Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Review: Fun & Games for the 21st Century Family

I was so intrigued by the title and the concept of this book that I couldn't really turn down the opportunity to review a copy. What the authors Steve and Simon have done is give some traditional games a modern twist with the help of the gadgets that we often now take for granted. I will be honest and say that we don't have all the gadgets that are mentioned in the book but that doesn't matter. There are over 200 games or activities so there should be something for everyone except the most dyed-in-the-wool Luddite to enjoy.

I liked the layout of the pages for each game. The left hand column has a key listing what age it's suitable from, the number of players and the type of activity. The set up time and expected play time is also listed for each game, along with what you need to get going, all of which are very handy so you don't discover halfway through you need something you haven't got or that it's going to take longer to set up than your children's attention span. Activities are rated for level of difficulty and how long it will take to complete for the same reason.

The book also includes a 6 step film course, and an appendix "Techno" section with lots of short "How to" articles to do various whizzy things on your PC or Mac that will help the games along. Simon and Steve have also set up a website here with lots of resources to help you play the games - like grids, bingo cards etc. There is also a discussion forum where you can share variations on the game with other readers and the book includes a notes section to write these down if you can't get online straight away. I think that's great as the games they have created or collated will change as families adapt them to suit their needs and it widens the appeal of the book even further. And to top it all, the new games are interspersed with short sections of games from the archives - more traditional games with enduring appeal.

The index makes it easy to find the games as they are all listed by type. I'm particularly pleased that there are lots of car games, as we are driving to Devon and back at the end of the week so no doubt we will be road-testing them then, having never driven that far with the children in the back.

As Monkey and Missy Woo are only 5 and 4, some of the games are still a bit old for them, but that means the book can be used in years to come as they get older and are more suited to the games for older children. I really want to have a go at Hairdryer ping pong (page 36) the next time we have a rainy day so it's perfect for the big kid in all of us.

I think this is a great book, which will be useful to us as a family for years. Monkey and Missy Woo are already adept at using technology in their lives - they had me looking up pictures of cliffs for them only this evening - and the book really shows you how to make the harness the technology around you for the sole purpose of having fun. It might also give you a solution the next time your child says "Muuuuuum, I'm bored" on a rainy day.

Fun and Games for the 21st Century Family is out now and costs £9.99


(I was provided with the book to review and have received no other compensation. The opinions stated here are my own, and have not been influenced by the aforementioned compensation.)
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