5 Days of Great Family Games {Blog Hop day 5}

5 Days of Family Games www.fruitinseasonblog.com/

Favorite Family Games {www.fruitinseasonblog.com}

Day 1: {Kinesthetic Games}
Day 2: {Math and Language Games}
Day 3: {Strategy Games}
Day 4: {Card Games}

We’ve reached the end of this little summer series and I hope you’ve come away with some new ideas for your family game closet!

I’m wrapping up with a hodgepodge of games that are varied in content and play, but unified by the “fun” factor.  In our family we have six people with different ideas of what is a  “favorite” but most of the time everyone is still willing to play a game that they don’t adore.  The following games are truly loved by all of us, though, and so they hold a special place in my heart.

Family games that please everyone

  1. Doodle Dice– This is another of those random finds that simply become a staple in our game time.  I don’t think I had ever even heard about it, but while searching the game shelves at Target I picked it up on a whim.  It’s cheap and endearing, a kind of cross between Yahtzee and Pictionary.  The game consists of six dice, each bearing on its sides six little doodles, a stack of cards with pictures that can be made with the doodles, and a cup for shaking them.  You have three rolls in which to make and claim any of the pictures on the cards in the center of game play, and to win you must collect six cards, one of each color.  Even the youngest can play, matching dice to the picture, and it can be played by up to six players.
  2. Art Memo I and II– I’m big on art, and so I always find a way to include art appreciation in our homeschool.  We do a bit of Charlotte Mason-style picture study, but often my children remember more through games.  The Art Memo games are simple memory games, but with famous paintings as the subjects of the pairs of cards.  The cards are sturdy, and the images are beautiful.  I can’t think of a better way to learn about styles and artists!
  3. Smarty Pants- This is family Trivial Pursuit, Wii-style (which means there are some shaking, dancing, jumping and other silly moves added in.)  I love that this game can be played in cooperative mode, taking the competitiveness out of the equation for family members of varied ages.  Each player chooses a Mii and enters his age (which  is how the game chooses trivia questions).  As a family, you try to complete a certain amount of questions in a certain amount of time, therefore garnering victory for your team.  Our 5 year old can play, and his questions center around basics of daily life: clothing and tools, colors, games, and science.  I have to admit that after we’ve played cooperatively, the kids always like to sit by and watch hubby and me as we play competitively.  And it ain’t always pretty!
  4. Zooreka– This is a clever game from the makers of Cranium, Cadoo and Hullabaloo, and has players traveling the board trying to complete their own personal zoo using resource cards collected around the board, and of course, to do so before their opponents.  The board is colorful and bold, with fun animals to choose to fill your zoo (like naked mole rats, bats, and a shark tank), and as you travel the board you either gain or lose resource cards depending on how well development is coming (sometimes your monkeys throw food instead of eat it, for example.)  This game is tons of fun, and up to four people can play.
  5. Snorta- 5 Days of Great Family GamesSnorta- I saved the best for last today, and this one will have even the grumpiest kid screeching with excitement and laughter.  Snorta comes with a bag of cute little rubber animals to choose from, and a little personal barn for each player.  There is a hefty stack of cards to be passed out among the players (a whopping eight players can play at one time!) and play goes quickly as cards are laid out one by one around the circle.  Here’s the catch: anytime your card matches anyone else’s card on the board, you have to be the first of the two of you to yell scream shout calmly call the sound of the matching opponent’s animal.  But all the animals are in their respective barns, so you have to remember them all and be quick about it!  It is hysterical, and often you’ll hear something like, “Dog! Bow-wow!! Cock-a-doodle-do!! Hee-haw!! Hiss!! Darn, what’s your animal again?!?”  The player to get rid of all his cards first, wins.  But really, with a game this fun, everyone wins! **Just noticed that this is super expensive on Amazon!  I’m sure you can find it used somewhere cheaper.  I hope they haven’t stopped making this fabulous game!**
What are the games in your house that everyone loves to play?

5 Days of... {Summer Series www.ihomeschoolnetwork.com/}Click on the image above to visit these fabulous ladies for the last day of this fun summer blog hop!  And don’t forget to check out the ultimate homeschool blogger’s retreat, a sponsor for this hop and an amazing tropical paradise!!

5 Days of Great Family Games {Blog Hop day 4}

5 Days of Family Games www.fruitinseasonblog.com/

Favorite Family Games {www.fruitinseasonblog.com}

I’m so glad you’ve joined me as I share our family’s favorite games!

Day 1: {Kinesthetic Games}
Day 2: {Math and Language Games}
Day 3: {Games of Strategy}

Sometimes what we need is a quick and easy card game.  They are transportable, usually simple to learn, and inexpensive.  We have a number of favorite card games that stay out at all times, ready to be picked up by the kids on a school break, or weekend morning.  A regular deck of cards can yield dozens of fun games (I’m a big solitaire fan myself), but there are other less traditional games that provide tons of fun as well.

Great family card games

  1. Spot It- This is one of those afterthought cheapy games that I picked up on a random trip to Target.  I think it was a stocking stuffer.  The idea is simple and it’s a fast-paced game that keeps little ones and big ones alike equally interested.  Each circular card has 8 images on it, and each pair of cards shares one, and only one, image.  Your job is to identify what matches.  There are a number of mini-games, each with a different objective, and this little game takes no time at all to play.
  2. Slamwich- There are many types of sandwich fillings in this vicious little game.  As the name suggests, depending on what card is played, players “slam” their hands down to claim matches and take the pile.  We’ve had quite a few “ouchies” but also a ton of laughs playing this one!
    Card Games {5 Days of Family Games}
  3. Phase 10 This game takes longer to play than the others in my list, but it is one of my favorites.  The age range is a bit older, due to the attention span required, but I definitely think it’s worth it to have around the house.  The game is easy to learn: there are ten phases (a phase being a specified group of cards) to pass throughout the game, and the first to pass all 10 in order wins the game.  Yet it’s not quite that simple.  Multiple people pass phases at the same time, and you keep points for the cards you have left after each hand is done.  It’s a fun evening activity for adults and older kids alike.
  4. Uno Attack and Uno Roboto We were big Uno players when I was growing up.  Of course, then it was only the basic game, and while that’s still fun, we love some of the extension games in our family.  Uno Attack has a nifty little contraption that spits cards at you on occasion (from 2 to 7 cards) when you press the button, making getting rid of your cards a bit more difficult.  Uno Roboto has a cute little robot that tells you what to do, shouts out random tasks on occasion, and says things like, “I like the way you look.  Go again!”  It records each player saying her name and distorts the voice, making it silly and perfect for the younger members of your family. Both of these games can be played with up to six people.
  5. Monopoly Deal- I mentioned my love for Monopoly in the Day 1 post.  But, let’s face it, Monopoly can take forever, even with the “quick play” rules.  Monopoly Deal takes some of the best competitive elements of the game and provides a 15-20 minute game.  The goal is to lay out three full sets (the same sets in the traditional Monopoly) before your opponents do, but there are barriers to overcome: keeping enough money in your bank to pay penalties your opponents choose; making sure no one steals your cards; and simply the luck of the draw.  We just taught our 5-year-old the rules of the game, and while he’s not up on the strategy of his moves yet, he enjoys the fast pace.

Only one day left!  And tomorrow I’ll share some really fun ones!

Don’t forget to visit all of the Blog Hop ladies and get ideas for your family, budget, schoolyear, bookshelf, menu, and more for the coming year.

5 Days of... {Summer Series www.ihomeschoolnetwork.com/}

5 Days of Great Family Games {Blog Hop Day 3}

 

5 Days of Family Games www.fruitinseasonblog.com/

Welcome back to 5 Days of Great Family Games!

Day 1: {Kinesthetic Games}
Day 2: {Math and Language Games} 

Games of strategy and logic for the whole family

I love good strategy games.  They are also some of the most well-loved games in our home, especially for our boys.  There are so many educational benefits to logic and strategy games, such as critical thinking skills, improved concentration and attention, and math skills, to name a few.  We make them a regular part of our week and often begin a school day with a game or two.

  1. Chess– When I was three years old, my dad taught me to play chess.  Unlike other parents teaching difficult games to young, precocious children, he didn’t let me win.  Finally, when I started having nightmares about losing, my mom convinced him to go easier on me.  And yes, with that background it’s no wonder I’m still competitive, but I now have a twelve-year-old that can sometimes beat me.  Chess is a staple in our home (even the 5-year-old is pretty good), and it is probably taken out at least a couple of times a day for a quick game.
  2. Guess Who?– This is also a two person game, but one that is shorter and easier.  The two game boards are filled with pictures of various people, with different physical characteristics.  Your job is to guess the character your opponent has before he guesses yours, by asking key yes-or-no questions.  For example, if you ask, “Does your person have brown hair?” and the answer is “no” then you can rule out all of the brown-haired people.  It’s a great introduction to logical thinking.
  3. Castle Keep- This simple-to-learn building game challenges players to either build onto a castle of their own, or tear down an opponent’s castle with each turn.  It’s not always the easiest choice to make!  You can win with either action, so foresight and strategy is needed.  The little pieces/cards are pleasing to the eye and the perfect size for little hands.
  4. Stratego-  This knights and dragons fantasy game is a two player game that requires players to set up their pieces in a very well-thought-out and strategic way in order to protect their “flag”.  Our boys love this game, and they’ve improved so much in their thinking skills simply by coming up with ways to better set up their pieces, not to mention the actual movement of the pieces to attack and defend.  There are differing levels of play, the most elaborate of which has each piece performing special powers and actions.  I get confused, but the kids love it!
    Stratego- 5 Days of Family Games
  5. Professor Layton- My oldest son has recently become enamored with these Nintendo DS critical thinking puzzle games.  Even though they are single player games, I included this series because of the great skill-building they achieve.  The virtual world of Professor Layton challenges the player to solve mysteries along with the professor by finding and completing logic puzzles.  I’ve played these myself on occasion and they are definitely brain-busting!
  6. Settlers of Catan- This game, which we’ve had since Christmas of last year, is definitely my new favorite strategy game.  I love the challenge of choosing your areas to settle down and building an empire by trading and making wise choices with your resources.  It’s a great tangential lesson in supply-and-demand economics too!  This game is very involved, but our five- and six-year-olds can play with some help, or at least be on someone’s “team”.  The game is for 3-4 players in its original form and takes up to an hour and a half to play.  You can purchase extension sets to play with up to six players and there are more ways to add to Catan with differently-themed expansion sets as well.

What are your favorite strategy games?

 

5 Days of... {Summer Series www.ihomeschoolnetwork.com/}

Come visit all of the above amazing ladies to learn from and share with them during this five-day series!  The series is sponsored by the Beech Retreat, a wonderful new homeschool bloggers conference on a little island in sunny Florida!

5 Days of Great Family Games {Blog Hop Day 2}

5 Days of Family Games www.fruitinseasonblog.com/

In our homeschool we play a lot of games.  Games have the unique ability to make learning both fun and painless.  If you ever need instruction on a particukar game, you can find detailed videos on the Movie Box App. There are so many math and language games to choose from that we could easily play games all day to learn the basics!  Here are some of our favorites:

 Great math games for the whole family

  1. Dino Dice- This game was purchased on a whim from Rainbow Resource one Christmas for a stocking stuffer.  I believe it was only five dollars and easily snags the “best-bang-for-your-buck” title.  The objective is simple: you want to roll “herds” of herbivores to earn points, and need to avoid rolling the T-rex so it doesn’t eat any of the more docile dinosaurs, thus eating your points as well.  We have used this game to help with mental math, and it’s so fun and quick the kids don’t even notice I’m using it to sneak some serious math skills in there.  I also love that it doesn’t have a maximum number of players, something that is hard to find with all of the games out there that require “2-4 players”.
    Dino Dice math game
  2. Battleship- A classic game that is a winner in our house of boys (and even my daughter likes it).  Anytime the kids can sink, kill, maim, destroy or otherwise pulverize their opponents, I’m guaranteed a game that will last.  Battleship is the perfect, easy way to teach basic Cartesian graphing.
  3. Blokus This game is in my top three, and perhaps is in my favorites list because I always win.  Each player has a set of tetris-like pieces that must be fit onto the game board, and must simultaneously block opponents and spread her own influence across the board [insert evil laugh here].  The only drawback to this awesome game of spatial skills, is that our family of six can’t all play together.
  4. Farkle Party- Another fun dice game, Farkle Party has six sets of dice, making it a great game for our family to play all together.  Simply put, players roll the dice to earn points and win the game.  The basics give way to a bit of strategy and a fair amount of luck, as you learn the more intricate rules of the game.  This is one we play often!
    Farkle Party Dice Game
  5. Trifecta This little free app is a great way to have the kids practice facts to 12 when you’re out and about and they are getting on your nerves you need to kill a few minutes.  My friend Mary introduced me to this game, and I even enjoy playing it on occasion.  To play, you roll virtual dice and then tap on tiles (numbered 1-9) that add up to what you rolled in order to make them disappear.  There are 27 tiles in all and your goal is to get to zero (something I finally accomplished last week for the first time!)  While you can’t play together, the game is quick enough to take turns and get a competition going.

Great language games for the whole family

  1. Green Alligator This little gem has been a great way to include little ones in our games, and is excellent for working on skills of description, and verbal processing.  Each card has a picture of an everyday object or action.  The player looks at the card and describes the object or action without using the word itself so that the other player can guess it.  Whoever has the most cards at the end wins, but we usually do not play with a winner, choosing to play cooperatively instead.
  2. Apples to Apples I love this game!  We have the kids and junior versions, and will probably invest in the regular edition at some point as well.  It can be played with the whole family (and there are not many games out there for more than 4 players) as soon as the youngest can read a bit.  There are two types of cards- adjective cards, and noun cards.  The “judge” chooses an adjective card to share with the group, and each other player then has to give the card in his hand that he feels matches the adjective.  The judge reads the cards aloud and chooses the one he likes best.  Laughter is sure to ensue, especially when you have a preteen whose only goal as judge is to choose the card that doesn’t fit in the slightest.
  3. Bananagrams- This little game has pleasing scrabble-like tiles that go “chinkchinkchink” in the bag (am I weird that I like that so much??)  But I even like it apart from the happy noise it makes.  Your goal in this game is to build an independent crossword puzzle structure (unlike Scrabble where you add to a joint structure) and use up your tiles first to win.  It is a great game for younger players and early readers, since they can use simple words and not worry about what words others are using.
    Bananagrams

Do you use games in your homeschool?  What are some favorites for math and language?

5 Days of... {Summer Series www.ihomeschoolnetwork.com/}

{Click on the picture and visit the rest of the crew!  They all have wonderful encouragement and information to share for this summer series!!}

5 Days of Great Family Games {Blog Hop Day 1}

5 Days of Family Games www.fruitinseasonblog.com/

Growing up I remember sitting around the table playing Monopoly with my family.  I remember loving the competitiveness of the game; the way my dad (cut-throat to say the least) often wouldn’t trade with anyone; the times my mom offered charity in the form of play money to someone who wasn’t doing well; the feeling of winning; and the occasional stomping off of someone or other who couldn’t handle not winning.

I remember playing chess with my dad, Life with my mom and sister, and pinocle and nickel-and-dime poker with the whole family.  I remember the towering stacks of games- Clue, Risk, Checkers, Yahtzee, Scrabble, Taboo, Scattergories- high up on the shelf in our playroom.  I absolutely loved playing games.  I still do.

Favorite Family Games {www.fruitinseasonblog.com}

Characteristics of a great family game

So now it’s our playroom that has the stacks of games.  Sometimes we have high hopes for a game but it doesn’t quite fit our family, and sometimes a game surprises us and we enjoy years of play.  As I look at the games that get the most use, wondering what makes them great, I recognize that they do one (or more) of these three things:

  • make us laugh
  • make us think
  • make memories

I hope that this week, as I highlight some of the games that have stood the test of time in our home, you will find something new to explore here, something to add to the running Christmas or birthday list for your family.  And I hope also that you will share what your family favorites are in the comments.  I’m always on the lookout for a new favorite to add to our teetering stacks!

Kinesthetic games for the whole family

  1. Bop It XT This little treasure was given to us as a gift.  It is addictive, easily-transportable, and can be played solo or in “pass it” mode.  Each little doo-hicky on the game has a different function (bop it, flick it, twist it, spin it, pull it) and the objective is to follow the directions of the voice and do the right action to the right piece at the right time.  Very simple to learn, not so simple to master.  I love playing “pass it”.  When the voice tells you to pass it to the next player, it gives you an extra second to do so before the directions begin again.  Be prepared to go a bit bonkers with this one!
    Bop It!
  2. Hyperdash Another great game that can be played solo or with a group, Hyperdash requires players to set up the five numbered, colored cups and follow directions to each one as prompted “punching” them with the plunger as you go.  It can be played inside or out, depending on where you are and how much space you have.  The goal is to be the fastest, or to beat your own time if you’re playing solo.  This is a great game to help kids expend a little energy!
  3. Outdoor Challenge We like to keep screen time to a minimum, but the Wii has a couple of games that are really active and Outdoor Challenge is our favorite of this type.  This was the first Wii game that our then-four-year-old could play with us, and one of few games that can be played with a whole bunch of people (taking turns for each activity).  The challenges are varied and include fun activities like log jumping, pipe sliding, speed roller skating, kayak attack and mountain boarder, all of which require some serious physical maneuvering!
  4. Jumping Pixies What do you get when you cross cute wooden pixies with Newton’s laws of motion?  You get a hilarious catapulting game- marginally educational in the physics department, but guaranteed to have you giggling with your little ones (and not-so-little ones).  Try to pop your little pixies into the holes of the game board with the seesaw-like plank, and earn points based on which color they land in.  This game is so much fun, and will also have your little ones adding tens and ones in their heads to get their scores (an extra math perk!)
  5. Askew- Askew is basically a balance game.  It is made up of color-coded metal pieces and a stand that waits to foil attempts at balancing the lot of them.  Each player has a group of metal pieces of varying lengths and must choose wisely which to place and where, so that he is not the one to knock the whole thing down (getting himself extra pieces in the process.)  It’s a great and subtle physics lesson!  (Zach isn’t really wearing shades.  I was playing around with my photo editing software.)Askew gameWhat games get your family moving?

Be sure to visit the other homeschool bloggers in the 5 Days’ series from
iHomeschool Network (and check out the series sponsor: Beech Retreat!)

5 Days of... {Summer Series www.ihomeschoolnetwork.com/}