Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pajaggle: A Review of A Game of Fun and Learning for All Ages

Recently, I was delighted to be asked by Help! S-O-S for Parents to be part of a team to review Pajaggle, a new game for ages 3 up. To access all reviews, please visit  Pajaggle: A Blogger Review.  To hear about how much our family enjoyed the game, simply read on:

Praise for Pajaggle from a Unique Child, His Mama of Many Hats and His Specialists
Look Who Snuck in to Play Pajaggle
How do you know when my son with special needs likes a game?  One way is to observe him choosing it over something else he loves.  Such was the case with Pajaggle this week.

A Story of Pajaggle Appeal

My children love to be outdoors and active.  So, the other day, when my eldest son Luke stopped raking leaves and jumping into them with his siblings and me in order to go inside, I thought he was just taking a potty break.  After five or ten minutes when he had yet to rejoin our leaf pile fun, I got concerned and went inside to check on him.  What I found made me smile.

My son was sitting at the table engrossed in a solo game of Pajaggle

First Pajaggle Experience
Pajaggle  had come into our home the day prior.  While my youngest son was napping, I introduced it to Luke and his sister, who both proclaimed it "quite a challenge" and "lots of fun".  They played the game cooperatively together for quite some time, fitting the gears of the game into the correct holes and punching them back out with the "pajiggler" stick.  

Later the same day, while I entertained the baby, Luke eagerly introduced the game to his father, who noted Luke's concentration and enthusiasm while playing it. 

The following morning, Luke wanted to play Pajaggle again, but I told him that since the game had many relatively small pieces, he'd have to wait to play until his baby brother was napping.  He couldn’t wait.  When Luke noted his brother occupied outside, he snuck inside play the game.  That says something:  Not much draws Luke away from time outdoors, but Pajaggle did.  It's a keeper!

A Mama of Many Hats Tips Them to Pajaggle

It’s pretty obvious that my son likes Pajaggle.  But how about me?

Quite Concentrated
I like it, too!  Even though the game has been in my house only about a week, I am already brimming with thoughts about its obvious appeal.  Here are the first ten that come to mind:
  1. As a busy homeschooling mom who sometimes needs a quiet moment, it is great to have a challenging game on hand that will engage my older children long enough for me to prep a meal, take a phone call or throw in a load of laundry.
  2. As a big believer in family time, I love that Pajaggle is a game that can be played in so many ways by everyone in our home (well, everyone except the baby), as well as with friends.  Solo, in pairs, in groups, with teams, cooperatively, competitively…  I love the game’s flexibility.
  3. As a detail-oriented person, I appreciate the finer points that went into the game's design.  For example, raised edges and textured sides of playing pieces make putting them into their sockets more intuitive and offer great tactile input.
  4. As a homemaker who is constantly picking up after my family, I appreciate that the game is designed so that the game board slides off a base that acts as a storage case for the playing pieces, timer and “pajiggler” poker, which comes with the game.  It makes tidying up easy.
  5. As a tutor who deals with children that have visual processing issues, I applaud this game’s design.  It provides a fun way to practice visual discrimination (with tactile help).  Since my son also has some visual processing issues, I am doubly glad for the game’s obvious visual input potential.
  6. As a former public school English teacher, I have known far too many children who could have used additional fine motor practice in their younger years.  This game provides plenty of pincer grasp opportunities.  It also offers many educational tie-ins as explained on the Pajaggle site itself.
  7. As the keeper of a relatively screen-free home for kids, I love that Pajaggle is what it is – a hands-on board game with nothing more electronic than the timer included with it.  Open-ended, creative play can be encouraged, as well as a variety of specific competitive and cooperative games. 
  8. As a parent frustrated by the way her son can lack follow-through and attention at times, I am so glad to see him starting and completing round after round of Pajaggle.
  9. As a witness to my son’s need to find self-soothing techniques and tools when he is angry, upset or facing sensory overload, I appreciate that Pajaggle, so far, seems to act as a calming tool.  The concentration and challenge the game requires of my son seems to be at just the right level to capture his focus and improve his demeanor.
  10. As someone who loves games myself, I find Pajaggle a clever twist inspired by one of my own childhood favorites, Perfection.  I love that I don’t have to grit my teeth and bear multiple plays of the game as I do with some of the more ubiquitous early childhood board games.  Pajaggle is truly a game that is enjoyable and challenging for adults a well as kids.
Specialists Echo Praise

Since Pajaggle has been in-play multiple times in our house over the past week since we received a game set for review, both my son's Behavior Monitor and his Behavior Modification Specialist have had a chance to become familiar with it. 

Pajiggling a Piece Out
The Behavior Monitor was immediately impressed with the game, saying that she is always looking for quality games that can help children with a variety of developmental and behavioral profiles with multiple skills

The Behavior Modification specialist, in turn, laughed, amazed at how the game was as challenging for her as it was for my son as she played it with him – and just as fun, too

Both specialists agreed that Pajaggle is "great", affording opportunities for problem-solving, sensory input, fine motor skills, self-soothing, etc

Value over Cost

So far, I have nothing but praises to sing about Pajaggle.  Well, except for one detail that is of utmost concern to parents of special needs children:  its price. 
Teaching Daddy to Pajaggle

While my family is lucky enough to have acquired Pajaggle at no cost in return for our honest review, other families will have to pay about $30 for it.  This price seems just steep enough that some families who are already burdened by the extra-costs involved with raising a child with special needs, might not be able to purchase a game set right away.  Budgeting may be in order.

I do feel that budgeting for Pajaggle  is a fair thing to consider, however, if it seems like a game your child might like.  When you consider all the ways that Pajaggle can be played, the age and stage-range that it can appeal to and the fact that it includes opportunities for fun, learning and therapeutic input, the game’s “museum-price” does not outrageous.  Pajaggle is worth looking into.  

Interested in Getting Your Own Pajaggle Set?

You can purchase one directly through  the Pajaggle site.

Or you can find it at Marbles: The Brain Store, a fabulous in-person or online store that I just found and am absolutely loving, where you get free Shipping with any purchase over $100 at Marbles.  Or receive an exclusive online discount by using the code: 4XHO93B2.

Plus, of course, you can buy a vintage or new set at Amazon.

Thank you, again, to Help! S-O-S for Parents and Pajaggle for inviting us to participate on the review team.  We loved it!


D. Scott Smith said...

Great post! Thank you. I have shared this on all my networks (LinkedIn, FB, Twitter, G+ etc)

Martianne said...

Thanks! Glad you liked it.


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