It’s tempting, especially when parenthood is brand-new, to jump at every beautifully designed kids’ toy you see. Then, after a few months (or, uh, years…), you realize that your son hasn’t touched that gorgeous recycled-wood horse since the day it was unwrapped, and that what you have here is a very small piece of shelf art—and a present you bought, as it turns out, for yourself.
And hey, that’s fine. But we do want to get toys and games our children actually enjoy, too—and yet, it would be nice if they weren’t all Lightning McQueen-themed, wouldn’t it? That’s where Blue Orange Games comes in. For years now, the company has been making board games with lovely design and craftsmanship that are also a lot of fun to play. Most of them to this point—like most really good board games, period—have been for older kids, tweens at the youngest. But its latest, which is not, in fact, a board game, is happily for ages six and up.
One of those simple-yet-complex sorts of games, Pixy Cubes is a set of 16 cubes featuring varied designs (solids, diagonal halves, crescent shapes) in various colors (red, green, yellow, blue) on their faces. There are various ways to play, too: In the “speed” game, players race to match their cubes to a pattern on a “Challenge Card”; in the “memory” option, they have 10 seconds to memorize a card’s pattern before trying to become the first to reproduce it with a combination of cubes. There are scaled levels of difficulty, and nearly endless possibilities. (The less competitive-minded may well enjoy the creativity of designing their own patterns and combinations with the cube faces.)
There’s a developmental/educational aspect here as well, of course—Pixy Cubes are aimed at helping with young kids’ color and shape recognition, and, obviously, memory skills and creativity. But those feel more like side effects than the main agenda. And since Blue Orange wisely made the cubes not merely attractive and fun, but also small, light, and extremely portable (not to mention quite reasonably priced at $16), Pixy Cubes are really a perfect travel game, too.
Photos: Whitney Webster
From You Know, For Kids