Chicago toy, game offers inspiration for children

08:15, November 23, 2009      

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Playing jigsaw puzzles that sprout flowers, squeezing greenish foam, piling up stacks of toy blocks ... children were enjoying these dazzling and enchanting games at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair Saturday.

It was the only toy and game fair open to the public at the beautiful Navy Pier in Chicago. Children coming from far and wide can probe into the hottest and latest new toys and games and also can meet inventors and participate in contests.

"It's awesome. I love it," said Tim Dirnberger, 12, who was from Chicago's suburb Barrington.

"There are so many games, so many opportunities and things that you don't usually see in the market. I am really into the games here. They definitely help me with logic and really make me think. I learned a lot of things from playing games," he said.

One of the most popular games at the fair was the award winning "Green" jigsaw puzzles which allow players to grow wildflowers.

Sandra Bergeson, one of the two inventors of the green games, told Xinhua that the games were popular with many families, as they were fun and could also teach children to be "green."

Debt-free Tree Games were also popular with the children. Kids can play it with their family, making virtual earnings from part-time work and managing the money.

Dale Balder, creator of the toy, initially invented this game just for his 7-year-old granddaughter whose parents were not good at managing their money.

"Now she has learned to manage her money and started saving for her college education already," he said.

"This game helps children learn how to manage money for their future," he said. "It helps children and family members learn how to lead a debt-free life while enjoying quality time together."

Mary Couzin, executive director of Chicago Toy and Game Group, said: "Playing can have a big effect on a child's future."

"Research shows that play can increase one's IQ (intelligence quotient) and improve math and reading scores. Play improves our ability to reason and to understand the world," he added.

Source: Xinhua
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