It's been quite a while since I've written about our game days. Three years ago to be exact. (Game Day, Oct. 2011) The idea of planning in game days to play those fun, yet educational games I have stashed away has continued. When I am planning our homeschool year I put one in every six to eight weeks or so.
Today was one of those scheduled days. Well, actually, Tuesday was one of those scheduled days, but we were all on auto-pilot and no one (including myself) bothered to open a folder to check what we were supposed to be doing. D. was the first to discover yesterday that we had missed it and the outrage was immense. I did some quick shuffling and changed it for today.
Once again, I started with the younger group first, though they are now all much more enjoyable to play games with. Everyone can move their own marker, they can count, and they will all stick around to the end of the game. We started out with the Dorling Kindersley game, Around the World. Someone had given it to us, and it has sat a shelf... waiting. When I went upstairs to see what I had, I saw it and decided we should give a try, and if it was a bust, I would give it away. It wasn't a bust and it is back upstairs waiting to be played again. It is a pretty simple board game with squares superimposed on a world map with various pictures of different places and animals on the board as well. It looks just like you would expect a game produced by DK to look. The children move around little cardboard airplanes as they move around the board. Some spaces have a Chutes and Ladders aspect to them where you follow the trail to a different space, though from an adult's point of view, it is wonderful that there is no long trail leading back to the beginning. There were some move ahead and lose a turn spaces with various reasons given, such as you stop to watch the penguins swim in the icy water. This aspect of the game really appealed to everyone and no one seemed to mind losing a turn if they were watching penguins. It was also a relatively short game to play. With all four people playing it took no more than 15 minutes, which was just about the right amount of time for this group. The other plus was that G. just came up to me and asked where the Taj Mahal was. (She had visited the Taj Mahal multiple times during our game.)
The downside? It seems as though it is out of print and the link I provided (which I receive a small percentage of, in full disclosure) shows that a new one can be purchased for $25 and a used one for $125. (Go figure. It doesn't make sense to me, either.) But, I can say, while we enjoyed playing the game, it wasn't worth $25, much less $125. But now, if you come across one, you know it is the the $1.50 that you would pay at a garage sale.
This seemed to be our day for playing games that cannot be purchased reasonably. The older people (P., TM, and D... A. was off memorizing Shakespeare and Spanish verbs) and I played Chronology, which I see is still for sale, but will set you back $86. For a card game! It is fun, though. The game has hundreds of different cards, each with an event from history and a date. You start out with one card and try to place the event in the correct chronological order around the cards in front of you. If you get it right, you get to keep the card. The first person to have 10 cards wins. It starts out pretty easy. Say you have Declaration of Independence - 1776 and you are read a card about the pyramids being built. It's pretty easy to say the pyramids come before 1776. It gets trickier, though when you have cards with the dates 1872, 1919, 1923 and there is an even read that you know happened about that time, but aren't sure where exactly it falls. The game is pretty heavy on the 20th century, so between that and having taught history to my children for 17 years I had a distinct advantage over them. To make it more fair, I handicapped myself by requiring 20 cards to win instead of 10.
Is it worth $86? Probably not, but you can make your own pretty easily. This works especially well if you are studying a certain period of history. I have a lovely deck of chronology cards I made to go along the Renaissance. As we learned something, I would make a card... event and date on one side. We would then use these to review the events we learned about. At the end of the year, I think the deck is at least 150 to 200 cards thick. If you do this, you need some rules. Shuffle your deck and put it face down on the table. To begin, each person draws one card and puts it face up in front of them. Then the first person draws a card and reads it without revealing the date. The person on his or her left then says where in the timeline in front of them that even would fall. If they are correct, they keep the card and add it to the timeline, if they are incorrect, the play passes to the next person and they have a chance to figure out where it goes. If no one gets the card, it is set aside. The play moves around with the next person taking a card and reading it. The first person to reach 10 cards in their timeline wins.