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Most of today’s games for kids involve at least some electrical circuitry and often a screen, but one of the year’s most acclaimed new toys combines two pastimes that have been cherished for centuries: storytelling and chess. A completely novel approach to the classic game, Story Time Chess ($49.95) teaches children as young as 3 how to play by pairing board pieces with engaging tall tales. The king, for instance, is a silly man with a belly so full of food that he can move only one square at a time. The game has received 15 top industry awards, including the 2021 People’s Choice Toy of the Year. Says the game’s creator, Andrew Kashian: “You can really teach children anything, including the complex game of chess, if you present it in a way that’s accessible for them.” —Jared Lindzon

Buy Now: Story Time Chess

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