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Archive for augusti, 2008

Fall Formex!

Formex was held over the past four days in Stockholm – and it was really fun! I love walking through the halls, even the ones without toys. It is like being in an enormous store where you can’t really buy anything. Lots of ”eye candy” and none of the financial impact.
That said, we did find lots of new things for ABC Leksaker – new things for childrens’ rooms, new toys from our favorite suppliers, and fun things for the fall and for Christmas. Though it is a bit hard to think about Christmas when the weather is warm(ish) and the leaves are still on the trees, Formex makes sure you see some decorated trees, jultomtar, adventskalendrar and many other decorations! Everything should start coming in around October, so keep your eyes open!

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Rat-a-Tat Cat

Annika loves this game – probably because she can beat me every time. Somehow it takes a level of concentration that my 9-year-old has mastered, but I have not. You have to pay attention to your cards, and trade out to get the lowest score… but you don’t get to see what your cards are! You can only see what you have when you swap a card from the draw pile – but then you have to remember what it was, and where you put it.

The age recommendation is from 6 years, but you do have to be able to add and keep track of your score by yourself. Having four numbers in your head and keeping track of their sum… I would say 8 years would be better.

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Vi spelar det här spelet hemma, det kan vara lite svårt att se skillnad på de olika minerna. Men det går att förenkla spelet genom att ta lite färre kort.
Det är jätteroligt för barnen att få göra fula miner till varanndra…. (utan att få skäll).

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It’s amazing how different children can be! Christopher will happily sit there for hours with a sticker book where he is supposed to match and place one sticker in each place. The theme doesn’t matter, but each sticker must find its home. Benjamin really couldn’t be bothered. Pictures are nice, but he doesn’t care where they go.
This book from Klutz is the first sticker book that has really kept Benjamin entertained. We were on a plane flight, and I pulled it out, hoping to keep him quiet and distract him from the temptation of kicking the seat in front of him. One page kept him busy the whole 2-hour flight. He created birds – birds with hats, birds with dragon tails, birds with funky beaks, birds with rain boots, birds with leggings – and each one of them had its own story to tell. Yes, finally, a book that is open-ended enough for even Benjamin! And there’s so much more than birds that we never really had a chance to explore… we’ll save it for the next flight.

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I brought home Wig Out to give it a try, and it was a great success! The game is fast – no turns, just play as fast as you can to get rid of the cards in your hand. Christopher (age 5) had no problem keeping up with me and Annika. In fact, an even younger child could easily play – just a little help would be needed to keep score. The pictures are funny and colorful, which makes the matching even easier.

And yesterday afternoon, I discovered Benjamin and a 5-year-old neighbor playing Wig Out by themselves – a real plus!

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We are big fans of Blokus! It is a great game that meets my favorite game criteria: easy to learn but hard to master. And it is beautiful to look at. The rules are simple enough that even our resident 5-year-old can understand them. We thought that Blokus Trigon would be a new twist on an old favorite… which it was… but it was significantly more complicated. Using triangles instead of squares opens up a whole new ”dimension” of moves and makes it significantly harder to block an opponent. The game also comes with a built-in 3-person version (avoid the shaded outer row of triangles) which makes it easier to play with fewer than 4.

However, even I had a hard time getting the pieces placed correctly and found that making a mental picture of the board and where I could place my pieces was a LOT harder than in Blokus. Christopher (age 5) kept bumping other pieces when he placed his. Bottom line – a great game, and a significant challenge.

My recommendation would be to start with Blokus for younger children (5 and above) and try Blokus Trigon for older children and adults (10 and above).

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We just got these adorable storage baskets from Oskar & Ellen. They are a great size – and folded down they fit into Ikea’s popular Expedit shelves. They are cute, soft, practical, machine washable – need we say more? I have my eye on the butterfly one for Annika’s room…

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