# Letter, Number or Bug; Criss-Cross Applesauce; and Hocus Pocus, Everybody Focus Games Review

Editor's Rating
5/5

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## Editor's Review

Help preschoolers get ready for school with three new early-learning games from Briarpatch. These school-readiness games help kids ages 3 and up with mathematics, literacy, and coordination.

Letter, Number or Bug is a game for two to four players, and the object is to collect five Answer Tiles by correctly guessing what’s underneath the Category Cards. Is it a letter, a number, or a bug? In this active game, you’ve got a stack of larger Category Cards, a stack of smaller letter and number Answer Tiles, and a stack of smaller bug Answer Tiles. The smaller letter or number Answer Tiles get placed face up evenly around the play area, while the smaller bug Answer Tiles get spread throughout the room away from the main play area. Before one player turns over a large Category Card, all players have to guess whether it’s going to be a letter, number, or bug. Once all players have made their guess, the card gets turned over. If the card shows a letter or number, the players who guessed correctly race to find the match on the smaller Answer Tiles. If the card shows a bug, the players who guessed “bug” must find the matching Bug Answer Tile in the room. If nobody guessed correctly, then all players can race to find the matches. Discard the flipped over Category Card and start a new round. Keep collected Answer Tiles in front of you, and the game ends once a player collects five Answer Tiles.

Criss-Cross Applesauce is also for two to four players, and it asks players to creatively interpret and remember the series of activities on the Activity Cards. It’s kind of like charades. All players sit criss-cross applesauce-style around the Talking Stick and shuffled deck of Activity Cards. When it’s your turn, you’ll draw an Activity Card and stand up to act it out so that the other players can guess what it is you’re doing. If you have a Trace It card, you’ll use the Talking Stick to trace letters in the air. If you draw a Pretend card, use sounds and your body to act like the animal shown. And if you have an Action card, act out the movement shown on the card. When players guess the activity, the turn ends. Now the next player draws a new card but has to act out the previous activity and the new one. Gameplay continues clockwise as players work together to flip over as many Activity Cards as they can. Keep track of how many Activity Cards the group can remember, and use the scale in the instructions to see if the group is Beginner level or Legend.

Hocus Pocus, Everybody Focus asks its two to four players to be the first to successfully collect five objects. Each player chooses one of the four animal masks: owl, frog, dog, and cat. All the objects and wood objects get placed inside the game box. To start, each player chooses one object from the box, and the first five objects are placed into the Standees and arranged around the spinner. Other objects are placed around the spinner until there are 10 total objects placed. Now it’s time to start the gameplay. Take turns spinning the spinner. If you land on a plus, everyone has to cover their eyes with their masks while you add one new object from the box to the objects around the spinner. If you land on a minus sign, all other players have to cover their eyes with their masks while you remove one object from the play area. And if the spinner lands on the four animal faces, all players cover their eyes with their masks while you either add or remove an object. Once you’ve added or removed, say “Hocus Pocus, Everybody Focus!” so that the other players can lower their masks. Now players try to guess what object was removed or added. Correct guesses earn the player the object, and the first to collect five wins.

\$18.28

## Should I get it?

Each of these games has a lot of great educational content. Letter, Number or Bug gets players active and tests their memory skills. It also helps kids learn and reinforce number and letter identification.

Through the gameplay of Criss-Cross Applesauce, kids are encouraged to be creative and express themselves. Plus, they’re working on gross motor skills and memory skills.

And Hocus Pocus, Everybody Focus tests memory and problem-solving skills while encouraging social interaction among players.

### Pros

Easy to learn
Test memory skills
Get kids active
Encourage social interaction

None

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