Gifts for your wiz kid: Back to basics with games and books

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Animal instincts: The Safari book is good for the whole family. Safari is a Photicular book, which means graphic images articulate and move as you turn the page. | SUPPLIED PHOTO

Most kids will unwrap their fair share of noisy-yet-fun toys this holiday season-gifts that whirl, zip, buzz and light up. Add some edifying items to the mix that inspire, engage and enthrall children into learning.

Fair Game, located in Downers Grove, is a store that is all about providing an opportunity for people to connect in a real way: face to face. With games appropriate for most ages and abilities, gift-seekers are sure to be pleased with what they find here. The competent staff mill about to answer questions, offer expertise and teach shoppers how to play games.

Here are some unique gift ideas that will entice families to bring the fun indoors:

“Rory’s Story Cubes, appropriate for children ages 3 and up, contain nine unique 6-sided dice — each side with a different icon printed on it,” said Josh Stein, owner of Fair Game. “The rules are more like suggestions in this creative thinking game, which encourages players to stretch their imagination and come up with a story that corresponds to the icons rolled.”

“Star Wars: X-Wing the Miniatures is ideal for anyone who is a fan of Star Wars and for anyone who enjoys quick-playing thematic games,” Stein said. “This game lets two or more players recreate Lucas’s fantastic dog-fighting scenes on a tabletop with wonderfully detailed miniatures. Depending on the number of ships fielded, games can take anywhere from twenty to ninety minutes.”

“Timeline is a small game which plays big. Players take turns adding to the timeline in the center by playing cards depicting inventions or events,” Stein said. “The card is then flipped over revealing the date in which that event took place. If placed properly, the player passes the turn; if not, the player is penalized and has to draw another card. Wonderful artwork and quick play make this a great game for anyone.”

“Finally, Telestrations is the amalgam of the games Telephone and Pictionary,” Stein said. “Each player starts with a dry-erase flip-book and a pen. At the beginning of the round, each player randomly selects an object to draw on his or her book. After drawing, the book is passed to the next player who looks at the picture and flips the page; writing down (in words this time) what they think the previous player drew. The book is passed again, with the next person drawing what the previous person wrote. This repeats until each player has his or her original book back. Hilarity is ensured as the drawing and interpretation wanders far afield from the original.”

For more information on these games or other gifts available at this store, visit:

Anderson’s Bookshop, with locations in Naperville and Downers Grove, has a rich and storied history that all centers on a love of books and a mission to inspire life-long readers among the communities they serve. Anderson’s Bookshop offers a variety of educational toys and games alongside their fantastic selections of books for young readers.

Below are the top gift recommendations for the holiday season:

“The Safari book, by Workman is good for the whole family. Safari is a photicular book [integrated photography], where graphic images are articulated and move as you turn the page,” said Candace Purdom, publicity and events at Anderson’s Bookshop. “Anderson’s Bookshop also has a large selection of Springbok puzzles, which are made in the USA.”

“The Shrimp Cocktail game by Blue Orange is a fun, action-packed game that everyone will have a blast playing,” said Tres Anderson, owner of Anderson’s Book Shop.

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Games to play with others will provide a meaningful environment and idyllic memories; books will open minds and promote creativity and imagination. These are gifts that will last long after the holiday decorations have been packed away. Games, books and other instructive toys will provide an enriching experience for your children this holiday season and beyond.