Category: Kids & Parenting

10 Games Perfect for Any Spring Basket

10 Games Perfect for Any Spring Basket

easter-post

While chocolate, candy, and anything bunny or chick related is usual basket fare, we have a few suggestions for some different ways to fill them up this year. Give your child something other than sugar, and pick up a game or two to add the gift of play to their basket. The best part about swapping out some of that candy for games?  They are sure to be appreciated long after the chocolate bunnies and gummy eggs have been wolfed down. Plus, they give your kids something to channel all that sugary energy into! Check out some of our recommendations for colorful, fun games that would be great additions to any basket this spring; all of these are available in stores and online now.

ringit_tin_new_flat-resizedRing It! Ages 5 and Up, 2-9 Players

Clap and ring your way to victory! Players continuously flip their cards until a combo is found. Be the first to find the combo, clap your hands and ring the bell. Hesitation may cost you 1st place, but if you act too quickly you may make a mistake and face a penalty! Get ready for chaotic clapping followed by lots of laughter!

FastTrackMini_Pkg_GameFastrack Mini Ages 5 and Up, 2 Players

This mini-version takes all of the fun of the original rapid-action shooting game, and packs it into a smaller design. The same high-quality materials and exciting game play are now perfect for on-the-go entertainment! Each side starts with 4 wooden disks and then players race to get all 8 disks on their opponent’s side by shooting them through the slot opening. Skill and luck mix in this action-packed game!

TellTale_TinOnly_LowResTell Tale Ages 5 and Up, 1-8 Players

Discover the art of storytelling with Tell Tale. Be guided through your own unique tale with cards illustrated with a variety of characters, settings, objects and emotions. If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine the possibilities with 120 inspiring images! Create your own storyboard or improvise a tale together; there are four ways to play! In this creative storytelling game, everybody is a winner.

RallyUp_Tin_Flat_HiResRally Up! Ages 6 and Up, 2-6 Players

What happens when 110 exotically illustrated cards are shuffled, distributed, and then rhythmically turned face-up on the table? Players will find themselves in a hullabaloo and will race to rally up 2 or more images belonging to the same family! Scan swiftly through the craziness to get these thingies back to where they belong!

EyeNSeek_Pkg_GameOpen_FlatEye ‘N Seek Ages 6 and Up, 2-6 Players

Flip a card and then spin the wheel to find its matching icon in the windows. Make sure to pay attention and search quickly- it’s a race! Spot the match before your opponents to win the round and a point. 6 double-sided wheels, 100 icon cards, 3 levels, and 6 rules to play create challenging searching fun for all ages.

 

GoGo-Gelato_Pkg_Game_FlatGo Go Gelato Ages 6 and Up, 2-4 Players

Using 4 cones, 3 scoops, 2 hands, and 1 challenge card fill your customers’ orders as quickly as you can! Pass the scoops back and forth between the cones, being careful to not touch or drop them. Work quickly to figure out the best way to satisfy your customer before your opponents do. Fill the order exactly like it looks on the card, or you’ll lose the race. A tasty and engaging dexterity race that’s fun for everyone!

Djubi_Slingball_PkgDjubi Slingball Ages 6 and Up, 2 Players

It’s the ultimate game of catch that allows you to send the ball sailing over 100 feet! It relies on a unique launching system that creates maximum distance and maximum fun! The balls come with a rubber loop attached, allowing players to launch them from a hook on the racket frame. This version takes all the launching fun of the Djubi Classic and packs it into a lighter design that’s perfect for all ages.

DiceStack_Pkg_FlatDice Stack Ages 7 and Up, 1-6 Players

Roll the tilted dice and stack them up in numerical order. Stop at any time while you are building your stack and win the sum of the values you stacked. Carefully place the dice and don’t let them fall, or you’ll lose it all! The drawstring bag and compact game pieces make this a great travel game. Play anywhere there’s a flat surface!

Fast Flip

Fast Flip Ages 7 and Up, 2-8 Players

Get ready to scramble for the match in this crazy fruit salad! Match your fruits to a number, or numbers to a fruit; you don’t know what match you’ll have to find next! Whether you play with the tokens or with the cards alone, all players of any age will be fast flipping for this brain teasing match up. The game comes complete in a tin for your cards and tokens, making it an easy travel item. The magic distribution of fruits on the cards guaranties that there is always one correct answer. You just need to be the fastest to find it!

 

RalllyRoll_Pkg_FlatRally Roll Ages 8 and Up, 2-6 Players

Roll the dice to rack up your points! On your turn, roll all the dice, scoring points based on the color of the big die. Then, decide to bank points won in that round, or take a chance and roll again! If no dice match the big colored die, forfeit all points won in that round. Take big risks with this fast and fun, take-anywhere dice game!

Top 10 Games to Give the World’s Greatest Dad

Top 10 Games to Give the World’s Greatest Dad

fday

This Father’s Day, give the gift of play to the most playful one in the entire family, with a little help from Blue Orange Games! The perfect gift is one that brings people together, and what greater way to spend some quality time with Dad than with a little friendly competition? Challenge him to one of our games, and we are sure you’ll have a memorable Father’s day. Last minute doesn’t have to mean lame- Check out our top 10 suggestions for a present that won’t disappoint!

 

For the Sport-Loving Dad

FlyingKiwis_Pkg_Game_FlatFlying Kiwis

Want revenge on Dad beating you at all those tic-tac-toe matches? Challenge him to a game of Flying Kiwis! Players try to line up their Kiwis in the fruit crate by aiming carefully and launching their tokens with a ramp. This game ensures you’re spending Father’s Day doing a fruitful and fun bonding activity! Learn more about Flying Kiwis here!

Fastrack_GameOpenFastrack

Bring Dad the excitement and fast-action of his favorite sports in an addicting high-speed game! In Fastrack, each player starts with 5 discs. The goal is to try to rid your side of all of discs by using your finger, and an elastic band to fire the discs through the slot to your opponent’s side. It’s a sure fire way to fill your Father’s Day with fun! Learn more about Fastrack here!

KaboomKaboom_3D_Pkg_Flat_HiRes

The fast-flying game of construction and destruction! Players each take turns being the master-builder, trying to build as many towers as possible, or the saboteurs, who launch projectiles with the aim of knocking down the towers. Launch into a great Father’s day with Kaboom! Learn more about Kaboom here!

For the Fun loving, Risk-Taking Dad

 TumbleTree_GameOpen_FlatTumble Tree

Have some good quality fun with dad and this dynamic card-placement game. Build your own Boabab tree using the game tin as the trunk, and toss, fling, place, and throw the cards as you try to get rid of your hand. Be careful to avoid penalties and be the player with the least amount of cards at the end to win! Learn more about Tumble Tree here!

RalllyRoll_Pkg_FlatRally Roll

A big-risk game for your biggest supporter! On your turn roll the dice and score points for those that match the color of the large die. You can keep rolling and scoring as long as they keep matching, but if no matches come up you forfeit all points won in that round! Challenge the whole family to this fun and easy risk-taking game! Learn more about Rally Roll here!

For the Strategy-Loving, Bookish Dad

Kingdomino_Pkg_Flat

Kingdomino

Show dad who is the real King of the castle in this light-weight strategy game. Each turn connect a domino to an existing terrain type already in play, making sure to watch out for point-boosting crowns! At the end of the game, count the points in everyone’s 5 X 5 Kingdom, and crown the person with the most points the victor! Learn more about Kingdomino here!

Battlesheep_Pkg_Left_Flat_LoResBattle Sheep

Go head to fluffy head with Dad in this quick moving strategy game! Players try to occupy the most pasture while strategically moving their sheep around the board to block their opponents. A build-your-own game board means each game is as unique as your old man! Learn more about Battle Sheep here!

microbeDr. Microbe

Challenge dad to a brainy logic race! Using logic, race your fellow scientists to figure out which microbes are missing from the incomplete challenge card, and snatch them up fast with your tweezers. Remember, the super bug needs to always be a different shape and color than the other microbes in your petri dish. Who will be the first to help Dr. Microbe complete her research, Dad or you? Learn more about Dr. Microbe here!

For the Dad Who Already Loves Board Games

Viking_Pkg_flatVikings on Board

Have the whole family join in on this big box family strategy game! Each player’s objective is to have their clan of Vikings set sail on the ships best equipped for a Voyage. Watch out as the rival clans will be trying to rearrange the composition of the ships, and their value, throughout the entire game. Take control of the Fjord, and the family, with Vikings on Board! Learn more about Vikings on Board here.

TheBoss_Pkg_FlatThe Boss

Bluff and deduce your way to a good Father’s day with a little help from lady luck. In this game, players send their crews of gangsters out to assist local bosses, being careful to size up each job to make sure it is strategically advantageous. Show dad who the true boss of the family is and beat him at a game or two! Learn more about The Boss here.

 

To see the full lineup visit: www.blueorangegames.com
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!

Identity Through Play

Identity Through Play

[box]Blue Orange co-founder, Thierry Denoual, asked Sophie About, Clinical Psychologist, to offer some wisdom about how play impacts child development. About has spent ten years working with orphanages in Cambodia and has accumulated a significant amount of insight regarding healthy child development over that time period. She was generous to share that insight with Blue Orange in the article she sent us.[/box]

Sophie About“Children’s purpose is to play” -Henri Wallon

When Playing is Finding Identity

Playing is primarily a means for a child to relax and feel good. It allows small children to develop their imagination, their ability to concentrate, and the body language which comes before speech (facial expressions, gestures, body language and sensorial activities). Play is an important way in which a child builds their own identity. An infant can only play with an adult they have a trusted relationship with that goes beyond the basic care.

Indeed, in order to play well, children need to be surrounded by the close and physical presence of caring parents. It is also while playing that children construct their identity through role playing which enables more and more complex interactions with their community. Playing allows a child to measure up his/her abilities and feel confident.

Child Playing ZimbbosFrom 0 to 2 years old: children undergo a sensory-motor phase. During his first months of life, a child becomes aware of their body (especially hands and feet), as well as their close surroundings (movements, sounds, contacts with an object, encounter with adults). As the children grow, they progress from being horizontal to vertical through experimenting with a variety of movements and intermediate postures. A child will repeat something that happened accidentally if he enjoyed it. She learns to watch and feel her surroundings (objects, environment). She explores her skills and abilities. What used to be mere reflexes becomes deliberate actions, and thus starts a phase Jean Piaget named Object Permanence, which is when the child understands that an object still exists outside his field of vision (the “pickaboo” or “hide and seek”). This allows him to better handle separation since the child knows that his relatives exist, even if he cannot see them.

Around two years old: The symbolism phase, during which the child sorts out, orders and uses logic to solve specific problems. This is the time of cognitive development, intelligence and creativity.

Child Playing with ParentPlaying is a constructive activity:

  • Initiative and creativity=self-confidence
  • He improves his thinking while discovering
  • He starts interacting with other children and discovers social rules = sociability
  • The “power to act” and “power to experiment” brings satisfaction to the child, which helps him realize the extent of his competences “I did it by myself!”
  • Playing is an effective way to make the child feel safe when he lives in a stable environment and if the adult is concerned with his interests and emotions
  • Playing shows the way to ”identity” and self-discovery

 

 

Playing enables the child to explore multiple areas, such as:

  • expressing desires
  • expressing emotions
  • expressing thoughts
  • expressing wonders
  • Controlling anxiety
  • developing abilities
  • establishing social links
  • assimilating different sides of personality

By Sophie About: Clinical Psychologist. Coordinator for the Organization Parents First, working for and with parents with regards to parenting.

Should You Let Your Child Win?

Should You Let Your Child Win?

As the holiday season draws near, families often gravitate towards gameplay, favoring warm living rooms and the company of loved ones to the bitter chill of the winter months. Not wanting to be left out, little ones are often eager to join into the competitive melee. Yet, one questions always looms: should you let them win?

It seems unduly harsh to beat a small child at a game, yet the consensus is clear; experts say that you should not throw a game and let a child win if they are over four. When children hit four or five, they begin to hone a competitive edge and rely on adults and peers more heavily as role models for social behavior. When you beat a child at a game, you are not only teaching them how to lose, but also showing them how to win gracefully. We all know a child who celebrates over zealously at a win and rubs it in others faces. When that child begins to play with peers more often, this behavior quickly becomes unacceptable and often ostracizes the child from the group. When you beat a child at a game and end it with a sportsmanlike handshake, children then learn that this is the proper way to conduct themselves in the face of victory—with tact, poise, and respect for their opponents.

Children also need to learn how to lose gracefully. As a former summer camp counselor, I saw countless children who I would classify as “sore losers”. When they lost at a game of kickball or dodgeball, their first response was to throw the ball as far and as hard as they could, preventing other children from playing. This is the attitude displayed by a child who is always used to winning. When you beat a child at a game, it’s essential to nip this type of behavior in the bud. Asking questions like “why does losing make you so frustrated” and “why are you so upset” can start an open dialog about how to lose gracefully and what losing in daily life means.

While it is important for children to experience losing games, this does not mean parents and family members should use their entire adult strategic prowess to absolutely obliterate children during game play. Introducing handicap rules can help even the playing field and create competitive fun for all. For example, an extra rule in “Puzzle Battle” is that adults are only allowed to play with one hand.  Another option is to introduce luck based games. Games like “King’s Gold”, which is a push-your-luck dice game, or “Sushi Draft”, where players don’t know the value of tokens they win until after the game, are great because they give+ children a chance to win easily without adults having to force a win on the child’s behalf. Remember that gameplay isn’t just about winning, it’s about learning how to both win and lose in a constructive and healthy way.

Happy holidays from Blue Orange Games

10 Fantastic Holiday Crafts Kids of All Ages Will Love

10 Fantastic Holiday Crafts Kids of All Ages Will Love

Schools out, the air is chilly, and the Holidays are here again! Make this time of year extra special with these 10 fun DIY crafts kids and their parents will enjoy! Here in San Francisco, snow is a scarcity, so many of these crafts involve turning your home into an artificial winter wonderland. All of these amazing crafts foster sensory development and encourage creativity—something your child won’t even notice amidst all the fun they’ll be having.

1. Snow Dough

This incredible recipe creates “snow” that crunches in your hands—just like the real deal! Recipe here.

imagination tree

 

2. Christmas Crackers

Fill these with candy, small toys, and other goodies for a fun and interactive stocking stuffer. Instructions here.

crackers

 

3. Crayon Drip Holiday Ornaments

These adorable ornaments are so easy to make but look like professional abstract pieces of art! Find out how here.

ornament

 

4. Yarn Wrapped Winter Wreath

This festive wreath is fun and easy to make! Instructions here.

wreath

5. Felt Houses

Turn your home into a Christmas village with this display of tiny homes. Put LED lights in them for a cute and festive night light! Instructions here.

felt house

 

6. Tissue Paper Tree

Douglas Firs are nice, but this tissue paper tree is just as impressive and takes up virtually none of the space! Have fun making it using the instructions here.

paper tree

 

 

7. Tabletop Holiday Village

This printable village will make any tiny space festive! Print it out here.

town

 

8. Mason Jar Winter Scene

Make your own tiny winter wonderland with just a few materials and a mason jar. Add lights for an adorable holiday effect. Get the instructions here.

jar

 

9. Winter Rhyming Activity

Just because school’s out doesn’t mean the learning fun has to stop! This fun rhyming activity can be customized for a range of activities, from vocab to addition and multiplication! Instructions here.

word

 

10. Winter Photo Backdrop

Just because you don’t live in a snowy city doesn’t mean you have to forsake gorgeous winter photos! This snowy backdrop is perfect for winter family photos. Get the instructions here.

snow

 

We hope you have fun making these fun and easy crafts! Have a wonderful Holiday Season!

 

Your friends,

The Blue Orange Team

 

****This lovely blog post was put together by our intern, Gina Campanelli!

gina

Information and Tools for Educators

Information and Tools for Educators

As a mother to a school-aged child, I’m always on the look out for what would help my little boy at school. And with a child with special needs, you could say that I get hyper-focused on stuff like that. I’m amazed at what his teachers and therapists will recommend to better aid him in the classroom.

Kindergarten Classroom_3

I was so pleasantly surprised with a phone call from Katy at GlobalEducator Institute, a new organization looking to aid teachers in the classroom. They have a robust blog and are committed to providing information and tools for educators. In fact, they are looking for teachers to help pair them off with great products for review. Learn more about Global Educator Institute below.

 

 
geiGlobal Educator Institute— is a new organization with a mission of evaluating educational products and improving education. The goal is to pair great products with great teachers, who then test them with their students for at least six weeks and provide us with valuable feedback and recommendation. Teachers have a voice in determining which products are elevated to becoming endorsed and receive our GEI Seal of Endorsement.

If you are a teacher or know of anyone that is (pass along), it takes 5 minutes to sign up and create a confidential profile. To sign up to be a member, simply visit:  http://geiendorsed.com/how/teachers/

GEI will then start sending FREE product to evaluate for GEI.