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06
Dec

10 “Fun Stuff” Ideas for Gifts

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fun_medWant to add an extra dose of fun to your holiday gift lists? Check out these Parents’ Choice “Fun Stuff” award winners!

 

Blankie Tails™ Mermaid and Shark Blankets

Ages: 1 & Up
Manufacturer: Blankie Tails
Price: $34.95

The machine washable mermaid and shark blankets are soft, cozy, and like a sleeping bag so kids can crawl in to rest, read, and relax. No, these are not educational per se. But they did promote reading, quiet time and storytelling/listening, prompting our parent testers to agree that as blankets go, these were pretty educational. As for the kids? The “funnest” blankets they’d ever had.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Make It Creative!™ Fairy Wing Design Kit

Ages: 3 & Up
Manufacturer: Creative Education of Canada, Inc
Price: $17.99

This kit includes a set of wearable wings and about 200 pieces like satin ribbon, beads, gems and sparkly stickers to decorate them. Once personalized to the fairy’s liking, the wings can be worn for imaginative play.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Play-Doh Firehouse Playset

Ages: 3 & Up
Manufacturer: Hasbro, Inc.
Price: $19.99

This playset comes with four small tubs of Play-Doh, an unassembled two story plastic fire house with three walls, a bed, a water cannon, fire hydrant that “extrudes” water, an axe, a dog and small firefighter figurine. The firehouse door opens and closes and has casts on the front to create firehouse equipment, such as a fire helmet, axe and a fire hydrant.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Wet Head

Ages: 4 & Up
Manufacturer: Zing
Price: $14.99

In this entertaining water roulette game, players take turns wearing the included helmet, pulling out pegs, and trying (or not) to stay dry. Its a simple-to-learn and easy-to-play game that will entertain children of many ages while also encouraging good sportsmanship. Testers took the game on vacation, to block parties, and to Grandma’s. And fun was had by all.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Happy Salmon

Ages: 6 & Up
Manufacturer: North Star Games LLC
Price: $14.95

This is a high-fiving, fist-bumping, fast-paced simple card game that’s nothing short of total fun. The game consists of 72 action cards, a rulebook and a whimsical happy salmon carrying case.

As soon as the game begins, a crazy orchestra of action-yelling, players high-fiving, fist-bumping and flipping their fins ensues; add in players switching positions and the chaos is undeniably fun. Spectators enjoy watching people play this game as much as the players like playing!

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Bunchems Alive

Ages: 6 & Up
Manufacturer: Spin Master Toys
Price: $24.99

This pack includes one Bunchems motorized Stick’em ball and 300 Bunchems in five colors (blue, green, purple, black, and white), thirteen accessories (e.g., googly eyes, wings, a tail, etc.), and an easy-to-follow guide book that includes instructions for building several animals including a puppy, a chick, a crab, and a dragon. The kit’s open-ended nature lets children personalize the guidebook creatures and build creatures of their own design.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Yvolution NEON Street Rollers

Ages: 6 & Up
Manufacturer: Yvolution
Price: $29.99

These wheels  attach to shoes and convert them to roller skates. With initial adult assistance, the wheels snap onto the shoes, the adjustable strap conforms to different shoe sizes, and best of all – the wheels light up via LEDs when they roll. No batteries required.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

SIMON AIR Game

Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: Hasbro, Inc.
Price: $19.99

This is the latest twist on the classic memory game, Simon. You will still find the characteristic lights and sounds of Simon, but in this iteration, no tapping of buttons is required; players simply wave or hover their hand over the various colors. The game features three play modes: classic in which one color/pitches plays at a time, single-player in which up to two colors/pitches play at a time, and two-player in which up to all four colors/pitches play at a time. All of the games progressively difficult modes are terrific for sequencing, working memory, attention, concentration, and hand-eye coordination – for building skills in the young and retaining skills in the not-so-young. The two-player mode hones these skills as well, but also encourages cooperative play as two individuals work together to beat Simon.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Meccano Micronoid

Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: Spin Master Toys
Price: $39.99

These interactive robot toys are for children aged eight years and up (although our younger testers were quite at ease with the form and function). Children use the kit’s 120+ pieces and included tools to build the robot before experimenting with basic programming. Right off the bat, they help teach and hone important developmental and coding skills such as following of instructions, sequencing, spatial awareness, fine motor skills, and hand-eye coordination.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

 

Crayola Crayon Factory

Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: Crayola, LLC
Price: $34.99

What parent doesn’t have broken crayons swimming around their “junk” drawer? The Crayon Factory turns those broken bits of crayon into new fun-shaped crayons and comes ready to use with everything required: the crayon maker, three molds (heart, dog, and car), a paper scraper for removing crayon wrappers, an AC adaptor, eight full-sized crayons, and easy-to-follow, illustrated instructions. Children simply drop the crayon pieces into the machine and wait for them to be melted and molded into new creations. This is a fun, hands-on way to encourage children to reuse and repurpose.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

 

 

 

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06
Dec

10 Doll and Playset Gift Ideas

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Planet Play Cubes

Ages: 1 & Up
Manufacturer: Haba
Price: $19.99

HABA’s Planet Play Cubes are cleverly designed, well-made and well-priced. Compact, portable, light-weight, self-storing, these cubes beckon. The children enjoyed mastering how to fold and unfold the cubes to create the playsets The Land of Faeiries, or My Little Town.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Corolle Mon Premier Bebe Calin Bisou

Ages: 1 & Up
Manufacturer: Corolle Dolls
Price: $49.99

This classically designed 12″ baby doll, smells as sweet as s/he looks. Its easy to clean and small enough for little ones to carry. Push on the doll’s tummy to hear “Papa, Mama, Hi Hi Hi” and an “eating” sound.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

MiO Playing Eating Sleeping Working + 2 People™

Ages: 3 & Up
Manufacturer: Manhattan Toy
Price: $100.00

The deluxe Mio playset is dazzling – in design and in function. The 41 piece deluxe set includes wooden blocks, planks, cubes, double-sided painted foliage patterns, two Mio beanbag people, a blanket, a pillow and a drawstring bag. The structure doubles as a storage box; playtime “windows” are built-in handles. The language and motor skills, creativity and imagination, individual as well as group play, are all inside, just waiting to be unpacked.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

MyFamilyBuilders™ Toy Set (48pcs)

Ages: 3 & Up
Manufacturer: MyFamilyBuilders
Price: $69.95

Once in a blue moon, a toy comes along that’s as socially responsible as it is playful. Teaching young children to respect diversity and differences is important. Learning that through play in invaluable. The 48 piece set of mix-and-match wooden magnetic play pieces designed as heads, bodies and legs lets kids (and adults) create families that look like the families they know and see.
We don’t all have the same skin color. Not everyone has brown eyes. Some children live with only one parent, some children live in blended families. Not all members of a family look alike. Not all families are alike. But they are all families.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Jinja’s House

Ages: 3 & Up
Manufacturer: Sago Mini
Price: $29.99

The design of the fold-and-carry playhouse is clever and fun; the illustrations are delightful. The fabric-hinged panels unveil a kitchen, a hallway, a living room and a bedroom. One flap opens to reveal a bathroom, another the contents of the fridge. The colorful flip side perspective shows the exterior, complete with a neatly wound garden hose, a scooter, an apple tree and shrubs. A functioning door has a mail slot – to send or receive the mini letter and postcards included in the playset. The sample thank you notes are an inspired touch

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Lori Loft to Love™

Ages: 3 & Up
Manufacturer: Battat
Price: $49.99

This dollhouse is a simple design which lends itself well to multiple possibilities. This sturdy modern looking building has a door that swings in and out, window and skylight openings, a lower level kitchen with a peninsula and working lights, easy-to climb steps, and a city dwellers dream roof-top deck/garden. The turf area is a soft, thin, fuzzy felt which helps figures and furniture to stand without falling over or sliding.
The educational benefits — such as language (expressive and receptive), motor skills, imaginative and creative play, social interaction, cooperative play – are many and the play is different every day for every child. Lots to love about playing here.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Our Generation Sweet Stop Ice Cream Truck

Ages: 4 & Up
Manufacturer: Battat
Price: $119.99

The retro and oh so modern shade of blue envelops this ice cream truck. The well-made, large plastic truck rolls and has working lights, windshield wipers and turn signals. The music it plays is worthy of any neighborhood ice cream truck. But it’s the attention to detail and the 128 accessories for which we scream play. From pretzels and frosted donuts, to the ice cream, popsicle and frozen yogurt treats, everything is delicious – to play with that is.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Camille Doll

Ages: 5 & Up
Manufacturer: American Girl
Price: $60.00

Sporting a pair of fish themed Wellies, bright-eyed Camille is a little knock-kneed and has a slight overbite. Needless to say, she was enthusiastically welcomed as the “little sister” in our testers’ families of American Girls dolls. At 14.5 inches, Camille is well made and more affordably priced than her older sisters. She has blue eyes, a freckle on one cheek, and blond hair. Camille is styled in a deep-blue tee with glittery mesh ruffles, a tie-dye print skirt with a handkerchief hem, a bow at the waistband, a coral starfish clip for her hair, light-pink underwear and the aforementioned wellie boots with red fins and smiley faces. More playful than historical, Camille and her friends are ready for fun.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Space Rocket with Launch Site

Fall 2016 Toys
Ages: 6 & Up
Manufacturer: Playmobil USA, Inc.
Price: $49.99

This 115 piece set offers both building and open-ended play. The mission ready set includes the rocket and launch structure, a satellite, two figures, a repair robot, a movable maintenance platform, mechanical tools, a computer, and working lights and sounds.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Melody Doll and Book

Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: American Girl
Price: $120.00

The newest addition to American Girl has been much anticipated. As the company’s third African American Doll, Melody is a well-made, beautiful dark skinned doll clothed in the style characteristic of the time period. She’s the first black doll with a story set in the 20th century.
As is standard with American Girl dolls, Melody is packaged with a historically accurate storybook. Set in the pivotal years of 1963 – 1964, Melody Ellison’s story introduces children to the Civil Rights Movement, critical changes and challenges in race relations as well as the social, artistic, national, and international climate of the era. The history is important; the lessons Melody and her story can impart through play are not only relevant, they’re essential.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

 

05
Dec

Parents’ Choice Awards: Top 10 CD’s of 2016

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What lands a children’s album on a gift list? The subject matter, storytelling approach, or musical genre may differ, but whether funny or soulful, fanciful, educational, or grounded in a child’s everyday life, the hallmarks of the finest recordings for children and families are authenticity, inspired vision, an irresistible invitation for repeat listening, and above all, absolute respect for their listeners, whatever the age.

Here are the Parents’ Choice Awards Top 10 CD’s of 2016. Alphabetically, of course.

 

Amazing Water: An Introduction to Classical Music (by Ana Gerhard)

Ages: 4 – 9 yrs.
Producer: The Secret Mountain
CD Price: $16.95

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

 

Explorer of the World by Frances England

Ages: 4 – 10 yrs.
Producer: Frances England
CD Price: $14.00

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

 

 

Holiday and Everyday Songs

Ages: 5 – 12 yrs.
Producer: Hap-Pal Music
CD Price: $14.95

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

 

 

I Can Be Anything! EP by Freckleland

Ages: 3 – 7 yrs.
Producer: Freckleland
CD Price: $5.99

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

 

 

Owl Singalong

Ages: 2 – 6 yrs.
Producer: Sugar Mountain PR
CD Price: $15.00

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

 

Press Play by Brady Rymer

Ages: 5 & Up
Producer: Bumblin’ Bee Records
CD Price: $15.00

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

 

Road To Dreamland

Ages: All Ages
Producer: Running Pine Music
CD Price: $12.95

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

 

 

Saddle Up! A Western Adventure Album

Ages: 3 & Up
Producer: The Okee Dokee Brothers
CD Price: $15.00

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

 

 

Striking Up Gold Mountain: Stories & Songs of the California Gold Rush

Ages: 9 & Up
Producer: Hive-Arts.Org
CD Price: $20.00

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

 

 

You’ve Got Me

Ages: 3 – 8 yrs.
Producer: Sara Lovell
CD Price: $15.00

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

 

 

 

 About the author
Parents’ Choice Foundation’s beloved and stalwart music critic Lynne Heffley, a former staff arts writer and children’s arts and entertainment reporter for the Los Angeles Times, writes about the arts and general topics for various publications and non-profits. She is a manuscript editor, theater critic, book reviewer and a founding member of the Journalism Shop, a freelance cooperative consisting of ex-LA Times professionals. In her spare time, Lynne is apt to be found strumming American Songbook standards and Tin Pan Alley novelty songs on one of her seven ukuleles.

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29
Nov

9 Gift Ideas for Inventors

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Brackitz 170 Piece Inventor Set 

Ages: 3 & Up
Manufacturer: brackitz
Price: $99.99

These easy-to-handle playful planks and connectors are appealing to the eye, the touch, and both left and right sides of the brain. The three and four way connectors work at any angle, and the motion connectors allow designs to rotate.

As children’s skills develop, their designs will become more advanced in complexity and creativity. A good investment in playful learning.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

DIY Electro Dough Kit

Ages: 4 & Up
Manufacturer: Technology Will Save Us
Price: $27.00

What could a kid love more than playing with dough? Playing with dough that lights up and makes noise, of course! This kit contains a recipe and instructions to make conductive dough as well as a cookie cutters, a variety of LED lights, wires, and a battery pack.

The purposefully minimal manual explains important electrical concepts and vocabulary such as molecules, free electrons, LEDs, polarity, circuits, and so forth. It also gives basic instructions and diagrams on how to wire the components to light LEDs, create a buzzer, button, and even a tilt switch.

The kit is an engaging, hands-on way to teach children the basics of electricity while encouraging imagination, creativity, and experimentation.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

littleBits Rule Your Room Kit

Ages: 8 – 13 yrs.
Manufacturer: littleBits Electronics, Inc.
Price: $99.95

In this clever electronics kit, children learn to build touch-activated inventions that interact with the things a child is likely to have in his or her room, like LEGOS or puppets or … The kit includes parts (bargraph, buzzer, dimmer, Makey Makey, power connector, servo, and sound trigger) accessories and an invention guide to build eight different inventions. The free app (iOS and Android) provides almost endless ideas, instructions, and challenges.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Robotics: Smart Machines

Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: Thames & Kosmos
Price: $129.95

This 230-piece kit is a captivating and challenging way to introduce children to robotics and basic programming. There are components and instructions for eight pre-designed, programmable, remote-controlled (via smart device) robots such as, a spy bot, a beetle, and a robotosaurus. Users can also design, build, and play with robots of their own creation. Also included is a detailed, fully-illustrated, 64-page instruction manual. It should also be noted that these not the sort of projects that can be completed in five or ten minutes; these models take time and patience to complete and program. All of which leads to discovery and playful learning.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Invent Terrific Toys

Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: Creativity for Kids
Price: $17.00

With the number and variety of materials in this kit, children had to think about what “toy” they wanted to make and how they wanted to make it – both before and during the assembly. The well-written, well-illustrated “Inventor’s Guide” book, is a 14 page introduction to understanding the process a real inventor follows. Ingenuity and creativity, and trial and error were all part of the fun and the learning.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Make Your Own Mini Erasers

Ages: 8 – 12 yrs.
Publisher: Scholastic
Hardcover Price: $21.99

Give some personality to plain ole’ No. 2 pencils with this creative book-and-craft kit. The clear and concise directions show kids exactly how to make more than 36 adorable, never-boring erasers-think emoji, a bowling set, a sloth, sushi, and even gnomes! Roll and shape the eraser clay, bake (with adult supervision), then erase. Bonus: the 48-page book gives trouble-shooting tips (let the oven preheat or your clay will melt!) and encourages kids to fashion their own designs.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

LEGO Pop-Up

Ages: 7 – 10 yrs.
Publisher: Scholastic
Hardcover Price: $29.99

The opening page of the book features an ingenious 3-in-1 pop-up that transforms from racecar to seaplane to Tyrannosaurus Rex. The first spread also includes the history of the brick, the origin of the name LEGO (“play well”), and an introduction to Professor von Brickhausen, who joins readers to explore the LEGO universe.

At its core, however, the simple interlocking brick-and all its possibilities in the hands of individual creators-remains the heart and soul of the LEGO identity. The modular system of LEGO bricks was designed in 1958 to unleash children’s imaginations. The story of its development reveals there are millions of ways that just six 2×4 LEGO bricks can be assembled.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

How Machines Work: Zoo Break!

Ages: 7 – 10 yrs.
Publisher: DK Publishing
Hardcover Price: $19.99

This remarkable book blends hands-on lessons covering six simple machines (levers, pulleys, screws, inclined planes, wedges and wheels) with a humorous and colorful tale about a sloth and a shrew, namely, Sloth and Sengi, who are trying to break out of a zoo using simple mechanisms and machines they build.

Clever and smart, this is a fantastic and lively romp of an introduction to basic engineering disguised as a funny kids’ storybook.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Cleared for Takeoff: The Ultimate Book of Flight

Ages: 8 – 12 yrs.
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Hardcover Price: $21.99

Anyone intrigued by flying will find this casual compendium of stories and pioneer profiles, aeronautical science, and flight history to be a fascinating go-to book. Covering everything off the ground from the earliest “birdmen” dreamers and the invention of the airplane, to rockets and the Space Shuttle missions, this densely info-packed, large-format hardback is not only educational but reader-friendly and entertaining.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

29
Nov

11 Gift Ideas for Game Lovers

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Cheese Stack

Ages: 3 & Up
Manufacturer: Getta1Games
Price: $16.99

Designed for little ones, this game is a fun way for preschoolers to develop hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, learn about balance and practice cooperation by stacking rippled cheese wedge shaped game pieces.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Flora and Friends Matching Game

Ages: 3 & Up
Manufacturer: Chronicle Books
Price: $14.99

The pages of author/illustrator Molly Idle’s delightful picture book series have been transformed into a classic memory game.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Ready, Set, Woof!™ Game

Ages: 3 – 5 yrs.
Manufacturer: Educational Insights
Price: $19.99

Designed to strengthen color and pattern recognition, “Ready, Set, Woof” is an appealing and engaging board game for preschoolers. The game includes a colorfully illustrated game board, a dog bowl shaped color randomizer, 20 bones, and simple instructions.

This “no reading required” game encourages visual discrimination, focus and concentration – all under the guidance of play.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Kaadoo 

Ages: 6 & Up
Manufacturer: Krab Media and Marketing Pvt. Ltd.
Price: $29.99

This  safari-themed board game includes: an attractive game board, one handcrafted wooden die, four cars (pawns), and one hundred beautifully illustrated playing cards, and clear instructions. In short, players “drive through” the jungle and learn about African animals and environments.

Appealing, fun, and educational.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Stratego Classic

Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: PlayMonster
Price: $27.49

Who doesn’t love a classic board game that’s updated? Perhaps made even better?

That’s the question. Adults who as kids played Stratego decades ago have a chance to experience the great strategy game yet again in a slightly retailored look and play. For today’s children who never heard of it, parents can introduce it to them.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Tapple® 10 The Flip It, Name It, Word Game!

Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: USAopoly
Price: $9.95

This rapid-fire, really fun word teasing game requires think-fast skills to play.  It comes with plastic travel case, a sand timer and 80 round, double-sided cards with a large letter on one side and color-coded categories on the other for lots of opportunity for 10 variations of play.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Double Play: Word Games With A Wacky Twist

Ages: 10 & Up
Manufacturer: INversionGAMES LLC
Price: $9.99

This mind bending card game is all about making words from a 10-card hand. Each of the 56 cards displays a letter. However, each letter card can become another simply by rotating the card 180 degrees. For example, an “a” becomes an “e,” an “o” becomes a “c,” a “t” becomes an “f” and so on. Challenging, clever, appealing, and educational.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Imhotep

Ages: 10 & Up
Manufacturer: Thames & Kosmos
Price: $39.95

This game, named after the master builder of ancient Egypt, is fascinating. Two to four players compete over six rounds to build pyramids, obelisks, a burial chamber, and a temple. In a turn, a player can perform one of four actions. It’s extremely well-made and beautifully decorated. A clever feature is the two-sided game board (A and B). Each side offers different game play, but the difficulty level remains the same.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Imagine

Ages: 10 & Up
Manufacturer: Gamewright
Price: $14.99

There are seemingly infinite board game adaptations of the game of charades — players know a secret word or phrase and need their audience to guess the secret. This game is in this classic vein and adds a worthy contribution to the genre. Imagine players have to illustrate the secret (termed an “enigma” in the instructions) using transparent image cards; a successful guess by another player leads to a point each for the illustrator and the guesser, and the player with the highest point total at the end of the game wins it.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Suspicion

Ages: 10 & Up
Manufacturer: Wonder Forge Inc.
Price: $19.99

This game has a familiar tone – it’s a little like Clue, and a little like Guess Who? – but with its own unique style. The attractive box with masked cartoon characters holding gems forecasts the fun inside. The colorfully decorated game is well-made, and includes wood guest pawns, sturdy, laminated cards, a deduction pad, and 6 pencils. Illustrated instructions are clear and thoroughly explain game play.

Careful observation and good deductive reasoning are the stars of this game.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.

 

Escape Room: The Game

Ages: 16 & Up
Manufacturer: Spin Master Toys
Price: $39.99

Out of the box, this game looks pretty complicated with lots of parts, an odd contraption and many pieces-and for good reason. It’s based on the videogame versions and the real-world physical adventure games that gained popularity around 2010, in which players are physically locked in a themed room and must collect clues and solve a series of puzzles to escape within a set time limit.

This is a great multi-player and family game for teens and adults who love solving numerical and words puzzles and deciphering codes. It’s smart and a blast.

Click here for the full Parents’ Choice Awards review and click here to purchase.