Even a toddler can tell you three things to do at the seaside. But can you actually get the words out when the 5 Second Rule Timer is turned, the balls are rolling and the ‘zoop’ sets your heart racing?

A bestselling board game since its launch in 2010, the beauty (or some may say the dastardly deception) of 5 Second Rule is its simplicity: all you have to do is name three things in a particular category in five seconds. It could be three dog breeds, three vegetables, three characters from Harry Potter, three tiny things or even three things made of wood. Then again, it could be three national flags containing the colour green, three dictators, or three ways to get a yellow or red card in football.

The trick is that no matter how easy a category you get (and there are 376 question categories!) , those five seconds roll by mind-bogglingly fast. And we mean that literally – right there in front of your eyes, the five seconds roll by in the form of balls twirling down the “zoop” Timer.

It might be a board game, but
5 Second Rule can also turn family chores into a playful exercise! Just ask for ‘three things you did today’, turn over the “zoop” timer, and make everyone deliver their answer. The first one to miss a round does the dishes…

How To Play Open the board, select the colour of your pawn (there are six) and set it on the Start square, collect two Switch cards (which allow you the option of switching questions), two Pass On cards (for when you want to pass your question to the next player), then complete 12 rounds of questions to get to the Finish line. If you don’t answer your question, the next player gets to answer it (but can’t use any answers you already gave). But they also get the bonus of having their round as well – so they can get to the end faster. And the winner gets… Up to you.

Players You could play this game solo or with a party of family and friends. We’ve played it effectively (although not to completion) with children as young as three, although the real fun kicks in around the recommended age of 8+. Nonetheless, you can also easily adapt the game for younger players (see below).

Alternative Ways To Play

The Car Journey – Pack the Timer and make up your categories as you go along. It could be “three things that you want to see in *your destination*’ or “three things you like about your sister (who is currently poking you in the ribs)”

Family Chore Game – Again, just use the Timer and ask whatever questions you like – perhaps “three things you learnt at school today”, “three friends you want to invite to your next birthday party” or even “three things you hate most about school”. Whoever doesn’t deliver their three answers in the time allocation gets to do the dishes, take out the rubbish, pack away all the toys, or alternatively, the winner gets to choose the family weekend activity.

Toddlers/Special Needs – Change the categories to those things that are of specific interest to your own child. For example, our three year old had a passion for all things Egyptology, so we ended up with 12 questions that would interest him, from “name three things you would find with a mummy” to “name three pharaohs or queens of ancient Egypt”.

Good For… Following instruction, comprehension, recollection/memory, attention development, self confidence, interaction, taking turns, time management, vocabulary, articulation and listening

Keep in Mind… A number of the questions have cultural references, so if you are playing with younger children, we recommend making one box of questions that will be appropriate for them to answer and another for the adults – just to make it a little more of an even playing field

What Kids Love The zoop of that timer will have them in fits of giggles every time – apart from when it’s their turn!

What Parents Love This game can be played for as long or as short as your child’s attention span. Being able to play it without the board means that – as long as you have the timer – you can play the game no matter where you are

Awards Winner of the Dr Toy’s Best Picks Product (2010), National Parenting Center Seal of Approval, iParenting Media Awards for Outstanding Product, FamilyFun Boredom Buster Award, Nominee for Toy Industry Association’s 2011 Game of the Year Award, Honorable Mention in the National Association for Gifted Children’s Recommended Toy List

Designer Details Patch Products was started in 1971 by brothers Fran and Bryce Patch in Beloit, Wisconsin and began producing its own line of games in 1985 with both new games and licensed games as part of their repertoire. Today the company has everything from some of the best loved board games (think Stratego, Go Ape and of course 5 Second Rule) to magnetic travel toys, floor puzzles and licensed products (including Sesame Street and Where The Wild Things Are).