Sponsor profile: SimplyFun

This month’s sponsors, SimplyFun, are focused on games for children and families. Here’s their own blurb on what they do:

SimplyFun is THE parental resource for using play to build smarter kids. Our award-winning games and activities promote child success by helping parents focus on social and emotional skill development while practicing academic fortitude. For ages 3 to 103 we keep families connected while helping children learn the value of play & creating memories that will last a lifetime.

For a relatively young company, SimplyFun has been pretty prolific, with over 100 games currently available having won nearly 100 awards in just the last few years! (More precisely, 98 awards as of the end of August, starting from 2012.) Their ethos is similar to that of a combined publisher and bookstore, and will not be unfamiliar to librarians: to “recommend the right game, for the right moment and the right reason”. To this end, they have a Personal Shopper to help people find the perfect game for their particular needs at http://bit.ly/1iqYfnT.

Keenly conscious of the educational and skill-development dimensions to their products, SimplyFun are also very well aware that a game nobody wants to play can’t educate or develop anyone. They pay equally close attention to the enjoyability of their games and to the extrinsic benefits of play; they have had their games:

  • independently mapped and evaluated by a team of professionals to U.S. national and state core standards,
  • independently assessed for suitability for special needs, including suggested modifications in game play to make the game more accessible, and even
  • evaluated by two well-known play experts for eleven characteristics of autism, indicating for each characteristic whether the game is appropriate and/or providing strategies for developing compensatory skills.

The story behind this last point is particularly touching. A number of years ago a mother of two children, one severely autistic and one without those challenges, contacted SimplyFun to say that their game Walk the Dogs (one of their donations – see below!) allowed her to experience something she thought would never be possible in her life… to see her two children laughing and enjoying a game together. Though she had modified the rules to make the game accessible to both kids, that didn’t lessen the joy of their play – or detract from the emotion the folks at SimplyFun felt at realizing the difference their game made in this mother’s family. Her story remains a legend in the company, and powers their belief that – through games and play – they could and should provide help to other parents just like her.

[Editor’s aside: Yet another instance of the amazing ways in which games and play can connect people across quite considerable barriers!]

Walk the Dogs

Unleash 63 miniature dogs that won’t ‘flea’ from your table!

Grab a leash and get ready to Walk the Dogs! Each player collects dogs from the front or back of a long line by drawing and playing cards. But beware of the dog catcher, who may steal some of your favorite dogs. To win, collect five of the same breed in a row, or have the most dog points in your own line. Woof!

What breeds come in the game?

Poodle, Pug, Brittany Spaniel, Shitzu, Scottish Terrier, Golden Retriever, and Pomeranian…

…and they’re all rescue dogs!


The game of earth, air, water, and fire.

Matter is a game of hierarchy, where each of the four elements has a counter-element that reduces its power. Boost your elementals by connecting matching tiles, and avoid tiles that will weaken them. The winner is the player who masters the elements!

Thank you to SimplyFun for donating copies of both these games to IGD participants in the USA! There may still be a few left if you register now

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