I spent an hour perusing the games at Whitcoulls yesterday and came away with the one that I thought offered the most for an almost 4yr old AND an almost 6yr old. Turns out it's incredibly complicated and doesn't appear to offer much more than a little stratergy. (Robots)
I'd love some recommendations for games that will be good for the children now, but also in a couple of years. Any ideas??
What about jnr scrabble?? Angie (just 4) loves it and has just started playing the other side where you make up your own words. On the first side the words are all written down and you just need to put letters on top.
She also likes to play monolopy jr and regular monolopy (though this tends to go on a bit long for her).
She is the backgammon queen of the household. Easy game to teach and stays fun.
Game of life is fun, though doesn't really offer any educational skills apart from maths (with the adding of money)
Have you thought about cards?? Angie plays last card happily.
We've found junior monopoly to be great. Orchard toys and gamewright are a couple of companies that make quite neat games. I think the hoagies website also discusses games somewhere in the site, with quite a few interesting links. I have to say I've found browsing the usual bookshops to be a bit of a souless experience when I've been looking for something a bit different! Good luck.
My two (5 and 8) have discovered draughts and love playing it. (I personally don't like this game at all....I can never win it :-) they are beating me all the time). I will try them both with chess soon (when I have more time).
Have you tried "kids at work" in Howick. They have amazing new games and are very knowledgable. The one game that comes to mind is called "Settlers of Catlan" or something like that.
Thanks everyone. I hadn't thought of 'kids at work' that is a very cool shop and I might have to go there next week!
I did end up buying a game this week - it is a 'I Spy' game that really gets the children thinking outside the square and expands as they get older!
My kids love playing Blokus. I also take it to ODS for my students, and they love it too. Purchased at "Kids at Work" in Howick - fantastic range of games available there.
Other games my ODS kids enjoy are Carcassone, Ziggity, Top Trumps (card game), Cathedral, and that new Da Vinci Challenge game (more suitable for older kids). Games they never touch are SET (much to my surprise) and Scrabble.
Have you seen the new Kiwi Quiz just being released - an educational quiz game (not trivia) designed for NZ - has 1600 quality questions about NZ at 4 different levels. Look at www.edugames.co.nz for more info.
Blokus is one of our families favourites. Rush hour is great too. My 4 year old can do the simple ones and my 9 year ols has nearly finished the 4th level (I managed to the begining of level 3) Normal scrabble hsn't done much for my kids so we play crossword scrabble. Every person takes 7 letters out of the bag. Each of you need to make a crossword out of the 7 letters you have. The first one finished shouts 2 and every one (whether your finished or not must take 2 more letter tiles. Then you have to make a completed crossword with the 9 letters you have. You keep playing untill all the letters are gone. The first one with a fully completed crossword wins. It is a good varition as younger children can play quite succeccfully with 2-4 letter words and older one more comlicated words. Our family also loves polyconomy (a little like monopoly but the government is involved) and phase 10 (another card game)
The children I work with really enjoy 3 dimensional Connect 4. It is hard to get but a little shop in South City Mall in Christchurch has a wooden version of Noughts and Crosses which is a good challenge as well. Our boys came back from Auckland with the board game Risk and this is very popular. (Year 6)
I like the sound of Crossword Scrabble.
It is called Starting Chess , by Harriet Castor..it is an USBORNE book
they have a website www.usborne.com
Dymocks sell it for $14.99
They great thing about this book, is it gets you to teach the kids by starting the first game with just pawns, kings and queens and when they have that sorted u slowly add the other characters in.
has great pictures of each piece e.g. queen, bishop and talks about what they can do in moves, and has internet links to be able to play chess online
i thoroughly recommend it, and it is great for parents that dont know how to play chess :-)
talking of chess , does anyone know of a kids chess club other than the one on Friday nights in Remuera please ?
I live 30 minutes south and my kids love to challenge others. I would also suggest that a child is a good teacher of chess to another child rather than a book . Give me a reply if you live south-ish in Auckland.
We just got a great game for christmas called iqube. It has 5 different games. They are all quick games (around 8-15 min) but it is quite challenging. It is very good for spacial percetion as it is 3D. We got it from the local education shop for $40.00. It was well worht the money
Robyn, could you please post contact details of the chess club in Remuera please as my ds 8 has just got hooked on chess. If anyone knows of chess playing kids more in the Sandringham area please speak up ! ;-) Thanks
Hi to all those who have children interested in chess. Look at
http://www.hpchessclub.org.nz/contactus.html for a list of chess clubs in Auckland. The larger clubs like Howick-Pakuranga have numerous children playing, see http://www.hpchessclub.org.nz/photos.html for a photo of them in action.
We attended conference and there were some amazing games on display and for sale there. We had a go with one or two and they are fabulous strategy games that are suitable for all levels, plus a couple of mapping board games including the Moa Hunt.
Unfortunatley one of the companies is only selling to schools at this stage but apparently its a "watch this space" scenario as they are working on striking up a deal to be able to sell the games indivually rather than as a pack for schools. The company aimed at schools is Mindlab.co.nz. If thats not quite the right address Google Mindlab.
The other which has awesome New Zealand developed strategy games availble for anyone to purchase is www.iqideas.com. Once again we got to see how they worked and I would highly recommend them. We have a couple of them on our wish list for future birthdays and chirsmas's for our almost 4yr old. This is also the company which produces the Moa Hunt.
We too were on the hunt and extremely disillusioned. But now we have our little man's 4th brthday present all ready and we are quite sure he will be stuck into it given the chance. :)
Oh yeah, and the other thing we looked at was battleships.
My girls enjoyed Risk from quite an early age, I cant remember how young though.
One thing I really enjoyed about Risk as an adult was it provides a great deal of information about the people playing it - things they wouldnt necessarily tell you directly (or even may not be aware of themselves)
The company at the conference that had their strategy games on show was Mind Lab NZ and their website is www.mindlabnz.co.nz (if you don't put the NZ on the end you'll get some kind of health supplement company!)
And yes, watch this space as there is a supplier company they are working with who will be looking to sell a range of these strategy games online at really good prices.
Recently bought The aMAZEing Labyrinth by Ravensburger .Its great quick and easy to learn and can be simplified for young children but still enjoyable for adults . Also Stone wall is a great thinking game .
We got my elder daughter 'guess who' for her 4th birthday. It recommends 6+ - but is too easy for her - so would suit a gifted 3 year old. Funny thing is - I actually bought it about 6 months ago - and we held off giving it to her! Still it is a good one to play with her friends. We'll just stick to chess I reckon...LOL
I have just discovered a wonderful board game for 7yrs+ called Riches 'n Rascals (inveted by a kiwi) - a fun ancient history board game - full of the great historic events + lots of treasure & pirating along the way. You can't buy it in stores - only off the web:
From my experience the best games designed to teach problem solving and thinking skills are puzzles designed by the US company Think Fun. Most games are levelled allowing the learner to progress through increasingly different challenges. The other company I'd recommend is Smart Games. These are similar to Think Fun's but designed for the younger child and many are wooden. To view many of these games you can visit my recreational mathematics site at
I'd like to recommend Riches n Rascals also. The creator Florence Hassal used to work in the education department at the Auckland Museum before restructuring.
I just found this thread and will look into all the great ideas. I also just found an amusing review site: http://drakesflames.blogspot.com. It doesn't have every game, of course, and is crassly opinionated (his words not mine) but it still might help in your decision-making.
You may want to check out Chameleon Island's games. starMaximiser would suit kids age 6-10 and it is easy to learn so I think your 4 year old will pick it up. Kids seem to love it. It relates to the star energy labels for new appliances (games are all about Climate Change Mitigation). Also, in a few years the game lowCarbs would be great as it involves money and strategy, and a friend's 7 & 9 year old played the game and they loved it. The game teaches kids about Carbon Tax.
Anyone know of any decent detetive stories that would suit a gifted 9 year old. Obviously reading at a teenage level but content not always appropriate for his age level. He wants to read my true crime books (definitely not appropriate) - so was wondering if anyone knows of any good detective/crime/forensic books suitable for kids.
Not quite strictly detective but my nine year old and his 12 year old sister are both reading James Patterson trilogy Maximum ride and loving them. Number one in the series is currently on the whitcoullss kids picks top 50
Its an very modern action thriller with biotechnology theme. James Patterson originally a detective/thriller writer for adults. He based Maximum ride on a character frrom an adult best seller he wrote called When the wind blows.
I decided to read it while the kids are reading Maximum ride,, so in our house we have all been enthralled with the same writer, similar characters, similar theme, but age appropriate novels.
Have you tried the Einstein Anderson detective stories? Also, Encyclopedia Brown books. They may be below your son's level, but they both involve a boy solving mysteries. The Einstein Anderson stories are scienced-based, while the Encyclopedia Brown stories are logic-based. They both allow the child to try to figure out the solution for themselves before reading on the find the answer. My 7 year old gifted son enjoys both series.