I recently connected with Hilary, one of ThinkFun’s fantastic Facebook fans, who shared a fun new approach she and her family were taking for the Hanukkah holiday! This year, she and her husband decided to keep Hanukkah simple with a focus on family togetherness, and they gave a new ThinkFun game to their sons each night for 8 nights! Here Hilary describes the fun they had celebrating with good-for-you brain play!
This time of year is very present-heavy for our family, with Hanukkah at home, Christmas with extended family, and then the boys’ birthdays following in January and February. I like to keep Hanukkah simple with a focus on family togetherness time. I love how the many days of the holiday allows for time to actually focus on the present received before moving on to the next.
I thought that a few games would be great for the occasion. I started looking for some games for my soon-to-be 5 year old son. He’s already a huge fan of Zingo and Hoppers Jr., so I thought I’d see if there were any other games of the same quality. I came across the Hebrew version of Zingo and couldn’t resist – how appropriate. Then I saw so many other fun-looking games that I couldn’t stop there. It turned into an 8 Nights of ThinkFun holiday! The whole family managed to get in on the fun!
We played with the ThinkFun Sliding Puzzle on the way to downtown DC for the lighting of the National Menorah on the Ellipse. Grandma had some skills that Spencer was most impressed with!
Later at home, that first night, we played Ducks in a Row. You can see that Sam (our ten month old) is still working on good sportsmanship : )
Trango came next. Sorry to say it was a bit of a bust, but we still had fun making patterns out of the pieces.
Next night was Swish. What an awesome game! We adapted the rules slightly – taking turns looking for “swishes” until my older son caught on. Then it was a free for all. This game has come out every day since it was given.
Sometimes to play by the actual game and sometimes to just study the cards and see what kinds of patterns we can make. Spencer likes trying to make “letter swishes”, like – I,T, L, and O as well as shapes – squares, triangles, and diamonds. We worked together to design a full 12 card swish. I am overjoyed to see how much thinking and exploring he’s doing while playing.
We moved on to a double game night on the fourth night – my husband got River Crossing, and my son got River Crossing Jr.
After playing together for a bit to get the hang of the game, we moved on to Head-to-Head challenges. Gelt comes in handy for more than just Dreidel! With the stakes high, the boys were focused, but in the end Spencer was victorious!
His triumphant joy is pure beauty! Better luck next time, Dad!
Rush Hour took the stage the next night. A bit too challenging for the boys – but those cars sure were fun anyway. We’re waiting on a Rush Hour Jr. to arrive so that the Head-to-Head challenges can continue. Spencer is determined to successfully solve one of the challenges.
What’s Gnu? came next. Fantastic game for my emergent reader of a son. He was so proud of himself for actually making his own words.
The seventh night was a Zingo extravaganza. The Hebrew version was a huge hit. We eventually moved into combining the original, number, and Hebrew versions for a very fun, if mindboggling, game. This mama’s brain was getting tired! Thankfully, Sam brought the craziness to a close by crawling across the mayhem.
We ended our celebration quietly with Amaze. Again – huge hit. As you can see, my son had to bring it to bed with him. And as an added bonus it kept my 10 month old completely entertained on a half-hour car ride . I wish he could have told me what he was thinking! Truly fun for the whole family.
I can’t thank ThinkFun enough for providing such wonderfully fun and challenging games. They helped to make our holiday so joyous. It was so nice to spend such quality time together – learning and enjoying each other’s company. And it seems we’ve barely scratched the surface of your catalog of games. Good thing Spencer’s birthday is just a week away! : )
Hilary, Jerry, Spencer, and Sam