imgres-11Get your listening ears on for HABA’s “Loco Lingo” series of games.  Open the box for the Kindergarten game and take out the three cute wooden figures, 12 picture cards and colored die. Select one of the 5 games to play or their variations for younger or more advanced players. Next choose a story, rhyme, poem or group of riddles to read. As the selection is read, players race to be the first one to grab the picture card being said or described. Our little group selected the story, “My First Day at Kindergarten,” listening carefully for clues as to what might be said next: car, train, blocks, slippers or jump rope. One little friend who was successful said, “I knew that before you even said it!” He was listening so intently that he picked up clues leading up to the word in the text, “went to the sandbox and used a (shovel).” This game clearly can help kids focus and listen for context clues as they are listening for the familiar 12 words. Other options included listening to riddles, generating your own stories with the picture cards, and re-telling stories.

Building Site, comes with sixteen cards that display items that are common on the work site (tools, building materials, and work clothes), three wooden construction vehicles, a color die, and five word games that range in difficulty and skill building.  As with all the Loco Lingo games, players must listen intently to the word games read aloud to be the first to grab or point to the objects named. Building Site also works “construct” skills in concentration, memory, language, and reflexes. This game is a bit harder since it requires a general understanding of the function of common tools, building materials, and work-safety clothes.

Fastgrasp, shares learning skills with the other two games in this trio but differs in that kids are grabbing from nineteen wooden figures representing common objects (an apple, a flower, a car, etc.). Again, a game booklet holds 12 exciting word games around the themes of a camping trip, riddles, colored alphabet, ode to eating and color confusion. . Varying in difficulty and purpose, the games start out simple (grab the wooden figures that you hear named in the story) and move to more challenging tasks (listen for the object being inferred through the context clues), or listen for the wrong color and snatch the figure of the correct one  (purple apples, or white acorns!). The variety of entertaining stories in each game creates ample opportunity for learning and skill development on many levels, especially language and listening skills. My little friend that played this game was ecstatic to count all of his tokens and to be able to exclaim, “I’m so good at this, look I have the most points!” Listening to the language builds skills for later academic learning.

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