As you know, I'm always looking for fun ways to bring education into daily life (I've been pretty open about my preference for educational and open ended toys). One way we've started bringing more fun education in is through games. Many of them teach strategy, logic, memory, deductive reasoning and even visual/spacial skills.
I have always loved board games and card games. Of course, I was excited to play with Xander. However, I found that not all kids games were all the much fun, or all that educational. For example, I bought him Monopoly Junior, thinking it would be great for strategy and math skills. Then I found out they changed the rules from when I was a kid (or at least what I remember the rules were) and now it is all luck and almost no math. We had other games like Trouble and Hungry Hungry Hippos, that he really liked, but got really boring for me after a while. So I went on a hunt to find games he could play and learn from, but that he wouldn't outgrow in a year; in other words, fun for me too. As an added bonus, playing games together is much better quality after dinner time than watching tv together. (To be honest, I was also looking for games that didn't feel "solely educational." While we have a lot of those and they are ok, they are usually as much fun as regular games).
A Post Series is Born
Since I'm probably not the only
geek board game lover who wants to play with their kids, I thought it would make a good post series. I'll post about what games we play together and if/how we adapt them. I figured I'd throw in both games aimed at kids and adults.
First Up: Sleeping Queens
Playing Time: About 10 min
This is a somewhat silly card game indented for kids. There are a bunch of sleeping queens and you need to use your cards to try to wake them up and collect them. You can also steal opponents queens or put them to sleep. The characters are adorable and work well for kids. I enjoy it well enough, but would not be breaking it out in a group of adults. I got this for Xander for Christmas and he really liked it, in fact, a little too much. Since we were still building our stash of games we could play together, he wanted to play it ALL the time. Now that we have more games, it definitely stays in rotation, but we can have more variety.
While this game is marketed at ages 8 and up, I found it was pretty easy for Xander (5). We've even taught one of his friends (also 5), who had no trouble picking it up either. It doesn't require any reading, so that wouldn't be a barrier to young players.
The play of the game is pretty easy. You have to play cards to collect queens. There is a little bit of math involved, in that if you can make an addition problem out of your number cards, you get to draw more cards. Also, since you win by either collecting a minimum number of queens or a minimum point value, being able to add the value of your and your opponent's queens is helpful. All in all, not the most educational game in the world, but not bad either. It is a great starter game!