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Treasure Hunting

Clue #1: It's not on a screen and you won't need a joystick. Need more clues? Follow our suggestions for a treasure trove of entertaining indoor activities that are sure to stretch your children’s limbs as well as their imaginations. Great for siblings or small groups, these award-winning products move the entertainment off the couch to the kitchen table and the playroom floor. They may even raise the roof.


The Unplugged Play Book: The Essential Parents' Guide The Unplugged Play Book: The Essential Parents' Guide
Ages: Infant - 10 yrs.
Author: Bobbi Conner  
Workman Publishing, $29.95 (Hard Cover)    $16.95 (Paperback)

This encyclopedia of how, why, and ways to play offers parents 712 alternatives to screen time and high-tech toys. The book is well organized by age, from toddlers to 'tweens. Each category is subdivided into types of play: solo, parent and child, playing with others, and birthday party or group play. Book lists, sources for worthwhile videos, quick recipes, and ideas for stocking a play chest or closet round out each section. Sidebars with realistic parental tips, developmental expectations and experts' insights add useful advice on every page. There’s also a great section on Family Game Night.

A Lithgow Palooza: 101 Ways to Entertain and Inspire your Kids A Lithgow Palooza: 101 Ways to Entertain and Inspire your Kids
Ages: All Ages
Author: John Lithgow  
Simon & Schuster/Fireside, $16.00 (Paperback)

This book contains 101 ideas for creating paloozas for children ages 3 to 12 wherever you are. Grouped according to interests and themes -- like art, drama, music, vacations, and birthdays -- and incorporating lots of extrapaloozas, fun facts for parent and child, and suggested additional reading for all ages, John's paloozas range from adopting your own soup can for a day to inventing your own secret language to establishing left-handed day or creating a self-portrait. A Lithgow Palooza! is an utterly unique collection of original activities guaranteed to transform any household from bored to bubbling with fun. Book Description

Ages: 3 - 8 yrs.
DC Creative, $23.99

Children listen and perform activities read by other players and cover the matching number squares on their bingo cards. Several other physical and musical activity games encourage children to listen carefully, follow directions, and use their bodies creatively.

The Original Fortamajig
Ages: 3 - 12 yrs.
The Happy Kid Company LLC, Sugar Mountain PR, $49.95

The concept is nothing short of brilliant. 24 Velcro loops are sewn at well-positioned points throughout this 8x8 foot square of brightly colored nylon ripstop. Use the loops to attach to stable objects (chairs, deck railing, table legs, tree branches) to configure and reconfigure a variety of play structures. With no pieces to lose, break, or replace, this highly inventive product is durable, washable, and easy to store. Packaged as a tote-bag carrying-case, the Fortamagig is a perfect travel companion.

Can-Do-Roo Can-Do-Roo
Ages: 4 & Up
PlayMonster, $19.99

Can-Do Roo has a pouch full of things to do! Pull out a card, and let the fun begin! The game teaches numbers, letters, colors, and shapes. Kids will have fun while learning as they hop like a kangaroo and act and sound like different animals. Product Description

Cranium Hullabaloo Cranium Hullabaloo
Ages: 4 & Up
Cranium Inc. , $24.95

Kids listen closely and think fast as they bounce, twist, spin, high-five, and dance to the music, sounds, and friendly voice of Hullabaloo. Cranium Hullabaloo rewards quick thinking, cooperation, and creative problem-solving, so whether after school, at a birthday party, or even on a rainy day, Cranium Hullabaloo gives kids something to cheer about.

Cranium Super Fort Carnival Clubhouse Cranium Super Fort Carnival Clubhouse
Ages: 4 & Up
Cranium Inc. , $79.99

After pulling it out of the box, it took about 20 minutes to assemble the clubhouse according to the directions. The magnet connectors come together with a satisfying click. Part fort, part clubhouse, the "carnival" theme includes tickets and accessories for a variety of carnival games, an air-pressure launcher to shoot balls in the air and some idea cards to inspire fun ways to play with the ring toss or use the cloth flags as parachutes.

Speed Stacks Glow in the Dark Stack Pack
Ages: 4 & Up
Play Along, Inc., $29.99

Stacking and unstacking 12 plastic cups in predetermined sequence may not sound like the work of Nobel scientists, but it does take more than meets the eye. Hand-eye coordination, focus and ambidexterity are required. Practice counts, big time. Play alone to improve your personal best, or play against others.

Ages: 5 - 12 yrs.
Chimeric, $21.95

Children write and illustrate their own original story, then send the pages back to the company. After a few weeks, they’ll be thrilled to receive a professionally hardbound book with their name, book title and illustration laminated onto the cover, and their illustrated story inside.


Hyper Dash Hyper Dash
Ages: 6 - 12 yrs.
Wild Planet Entertainment, Inc., $19.99

If the kids are feeling restless and need to expend a little energy, how about giving them a game that tests their reflexes and speed of thought? Known as Hyper Dash, this electronic action game for kids aged six and up comes with a "tagger" as well as five "targets". Targets can be arranged in any space (as long as it is not too big), and the hand-held unit calls out a target that the kids have to run to and "tag." Four different levels of play keep the kids running for hours. Played inside or out, Hyper Dash is great for birthday parties, bored kids, siblings looking for a fun diversion or anyone who wants to test their speed, stamina and ability to stop on a dime.

BucketBlast BucketBlast
Ages: 6 & Up
Lolo Company, Inc., $29.95

Buckets and bean bags come together as kids and adults toss, run, balance, chase, strategize, and team up for points and laughs. The kit comes with 15 different games -- 5 indoor, 5 outdoor, and 5 water games. Indoor games include beanbag concentration and a blindfolded bean bag toss. Great for parties.

Lithgow Paloozas!  Boredom Blasters Rainy Day Edition Lithgow Paloozas! Boredom Blasters Rainy Day Edition
Ages: 7 - 11 yrs.
Author: John Lithgow   Illustrator: Adam McCauley  
Running Press Kids, $14.95 (Hard Cover)   

This kit presents dozens of creative and unusual ways for kids to keep themselves entertained and engrossed no matter where they are. The materials included - 4 colored markers, card-stock paper and "puzzle paper" perforated into puzzle pieces that can be broken apart, origami paper, jeweled chips, and magnetic tape-may sound ordinary, but it's Lithgow's extraordinary ideas for using them that make this kit a real winner! Product Description

The Jumbo Book of Paper Crafts
Ages: 9 & Up
Author: Amanda Lewis   Illustrator: Jane Kurisu  
Kids Can Press, $14.95 (Hard Cover)   

Learn about four kinds of paper crafts: folding, cutting, weaving, and gluing. Each section begins with a description of techniques used in the projects that follow, plus helpful tips. Among the appealing projects are a butterfly ornament made by accordion-folding paper shapes cut from colorful magazine pages, and maracas made by gluing many layers of tissue papier-mâché on old light bulbs.


Don't Miss
Family Games for Family Fun
If you're looking for family fun, playing a game is a fine start. Our selections offer games of memory, matching, strategy, scavenging -- and old fashioned giggling.


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