March 26, 2013

Hello Sunshine! - A Game Toddlers Can Call Their Own

I think it's safe to say that every baby's first game is peek-a-boo.  Admit it, you did it well before you had a the chubby little baby at the grocery store, to the baby leaning over the seat in the row in front of you mid-flight.  So what makes a good second game for baby?

 Mommy Testers ThinkFun Hello Sunshine game for toddlers review

While it seems the game industry is just overflowing with products for the 3 and up crowd there really aren't very many for toddlers.  So when I saw Hello Sunshine! at Toy Fair I was delighted to see that ThinkFun was creating more games for this age group and of course Sunshine is irresistibly cute!

 Mommy Testers ThinkFun Hello Sunshine game for toddlers review

ThinkFun sent over a copy of Hello Sunshine for me to check out.  It's meant for the 18mos+ crowd and playing the game is pretty easy.  You pick one of the printed cards which shows a hiding place for Sunshine and shows the wording, like "Under a chair."  Then you hide Sunshine accordingly and work with your child to find the cuddly little plush sun.

 Mommy Testers ThinkFun Hello Sunshine game for toddlers review

It's a pretty simple concept and it actually reminds me of the exercises we would do in Spanish class during middle school (you know, back when kids didn't come out of the womb speaking multiple languages)  while learning basic vocabulary.   So I can see how that would easily translate to a learning experience for a baby learning concepts like on top of, inside of, under, etc.

What I love about this game:

-It's simple, and doesn't really have "rules" since kids this age are too young for game rules.
-You can play for as long or short as your child's attention span will allow
-Kids love the cuddly plush sun (I know because I had to pry it from my 4 year old's death grip to be able to get some photos of it)
-The illustrated cards are easy to follow and cute
-It takes a simple concept and turns it into a teachable lesson to grow your baby's vocabulary.  I think it would make a great ESL toy as well.
-Older siblings can also play - challenge them to read the words on the cards to bring the game to their level.
 -The cards store easily in a little hidden pouch on the bottom the plush sun.  Nothing is more frustrating than games that don't have a way to store all the pieces!

 Mommy Testers ThinkFun Hello Sunshine game for toddlers review

I'm sure some people would argue that they can stick a stuffed animal under a chair on their own and play games with their child without needing to purchase something like this.  To which I'll say valid point.  However, when Kayla was a baby we started her with products that combined both speaking phrases like saying "under a chair" as well as seeing the actual words and an image of the object under a chair and those 3 elements all working together are what help make that very quick realization of the concept for most children.

So you could try to use a homemade version of something like this, but then you'd also need to make your own illustrated cards with words and pictures and quite frankly for the time it takes to do that, I'd rather outsource the work and pick up this cute little cuddly version!

Know a little one who would love Hello Sunshine! I think it makes a really cute 1st or 2nd birthday gift  or a great present from a visiting grandparent.  You can check out Hello Sunshine! right here
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