Tag Archives: r&r

The Secret Life of Summer

After a long day of having fun outside, it’s important to have some relaxing down time. Here are four games you and your family will love.

cash out simply funCash Out! (SimplyFun, LLC)
Each player is a fund manager tasked with building a diversified, balanced, high-yield portfolio. The goal, of course, is to cash out with the most points. Along the way, you’re buying, selling, and strategizing. Cash Out! Is a fun way to introduce your child (or yourself) to some basic investment concepts before he or she starts playing around with that college fund. Takes 20-30 minutes to play. For 2-4 players, ages 10+. $24. http://www.simplyfun.com/

compose yourself thinkfunCompose Yourself (ThinkFun)
Every once in a while game comes along that is completely unique. Compose Yourself is one of those games. Open the box and you’ll find 60 transparent, coded music cards, each imprinted with a musical staff and four beats worth of notes. Since they’re transparent, you can arrange each card in four different ways (there’s nothing on the cards to indicate a “right” side). Now comes the fun part. String together any four cards to create a unique composition (there are apparently over a billion possibilities). Then, go to the Compose Yourself website, enter the codes, and you’ll hear your composition played by a full symphony orchestra! If you’re happy, download an mp3 or print out sheet music. If not, re-compose and try again. Besides being tremendously fun, this is a great way to expose children to music and/or to teach music reading. Ages 6+. $19.99. http://thinkfun.com/

hey froggy r&r gamesHey, Froggy! (R&R Games)
Too many frogs and not enough lily pads. Life’s like that sometimes, isn’t it? The good news is that, unlike the rest of life, the frogs can pile on top of each other. Roll the dice to bounce colored (red, blue, yellow, green) frogs around the pond, scoring points when the frogs on the top match the colors of cards in your hand. You’ll need a little luck and a little strategy—extra points if you’re able to eat some flies along the way.  It’s fun and quick (15-20 minutes). For 2-4 players ages 10+. $15.95. http://www.rnrgames.com/

mix up fix up woinder forgeMix Up! Fix Up! (Wonder Forge)
A fun logic and memory game for preschoolers. Players take turns being the patient. Without showing any of the other players (doctors), the patient takes an “x-ray card” that has eight pictures of different medical tools (stethoscope, syringe, thermometer, etc,) on different backgrounds (dots, checkerboard, hearts, flowers, or stripes), with different  colors, and slips it into an x-ray sleeve, which has a window that shows only one tool. The doctors then flick a spinner which tells them to either guess a pattern, color, or tool. For every wrong answer, the patient gets a bandage. Most bandages wins. It’s kind of like Clue. But instead of Colonel Mustard in the parlor with a knife, it’s the stethoscope on the yellow background with stripes. 2-6 players ages 3+. $15.99. http://wonderforge.com/

wink blue orange gamesWink (Blue Orange Games)
The goal of the game is for players to signal your secret partner (with a wink or some other gesture) without any of the other players knowing that you’ve connected. The rules imply that all the players have to agree on one gesture, but who says you have to follow the rules? The game play involves cards, tokens, matches, and accusations. However, the real fun is in trying to forge those secret partnerships. It takes only 20-30 minutes to play and is absolutely impossible to get through without laughing—which makes identifying those secret signals even harder. 4-8 players, 8+. $15.99. http://www.blueorangegames.com/

Hey, Buddy, You Got a Match?

Matching games, in various forms, have been around forever—and with good reason: they’re easy to play, fun, don’t usually take a lot of time, and they help build memory and pattern skills. This week we take a look at four new games that add new—and colorful—twists to the old classic.

color clashColor Clash (Blue Orange)
In Color Clash, each of the 36 playing tiles has three attributes: the color of the chameleon in the middle, the color word (red, blue, green, etc.) written in a ring around the chameleon and the color of the letters that make up the word (for example, the word “green” might be written in blue). Color Match comes with instructions for eight separate games (including two that are excellent for solo players), but there’s nothing to stop you from making up your own. One of our favorites was to start with all the tiles face down. Players take turns flipping over one tile while the others say out loud the color of the word (not the color it names). It’s not easy.  For 1-8 players, ages 7 and up. http://www.blueorangegames.com/

cup-a-cupCup-a-Cup (R&R Games)
Another deceptively easy game. Cup-a-cup comes with nine plastic cups. On the bottom of each is one of three shapes (square, circle, or triangle) in one of three colors (blue, red, yellow). There’s also a pair of dice that have the same shapes and colors. Players take turns rolling the dice, then all lunge for the cups (which are arranged bottom up so you can see the colors/shapes) in a frenzied attempt to complete the set. Some are pretty easy: For example, if you roll two blue triangles, you have to grab the cup with the blue triangle. And if you roll two shapes with the same color, you need to grab the one cup with the one that’s missing. It starts getting harder when neither the shapes nor the colors on the dice match. Say a blue circle and a yellow square. We’ll leave it to you which one you need. First player to collect three cups wins. For 3-5 players, ages 6 and up (don’t sneer—kids are better at this than adults). http://www.rnrgames.com/

pluckin' pairsPluckin’ Pairs (R&R Games)
It all starts off pretty easy: lay out 11 cards, each one with a photograph, on the table. Then, working individually, start writing down matching pairs using any criteria you want. A red bell pepper might match with a red phone booth because the colors match, but that same red pepper might match a pocket watch. What, wait? They both have stems. Similarly, an ant might go with a bird (both animals) or a roll of tape (they tend to stick together). When the 90-second timer runs out, players take turns explaining their pairs. If two or more have the same pair, both score a point. If no one else has the same pair, it scores zero. We also reversed the scoring so that only pairs that no one else has score. For 3-8 players, ages 12 and up.

slidewaysSlideways (R&R Games)
Slideways is essentially a 4×4 version of tic tac toe, but with the added complexity of being able to slide the rows around. The game consists of four moveable rows, each with four triangle-shaped tiles that can show blue, red, or gold. Players alternate flipping tiles, trying to get four in a row (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally). And just when you’re getting close, someone slides a row and messes everything up. Requires strategy, logic, and a sense of humor. For 2-3 players, ages 8 and up.

Seek and Maybe Ye Shall Find

What’s more fun than a good, old-fashioned game of Hide and Seek? This week we take a look at three fun, new twists on that timeless classic.

education outdoors snipe huntSnipe Hunt (Education Outdoors, Inc.)
If you’ve ever been to an outdoors camp, you probably spent some time hunting for snipe. Counselors and experienced campers would talk about the elusive creature, hand out sacs, and take newbie campers out into the woods to hunt. We’re not completely sure what the purpose of snipe hunts is, except to give the older campers a chance to laugh at the wide-eyed naiveté of the younger ones who, of course never catch anything. But now there’s a way to make snipe hunts a reality. The Snipe Hunt kit comes with two snipes (named Biela and Smartin) and a “nest.” If you play with teams, each team hides their snipe, and the first team to find the other’s and get it back to the nest wins. Alternatively, one person could hide one or two snipes and everyone else hunts. If they haven’t been found 2.5 minutes after being activated, the snipes start beeping. After five minutes, the eyes start to blink.  Can be played inside or outside, day or night. A fantastic family activity. Retails for under $25, batteries inlcuded. Ages 6 and up. http://www.educationoutdoors.net/

usaopoly treasure traxTreasure Trax: The All in One Scavenger Hunt Game (USAOpoly)
This is one of the most engaging games for the preschool set we’ve seen. The idea is pretty simple: scatter a series of clues that ultimately lead to some kind of reward (what that means is completely up to you). Treasure Trax comes with 60 brightly colored, illustrated, thick cards: 30 depicting locations, 18 with clues, and 12 with animals. There are several ways to play. One person (most likely an adult) can set up a step-by-step hunt. For example, you might start by giving the hunter(s) a card with a picture of a kitchen table. On the kitchen table, there’s a card with a picture of a bookcase. On the bookcase is another card leading somewhere else. For older kids, you can incorporate the color and animal cards and make a matching game. Start with an orange card and send the child off to find a card with a picture of something orange (a tiger, for example).  Treasure Trax is great for matching, focus, and memory. But we especially loved how flexible it is. You can have as many or as few steps as your child’s attention span will allow—but be warned: this game is so fun that attention spans have a tendency to get longer. It can be played with teams or as a one-on-one parent-child activity. You can play it indoors or out, and it’s a wonderful way to turn rainy days into adventures. For ages 3-5, but slightly older kids will have fun too. Retails for under $20 wherever you buy your toys or at http://usaopoly.com/

r&r games hide and seek safariHide & Seek Safari (R&R Games)
This is a moderately high-tech version of the old hotter-colder game. The box comes with two items: a monkey (or tiger, depending on which package you buy) and a wand. Someone activates the monkey (batteries included) and hides him somewhere. Everyone else activates the wand, which has LED lights that flash when you’re getting warmer and beeps when you’re really hot—like a Geiger counter. Unfortunately, the monkey has to be hidden in sight—the wand won’t work if he’s in the fridge or under the bed. But it’ll give hours of fun for kids 4-6. Retails for under $35. Additional wands are $13.99. http://www.rnrgames.com/