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Recently, I engaged in a fun social experiment with my kids, ages three and five, and a friend from kindergarten. I packed up the kids and a couple of board games and headed to a nearby kid-friendly chain restaurant to find out whether games are a fun distraction, or whether I could actually help my kids develop better social skills through cooperative game play. Because let’s be honest here, mom friends: unless you’ve got a Mary Poppins on staff, toddlers and kindies can use a little help in the social skills department.

We brought two games along to test my theory: Tibbar’s Find My ABC’s and Find My 123’s Puzzles and Bubbles & Puddles, both from SimplyFun.

We started off with Bubbles and Puddles, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised at all of the social learning that took place. Patience, taking turns, flexibility, sharing, eye contact, learning to lose with grace; this game offers two options for play and it is a go anywhere bundle of fun for ages 3 and up. The “guy” that gets moved around is an adorable rubber duck, and both girls (and maybe a little bit me) were clamoring to get started with the duckie. We’ll be playing this one again, and all the bits and pieces fit into a drawstring bag, so no need to tote the whole box along.

We played Tibbar’s Find My ABC’s and Find My 123’s that evening, and again at home. If you are averse to puzzles in general, like me (ain’t nobody got time for that!), this game/puzzle combo will be a pleasant surprise. The pieces are XL and easy to match up, so this is good for every level of puzzler. Both games are fantastic for the alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, counting. I was sort of blown away at how many different skill sets this simple game reinforced. Because it has a look and find feel to it, it doesn’t feel like homework to work on these skills. I recommend this one for preschoolers through first graders, and it works well for a mixed age group since you can pick and choose which activities to participate in. You might be counting birds, finding items in a color category, or naming items that start with a particular letter. I love a game we can “make our own,” and Tibbar’s Find My ABC’s & 123’s fit the bill.

Together in one bundle, Tibbar’s Find My ABCs and Find My 123s will take your child on a learning adventure. Your preschooler will delight in assembling each over-sized floor puzzle while learning the alphabet, numbers 1 thru 10, and colors at the same time! (Ages 4 and up)