About the games
Tapple: Fast Word Fun for Everyone is a word game. The game "board" is a circle with letters of the alphabet surrounding it. The board has a built in ten-second timer. There are also playing cards with various categories written on them. Players choose a category card and then move in a circle pressing the timer and naming a word that fits that category while pushing down the appropriate beginning letter on the circle. The game gets more and more difficult because as the words are called out and letters pushed down there are fewer and fewer letters to use. If a player can't name a word before the timer buzzes, he is out. The object is to be the final player in the game. The game is recommended for ages 8 and up and sells for $19.95 on the USAopoly site.
Wonky: The Crazy Cubes Card Game is a game that involves dexterity and fine motor skills. It comes with a set of nine blocks, three of each color. The blocks are different sizes- a small, medium, and large in each color. They are not even on the sides but have wavy places that make them very difficult to stack. There is a deck of cards with each card indicating either one of the blocks or a specific action to take. Players begin with five cards. As cards are played, players attempt to stack the indicated block or complete the action on the card. The object of the game is to be the first person to successfully get rid of all of his or her cards. The game is recommended for ages 8 and up and sells for $19.95 on the USAopoly site.
Tapple- our opinions
Anytime a really fun review item shows up at the house, the kids ae pretty excited to open it up and try it out right away. We set up Tapple the afternoon after it came. The younger girls - ages 10 and 11- and I played it the first time. We played a slightly modified version at first. Instead of tapping the timer immediately after we named each word, we would let it tick down the ten seconds before the next person had to push it and take a turn. This gave us a little extra thinking time.
All of us enjoyed Tapple. When the girls and I were playing, Charles came by and got in on the excitement. The game quickly became a favorite. Sometimes we play with the actual card deck of categories that came with the game, but often the kids will just grab the game and begin naming off their own categories, challenging each other to think of words.
Tapple definitely has some educational benefits. Because we are guessing words based on the first letter, the kids have to think about the correct spelling of words. It is also a game that expands vocabulary. Sometimes you really have to think outside the box to come up with a word that uses one of the letters left on the board. Even I have been challenged to think of a way to use the letters to come up with something that fits the category.
Although the age recommended is 8 and up, I can see how you could adapt Tapple to be a fun and learning game for younger kids. You could easily come up with your own categories that younger kids would know better, and you could not use the timer or use a longer time. Younger kids would have to think about beginning letters for words that they could use. This would help in spelling and letter sounds for reading. For very young kids, I think it would be fun to print out pictures of items that all fit in a specific category. Let kids think of the beginning sound of the picture and choose that letter on the Tapple board when it's their turn. Tapple is a game that can be adapted in so many ways to be used as a really fun family game for everyone.
Wonky- our opinion
Wonky- or as we have affectionately dubbed it, Wonky Cube- has become another family favorite. Because it involves fine motor skills, I'm not so great at it, but it's still fun to try. As we've learned, Wonky needs to be played on a firm surface and without a dog present.
Wonky has educational benefits as well. There is some strategy to using your cards as you want to keep your blocks from falling while at the same time making it easy for the next person's blocks to fall. There is also some strategy involved in using the action cards which can reverse play, skip players, or make other players draw cards. The recommended age for this one is also 8 and up, and I think it would be difficult for younger kids to play. Stacking the misshapen cubes can get a little frustrating for hands that aren't great with dexterity.
Both of these games from USAopoly are ones we play quite frequently. I've also found quite a few other games at the USAopoly site that I'd love to try. The company has new games I've never heard of, and it also produces some traditional games like Monopoly and Scrabble and others with a new twist. I have a feeling that USAopoly games may feature in my Christmas shopping list this year.
Product- Tapple and Wonky games
Price- $19.95 each on the USAopoly site
Age recommendation- 8 and up for both games
Connect with USAopoly-