Posts Tagged ‘toy’

Put the Toy Down Dad

By Daddy Troy Monday, October 5th, 2009

icoasterAfter six months of a well executed PR campaign (PR=Parental Realignment), my son finally convinced us that an iCoaster would be the ideal birthday gift.  We tried to explain to him that the expense might delay college for a few years, but as a seven year old he was having none of it. And while it may be post purchase rationalization, as a result of buying the iCoaster I am realigning how I evaluate toys. While I already have criteria such as fun factor, intellectual engagement, and creativity value, I have added a new one. Its a simple equation: Cost of toy divided by hours spent with toy. What is best about this quotient is that it is mathematical and speaks to the same part of the brain that . . .

Toy Review: Hyper Blast from Wild Planet, (plus Lisa Loeb and Lilgrams)

By Daddy Clay Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Hyper Blast the new game from Wild Planet sets the bar high with a name that implies frenetic fun.  In my experience this active and educational game delivers.

Our completely un-scientific process here at the lab: hand the stuff over to the kids and watch them play.  My focus group was my daughter Ri-ri (7), her friend (7) and my youngest, Coop (5).

They were excited about the game from the outset.  It only took about 5 minutes of setup and instructions to get the game going.  The unit talks to the players, so they might have figured it out even more quickly had I participated less (isn’t that always the way).

The basics of play: stomping on the unit shoots five colored and numbered balls in all directions (usually less than 10 feet on carpet).  The players then rush to return the balls to their specific spots on the launcher.  There are a variety of games that ask the players to return the balls in different orders, under time pressure, or even in answer to simple math questions.

The game is active and engaging.  My test group played the game for over a half an hour, left it for another activity and a meal, and resumed play as soon as we returned home.  Over an hour of total playtime on the first exposure to the game.

A couple of suggestions: my kids quickly picked up that the shorter the launch, the faster the time, so they competed as to who could tap the launcher the lightest and still release the balls.  This makes for a less interesting game — for more fun, have competitors launch a player’s balls for him or her.  This means they cover more territory, though it can lead to intensified competition.