Just Havin’ Fun

What do colored dice, zebra-patterned battleships, bug eggs, and pocket-size drones have in common? Not much, except that they’re all great to enjoy with your kids. So get out there and have at it!


Roll for it! (Calliope Games)

roll for itThink Yahtzee and cards. Each player has a set of six dice. Turn over three cards, roll your dice, and try to match the dice that are depicted on one or more of the cards. If you do, you take the card and score its value. What makes Roll for it! Interesting is that you can do partial matches—for example, matching two out of four dice on the card. On your next turn, you can try to match the rest, but you’ll be able to roll only your remaining four dice. Even more interesting is that you and your opponents might be working on the same card, and if they complete their match before you do, you’re out of luck. Roll for it! is fast-paced (takes about 10-20 minutes for someone to score the 40 points needed to win), and pretty easy (although it’s MENSA approved, which indicates that it might be more challenging that we were capable of understanding). For 2-4 players (8 if you combine it with a second set), ages 8+. Around $12. https://www.calliopegames.com

Dazzleship Battleships: The Game  (Laurence King Publishing)

dazzleship battleshipsThis game—which is a twist on the popular Battleships game you probably played as a kid—is based on a little-known piece of art (and military) history: Dazzle camouflage. During World War I, the British navy was having trouble disguising their ships, until a young artist suggested painting them in a variety of crazy patterns. The goal wasn’t so much to hide the ships as it was to confuse the enemy by making it hard to gauge the ship’s size, speed, and even the direction it was heading. If you look at the patterns, you’ll see how effective it is. Comes with maps for playing the game and a booklet that explains the fascinating history of dazzle. For two players, ages 6+. About $16. http://www.laurenceking.com


Dig it Up! Big Bugs and Dig it Up! Minerals and Fossils (Mindware)

It’s time for you and the kids to get your inner paleontologist on. With Big Bugs, you get 12 giant “eggs.” Just soak them in water, then use the included tools to chisel away the shell to discover which prehistoric bug is hidden inside.  With Minerals and Fossils, you also get a dozen objects to chisel, though in this case, they’re called “stones.” Inside each one is a non-animal prehistoric thing—a piece of petrified wood, chunk of pyrite (fools gold), amethyst, obsidian, or other mineral or fossil. These kits are great to do with your child, and they’d make a great birthday party activity for the kids. They, along with the others in the Dig It Up! Line, come with instructions and an informative, engaging field guide. For ages 4+ (with adult supervision). About $25 each at many retailers or http://www.mindware.orientaltrading.com


The Real Pocket Drone with HD Video (Odyssey Toys)

odyssey pocket droneIf you’ve ever had one of those “darn-I-left-my-drone-at-home” moments, you’re in luck, because now there’s a drone that’s small enough to fit in your pocket. Really. Its svelte size makes it easy to fly indoors or out, and its auto take-off, auto hover, and auto home features make it a huge amount of fun for beginners and experts alike. Oh, and did we mention that it shoots high-def video and high-res images and stores them on an included SD card? It’s hard to imagine packing more fun into a smaller package. Ages 12+. About $70. http://odysseytoys.com

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