Reviewed by Louise Totton
There aren’t many quick to play games around that are as accessible and fun for a four-year-old as they are for older kids and even adults, and far fewer again that are both fun and have educational benefits too. We have been playing BrainBox games in our house for the past week or so, as part of our mission to spend more family time together, and we have all had a great time with them!
The BrainBox range is available in a massive variety of themes, and we love how you can choose your BrainBox to suit what your interests and ages are. The simpler ones are aimed at those aged 4+, and we were sent the BrainBox Pictures version which is a pretty simple one that is full of images and scenes (no words to read) that will be familiar to even the youngest players. We also have a Disney Princess version in the house (aged 6+, containing some words and captions to read as well as more detailed pictures), and a Roald Dahl version (ages 8+ and perfect for those familiar with Dahl’s books). Having said that, they are all the same in that they test your observational and memory skills in a quick-fire and fun way. There are also sets detailing the world, British history, space, animals, maths and more! The ones aimed at older players contain an increasing amount of text and lots more observational skills, whereas the ones for younger players have simpler and easier imagery and less on no words.
So, how do you play BrainBox? It’s pretty simple – all of the players sit around the table with the BrainBox in the middle. The box contains 55 cards, a 10 second sand timer and a dice. The players take in in turns to draw a card and study the image for 10 seconds (timed with the sand timer). When the time is up, you roll the dice and the card is passed to another player. The other player will then ask you the corresponding question from the back of the card about the image you’ve been studying. If you get it right, you keep the card, get it wrong and it goes back into the BrainBox. After ten minutes, the player who has managed to collect the most cards wins – it’s that simple!
We all thought the game was great fun, and it’s a great one to play with younger children. We’d initially thought that being 4+, the older players would find it too easy or boring, but we were wrong! In our house, the younger players actually fared better than the older ones! It’s great for encouraging young children to really concentrate and use their powers of observation; it’s so easy for their attention span to be shorter these days, with all of the electronic toys that are available now, so it’s great to have a game that really makes them concentrate.
We thought the pictures were ideal for kids aged 4+, all of them featuring scenes that would be familiar to them and easily recognisable, from the jungle to the playground, the beach and the farm. As well as observation and memory (is there a crocodile in the picture?), it encourages counting (how many socks are there?), colour recognition (what colour was the kite?) and comparative thought (which animal is the tallest?).
This is a great little game to get out with the kids on an evening just to chill out and wind down, and I really like that there are so many different versions available, so you can pick the one that will be the most interesting to your kids. The cards are actually thick card, so little hands won’t bend or rip the cards and it should prove to be a durable and long-lasting game.