Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

Table Top Games and Homeschooling

Table Top Games and Homeschooling

My son, Noah, keeps 20+ games in the trunk of his car. Why?

Because you never know when a chance to play a game with a group of people may pop up!

By popular request, Noah joined me to share his PASSION for games—the kind that don’t require a computer or gaming system. We looked at the physical products (didn’t just talk about them), and he shared age ranges, styles of games, and which ones to try based on your family’s preferences.

Enjoy the broadcast below (also download a list of the games mentioned) and see how gaming enhances family life and education!

Free Download of Games Mentioned

Includes recommended ages, number of players, and play time!

Brave Writer Recommended Table Top GamesDOWNLOAD PDF

You can buy the games on Amazon. Click on the titles below to purchase (Note: this post contains affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, Brave Writer receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!):

King of Tokyo
Small World
Sushi GO!
Ticket to Ride
Apples to Apples Junior
Cosmic Encounter
Eminent Domain
Forbidden Desert
Galaxy Trucker
Shadows Over Camelot
Settlers of Catan
Catch Phrase
Power Grid
Twilight Struggle
(RPG) Mouse Guard
(RPG) Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple
(RPG) Fate

Also, check out your area for local game stores! Many keep games available for anyone to come in and play with friends or family (with staff who can explain rules when needed), and some also host events and tournaments.

Informative website: BoardGameGeek

Tired of Writing? Make a List!

Writing Lists

Writing wears kids out, have you noticed?

Children may get that burst of linguistic energy working for them (when the inspiration strikes, they’re hard to stop!), but when they’re done, they’re done. Sometimes after a successful writing project, all anyone wants to do is lie about doing nothing.

While taking some time off, or while your kids aren’t quite proficient enough to write lengthy passages of prose, you might try writing lists. Lists can be an incredibly therapeutic way to interact with language. For one thing, there is no shortage of topics for lists.

Here’s a list (ha!) of what you might list:

  • birds
  • roller coasters
  • Lego sets
  • favorite lines of poetry
  • seeds to plant in the garden
  • items to purchase for a bedroom redesign
  • hairstyles to try
  • funny jokes
  • not-so-funny jokes
  • words that rhyme with…
  • famous lines of Shakespeare
  • the original old English vocabulary in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (with translations)
  • items in a junk drawer
  • all the vocabulary needed to sew a quilt
  • favorite TV shows
  • past American Idol contestants and when they were voted off
  • types of tanks used in WWII
  • American Girl trousseau items

As you can see, there is no limit to what can be listed!

Lists allow your kids to continue to work on handwriting, vocabulary development, categorizing, ordering, and information gathering. They also offer a place to house disparate thoughts or ideas or fantasies. It’s nice to keep a list of all the things you’d buy if you had $100.00. Cheaper than spending the dough-re-mi!

Lists can be kept in notebooks, on white boards, on sheets of paper. My daughter kept a list on her bedroom wall (all the friends she had and something funny about them).

Lists often mushroom into sub categories too: birds in my backyard, birds I saw on vacation in Florida, birds I saw at the zoo, birds that live at the beach.

So get out a notepad and start a list.

P.S. I love the little moleskin notebooks that fit inside a purse for listing, jotting down words, keeping my thoughts together so that anywhere I am, I can write them down. Your kids might like that too – a portable list!

The Homeschool Alliance

Language Games

Brave Writer mom Cyndi writes:

I just found your website and program tonight and joined the yahoo group and very excited about trying it out with my two oldest children.  As I was going through the site I saw the language games you had listed and thought I would share this one with you.

One of my favorites is something I picked up at a large children’s used item sale — it is called Storybook (comes in a box that looks like a mini metal lunchbox). It has cards with pictures.  The rules say that the first player picks a card and starts the story and then each player picks a card and repeats the previous portion of the story and adds a new part (this is somewhat cumbersome as the previous cards have all been turned face down).

My children just take turns picking a card and adding their portion to the story.  They will even pick it up and just start playing it for fun! It was so cute the one time they were doing it together (without my initiation) and I went to get my digital video camera to make a movie of them sitting on the sofa together.  Then they decided to read for the camera so that was an added benefit that made it more fun for them.  Now when one of them gets it out and starts their own story (my daughter just goes through the cards and makes up a story by herself) then the other goes to get the camera to record it!!  How cute!!

I think the game can be purchased at Target for about $5 where the card games are found (i.e. Uno, Crazy Eights, etc.) – usually an end cap!!

Another one I picked up one day in Barnes and Noble to have something to entertain the kids at the table in a restaurant (high end restaurant with long wait for food to arrive) was ZING!  The Bewitching Storymaking Game (it comes in normal size and a miniature version (like you would attach to a gift card).  There are 80 magnetic words and build a story grids. Each person selects 5 magnetic tiles from the three categories of words (elementary, edgy, esoteric) takes turns writing with their sentence using 2-7 words (must use at least one word from those chosen and can add their own words using the blank magnets. It is a little like Scrabble other than being able to add your own words (oh how many times have we just wished that we had that ONE LETTER while playing Scrabble????)  Anyway, “I” think it will be a lot of fun to play, but unfortunately it did not work out as an activity at dinner that evening and we haven’t taken time to try it out since.  (Note to self:  PLAY ZING! with the kids tomorrow!)

Anyway, hope these game ideas help and I am looking forward to learning more about Brave Writer and showing my kids that writing can be fun!!


Cranium Games

Cranium Zookeeper
The Cranium games are great for kids! They bill themselves as “whole brain” games. We own Cranium, Cranium Cadoo and this year’s Christmas addition (featured above) Cranium Zooreka.

What I like about the Cranium games is that they give natural opportunities to coordinate some of our most cherished aims on Brave Writer. There are chances to narrate, to spell, to problem-solve, to work as a team, to answer logic questions and more.

Zooreka is especially fun if you have kids who love animals (we do). It gives kids a chance to make decisions involving probability, saving and spending, and working with others.

Grammar, Spelling, and Word Games

These require no preparation. Just pick one and get started! No more grammar, vocabulary and spelling guilt.

  1. Over breakfast, identify the parts of speech for every action you perform and item you use. Stump each other, if you can. I chowed the chow while chewing. (Chowed: verb, Chow: noun, Chewing: gerund)
  2. Grab a stack of magazines or books and thumb through them until you find a word you don’t know. Look it up and use it in a sentence. (You can make this a game by suggesting that everyone do it at the same time and then share the word at teatime. See if anyone knows what it means and how to use it before the “expert” teaches them what it is.)
  3. Turn nouns into verbs: I chaired the meeting, I tabled the discussion, I forked over the money, I couched my words in apologies…
  4. Look up the name of a bird and then memorize its Latin name. See if there is a relationship between the Latin and the English. Look it up online and see if you can find out what the Latin means.
  5. Make a word scramble. Everyone picks five words, scrambles the spellings and then passes the list of scrambled words to the right. Set the timer for three minutes. Unscramble as quickly as you can. When the bell rings, pass the list to the right again. Reset the timer and go. Keep going until every word is unscrambled. Work with your neighbor if your list is finished. The goal isn’t to win, but for the entire group to unscramble every single word.