Roll & Play - A First Game Experience for Your Youngster

Thinkfun, Inc. is a game company that focuses on combining challenging game play with a fun learning
experience. In 1996, "ThinkFun, Inc." released "Rush Hour," the traffic-jam based board game, and today
they continue to create breakthrough games for the younger set.

It is nearly impossible to find games for children under 3-4 years old. Yet, "ThinkFun, Inc." has successfully designed a game which parents can play with kids as young as 18 months old. The game is called "Roll & Play," and it includes a huge plush multi-colored cube and 48 game cards, covering 6 different categories, Emotions, Counting, Colors, Body Parts, Actions and Animal Sounds.

To start the game, the child simply rolls the cube, and then identifies the color on the top of the cube, much like you would when rolling a 6 sided die, except each side is a different color, rather than a number represented by dots. Once the color has been identified (the parent can help if needed), one of the cards is drawn that matches the color from the cube.

The six card categories are each matched to a specific color. For example, all of the Counting cards are orange in color and all of the Action cards are green in color. Once a card is chosen based on the color match, the parent reads the card aloud, and the child is asked to respond accordingly. For example, assume that an orange Counting card was drawn, and the card reads "Give 1 hug." The child should respond by giving the parent a big hug. Or, if a green Action card was drawn, it might read, "Roar like a lion." The child will then give his/her best roar.

We wanted to test "Roll & Play" with one of our youngest ever focus groups. We got two parents to bring over their youngsters, both just shy of 2 years old. We decided to have each parent play "Roll & Play" with their own child separately and secluded from the other little one, as we did not want this to turn into some kind of competition to see who had the smartest 2 year old.

The testing strategy worked perfectly, as it allowed the parent and child to concentrate on the game without any distractions. Each little kid really wanted to perform for their parent, and although their attention spans were short, they were quickly able to follow the flow of the game. It was not important whether they knew all of the correct responses. It was instead a learning experience and a chance to follow the rules of a structured game.

The parents were very impressed with the simplicity and educational value of such a product, and both parents agreed that "Roll & Play" would make a great addition to their game library. "Roll & Play" retails for $19.99, and can be bought directly at, or at
-- RJ Cullen


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