Winter is Coming

Yes, “Game of Thrones” is over and it’s still blisteringly hot out there in a lot of places, but the National Hockey League preseason gets underway this weekend, which means that winter can’t be far behind. This week, we feature several hockey- and winter-themed toys and games as well as a few other fun activities to keep you busy when those temperatures start to drop.

Ski Lodge (Playmobil 9280)

playmobil ski lodgeAfter check-in, begin your stay at the lodge by admiring the view from the terrace and enjoying a few alcohol-free drinks (at least until the kids go to bed). Then have dinner in the spacious dining room. In the morning, before you hit the slopes, have breakfast on the patio, then rent your skis at the equipment station. Just like a real ski lodge, there’s a ton of stuff to do—even if you’re not a skier—and this kit comes with everything you need to do it: five figures, skis, firewood, snowman, mittens, and a lot more.  Ages 4+. Under $50.

NHL Take-Along Hockey Arena (Playmobil 9293)

playmobil hockey arenaNo snow yet? No problem. This fun kit comes with three hockey figures, an arena structure, a goal net, bench (there will be penalties, after all), jerseys (and stickers to customize them), hockey sticks, pucks, dumbbells (for working out after the game), bottles (presumably for celebrating), and even a trophy. There’s even a special flicker to help your players smack the puck around (they may be a little stiff after the offseason). Best of all, everything packs up neatly into the take-along case. For ages 5+. Under $35.

NHL Advent Calendar Road to the Stanley Cup (Playmobil 9294)

playmobil nhl advent calendarWe may be getting a little ahead of ourselves with an Advent calendar, but, hey, it’s got a hockey theme, and who’s to say you can’t get some of your Holiday shopping out of the way early, right? On each of the 24 days leading up to Christmas, your little one will find a surprise item. Taken together, these items tell a story a young child’s journey from fan to NHL superstar. Comes with three adult figures, two child figures, NHL flags, practice goal, puck bag with pucks, coach, a Stanley cup with pedestal, bench, cones, and lots of other hockey accessories. Ages 5+. Under $28.

Thinking Putty Puzzle (ThinkFun)

thinking putty puzzleWhen we first reviewed Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty a few years ago, we loved it but never envisioned that it could expand into other products. We were wrong. Each of the 60 beginner-to-expert level challenges in this puzzle game will challenge your spatial reasoning skills. The goal is to use all six Thinking Putty colors and completely fill the Puzzle Grid, stretching and pulling the putty as you go. But be careful—the different colors can’t touch each other, so you’ll have to use different paths, bridges, and blockers to help. For single players, ages 8+. Under $30.

Harry Potter Labyrinth (Ravensburger)

harry potter labyrinthIn this Harry Potter-themed takeoff on Ravensburger’s classic Labyrinth game, Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore, Hagrid, Hedwig (Harry’s owl), and Harry himself are in the maze and need to find a clear path to Hogwarts. But it won’t be easy. The maze consists of moveable and immoveable tiles, which players can use to create paths for themselves where there were dead-ends and/or turn their opponents’ previously clear paths into dead-ends. After all, players may be wizards in training, but they can’t get through stone walls. The cards, illustrations, and other materials are filled with Potter characters, including Draco, Luna, Mad Eye, Moaning Myrtle, and many others. So, if you and your child aren’t Harry Potter fans when the game begins, you will be by the end. 2-4 players, ages 7+. Under $33.