• Building Toys!

    MAGNATILES

    We like them because they are so…QUICK! We erected a grocery store within 5-10 minutes, and then got to work on the clay food. Not for children who like to gnaw, because the small magnets inside tend to fall out from time to time.

    The pieces are a substantial size, so it’s easy to build something large where all kinds of toys can interact.  I find them user-friendly for many kids, whether or not building is a preferred activity.

    The Magnatile wagons add extra play-value, but matchbox cars also work fine!

  • Race to the Treasure–and FAST

    Let the Search Party Begin!

    You and your fellow players have a mission if you dare—together, design a path from the stack of tiles that leads to the keys and then to the treasure before the Ogre does!

    Appropriate for 5 years old and up, Race to the Treasure combines basic graphing skills, visual planning, and cooperative play into a fast-paced journey. An engaging game created by Gina Manola for Peaceable Kingdom, it’s easy to learn, while working together and agreeing on a strategy really counts towards winning!

    At the start of the game you roll the color and number dice to lay out 4 keys. Gather 3 out of 4 keys on your path to get the gold. Will you go north, south east or west? Increase the difficulty level by using a timer for each turn (not included), or by placing one or two ogres on the red Ogre Path at the beginning of the game. If you draw 8 Ogre tiles before your team gets to the treasure…he wins the race, and all of you get to try again.

    It’s a great game for young players as it nurtures cooperation and communication. Each game is a little different, so it’s entertaining for the adults who play along!

  • Mole-Rats in Space

    Watch Out For That Snake, Little Mole-Rat!

    Although we love winning and gloating about it in Uno and Monopoly, cooperative games are big around here–especially this one by Matt Leacock for Peaceable Kingdom.

    You and your mole-rat friends need to band together and help each other get to the space pod in the center of the game board where everyone will blast off to escape many hungry snakes! As you and your associates scurry around the tunnel network, there are a few necessary supplies to pick up for your intergalactic trip: a toothbrush, a turnip, a map and duct tape. Once you’ve all gathered these and make it to the mother ship, everyone wins the game and can safely take off.

    This can be a fast-paced game, and there’s suspense to the very end as the snakes have a way of multiplying indefinitely. A mole-rat can survive one bite from a snake because they can use the first-aid kit in their backpack. But if you’re bitten twice, you’re a goner and its game-over! Once one rat is out of the game, the adventure end–but have no fear, you can start the game again! The game play is about 20–25 minutes.

    Social Skills

    In order for the individual to win, all need to win. Similarly, if one player loses, all lose (womp-womp)! In a very direct way, this game promotes teamwork. If there’s enough buy-in and excitement, competitive players can have a chance to show off their supportive side.

    Upping the Ante (Spoiler Alert)

    Once you get the hang of the game, you can add to the challenge by opening up the special envelope containing 3 extra mole-rat cards. Each one places more snakes in the mix. Slowly introduce them one at a time, or throw in all 3 in for a triple dare!