At the weekend, we took the Mini Robots to Toys R Us to spend their pocket money. This usually results in them choosing another set of Lego which will be built once and stay together for five minutes.
I tried to steer them towards something different. Big Robot was keen on buying a game, one he’s seen at school but never had a chance to play as 29 other children get there first. So we came home with Shark Mania, the shark chomping race game by Spin Master.
In Shark Mania you grab the gold before the shark strikes. Roll the dice and make your choice, grab some gold or run from the shark? Grab as much gold as you can but watch out! There’s a shark chasing you. If you’re too slow it will knock you into the water!
My kids love games, favourites include BBQ Party, Mousetrap and Gator Goal but we’ve started to venture into the world of more grown up board games too. Big Robot loves to have a go at Scrabble and Monopoly however the later is a bit tricky and the games take AGES.
So we thought we’d try Monopoly Junior, I’d read that the rules were easier and games were shorter. Seemed like it’d be a winner all round.
Monopoly Junior looks rather like regular Monopoly but simpler, the board has locations such as a pet shop to buy instead of London place names. Gone are the tiny plastic houses and hotels, instead you put a little card counter on each of the places you own. So it’s a lot less fiddly and makes the game shorter.
Playing computer games is often seen as a negative. Kids should be outside, getting muddy, exploring the world. Not stuck on computers all day. I don’t disagree, kids need fresh air and exercise, but they also need to learn reading, writing and numeracy. For this, educational games can be very useful, not only in explaining tricky concepts, but also in keeping their interest.
Buying games can be expensive and, even with reviews, it can be hard to tell if they’re as good and as suitable as they say. The same applies to apps, whilst cheaper, it’s hard to tell if your child will like the game, understand it or whether it’s a waste of money. Thankfully, there are websites which offer free educational games.