Reviewed by Louise Watts
When we were growing up, playing outside was the norm. Television had 4 channels which went off at night and telephones were for talking to people on. The Internet did not exist and computers were for work. Fast forward to our children’s childhood and children aged 10 years and above often have mobile phones (or compact computers as I see them as very little telephone use occurs!) or tablets, everyone has WiFi and computers are all singing all dancing. It is hard for us to understand the scale and pressure that the impact of technology has on our children as it is simply alien to us.
Despite the huge benefits this technology offers our children, one thing is for certain and that is that children still need to play – role play, turn taking, fine motor skill development, game playing. All of these skills are essential for our children to learn in their early years and these are not possible on gadgets. That said however, trying to attract your child’s attention away from the bright lights and games on a device can be tricky.
My 5-year-old son like many other children likes to play games on my phone. Whilst this sometimes serves a purpose for me in that I can actually get stuff done, I am well aware of the dangers and negative aspects of too much screen time. I am also very aware that he absolutely loves and thrives on interaction and game playing with me and his siblings. We have an endless supply of board games in our house and I endeavour to play them with my children as much as I can, to promote competitiveness, teamwork and the principal that you cannot always win everything!
The latest board game to arrive in my house is “Monster Splat” by Ravensburger. This game is aimed at children aged 5 and above (with no upper age limit). It contains a spin wheel, game pieces and sticky slime hands. As a hater of slime, I wasn’t sure about this but indulged by 5-year-old as my dislike made him love it even more! Basically, you spin the wheel to pick a monster. Cards with various monsters are placed over the floor or table and whoever is the first to splat the correct card (to match the monster on the wheel) with their sticky splat hand moves forward 2 places. I particularly like the way there is no game board and you use the box as the board as this saves on both consumables and means that it doesn’t get lost!
There are 4 sticky splat hands included (along with 4x Slime Monsters, 10x City Monsters, 1x Trash Can, 1x Spinner with pointer & Holder and 4x Playing Pieces), which are exactly what they are called – disgusting, sticky, slimy, stretchy slime hands. Whilst playing the game, we also discovered that it is actually very good fun just playing with the slimy hands – high 5 each other’s slime hands and getting the disgusting slime all stuck together until you stretch them and they ping apart (yuk)!
The box is brightly coloured and hugely attractive to kids with the monsters on the front. I think the age of 5 years and above is perfect. My son absolutely loved it and the rules were very simple. He was laughing to himself for ages throughout the game, particularly as he knew I hate slime. This game is simple and easy to play and yet captivating and fun at the same time. Monster Splat retails for around £13 and I think that is well worth the money. The hands get fluff and bits stuck to them (as you would expect with any slime), but they are easy to clean with water.
I would not hesitate to recommend this board game to anyone who is looking to find a way to engage and entertain their small child. It has all the elements to capture your child’s imagination and attention whilst being simple and easy to play.
Available to buy from Amazon here.