Reviewed by David Savage
Home schooling, stay at home, self-isolation, Coronavirus and COVID-19. These are very much the topics on everyone’s lips in these worrying times of a worldwide pandemic that we are currently experiencing. But we can’t take them lightly and they have and will continue to change our lives for a while yet. That means whilst the kids are off school and staying at home they still need to continue their education.
Schools have sent children home with homework packs (which to be honest are not very engaging) and there are plenty of free resources websites to download more interesting things to do. Whilst we have been using the homework packs and resources from primary education websites, most of us are not teachers and can never do as good a job as a schoolteacher (despite what some people think and will soon find out). So mixed with set school work, downloaded resources and educational programmes on the television we have also been playing educational games.
We were delighted to receive Ideal’s Think Words from John Adams. This is a game that not only keeps children’s minds active but relieves the boredom of self-isolation and is lots of fun.
Think Words is a fast-paced word game that challenges the players to think fast and find a word. Not only is a game for quick thinking but is excellent for vocabulary and can even help with spelling.
Thinks Words is a tabletop game for 2-8 players, aged 8 years and over. In the box is:
- Letter wheel (with built-in) card storage
- 36 cards (featuring 144 different categories)
Please note: this game has an electronic timer so you will need 2x AA batteries (not supplied).
Think Words is based around a large letter wheel and category cards. This wheel has 20 buttons to push down, with a letter on each (Q, U, V, X, Y and Z have been omitted). You have 10 seconds to Name It, Press It, Pass It.
To set up, make sure that the batteries are installed in the base of the letter wheel and make sure than the switch on the bottom is in the ON position. Remove the category cards from the storage compartment located in the base and place them on the table. Place the letter wheel in the centre on the table, making sure all the letter buttons are all up (if not, move the slider in the centre of the wheel to reset). You are now ready to play.
This is a very quick and simple game to learn, more difficult to get the answers under pressure!
To play, the first player (eldest of the group) selects a category card. The category card is double sided with two categories on each side. Once a card is selected, the player reads out one category question (Body Parts) and presses the timer button in the centre of the Letter Wheel (this starts a 10 second countdown). The player to the left then has 10 seconds to give an answer to the category question – e.g. as the category in this case is body parts a correct answer could be leg. If an answer is given, the player presses down the corresponding letter on the wheel (L for leg) and presses the timer again. The timer is now reset and the next player has 10 seconds to give another answer for that category. If you don’t answer within 10 seconds and the bell sounds, give an incorrect answer or answer using a letter that has already been used, that player is out of that round and play continues to the next player. Play continues until one player remains or all the letters are pushed down. Once a letter has been pushed down it can no longer be used.
Overall, the kids have loved playing this game. It is very easy to learn, quick to set up and you can play for as long as you want by determining before each game how many rounds you are going to play.
Thinks Words is great for keeping their minds active and really does require quick thinking as the 10 second time pressure makes it more exciting. It is great for improving vocabulary, especially when adults are playing as you can introduce the children to new words and even get them to use a dictionary to look up meanings.
Whilst it is more fun for the children than the adults, it is great to see them having to use their brains and their own internal lexicon whilst possibly learning new words. It is definitely not a relaxing game with the noise of the timer combined with the constant hand slapping of the timer (children tend to be a bit heavy handed) but is great fun.
The categories (questions) are all child friendly so children should be able to come up with answers. If the other players disagree with an answer, the other players have to be convinced it is correct and unfortunately for that player, majority rules!
We had great fun playing Think Words. After playing we have used a dictionary for the kids to look up meanings of words that they didn’t know the meaning of and even asked them to spell words – perfect for vocabulary, spelling and dictionary skills.
An excellent game for home learning whilst having fun and definitely an excellent way to relieve the boredom of self-isolation and staying at home.
Available to buy from Amazon here.