed. Ages 7+. $149.99.