We spent the day at our not-so-local Children’s Museum. It’s an awesome children’s museum, with a nice Maine focus in terms of local animals, habitats and cultural items. There is a great 2 story climbing tower that is a “raven’s nest”, a nice river water system that the kids can run boats in, and a cool lobster boat that the kids can climb on/ring the bell/etc. Three stories of museum fun. They also have a great toy store in the lobby filled with awesome toys like Haba games and marble runs, Holztiger wooden animals and figures, Animalz, wooden cars/trucks from a local Maine woodmaker, Family Pastimes cooperative games, and just all sorts of cool toys that are really hard to find except on the Internet. Unfortunately, while we were there, I discovered that they were going out of business. Very sad. But, on the bright side, everything in the store was 60% off, including the Haba Number Dwarves game. Normally $32 and I got it for $12.xx. How awesome is that??!
We broke it out tonight after dinner and it’s a great game, as all the Haba games that we have are. (Well, maybe except for Dancing Eggs, which the boys love, but sends rubber eggs flying all about the room, and which they enjoy playing in the living room where I keep the crystal.) It’s just a basic counting exercise at heart, but it really goes about it in a creative way. It’s for 5+ and 2-4 players, but my 4.5 year old had no trouble playing it. You have to collect six pieces of treasure by landing on the treasure spaces on the board. You determine how far you move based on the card that you draw. If you draw a card with a picture on it, you have to count the number of items on the card and move that many spaces. However, there are various things you could count on the card, so by being creative, you can increase your chances of landing on the treasure spots. You get a card of a pillow. Do you count “1” pillow? Or do you count that the pillow has “8” spots? Or “4” corners? There are also “Imp” cards, which require you to do an action like jumping jacks, and you can choose one of two sets of imp hats to count and thus move. This corresponds to how many jumping jacks or other action that you have to do. Or, when you get the fairy card, you take a number shape card out of the cloth bag. The sides of each shape correspond with the number that you move, so the triangle is “3”, the square is “4”, up to ten. So, once the child realizes that, they can play a “hide and feel” sort of game to find the piece with the number of sides that they are looking for. (A circle is “1” and an oval is “2”.) The pieces also have the number written on them, as well as crowns corresponding to the number.
Top it off with totally adorable little dwarf game pieces complete with felt beards, and you’ve got yourself a great game! And all for $12.xx! Thankfully for my wallet, they had sold most of their stock, and there wasn’t too much to choose from. I did splurge on two Putomayo CDs – French Playground and Latin Playground – for $5.99 each! I just love a sale. I am really bummed that they are going out of business though as I really enjoyed browsing there whenever we visited the museum. Z Recommends also has a very good review of this game if you are interested.