Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Games

School doesn't always have to be "school-ish" at our house. While I do think that reading, writing, and arithmetic are important, I don't think that the only way to learn is through textbooks. I love using board games to help the small people learn. I also love finding new games that encourage using critical thinking skills. I also love that we can incorporate learning games into special occasions like New Year's Eve.

Here is a list of some of our favorite games (in no particular order).
1. Ticket to Ride - Players claim railway routes across the United States, trying to gain the most points. We also have the 1910 Expansion pack. Soccer Girl and The Boy can get rather ruthless, trying to achieve the longest train or complete the most tickets while making their destinations and accumulating the most points. Ballerina's play is a little more laid-back, and Little Red just likes to join all of her routes together into one long train. The Ticket to Ride - Europe version is on my wish list. 


2. Word on the Street Junior - Teams try to collect letters by spelling words for specific categories. After one team spells a word and moves those letters to their side of the street, the other team chooses a category card and spells a word, trying to not only gain letters for themselves but to move letters away from their opponents. It becomes a tug-of-war of letters, and usually has us all laughing as we scheme against each other. Because spelling skills are a large part of this game, we usually pair up weaker spellers or non-spellers with stronger spellers when we play. The girls aren't quite ready for the older version of Word on the Street, but it also is on my wish list.
3. Monopoly - We own several versions of Monopoly - the Boy Scout version, the Star Wars version, and the classic version. We also own Monopoly Deal. The girls aren't always up for a long game of Monopoly, and Monopoly Deal helps us to still be able to play a strategic game in a shorter time frame. The Boy, on the other hand, loves to play the longer versions and takes delight in pushing his opponents into bankruptcy.
4. Last Word - Players try to be the person to give the last word in a category before the time runs out. While Word on the Street involves spelling skills, my non-spellers or weaker spellers are able to play this game. It's a great way to work on some vocabulary skills.

5.  Hi Ho, Cherry-O! - This is Sassy Pants's favorite game. Since she's so young, she can't play the other games that the older kids like, so she and I play this one a lot. It's a fun way to help her practice counting skills, and we even throw in some simple adding and subtraction skills.

I'm always looking for new board games to play with the small people who live here. What is your family's favorite game?

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