Archive for the ‘ Critical Thinking Activities ’ Category

Strategy Game: Quoridor (ages 6+)

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

I don’t know about you, but there are times when the kids complain about being bored and not having anything to do.  We’ve been trying to bring out some board games that don’t get much use during the school year. A couple weeks ago, I wrote about a game called Quarto. Another quick strategy game we’ve been playing this summer is called Quoridor. The goal of this game is simple, to be the first player to reach the opposite side of the board. What keeps it challenging is that your opponent can place barriers from letting you get across.

Your opponent tries to stop you from reaching the other side by putting up fences to block your path and slow you down.  On your turn, you have a choice of moving one space or putting a fence in place. At times you might be forced to back-track and retrace your steps along the maze of fences!

This game is recommended for ages 6+. My kids have all enjoyed it.

Related Posts: You might want to check out the Critical Thinking Activities category for more board games and card games that our family enjoys such as Set, Quiddler, Who Nu, Blink, Lab Mice and more.

Be sure to check out the entire Summer Activities SeriesWe have lots of indoor and outdoor activities to share with you all summer long – Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays!

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Quarto Strategy Game

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

This summer, we’re trying to bring out some of the board games that are often ignored during the school year. Board games and strategy games can foster the ability to think, focus, and problem solve. Games require players to plan ahead and can help develop more sophisticated thinking skills. Games are beneficial because they foster social interaction and social skills. Everyone practices taking turns and following the rules.  Games also help everyone learn good sportsmanship–winning and losing gracefully. A board game can cost less that taking the family to the movies and yet can be repeated over and over. Besides, they’re fun!

The game I want to share with you today is a strategy game called Quarto.  It is a challenging game that takes tic-tac-toe to another level!  Players try to get four in a row by attribute:

  • color (tan or dark brown)
  • shape (circle or square)
  • solid or hollow
  • tall or short
The twist is that each player gives the other player the next piece to place onto the board.

In the picture below, DD is placing a solid square piece on the board. This prevents me from winning by placing hollow or circular piece.  After she places her piece, she’ll decide which dark piece to hand me for my move. 

My six year old is able to play this game, though it is more competitive playing with my 8 and 10 year olds who can both strategize and think ahead.

You can find the Quarto Strategy Game at Amazon.

Related Posts: You might want to check out the Critical Thinking Activities category for more board games and card games that our family enjoys such as Set, Quiddler, Who Nu, Blink, Lab Mice and more.

Be sure to check out the entire Summer Activities SeriesWe have lots of indoor and outdoor activities to share with you all summer long – Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays!

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Free Sudoku Puzzles for Kids

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

I’ve been trying to get some planning and printing done this afternoon for our homeschool next week.  We’re going to add some critical thinking activities back into our schedule and I often pull out Sudoku puzzles for the kids to work on while I’m gathering materials (that down time while I’m trying to get my act together!). The kids LOVE these puzzles.

Krazy Dad has hundreds and hundreds of Sudoku puzzles for kids in 4×4 squares, 6×6 squares and 8×8 squares and other sudoku puzzles (that are even harder!).  For the 4×4 puzzles, you have to fill in the block so that each row, each column and each 2-by-2 block contain all of the digits 1 thru 4. He has easier versions (where more numbers are filled in) and harder versions (where he doesn’t offer as many numbers to start with).

Pictured below are the 4×4 and 6×6 squares:

He also has lots of mazes for kids in shapes like these and in the shapes of animals, dinosaurs and more:

Thank you so much Krazy Dad!

Be sure to join us over at our Homeschool Den Facebook page!

Simple Terrarium
Simple Terrarium
Simple Terrarium

What career will your math whiz have? Find out.

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Family Games Night (A Review of Several Games)

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

It has been WAAaay too long since we had a family games night. For a while we did really well holding a family meeting once a month or so (see this post-Holding a Family Meeting) and this post (Our Monthly Family Meeting).  Last weekend, though, everyone was home (no sleep-overs, no sporting events!) and so we gathered together to play a bunch of games! Fun!

This was the first time we had played the Hasbro game, Whoonu. It sure was fun and was a great way to think about the ones we love!  The premise is pretty simple. One person is “Whosit” — and everyone else chooses a card that they think the “Whosit” will really like. All the players puts that card into an envelope and then the “Whosit” places the cards in order from favorite to least favorite. She reveals the cards and the players all get a token (numbered 1 through 5 depending on where their card was ranked).

LD has ranked all the cards and reveals that root beer is his favorite thing!

ED revealed her cards — showing that she liked camping the most. I was surprised that she ranked chicken noodle soup as better than bumper cars!! Who knew?!!!

We also played several card games… Quiddler, which is a game where you have to make words. (great for young readers through great grandparents!)  To play, you draw a card from the discard pile or from the draw pile and try to form a word. You have to keep the same number of cards in your hand so you must discard each round.  When someone has a word (or words) she says “Quiddler.” Each player has one more chance to draw a card/discard. Once everyone has had their turn the cards are revealed.

You add up the points at the end of the round (based on the numbers on each card). Also, the person with the longest word or most word gets and extra 10 points. In the picture  below “bad” would have 15 points, “that” would have 14 points plus 10 more for being the longest word and “at” would have 5 points but you’d have to subtract 2 points for the card that wasn’t used (each word has to be at least 2 letters in length).

Each round you add a card — so the first round is 3 cards, second deals 4 cards to everyone and so forth… all the way through 10 cards (or whenever you want to stop). Our family played just three rounds.

We also played Set and Blink. I reviewed these two games before (they’re really terrific for challenging people to think quickly!!).

Read more about the card game Set here (great for ages 5 or 6 on up)

read more about the card game Blink here (great for ages 3 and up)

If you are thinking ahead to the holidays, these are all really terrific games.

I’ve reviewed lots of games on the blog. You’ll find information about other games (we have a lot of critical thinking games and cooperative games) here.

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Math Dice Game: Mmm Brains

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

With Halloween right around the corner it seems only fitting that I bring up this game, Mmm Brains. It sounds gruesome, but it’s really just a dice game which requires addition and multiplication.  It brings the kids running, so you can’t beat that, right?!

This game has five dice with the numbers 1-5 and a brain on each side.  Then there are lots of counters (red brains=5 and white brains=1). Finally, for the second phase of the game there are color cards.

First Phase of the Game:

In the first part of the game, players take turns tossing the five dice. The object is to gather as many points as you can. You have to collect one color numbers and as many brains (of any color) as you can. You get 3 rolls on your turn.

Then you add the numbers together and multiply that by the number of brains you have:

Here’s another example: If on your turn you collected a yellow 3 and a yellow 2 and three brains, they you would get 5 x 3 or 15 points.

Or, if another player got a blue 4 and blue 3 and just one brain then he would get 7 x 1 or 7 brains.

Phase 2:

During the second phase of the game each player chooses a color card.  Players take turns trying to steal brains away from the other players. On Player 1′s turn he would toss the dice. He would then look at the dice and take that number of brains away from a player with the same color card.

In the picture below DD rolled a green 1 and a green 3. She targeted ED who has to give her 4 white brains:

The game ends when only one player has brains left or when Mom says it’s time to go!!

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