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Games for gifted kids

  • This is a fast-paced, spellbinding word game with a challenging mix of the elements of Scrabble and a crossword puzzle.  Players race against the clock and each other to spell words along designated paths.  I especially love that it can be timed for situations when players have just a few minutes to play.  Up to four people can play the board version at the same time without having to wait on each person so game play is faster than Scrabble.  It comes in a board game and a computer game version and they are independent of each other.
  • Earth Foundation – The World’s Largest In-School Conservation Organization  – The purpose of the Earth Foundation is to empower educators and students to work toward a sustainable economy, a just society and a healthy environment.  Its focus is on education, fundraising for conservation, and cooperative programs with conservation groups and indigenous organizations working in the race to save the planet.  They provide teaching opportunities to students about rainforests and related ecosystems while empowering them to save them.  I purchased a t-shirt from this organization for my son.  He has the common GT trait of intense compassion and it happens to be focused on endangered animals – mostly the panda.  This organization sells t-shirts and boasts that every 10 t-shirts sold protects one acre of rainforest.
  • Mindware – Brainy toys for kids of all ages such as Let’s Play School Set, Aquasaurs, Blokus, Gobblet, Hydrodynamic Deluxe Set, Perfume Science Kit, and so much more.  This convenient, one stop shopping website and catalog is a compilation of award-winning toys and games from different manufacturers.  I don’t believe they have the best prices, but their catalog and website was full of wonderful ideas to look for elsewhere.
  • mugginsawardKnock Out and Muggins – Creator of several fun games that combine math skills with a deceptively easy dice strategy game.  These games would be great for children that love math and children who would rather do anything but math (they won’t even realize they are improving their math skills).  We love “Knock Out” — a game in which each player rolls 3 dice then figures out all the possible numbers that could add together to equal the sum, trying to knock out other players (ages 6-adult).  I also purchased “Muggins” (age 8-nuclear physicist) in which each player rolls 3 dice and then adds, subtracts, multiplies or divides the results to build marble runs on the board. I saw several adults getting outplayed at the TAGT conference so this game would certainly be challenging and fun for all!  Video demonstrations are available on the website.
  • Drills, Skills, and More – My family spends so much time at the kitchen table, why not put something educational and fun there.  My kids really enjoy the placemats we have with a world map, U.S. map, sign language, solar system, and U.S. Presidents.  They are always talking about them while I’m preparing meals or while they’re eating.  I bought a Periodic Table of Elements placemat and a coloring book about weather.  My next placemat is of the muscles and bones of the body (they didn’t have one at the conference, but I can order it online).  Such easy learning that’s right in front of them.
  • set_cubedbox_topSet Cubed – For those of you who like the very addictive card game called “Set”, the Set Enterprises, Inc. people have come out with a variation that combines the attribute of matching characteristics of the original “Set” game with a Scrabble-like format. It uses dice with the “Set” symbols and a board where you place the dice and try to add on to the sets as you go. Go to the website for more information or to buy the game for $20 plus shipping.
  • Giant Growing Creatures – You may have seen Steve Spangler on “The Ellen Degeneres Show.” He makes science fun so any child or adult wants to learn more.  I purchased 4” long plastic snakes, frogs, dinosaurs, lizards, and alligators.  They won’t be 4” for long.  After adding distilled water, they will grow to several feet long.  And after drying out for several days, they will return to their original size to grow again another day.  This website has lots to choose from for any budding scientist or curious child (and adult J).
  • thepuzzleThe Ultimate Puzzle – This is an educational and fun manipulative tool that shows combinations, permutations, probabilities and symbol recognition in a powerful demonstration that will engage all ages.  Make a square with no straight edges using up to 16 pieces in a 4×4 layout. There are 48 possible solutions using 16 pieces so it’s really 48 puzzles in 1.  Younger children can use 4 pieces to solve the puzzle or older puzzle addicts can use up to or all 16 pieces.
  • Wooden Games and Puzzles – Tired of your children playing electronic games that provide thumb dexterity but you wonder if they are providing brain dexterity?  I purchased several wooden games that will stretch brains and require old fashion hands-on trial and error.  The Tic Tac Toe game is a great old puzzle taken to the third dimension.  Try and make Tic-Tac-Toe as many ways as you can; horizontally, vertically and even diagonally.  I also purchased Shut the Box which is a dice game played with 2-4 players.  Each player has control of the board during his/her turn.  Matching dice number combinations with door numbers permits the player to close the doors.  Shut as many doors as you can, end up with the lowest score, and you are the winner.  Addition, subtraction, and multiplication can be used to make number combinations.  This tried and true game was flying off the shelves at the conference proving that it continues to be a teacher, parent, and child favorite.

Also, check out the NAGC holiday gift list.

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