Game board detail image courtesy of Wannaplé
Like many parents during the Great Polar Vortex of 2014, Christine Peck was just trying to ride it out sans frostbite souvenirs. “It was really, really terrible and we couldn’t get outside. I was trying to come up with all these ideas of how to get my son’s energy out,” Peck remembers. “We were also playing a lot of board games and when you have a ton of energy and you’re playing board games, you knock things over and you can’t stay focused.”
Once the deep freeze thawed, Peck, a sustainable business and marketing expert, partnered with her design and branding pro sister-in-law Meghan DeRoma. Their mission: Build a better board game. “As our kids were looking to enter kindergarten, we started thinking about the importance of play and how it can help our children do better as they enter their school year, so making them more confident, providing them emotional intelligence so they can interact with other children. That’s when we started creating the game Silly Street,” Peck says. Following a successful Kickstarter campaign, Silly Street has since become a reality, along with an entire company called Wannaplé that is devoted to bringing the benefits of play to kids and families.
Designed with “little hands and moving bodies” in mind, Silly Street pairs a supersized board with a deck of cards. Players pick a card and do what it says, from roaring like a lion, to inventing a song about the picture on the card, to simply finding something exciting on the board. “It’s really open ended and open to the interpretation of the child, so every time you play the game, it’s totally different because the mood and the people who are playing it are changing their interpretation of the card,” Peck explains. In a clever move, the card also states how many spaces to move after completing the activity, eliminating young children’s, ahem, “subjective” assessments of numbers determined by the more-common spinner or dice.
The result? A game that shakes out the sillies, brings families closer, and builds kids’ confidence and creativity. “It brings a really joyful moment to an ordinary day,” Peck says. “We also love the idea of children seeing their parents in a new way. So often you get swept up in all the activities of being a family and allowing each other to really let loose and belly laugh is an incredible feeling."
Silly Street is now available on Amazon and will hit Creative Kidstuff shelves this fall.