IMG_2169Christmas and the holidays are over and we have a chance to see what toys have “lasted” past the initial excitement and are really offering some creative play.

We had a great time hosting several of our grandchildren, including 5 year-old Ben who is our recent reader. He unzipped “Jumbo Bananagrams” and I found him spelling words on the floor. After he went home, his dad sent me this picture of his latest word. I tried to decipher his amazing invented spelling but needed a hint to come up with “electricity!” He apparently needed spy glasses to read it. Speaking of spy glasses, they are a prop in “Disney Jake and the Neverland Pirates Shipwreck Beach Treasure Hunt Game” where kids take turns turning over two gold tokens to find a match, using Jake’s spyglass to decode secret clues. Finding a match, they flip over the timer and race to grab the same stand-up treasure–a bell, tiki, hat, sack of gold, or urn–snagging them with the foam sword. As much fun as the game is, it is equally thrilling for preschoolers to use the props in imaginary play. I found the spyglass in the car, under the tree, in the kids’ beds and at the breakfast table as well as the foam sword. Game play continued after a winner was declared.

It was fun to see PAL Award winners live up to their name as they provide lasting “smart play!”