While there’s definitely nothing wrong with traditional games (especially newer ones that reimagine old favorites), we’re big fans of complete new games and those that completely transform the classics. Here are some of our current faves.
Mafia (Laurence King)
In this beautifully designed game (and we’d expect nothing less from the folks at Laurence King), all you have to do is kill your friends. One player is the judge, and the others take on the role of civilians or ruthless gangsters. Then, it’s a fight to the death, as players try to figure out who’s an enemy and who’s a friend. There’s plenty of bluffing, intrigue, wild accusations, strategy, subterfuge, and, of course, murder. For 7-24 players. https://www.laurenceking.com/
Whether you’re looking for some exciting outdoors activities or something just as exciting to do indoors, we’ve got you covered.
Ultra Dash (Play Monster)
Set up your five-target course any way you want. Then, press the button on the tagger to start. Whichever color it flashes, you race to it and tag it with the tagger. The tagger instantly flashes the next color and you’re off again. The tagger keeps track of total elapsed time. You can play solo, one-on-one, or team vs. team. Since you and the kids design the course, it’s a different game every time, and you can make it more challenging by using the tagger’s randomizer function. It’s a fast-paced game that will get everyone up, moving, and having fun indoors or outside. Comes with the electronic tagger (batteries included) and five targets. Ages 6+. Under $20. Ages 6+. www.playmonster.com
As most parents know, children are amazingly—and very naturally—imaginative. How many times have your little ones turned salt and pepper shakers, spoons, forks, knives, and anything else within reach into families, villages, or battling armies? Some kids, of course, need no prompts at all, while others prefer a little more structure and guidance. Here are some imagination-stimulating toys and activities that offer something for just about any child. We love ‘em and think that you will, too.
Cabbage Patch Kids Little Sprouts (Wicked Cool Toys)
School—and imagination—are always in session. The Cabbage Academy Playset includes three play areas (a study hall, classroom, and playground) and a variety of accessories (desks, a chair, a double-sided easel, a globe, a basketball and hoop, lockers that open, a working swing, a slide, and more). And since there’s no sense having a school (or recess) without a student, you even get a 1.5” Little Sprouts figure, Piper June, who happens to be quite rare. The adorable, cabbage-shaped Little Sprouts Mystery Packs contain either a single kid or a baby plus a pet. There are 120 possibilities, including rare and ultra-rare figures. The Academy retails for around $20 and the Mystery Packs are about $3. Additional sets, with four or eight figures, are also available for under $10. Ages 4+. www.Cabbagepatchkids.com