It’s rainy days like these when I gain a whole new appreciation for board games. The temptation to let my kids sit and watch television or play computer games is great on rain soaked days. Yet, I fight the temptation (most days) and pull out the craft box and board games. It is difficult to find a board game that satisfies all ages and doesn’t either bore me to tears or require so much set up and clean up it makes me too crazy to enjoy! When your kids are elementary and preschool ages, they clearly do not like the same things. Throw in two boys and a girl and it gets even harder to satisfy the entire crew.
Enter Mastermind’s Animal Towers game. I met the lovely Mastermind folks at BlogHer ’10 in New York City this summer and I told them I’d gladly have my kids try their product. After all, I knew my trio would immediately let me know if they loved it or hated it. I was right, they dove right in-all three and we had a great rainy afternoon.
This game would have been a little difficult for any of them on their own as it’s a game that requires some higher order analysis. We played in teams, with me leading the first round as a demonstration and it was perfect. My favorite part might have been watching the oldest and middle kid working together on strategy. These days, they fight more than talk so to watch them work together (even if it was to “take mom down”) took the chill out of an otherwise damp day and warmed this mama’s heart.
|Plotting the demise of team little brother & mom|
Basically, you order your tiles in your tower and the other team has to ask directionally yes or no questions (ie:is your elephant above your monkey) to help narrow down the placement of each tile. The winner guesses the opponents’ order first. You can make it easy with three tiles or really hard with five or six.
As a parent I loved it because it kept my kids engaged for far longer than any other activity we had for rainy days. As an educator, I would have used this in my classroom often. The reasoning and higher-order skills it helps develop are fantastic, especially when they are hidden in a fun game.
|We did win a few rounds!|
The only thing my kids would have liked more was if I had gotten the SpongeBob version. SB is of course the only thing that all three of them can usually agree on. The problem is, mom hates SpongeBob so he’s been banned from our house. Thanks Mastermind for keeping it simple with monkeys and alligators that kept the entire family happy!
I was given this game by Pressman Toy for free to review and I get to keep the game at the end of my review period.
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.