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April 24, 2008

Nintendo DS Games for the Pint-Sized Set

As a Nintendo Wii Ambassador, I've been too busy playing games with my kids to actually share much on my blogs. I love the Wii. I really do... and I've got about 30 half-written entries about the brilliant games that are available for families.

But right now? I'm going to share another not-so-secret: I love the Nintendo DS just as much as the Wii.

While I've become totally addicted to Brain Age and Brain Age 2, and I have been steadily improving my Flash Focus... my family owns three DS units, and I'm perfectly delighted to throw down a little Mario Party with the kids. This is great with my kids who are in elementary school - but my preschooler struggles a bit with the mini-games on Mario Party, and her Brain Age? Is like 102. I've always said she has an old soul, but frankly, her math knowledge and sudoku skills suck.

SmartBoysGameroom.jpgI was delighted when I was offered a chance to take a look at two titles for preschoolers - The Smart Boy's Gameroom and The Smart Girl's Playhouse.

These simple and charming games are basically the same, although the boy version of one game is whacking monsters on the head ala whack-a-mole, and the girl version is feeding hamsters. For moms who are really anti-stereotyping, the pink vs. blue approach of these games might be a little much to take.

That said, from the simple puzzles to the chance to pack a bento lunch, my four-year-old found the games easy to play, the use of the stylus intuitive and the activities fun and rewarding. She enjoyed both the boy and girl versions (as did my six year old.)

Will these games springboard your child to greatness? Probably not. Will they keep your kid quiet for 10 minutes in the waiting room at the dentist? Aw yeah.

SmartGirlsPlayhouse.jpgIf you've got a little one who is eager to play on a sibling's Nintendo DS independently, The Smart Girl's Playhouse or The Smart Boy's Gameroom would be a great place to start.

Once they've packed a few bentos and whacked a few monsters, you can start in with the Sudoku.


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