Saturday, March 24, 2012

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Finding Balance With Asperger's: Developmental & Learning Games from Bananagrams

I have known about Bananagrams for a long time because my local educational supply store carries them, and I’ve even played the game with a friends’ set before, but I’ve never owned any of my own. When they were kind enough to offer me their games to try out, I was thrilled to finally own my own Bananagrams game. For Quinn, we chose Fruitominoes and Zip-It because they are the most simple for his age level and abilities.

Fruitominoes is just like traditional dominoes, but with a fruity twist. It’s simple to master, but fun for all ages. As an added, much-loved, bonus, they are smaller sized and store away neatly and compactly in their carrying bag. This little feature has made the Fruitominoes priceless for us. Because Quinn has Asperger’s and a fine motor delay, small things are always great for developing and strengthening his pincer grasp and Fruitominoes are great for that.

(Click any photo to enlarge)

Fruitominoes have also been especially helpful in situations with a lot of waiting, such as in restaurants, for keeping Quinn’s idle hands busy and thus lowering or eliminating any meltdowns he might have. For example, recently in a restaurant, we waited for 45 minutes to get our food and typically Quinn would have been melting down completely due to hunger and the large restaurant crowd, but Fruitominoes kept him so entertained, he wasn’t even aware we had waited as long as we had. Our whole family had fun passing the time playing the game and it eliminated a very stressful situation for us all by keeping Quinn’s focus elsewhere.

Zip-It is a more complicated, but still equally fun game for children and adults alike. For me, Zip-It is a fun, fast-paced game of wordplay that resembles Scrabble but with dice. Like Fruitominoes, Zip-It is compact and easily portable with its 24 lettered cubes and colored zipper bag that doubles as the scoreboard. Zip-It is also great for Quinn, my emerging reader, because he is forced to think about how to use his letters wisely, but it isn’t too frustrating because he can always re-roll his dice if he can’t find anything that works. It forces his brain to think in a way he wouldn’t normally, to put together words that he knows, and make them intersect each other all while competing against someone else. Games like this are so good for his cognitive development and the competitive portion of it adds a social aspect that is always good for children on the spectrum.

Fruitominoes and  Zip-It  are available at many major retailers nationwide and on their website, Each retails for approximately $15.99, which is well worth it in my opinion. You will have hours and hours of fun with the Bananagrams games and, because they are durable, they are sure to last a long time.

Thank you to Bananagrams for providing complimentary product samples for us to base this review upon.