Thursday, December 28, 2006

My Family Tries It: Cariboo

Last night, my family pulled out all the games Little Bit got for Christmas and gave them a spin. It was our first game night and last about an hour - maybe a little less - before the adults gave out.

The thing about playing games with Little Ones is you're always a little bored. If they're frustrated, it's no fun for anyone because you sure aren't in it for the challenge. What's fun for adults is to see them get excited about the game - so you want a game that's really exciting.

Enter Cariboo, a game by Cranium.

From it's very design, Cariboo appeals to children. It's brigth and colorful, of course, but what really sells it is there are little doors that you use a key to open. They pop open and either reveal a blank space or a neon ball - sort of like those rubber balls you can buy for a quarter. Then, you put the ball in a little hole and when you have all the balls, it forces open a treasure chest with a big, gleaming, purple jewel in it.

Heck, even the adults get excited about finding one of the balls - who doesn't love a neon surprise now and then.

But for my daughter, this is nothing short of Pure Gold. Keys? Balls? Gems? Treasure! Are you kidding me? The only thing missing is a princess crown and candy.

And the game does all of this without batteries or noise, which is nice for adults who want a quiet evening after a long day.

Cariboo comes with two set of cards, beginner and advanced. The beginner has shapes, colors and numbers. The advanced offers letters, which you must find somewhere in the word on the little doors to open it. It also has numbers, but you must count objects and find a door with the matching number of objects on it.

My Little One had already outgrown the beginner set, but the advanced is a bit of a challenge - just enough to keep her interested. Plus, she's learning that letters work together to create words and to read a word, you have to look at each letter. Surprisingly, this is hard. Children are trained by alphabet books to only look at the FIRST letter of a word. This game forces them to move into the word.

It'll be interesting to see what her nearly-five friend thinks of the game. But for the three to four set and parents, it's a winner.

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