Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Great games to play

We love playing games on vacation. This past vacation we discovered two new great games, one for older kids (age 8 and up) and one for new readers (age 4 & 5).
Rhyming War (Now I'm Reading!)
by Nora Gaydos
Innovative Kids, 2008
ages 4 - 6
My 5 year old is just learning to read, and she LOVES Rhyming War. It is published by Innovative Kids, the same publishers who publish the series Now I'm Reading! They combine a solid understanding of how kids read and great graphics that make kids laugh. Rhyming War is a card game that can either be played like the classic War or like a matching game. It reinforces both number counting and reading. Each card has is part of a rhyming set that reinforces early readers developing a sense of phonics. The story was a little weak, but the game had my daughter hooked. I love how we can play a few rounds of this right before bed - having fun together and adding giving her a great boost of confidence in reading.
by Bananagrams LLC
ages 7 and up
I loved playing Scrabble when I was a kid, but it just didn't click with my kids (they're 8 & 10). We just bought Bananagrams before this last vacation and they LOVED it. It works like Scrabble, in that you build connecting crosswords from a pile of letters. But it's all about creatively building words, rather than competing for points. Each person creates their own individual crossword, and you can rearrange the words as you get other letters in your pile. My 10 year old started seeing how many 10 letter words she could put into her puzzle. It was great fun. The "winner" is simply the person who uses up all the tiles - you don't keep individual scores, so it's much less competitive. You also go at your own pace, which worked well with two different aged kids. Bananagrams received several awards when it first came out, and they're well deserved. It really is worth getting!

We received Rhyming War as a review copy from the publishers, and bought Bananagrams at our local game store, Games of Berkeley. Both are available on Amazon and at local stores.

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