Category: Fun Tidbits

Introducing our 2017 Lineup!

Introducing our 2017 Lineup!

NewYearNewGAmes_2017-01

With a New Year comes new games from Blue Orange! Keep reading to get a preview of the 13 new games we added to our catalog. We have everything from logic games, to family fun games, to games with a classic-cool feel. As always, they are all simple to learn, easy to play, and pack major fun. They are set to be in stores and online in March- we are just as excited as you are! In the meantime get your logic, strategy, and thinking brains ready, you are going to need them. With so many to choose from we dare you to pick your new favorite!

 

Logic: Stretch your brain and think fast to win!

Dr-Microbe_Pkg_Left_FlatDr. Microbe

Ages 8 & Up | 2-4 Players

Dr. Microbe has important research to do and she needs help! Using a pair of tweezers, players race to grab the correct colorful microbes and place them into their petri dish to solve an incomplete challenge card. Make sure to follow the research rules and finish first to impress Dr. Microbe and win the card as a point. The unique concept and components will make this your new go-to!

 

Dr. BeakerDrBeaker_Pkg_3D_Flat

Ages 8 & Up | 2-4 Players

Stir up excitement in the third installment to the Dr. Collection! In this logic race, players move molecules around the compartments of their beaker to try and match solutions on flipped challenge cards. Players must think quickly and work fast as they rearrange the molecules with their stirring rods. The first to finish wins the card as a point! A special rotating platform at the bottom of the beaker makes this race unlike one you’ve ever tried!

 

GoGo-Gelato_Pkg_Game_Flat

GoGo Gelato

Ages 6 & Up | 2-4 Players

Become a gelato mixing master in GoGo Gelato! Players fill their customer’s orders armed with 4 scoops, 3 cones, 2 hands, and 1 challenge card in this delicious game of rearrangement. Happy customers are the ones whose orders are filled quickly and efficiently, so speed and thinking ahead are a must. This logic race has the perfect recipe for a good time!

 

 

Family Fun: Perfect for when everyone wants to join in!

FlyingKiwis_Pkg_Game_Flat

Flying Kiwis

Ages 6 & Up | 2-4 Players

The kiwis want to go on vacation, but they can’t fly! Players help the kiwi birds sneak into a fruit crate by launching them with ramps. The kiwis are picky and like to sit with their friends, so make sure to line up 4 of the same color in a row or a square to win! Launch into fun with this tic-tac-toe style family game.

 

 

Tricky TrunksTrickyTrunks_Pkg_Left_Flat

Ages 5 & Up | 2-4 Players

The elephants are out and they want to play! Race to pick up the balls with the elephant toys, following the rules of the challenge cards. Work quickly but be careful, the rolling balls can sometimes be tricky to pick-up. Tricky Trunks promotes dexterity and motor skill development, and is sure to provide elephant-sized excitement!

TumbleTree_GameOpen_Flat

Tumble Tree

Ages 6 & Up | 2-4 Players

Build your own baobab tree in this card placement game. Each animal card has its own way to be added to the ever-growing canopy, but place them carefully! If the branches are overburdened the tree will fall. Avoid penalties and be the player with the least amount of cards at the end to win, but most importantly…don’t let the tree-top topple!

 

Eye ‘N SeekEyeNSeek_Pkg_GameOpen_Flat

Ages 6 & Up | 2-6 Players

Spin to win! Flip a card and then rotate the wheel to find its matching icon in the windows. Hurry, it’s a race! Spot the match before your opponents to win the round and a point. With 6 double-sided wheels, 100 icons, 3 levels, and 6 games to play the searching fun is endless!

Quizoo_Pkg_FlatQuizoo

Ages 6 & Up | 2-8 Players

Who’s faster? Slower? Bigger? Smalller? Compare and learn about animals’ average weights, sizes, speeds, and lifespans in this quick-thinking card game. Flip a card and race to be the first to shout out the right answer! Collect the most cards to win and rule the animal kingdom!

 

Classic Feel: New games that already feel like old favorites!

Zero_Pkg_Game_FlatZero

Ages 8 & Up | 2-4 Players

Less is more in this subtle card game. Group the cards in your hand by number and color to try cancelling out their point values. Multiples of cards are scored as zero, so each number is only counted once. Trade cards while keeping a watchful eye on your opponents. Mind your strategy as you all reach for the goal of cancelling out your hand and achieving the ultimate combo: ZERO!

Clear for TakeoffClearforTakeOff_Pkg_Game_Flat

Ages 7 & Up | 2-4 Players

In this aviation-themed card game, collect enough cards in your hand to send your fleet through the different stages of takeoff, and then high into the sky! Navigate weather problems, mechanical failures and your opponents’ strategies in order to successfully launch your whole fleet. Get all your planes off the ground before your opponents’ to win. Clear for takeoff was invented by a real pilot!

DiceStack_Pkg_FlatDice Stack

Ages 7 & Up | 1-6 Players

Pile up your points in this stacking dice game. Roll the tilted dice and then carefully stack them up in numerical order. Stop at any time to win the number of points in the stack, or take a chance and try to stack all 6. Once you have stacked all 6, do you dare to try and double your points with the Golden Die? Just make sure to not let them fall or you’ll lose it all!

 

RalllyRoll_Pkg_FlatRally Roll

Ages 8 & Up | 2-6 Players

Will you risk it all? Roll all 6 dice and win the number of points that match the big colored die. Decide to bank your points, or take a risk and roll again. Keep scoring as long as you have numbered dice that match the colored die. If nothing matches, forfeit all points won that round and try again next time! Take big risks with this fast and fun dice game!

Kingdomino_Pkg_Flat

 

Kingdomino

Ages 8 & Up | 2-4 Players

Explore the lands and expand your kingdom! Each turn, connect a new domino to your existing kingdom, making sure that at least one of its sides connects to a matching terrain type already in play. Don’t forget to include dominoes with crowns on them, these royal treasures double the worth of your kingdom! Build up your 5×5 grid as best you can, as the player with the richest lands takes it all!

 

Kingdomino had a small prerelease at the end of 2016, but it will now be available in specialty toy stores and online.

Four Outstanding Educational Games for Kids

Four Outstanding Educational Games for Kids

At Blue Orange, we emphasis the importance of high quality learning through play. Oftentimes kids have so much fun playing games, they don’t even realize they are learning! All it takes is the right game to spark your child’s interest; here are but a few to pack in their backpack for this school season.

Doodle Quest

In Doodle Quest the players draw paths and shapes on a clear sheet according to the instructions of the picture in front of them. Then the players place the clear sheet over the picture to test how accurate their lines are to the image. Because it utilizes this form of spatial understanding, Doodle Quest is rated 5 out of 5 stars on Mindprint Learning. Reviewers on Mindprint Learning have acclaimed Doodle Quest a “unique drawing game that will help students develop visual-spatial skills.” Reviewers also loved how the game has an incremental level system, which makes it easier to find the right difficulty for each player.

Rally Up!

In this game, players try to call out themes for cards that belong to the same “family” or category. For this reason Rally Up! is often remarked as a clever way to practice categorization and language organization in young children. In 2015 this game was award the PAL (Play Advances Language) Award for it’s innovative methods of promoting language in young children. The awards are directed by Sherry Artemenko, a children’s speech therapist of 35 years, who recognizes games that “through their design, content, quality, and character, promote play that advances language.”

Tell Tale

Tell Tale is comprised of 60 illustrated cards to inspire players to create stories to tell to friends and family. Because of its cooperative and creative play style, teachers have found that Tell Tale is an excellent game in developing creative expression and communication skills. Fat Brain Toys reviewers have given Tell Tale 4.43 stars out of 5. Fat Brain Toys is a site dedicated to showing and supporting “quality, open-ended toys, games, and gifts that entertain AND educate.” They, like us, believe that toys should stimulate and inspire educational and developmental skills. Their reviewers feel the same. One teacher raved about how Tell Tale has been a “huge hit” in Speech and Language therapy.

Super Genius

Super Genius is hands down the best educational game for any growing and learning child. With 8 games to choose from for multiple subjects and skill levels, Super Genius was developed alongside learning professions. The game engages young learners through a unique formula in which the players spot the matching answer between two types of cards. The game is so effective in teaching children, the Global Educator Institute (GEI) has awarded it the Seal of Endorsement. The GEI sends teaching tools to teachers in classrooms for reviews. This allows real educators to give feedback on innovative, educational products in a real classroom setting. The reviewing teachers called Super Genius “an asset to any educational institution” and “really fun for kids”. Sam Blanco also uses Super Genius to teach autistic children reading and math. She says, “I particularly love the reading decks because many of my students with autism read fluently but struggle with comprehension. This game offers a simple way to practice comprehension.”

At Blue Orange, it is our goal to develop games that inspire child development through fun and engaging ways that the whole family can enjoy. Give these games a try and tell us what you think!

Why You Should Tease Your Brain

Why You Should Tease Your Brain

[box]What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three legs in the evening?

Spoiler alert: The answer is mankind.[/box]This riddle is centuries old and dates back to the Ancient Grecian legend of Oedipus Rex, who rescues the city of Thebes from the Sphynx by answering this riddle. Riddles and brain teasers such as this have always been around, varying between culture and country. In his article, Marcel Danesi mentions how the brainteasers we are familiar with have universal trends. The concept of the riddle is the same, but the subjects and the narrative change.

Still this begs the questions: why are brainteasers so attractive universally? What possible benefit could people have from teasing their mind?

Actually, teasing your brain is great for long term mental health. Danesi describes brain teasers as an opportunity to expand problem solving skills and think outside of the box. Riddles and brain teasers compel the solver to creatively work through the problem and think of novel solutions. In an article from The Washington Post, Shanker Vedantam reported a study in which researchers took four groups of participants and trained three of them in different fields of mental cognition: memory, reasoning, speed. The remaining group was left as a control and was not trained. There were ten training sessions for each group. Each session lasted 75 minutes. The study found that the groups trained in those skills performed significantly better than those in the control group when tested five years after the training. After half a decade, memory-trained participants showed better memory capabilities, speed-trained participants showed faster thinking skills, and those trained in higher reasoning tested better in solving logic puzzles. Training and teasing the human brain in this way can result in similar, if not greater, long term benefits (especially if training starts at a younger age). It’s even fun to tease your brain with puzzles, riddles, and games! Blue Orange has five games with roots in brain twisting riddles.

Color ClashColor Clash

This game is a perceptual psychologist’s dream! This game thrives off the stroop effect: a psychological phenomenon in brain flexibility. The stroop effect happens when reading colored words. Look at the row below call out the color of the font of each word:

RED     YELLOW     BLACK     PURPLE     GREEN     BLUE     ORANGE     BROWN

That wasn’t too hard, was it? Now do the same thing with this next row:

PURPLE     RED     BLACK     ORANGE     GREEN     BROWN     BLUE     YELLOW

Color Clash PiecesI bet that last one was a little trickier; that’s the stroop effect. It’s hard for our brains to separate the color of the font from what the word says. This is how Color Clash works. You have many tiles with different colored chameleons surrounded by a written color written in colored font.  Triple the confusion! The game is played in multiple variations, but the objective is to match tiles by color (be that the color of the chameleon, color of the font, or the written color). This challenge in mental flexibility will boggle your brain with tricky colors.

Pixy Cubes and Crazy Cheese Puzzle

Pixy CubesPixy Cubes and Crazy Cheese Puzzle work similar to jigsaw puzzles, another mind jumbling mystery in the gaming world.

Pixy Cubes require players to recognize patterns and piece them together with patterned dice. There are three ways to play: memory, speed, and design. In the speed version of the game, players flip challenge cards and try to replicate them as fast as they can with their four colored dice. In memory, players take ten seconds to memorize a challenge card before trying to replicate it. Finally in design, players use all the dice to piece together a design card,or they make up their own designs.

Crazy Cheese Puzzle works in similarly, only there’s no image and the player has to piece together identical looking wood cheese slices to complete the cheese. While the holes look identical, the end result is tricky to achieve without a good eye to spot where the parts match.

Crazy Cheese PuzzleMuch like jigsaw puzzles, both of these games require the player to piece different parts together. Also like jigsaw puzzles, both of these games work both hemispheres of the brain. The right hemisphere of the brain is known for creative and comprehensive thinking, while the left hemisphere is more logically driven and thinks sequentially. According to Monica Dennis in “Jigsaw Puzzles Benefit the Brain”, piecing together these big pictures can stimulate both halves of the brain: one being holistically creative and the other being sequentially logical. This is little wonder since you have to logically put together a picture or art piece. “Finding the Missing Piece” by Researchers Verdine, Golinkoff, Hirsh-Pasek, and Newcombe also seems to imply that jigsaw puzzles promote spatial understanding in younger children.

So whether you want to mingle with colors in Pixy Cubes or twist your mind around confusing cheese slices in Crazy Cheese, your brain is bound to grow.

Pin Point!

Pin Point! is a spot the difference puzzle with a twist. Instead of spotting the difference between two images, the player must compare all the images and eliminate the objects and characters that have a variation. After eliminating all the variations, the player calls out the color of the original object. Here’s an example:

Can you find the original?
Can you find the original?

On this card we are trying to find the original headphones. We do that by eliminating differences in the other headphones. For example, the red headphones are the only headphones that don’t have the music symbol, so we eliminate those. The green headphones are the only ones missing part of the headset.  Eliminate green. The yellow is missing the sound bubble, and the pink is missing the inside of the earmuffs. Get rid of those and that leaves blue as the original!

Pinpoint!Now, what part of the brain does this game develop? As a matter of fact, the find the difference games strengthen the brain on a cumulative level. According to Dr. Pascale Michelon in her article “Brain Games: Spot the Difference” these games stimulate all the lobes of the brain. First, when you analyze the image your are working occipital lobe, the part of your brain responsible for processing images. Second, understanding spatially where those images are triggers both the occipital lobe and parietal lobe, the lobe responsible for spatial understanding. Finally, your frontal and temporal lobes exercise working memory, a function of the brain which allows an individual to retain temporary information, when the player looks between the images and tries to remember where the potential differences are.

Pin Point! does this on a bigger scale with 72 challenge cards and multiple ways to exercise that big brain.

Dr. EurekaDr. Eureka

Finally, our very own Best Toys for Kids 2016 winner is quite the mental trainer as well. Game reviewers have also remarked how Robert Fraga’s award-winning Dr. Eureka plays a lot like the fabled Tower of Hanoi. When we looked deeper into this age-old conundrum, we learned that the puzzle originates from an Eastern apocalyptic legend. According to this legend, when the world was created, God made a temple that housed three pegs. On one of the pegs are 64 golden discs stacked from largest to smallest. The priests in the temple must take each disc one at a time (gold is very heavy!) and re-stack the discs on the last peg. However, the priests can’t place a larger disc on top of a smaller disc. When the priests complete this task, it’s said that the world will end. Fun fact: it’ll take 18,446,744,073,709,551,615 moves to complete this puzzle, and they have to lug around gold discs. I don’t think that apocalypse is happening any time soon.

iros2012_TowerOfHanoiProblem
A Tower of Hanoi Puzzle.

 

However, the puzzle makes for a fantastic math problem and an excellent mind bending game. Dr. Eureka functions along similar sequential rules as the fabled Tower of Hanoi. In the game you have to match the colored balls to the card in front of you, without dropping or touching a ball. Unlike the original puzzle, in Dr. Eureka you can flip your test tube over to match the card combination and it won’t take you eternity to complete. However, it’s not a simple drop-them-in and match-them-up challenge. Like what Danesi said, you can’t attack the problem head on. You have to think around the formula and pour your molecules in a different order from what you’d expect.

Dr. Eureka Contents
How fast can you find the formula?

So yes! Your brain appreciates all the love and brain teasing you give it. Whether it’s the growing brain of an 8-year old-child or the mature brain of a gaming parent, riddles and puzzles will work to stimulating and strengthening the mind in the best way possible.

[box]Now here’s a riddle for you: Why did riddle pick on brain?

He was teasing![/box]

Blue Orange brings Games to Camps all over the Bay Area

Blue Orange brings Games to Camps all over the Bay Area

This summer you sent your kids to summer camps, and I got the pleasure of joining some of them!

Every year when school is out Blue Orange visits camps around the Bay Area for “play days”. Its our way of giving a little something back to the community, and we love exposing kids to screen-less wonder that can be found in a board game.

Let’s break down how it all went:

1,000 kids +15 camps+ over 40 games donated – a few lost game pieces = A sucessful program and one happy intern!

The play days happened at camps all over the Bay Area, in cities like Danville, Mill Valley, Oakland, Berkeley and in Blue Orange’s very own San Francisco. Kids ages 4 to 13 got the chance to play our newest games, as well as some old favorites, at camps that ranged in size from 10 to 350 (!) kids.

For me this was such an amazing opportunity, as I got to see the joy that Blue Orange’s games bring first hand. To watch kids of different ages, (and their counselors!) interact with each other and have fun together gave me such a new perspective on the impact that something as simple as a board game can have.

Check out some snapshots I took during some of my camp visits below!

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Me and my trusty game box- it went to all the camps with me this summer!

 

Campers in Moraga play Fast Flip, Fastrack and Doodle Quest.

 

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Campers in Danville play Gobblet Gobblers, Battle Sheep, Niya and Fastrack.

 

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4 campers enjoy a game of Braverats!

 

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Blue Orange’s Marketing Manager came out to one of the camps to help out. Here she is playing Dr. Eureka with campers in SF’s Sunset District.

 

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The other marketing intern joined me for the SF sunset camp as well!
5 Must-Haves for the Best Summer Slumber Party

5 Must-Haves for the Best Summer Slumber Party

This weekend, Blue Orange is holding a giveaway to help with your next summer sleepover bash! We will be giving away a copy of Sold Out! with 10 sleepover goody bags to our lucky winner. But first, we need to know the absolute best ideas every parent needs to hold the best sleepover party for their young guests!

Photo by Mandy Roberson at http://www.mommasociety.com/

Photo by Mandy Roberson at http://www.mommasociety.com/

How will they sleep?
In style of course! Prep a no-hassle, no-sew, and easy set-up tent for your the slumbering party-goers!

What you’ll need:
a. 3 yards of canvas or outdoor fabric (try Hancock Fabrics or Joanne’s)
b. Tape measure
c. 1 Roll of Stitch Witchery
d. Iron
e. Drill with 3/4″ bit
f. 3- 3/4″ width 48″ length wooden dowels
g. 4- 1″x1.5″x48″ pieces of wood boarding
h. Scissors

Picture by Cathy Attix at http://ilovetocreateblog.blogspot.com

Picture by Cathy Attix at http://ilovetocreateblog.blogspot.com

Make Your Junkyard Jeans into Perfect Purses
Invite your young guests to bring their old worn-out, outgrown jeans to use for this great DIY purse craft!

What you’ll need:
a. Fabric Adhesive
b. Old jeans
c. Scissors
d. Extra embellishments: rick rack, beads, chain, etc.

Photo by Megan at http://www.sistersshoppingonashoestring.com/

Photo by Megan at www.sistersshoppingonashoestring.com

The Fashionably Sweet Treat
Having a nail polish party? Serve these delicious and clever treats while those mani and pedis are drying.

What you’ll need:
a. Cupcakes
b. Frosting
c. Toothpicks
e. Tootsie Rolls
f. Marshmallows
g. Water Spray bottle
h. Colored Sprinkles

 

Photo by Trisha on http://www.momdot.com/

Photo by Trisha on http://www.momdot.com/

Need a Nightlight?
Some kids hate going to bed in the dark, especially away from home. Here’s a chance to put those old jelly jars to good use!

What you’ll need:
a. Glass Jar
b. Glow-in-the-dark fabric paint
c. Paintbrush

 

 

 

The perfect sleepover party game!

The perfect sleepover party game!

End the Night with a get-up-and-go scavenger hunt card game!
Get that energy out with a card game that gets your guests out of their seats and running around the house in a scavenger hunt shopping adventure.

What you’ll need:
a. 2-10 Energetic Party Guests
b. A Wide Room
c. Blue Orange Game’s Sold Out!

 

 

 
Make sure to like our facebook page and tell us what summer party ideas you have for a chance to win a copy of Sold Out! and 10 goody bags! Check out our gallery for more Sold Out! fun.

8 Awesome Garden Crafts for the Summer Time

8 Awesome Garden Crafts for the Summer Time

June is just around the corner, and with it brings the three-month-long summer vacation every child can hardly wait for. However, the new task of entertaining and occupying the children’s time may be daunting for a parent since there’s no classroom to keep those mental cogs turning. Games are a great way to get the family together and away from the TV, but even game-lovers understand the healthy benefits of getting involved in the summer outdoor fun.

A simple and fun way to engage the young ones in outdoor fun is with a crafty activity for the backyard. Below are 8 awesome garden crafts that will get your little ones out of the house and enjoying the summer sun.

1. Pinwheel  by Kate Stewart

Photo by Geoffrey Ross
Photo by Geoffrey Ross

This is a family fun classic that will have children running around the backyard, trying to make their pinwheel spin.

Supplies:
Paper
Scissors
Glue stick
Tape
Needle nose pliers
Ball pins or map pins
Seed beads
Ruler
Pencils, unsharpened with an eraser on the end (or a cookie or cake pop stick)

 

By Meaningfulmama
By Meaningfulmama

2. Sand Castles that will Last  by Jodidur

Children can play in the sand and create beautiful sculptures to decorate the flower beds.

Supplies:
1 cup sand
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tsp alum (sold in the spice section of the grocery store)
3/4 cup water
Shells and rocks (optional)

3. Turtle Herb Planters  by Lorie

Photo by Reading Conetti

Kids can grow their own plants in a cute planter of their own creation.

Supplies:
Soil
Basil seeds
Acrylic paint
Hot glue
Googly eyes
Pom poms
Plastic herb container (or any small plastic bowl)

 

 

 

Spouge House4. Grassy Sponge Houses  by Sharon

This project is a perfect way to show children the science behind growing plants.

Supplies:
4 new standard kitchen sponges (approximately 4 1/2 by 3 inches) in orange, green, blue, and pink
Ruler
Permanent marker
Scissors with a pointed tip
Large plastic food-storage container (a clean rotisserie chicken container works well too)
Spray bottle
1/2 cup of grass seed, preferably one labeled “fast-growing”
-Sewing pins (optional)

5.CD Wind Spinners  by Jackie

CD Wind SpinnersLooking for something to spice up the porch? How about this cute, dazzling craft?

Supplies:
Old CDs or DVDs
School glue
Craft gems, jewels and sequins, buttons etc.
Fishing line

 

6. Painting Rainbow Pots  by Jacquie Fisher

This craft’s a great way to bring more color to your flower pots.

Supplies
Clean terracotta pot
Variety of acrylic paints (at least 4 colors)
Wax paper
Newspaper
Smock

 

 

7. Flower Panels  by Krokotak

Photo by Krokotak
Photo by Krokotak

Children will love hunting and searching for the best flowers to use for this neat idea.

Supplies
Plastic wrap
Cardboard box
Box cutter or scissors
Tape
Flowers

 

 

Popped Bubble Art

8. Bubble Art  by HappyMomma

Make a masterpiece out of bubbles with this art lesson!

Supplies
Bubble mix
Bubble wands
Food coloring
Paper

Enjoy these awesome crafts and spend some time in the summer sun with your little ones!

Congratulations to The Apple Tree on their Amazing Holiday Display!

Congratulations to The Apple Tree on their Amazing Holiday Display!

This holiday season, our lucky store of the month is the winner of our holiday display window facebook contest—The Apple Tree! Blue Orange held a wonderful facebook contest where people could vote on their favorite window display from some of our incredible retailers. We had a host of fantastic and festive entries, but the people’s choice was this adorable snowman display from The Apple Tree in Tulsa, OK.

Apple Tree Display

The Apple Tree was opened in June of 1980 by two local teachers who owned and operated it for 26 years. Sandy, the current owner, worked for them for 15 years before her family purchased the store when the teachers retired. Sandy has worked at The Apple Tree for 25 years and currently manages it with her sister Erika. She really loves her job!

The inspiration for their amazing display was, funnily enough, from facebook! Her creative employee Rhonda assembled the snowmen. It took a lot of hard work but it definitely paid off! They made their own accessories like the hats, scarves, and earmuffs. Then they added the most important component—the games! Sandy says it really helped draw people into the store!

Every winter, The Apple Tree runs an amazing program called “Care and Share”. Between the Monday before Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, they donate 10% of all sales back to local schools in the area. Customers even get to pick which school they want to donate to! In the New Year, the schools get gift certificates that allow them to purchase games and toys at The Apple Tree. What a wonderful way to give back!

Sandy and the rest of the staff at The Apple Tree really love games! Sandy says her favorite part of the holidays is helping customers find the perfect gift for their loved ones! Thank you to The Apple Tree for their creative display! If you live near The Apple Tree, look out for their Blue Orange Store Party!