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Poppo! Review by Nancy Casari Dayton

Poppo Brands
PO Box 150
Prides Crossing, MA 01965

 The Poppo company mission is "to enliven and enrich people's lives with joyful moments and memories through play, every day." This game can bring people of all ages together to do just that. It really is fun. And it's educational. Players practice the following skills: picture and word association, letter matching and word recognition, spelling patterns, visual memory and reasoning skills, concentration and comprehension, grouping, sorting, ordering, and word reading efficiency.

One word game I'm very familiar with is Boggle, Jr. Poppo is a lot more fun. Each player or team gets 5 noisy poppers to pound--what's not to like about that? The game also comes with 100 picture/word cards with three and four letter words, a card box, a sand timer, and a storage tray. Each set of poppers includes four poppers of different colors. Each popper contains a die with a specific set of letters and a "wild" asterisk, which can substitute for any letter. Someone is designated to select a card; another person sets the timer. Then each team tries to pop out the letters of the word one popper at a time. The letters must ultimately spell out the word in order, but players can pop the poppers in any order.

As soon as a player pops out the letters of the word, he/she shouts "Poppo!" That player/team then wins that card. The game ends whenever the players want to stop or after all 100 cards have been won. That could keep kids busy quite a while.

There are some adjustments that I found useful for my preschoolers. After selecting a word card, we looked over the poppers and arranged them in proper order before we began popping, and I explained where they would need to use the "wild" asterisk, if necessary. Also, we used the side of the card that has the word spelled out rather than the side with just the picture. As their understanding of language develops, they can begin to use just the pictures and arrange the poppers themselves.

You may not like this game if you are particularly averse to noise. I know one person who said it was boring to wait for the letters to pop up. However, the kids and I really enjoy playing Poppo! They enjoy the tactile and auditory stimulation, and I enjoy knowing they are practicing real language skills.

Product review by Nancy Casari Dayton, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2007