Friday, July 24, 2015

Crew Review: SimplyFun's Shape Whiz Game

Simply Fun Review

My children enjoy playing board games. Unfortunately, they enjoy it more than I do. My favorite games are faster paced, and if they happen to be educational, then it's a bonus! SimplyFun creates educational games for all ages. Children learn through play, and every homeschool mom needs an educational game or two to pull out on a difficult day. As members of the Schoolhouse Crew, we were asked to review Shape Whiz, a geometry card game for ages 10 and up. It's fast-paced, fun, and gets the kids' competitive juices flowing!

Simply Fun Review

This picture from SimplyFun shows how the game is set up. Each player receives a stack of cards (8 if you're playing it with only the easier blue cards, or 15 if you use the more difficult green cards as well). Then each player flips over 3 cards with shapes visible. At each round a yellow Whiz Card is placed in the center of the play area. Each player reads the card and finds a shape that matches it. You can pull one of your shapes, or someone else's. The first one to get a correct shape into the middle wins the round.

That's harder than it seems! I watched the kids play a few rounds and decided we needed to have a judge/umpire to be in charge of seeing who got their card in first. If you're in the midst of playing and trying to read your own cards, it's hard to know which card hit the center first sometimes. Then I joined in the game and found that even on the simpler round, it's a challenge! The teacher in me just wanted to keep helping the kids and most of the time I didn't even get a card into the middle. The kids were faster than I was. They weren't always right, but they were faster!

I like that the facts about each shape are on the back of the card. It eliminates fighting amongst the kids about whether a shape fits or not. I am glad that there are two sets of cards, so it can be played at a more difficult level and a simpler level. It helps to start with the blue cards when teaching the game to new players, no matter what age. Once everyone has the hang of the game, try adding in the green cards.

Even though the game clearly states it's for ages 10 and up, I had younger kids that wanted to join in. We played the blue cards only for them, but it was still obvious that the 10 and up rule is a good one! My 9 year old hadn't had enough geometry yet to really be able to play. It just resulted in tears. I also let the 6 year old play, thinking I would help him out. He had his own strategy. Grab a card (any card) and be the first to the center. It worked sometimes. He was correct a surprising amount of the time.

When we played the game with my 11 year old and teens, it was a different situation. The 11 year old took awhile to get the hang of it, but he was able to play. My teens were better able to handle the game, including the green cards, but it even served as a refresher and teaching tool for them. ShapeWhiz is perfect for the summer months, when their brains start to get dull and forget their math. We all enjoyed it, and it definitely brought out everyone's competitive-side.

You know those days when the kids are fighting you on school, or everyone's sick so you want to take it a little easier? That's the perfect time to pull out Shape Whiz and some other educational games. Have a game day and spend some time learning through play, while also enjoying family camaraderie. Let Mom be the fun teacher for awhile, instead of the workbook-pusher!

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