Thursday, September 2, 2010

Think-ets Genius from Think-a-lot Toys Makes MommyBlogExpert's Best of Kids' Traveling Games List

Part 2 of a 7-Part Series on Cool Tween/Teen Games That Also Travel Well

Don't forget to leave a comment below this post.  Do your kids prefer thinking games or ones that are pure fun? 

by Janis Brett Elspas

Writer's Note:  This summer my family and I took a 4-week road trip across America.  As a mommy blogger I suggested each of my kids select from among all the games in the queue for review by MommyBlogExpert.  What they packed resulted in the original Traveling Fun on the Run Toy Box for Tweens/Teens actually created with a small rolling carry-on bag measuring a tiny 18" x 12" x 6" to hold everything pictured.  Anyone who has kids 12 & up knows how challenging taking any sort of vacation can be with that sometimes surly age group, don't we?  By trip's end, though, I can assure you, I was pleasantly surprised by this summer trip games-in-the car experience in general and, in particular, by the bonding that took place between us as a family during the weeks we traveled.

The smallest game my family (triplets, age 13 and big brother 14) and I decided to demo for our summer road trip vacation was Think-ets Genius from Think-a-lot Toys.  This little piece of entertainment -- the box is small enough to hold in your hand -- designed by real-life dad Randy Compton was big on fun, and led to many hours of thought-provoking chatter for us.  

On our most recent roadtrip, my kids and I often enjoyed this creatively- and mentally-stimulating game as we wound down in our roadside motel each night after another day of adventure on the open road. But, they also played it in the car while I drove, too. The box says it is for ages 8 to 108+ so I think it might also be the perfect candidate for multiple generations of kids, parents, grandparents, and possibly grandparents to enjoy together anytime of the year, for example, during a visit to relatives or even a family reunionI guess all that shouldn't surprise me since the company that makes Think-ets Genius has received recognition from iParenting Media Awards.

Among the merits that I found with this game was that it could be easily played solo or with 2 or more players.  While I played this with my kids and they also enjoyed it with each other as a foursome, I have to admit my kids aren't always the best at sharing.  Actually they did fight a few times over it so I let (read: had to allow) each of them to play it alone for awhile to keep the rioting to a minimum.  As I write this review I can't help but chuckle because one of my daughters just reminded me of the time on our trip when her sister and brother were so involved in this game that they wouldn't eat lunch until I said I would punish them if they didn't take a break right away and get some nutrition.
The pieces in Think-ets Genius are somewhat reminiscent of my all-time favorite Monopoly game from my own childhood in size and feel.  As you can see, though, from this picture the former's parts have a twist that's contemporary, cutting edge and intriguing all at once.  

To experience what we did with the game Think-a-lot Toys sent us, think of all the stories you might make up if you or your child had even just a few of the pieces the game comes with. These items range from a polar bear, red pom pom, arrowhead, bone-like bead, compass, seashell, and Pyrite stone to a historical character in costume, mini gold tone princess crown, shiny pink heart, and ceramic crescent moon or star, to a tiny tomato, flute or spyglass, modern jet plane, and little goblet/cup, with a single, 12-faceted brightly-colored numbered die thrown in for rolling. 

There's even more that is good about this, too. This Think-a-lot Toys product is assembled by the Developmental Disabilities Resource Center-Bruno Employment Center in Lakewood, Colorado, providing employment, training, and job placement opportunities to people with disabilities.  In this day and age when so many kid's games and toys are manufactured off shore, it's nice to hear about one company that is at least packaging its products in the good old USA.

As a more challenging version of the original award-winning Think-ets game ($9.99), the Genius's premise is equally simple and at the same time, just a bit more brilliant than its predecessor.  The latest version features 15 brand new miniature items that are pictured above in the product closeup from around the world from the US and foreign countries like Peru, India, China and the Philippines.  These pieces, the manufacturer notes BTW, may vary slightly depending on availability.  Among the 12 all-new games kids and adults can play with this product's contents (which also include a rule book, notepad and pencil) that all pack inside a hinged-lid storage tin measuring less than 4" x 2-1/2" are: "Surprise Story," "Time Warp Story," "Interrupted Story," "Name That Word," "Ghost," "Killer Mouse," and more.

With a retail price of $15.99 Think-ets Genius is available to the public online from Think-a-lot Toys here, as well as elsewhere on the Internet and at select retailer stores.  Information on additional games for at-home and school use that are available are listed on the company's siteFurther information for retailers interested in carrying the Think-a-lot Toys line is also offered.

This little gem of a game was certainly practical and fun for traveling.  My own kids loved it and we look forward to bringing it out at home the next time we have company over as an ice breaker.  It's living proof supporting the saying that good things -- I'm mean great things -- often do come in small packages.

What do you think of this product?  Is Think-ets Genius an intellectual game, just plain fun or both?  How about your own kids, do they prefer thinking games or ones that are simply meant to entertain? Please leave a comment below this post to let us know.

FTC Disclosure: MommyBlogExpert's family received Think-ets Genius from Think-a-lot Toys to facilitate the test and review described but did not receive any payment or other compensation associated with this post.  Additionally, this blog did not have the opportunity to review the original Think-ets game that is also mentioned in this post.  See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one. 


  1. What a wonderful review! Well-written, detailed and thoughtful. It's great to see when reviewers can really "get" the product. Keep it up!

  2. Randy, Thanks so much for the compliment. That's what sets MommyBlogExpert apart from other blogs that do straight product reviews. This blog's goal is to write engaging posts that not only describe great products, but also that engage readers with more indepth quality content. I'm so glad to hear we are meeting our subscriber's expectations!