Board games for the whole family
Alchemist Mysterium Give your brain a work out with these games of logic and deduction. Solve the mystery of a 30-year-old crime and compete with others to create the most potent potion.
Players are alchemists who mix potions to determine the alchemical properties of eight different ingredients. Each turn you can choose to acquire ingredients, sell potions, buy artefacts, gain reputation and earn points by publishing or debunking theories, or experimenting and testing your potions. The winner is the player who earns the most points.
A free app for both IOS and android can be downloaded that makes it much quicker and easier to test your potions. Alchemist is a complex game that is best for older children and adults. It is suitable for two to four players and takes about two hours to play. Mysterium is a cooperative mystery game where the players all lose or win together. Up to six players take the role of investigators, invited to a haunted manor to solve the mystery of a murder. Another player takes on the role of cluegiver. The investigators communicate with each other and have seven turns to correctly identify the weapon, the murderer and the location of the crime.
Mysterium comes with amazing artwork and the deck of cards can also be used as an expansion to Dixit. The game is not difficult, but requires creativity and imagination in discerning clues from the picture cards. The game supports two to seven players aged 10 and older and takes about 60 minutes to play. For more information and a list of stockists, visit
We have one Alchemist game to give away
To enter by mail, write your name and address on the back of an envelope and post to Pixel Park giveaway, Parenting magazine, PO Box 37 708, Parnell, Auckland 1151. To enter online, go to the competitions page at theparentingplace.com and answer the following question - How many players is 'Mysterium' designed for? Entries close 2 November 2016.
Car seats are another big investment and rightly so as they are the single most important piece of safety equipment you will buy for your baby. But does that mean expensive is better? Not necessarily. Do your research! Try and buy a car seat that converts so that it will last your child right up until they are old enough to be out of a car seat (around eight years old). You can purchase car seats that go from newborn to eight years but they have their pros and cons – so again, do your research to see what will suit your situation.
Having said that, most people get a capsule for their newborn and then buy a car seat when the baby has outgrown the capsule. Depending on the size of the capsule and the size of your baby, you can get up to six to 12 months of use. They are easily hired – often for less than a $100 for six months, which is a great deal.
No need for a fancy, expensive ‘nappy bin’. Just use a normal bin – you’ll be emptying it every day anyway.
Buy nappies and wipes in bulk, but not too many as babies grow so fast.
Consider cloth nappies. I know they have their pros and cons, but cloth nappies are pretty awesome these days and can save you a lot of money in the long run. Look into it.
A baby bath is not necessary – babies are just as happy to have a bath in the kitchen sink or have a shower with you when they're a little older.
You don’t need a special chair to breast/bottle-feed baby, simply use a comfortable chair or couch you already own. Just make sure that your back and arms are well supported.
Fancy baby swaddling blankets? A square muslin cloth will do just as good a job.
Nappy bags are handy because of their many compartments, but are definitely not essential. Any large handbag will do the trick just fine.
Borrow baby items from friends and family and make use of hand-me-downs.
Go easy on buying baby clothes. They grow so quickly.
WDistraction is an extremely useful tool and probably sits near the top of most parents’ list of quick fixes. But is it always the best solution? Our Family Coaches share their advice.
hen your two year old hammers his thumb and is starting to realise what just happened, or your three year old is advancing menacingly on the family cat, then, “Shall we read a book together? Why don’t you go and choose one?” (or similar) will get you out of many a potential scrape with your little ones.
But it becomes too much of a good thing if we never stop to ask - would she be better off if I didn’t distract right now? If your own feelings of discomfort at seeing your five year old upset mean that you will offer her food, a new toy, the TV on (anything to stop the crying!) - then she is missing some valuable opportunities to learn that difficult feelings can be endured.
Letting unpleasant feelings sit is hard to do. Most of us will have pangs of guilt if we let a child remain in self-pity or sadness when they could easily be distracted from it. But a long-term plan for parenting means putting our discomfort aside for what our kids need most from us. I want my daughters to know when they break up with their first boyfriend, or don’t get the first job they apply for, that yes, those feelings are nasty, but they are endurable and they won’t last forever.
So empathise and let them know that you see and care about what they’re going through. This honours their experience far more than brushing over what has happened in your haste to end the pain. Sit with them and offer your support as they work their way through to the other side. Let them grieve for a lost toy, ice cream, or chance to break the rules. It will happen naturally, without your interference, if you can sit with it long enough. You don’t need all the answers, you just need to be there. Becoming pickier about when you use distraction, particularly once your child is schoolaged, has another advantage. When you can hold back, you allow them the opportunity to consider what part they’ve played in their current unhappiness.
It’s been said that in life we cause the majority of our own suffering, but a child whose parent over-uses distraction is shielded from this wisdom and instead learns, “Pain is not to be learned from but to be avoided at all costs”. If the toy lost at school wasn’t supposed to be there in the first place, will they ever wonder, “How can I make sure I never have this feeling again?” when we buy them a new one on the way home?