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SHOPPING FOR...Board games
As told to Laurie Squire
October 14, 2007

The expert: Paul J. Donahue, founder of Child Development Associates in Scarsdale and author of "Parenting Without Fear" (St. Martin's Press)

The product: Family-friendly board games

What I want: Games should be fun! I'm all for educational value, but the main point is to get everyone together to have a good time.

I must have: The best family board games allow younger and older children to play together. The ones I like the most teach lessons about patience, taking turns and working hard toward a goal.

What I hate: So many choices at the big toy stores - I tend to feel overwhelmed when trying to pick one that will be a good fit for our family. I go to smaller local stores that specialize in creative and educational games.

Savvy shopper: Ask around. I like to see what our neighbors are playing, which games our kids have enjoyed when visiting their friends.

My pick: Concentration- inspired memory games, such as Impressionist Art Memo from Piatnik ($19.98, Amazon.com and museum shops). It's a great way to introduce young kids to fine art, but it's also a humbling experience - my wife and I haven't been able to seriously challenge our daughters since they were 5 years old!

Next best thing: Old favorites. We like to play the card game Gin, and recently we all got hooked on dominoes. Mexican Train Double 12 Dominoes from Puremco ($23, dominoes .com) - easy to learn, a lot of strategy to the game, but you also have a chance to bounce back if you don't do well early on. You'd be surprised what you find out about people in the heat of battle.

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