Geography Quest: Game Edition

Blog, She Wrote: Geography Quests- Game Edition

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Welcome to Day 2 of Family Geography Using Geography Quests. I hope this week you’ll find some practical advice on how to have fun with geography as a family. Our family loves to play games. How about you? Here’s a list of the geography themed games in our closet. Which are your favorites?

Games for United States Geography

Where in the US is Carmen Sandiego ?- This one is still around in software form and it’s easy to pick up at used book sales. While its world counterpart has gone out of date, the US edition is fun to play and is still relevant.

Scrambled States of America (and the card game version)- based on the book, The Scrambled States of America, these fun games reinforce state spellings and shapes.

Ticket to Ride- Best with the expansion, this game is loads of fun and helps to familiarize players with the continental US and its Canadian border to the north. You have to build routes by collecting train tickets.

Borderline (US)- a card game where you lay down cards that border ones that have been placed down.

Great States- This game touts landmarks and state industry along with state capitols and a detailed map for reference.

Great States Junior- great little game for primary kids on US Geography. You can match state shapes and learn state spellings or what states begin with M, for example. One card set is all landmarks for each state and the board is big and colorful for players to reference.

10 Days in the USA- this is a tough game where you try to build a ten day itinerary with some rules that make it more difficult- like not being able to switch your cards after you first place them.

Blog, She Wrote: Geography Quest- Game Edition

Games for World Geography

Ticket to Ride Europe (and the expansion)- There are a few European versions which focus on one country or region of Europe, but this is the whole of Europe and it has rules not introduced in the original version.

Borderline- a card game where you build on opportunity with border cards you hold.

Around the World in 80 Days- based on the book by Jules Verne. You get the sequence in which the trip was taken along with the general setting of the story in a game.

RISK/Axis & Allies- allows kids to have some general geography awareness with necessarily being entirely accurate. RISK is all about world domination, but Axis and Allies is a World War II themed game. So, if you have any WWII buffs (like I do), this game is a lot like RISK but way more detailed and you have different resources to work with like planes and a navy.

Blog, She Wrote: Geography Quest- Game Edition

10 Days in the Americas- This is the newest of the 10 Days series of games and concentrates on the geography of North and South America.

10 Days in Europe- Travel around Europe by foot or car in this itinerary building game.

10 Days in Asia- This map includes Oceania and the rest of Asia. You can travel by boat, car, railroad and it’s the most intricate of the 10 Days series.

10 Days in Africa- All about the continent of Africa you can travel by air, car, or foot. You’ll know the countries in Africa in no time after playing this one a few times.

Blog, She Wrote: Geography Quest- Game Edition

Make Your Own Geography Games

We make our own games as well. E15 made a Truth about New York game a few years ago which plays like Monopoly only you can build parks and monuments instead of hotels and houses among other things. The first time he hand made the cards and once it was destined for the New York State Fair, he upped his “game” and worked out the cards on the computer. It came home with a blue!

Blog, She Wrote: Geography Quest- Game Edition

Find out more about making your own games from materials and resources to themes for games in the post Adventures with Games.

In the game Conversion, you are a missionary who is trying to convert the peoples to Christianity. The geography in this game is Europe (in the Middle Ages).

Games are fun way to go Geography Questing as a family. Pull out your favorite game and play today. Better yet, work on plans to make your own game. Don’t forget to subscribe to Blog, She Wrote via email so you don’t miss this Hopscotch series on Family Geography Using Geography Quests. You can see what other iHN bloggers are up to this series by clicking the picture below.

Autumn-Hopscotch-2013

Adventures with Games

Do you have any game lovers in your house? I have some here and providing an Adventure Box full of games and their history along with activities would be a great challenge for any game loving child.

Blog She Wrote: Adventures with Games

Playing Games:

No Adventure Box of Games would be complete without the frequent opportunity to play games. I would definitely choose some new games to add to our repertoire for this theme. I might add a large board game and a smaller game like a card game. Remember you can choose what to add to the Box and when. Surprises are always fun!

Blog She Wrote: Adventures in Games

How about a List of Great Games?

  • Ticket to Ride (US & Europe versions)
  • Settlers of Catan (and all its variations)
  • Dominion (and all its add ons)
  • Carcasonne (with add ons)
  • RISK
  • Axis and Allies
  • Merchants & Marauders
  • The Amazing Labyrinth
  • 10 Days in Africa (as well as Europe, the Americas, USA, and Asia)
  • Great States of America (and the Junior version)
  • Monopoly (and variants of the original)
  • Clue
  • Rivers, Roads, and Rails- great game for younger kids
  • Scrabble
  • Equate
  • Boggle
  • Yahtzee

Blog She Wrote: Adventures with Games

That’s a partial list of the games we own and I’m sure your family has its favorites. Sometimes we pick a game stick out of a jar and play that game…when you have a lot of games it’s a fun way to keep variety in what you play. You might try game sticks in the jar for your Game Themed Adventure Box.

Blog She Wrote: Adventures with Games

Making Your Own Games:

Making your own games is a lot of fun. E14 loves to make his own games and he likes to make them complicated…just like he likes to play them!

Blog She Wrote: Adventures with Games

We get our game making materials from Bare Books. You can find several styles of blank boards along with money (blank or printed), game pieces, timers, and dice. The boards make a fabulous starting point for creative game makers!

Blog She Wrote: Adventures with Games

Most of our home made games coincide with something going on in our homeschool, but it’s usually not my suggestion. My oldest, for example, likes to choose his own projects and will usually choose a game. This NY Monopoly-esque game was E14′s idea. He wanted a game that would combine Monopoly type play with state trivia. At first he did his cards by hand, then he learned how to use Microsoft Word to make all his cards. It took him a bit to learn, but the results are fabulous. This won a blue ribbon at the NY State Fair in 2010.

Blog She Wrote: Adventures with Games

In this game, you are trying to buy improvements for your city including monuments, campgrounds, and parks. In order to build you have to have a building permit. All of these actions require answering NY State History and Geography as part of the turn. So, the basic game design is like a Monopoly game but it has some fun twists.

The key to great homemade games is allowing your kids the time to get imaginative. Summer time adventures offer kids the time. Your job is to provide the materials and fodder for ideas. My kids know they can always print on cardstock and typically we have game boards on hand or another way to make them such has poster board.

Blog She Wrote: Adventures in Games

Last spring 14 worked on creating another game. This one is called Conversion and is a culmination of his studies of the early Church and Paul’s missionary travels. Again, this was his idea and he worked on it for a long time. He wanted a game that was based on converting the people to Christianity and he included much of what he learned while studying the early Church. He did a fantastic job coming up with scenarios where you’d encounter people and then another scenario based on what decision you made from the scenario card.

Blog She Wrote: Adventures with Games

Blog She Wrote: Adventures with Games

In the end, he came up with a nice game which plays relatively well. After the county fair last summer, we worked out the game’s playability before sending it on to the NY State Fair where it earned a blue ribbon. Playability is key! We found out we were lacking resources to start the game. We didn’t have enough to do much and we couldn’t save a lot quickly. The directions were adjusted to give the new play a chance. This was a great exercise in reliability and whether or not people enjoyed playing the game.

Blog She Wrote: Adventures with Games

The hallmark of this game is all the creative scenarios missionaries could walk into…all of them a potential opportunity to make converts to Christianity. If you’d like to read more about the game play of Conversion, I blogged about it last summer.

Blog She Wrote: Adventures with Games

Some games are a lot simpler like the pictures of animals all laminated. I used this game to practice animal classification as we encounter the animals in our studies. It’s mostly a sorting game, but it has a few variations.

Blog She Wrote: Adventures in Games

Books for Game Makers and Players:

Journey to Gameland- a book about how to make a board game based on your favorite book written by a boy who make a game based on the Harry Potter series. Fun for creative ways to turn your favorite book into a game.

The Monopoly Book- Strategy and Tactics of the World’s Most Popular Game. My kids loved this book. It has a history of the game along with ways to win!

The Game Makers- The Story of the Parker Brothers. Fun history of the gaming brothers’ company

The Game Inventor’s Guidebook- all about how to create and sell board games

Game Design Workshop- A playcentric approach to creating innovative games

Scrabble Puzzles- for playing alone

Bananagrams for Kids- a puzzle book for kids

Bananagrams: The Official Book- a puzzle book for all ages with facts about words and bananas

The Games We Played: The Golden Age of Board & Table Games- this one has great reviews for providing an overview of the past in great illustrations

The Usborne Complete Book of Chess- chess strategies and how to’s of the game

Chess Puzzles- great book for chess fans. This one is for kids who already play and want to improve their game. Our kids have enjoyed it a lot.

Blog She Wrote: Adventures with Games

A Game Themed Adventure Box full of games to play, materials to create his own games, and game themed books will provides hours of creative play time for a game loving child.

Have you made homemade games at your house? Tell us about them here!

Hopscotch-With-iHN-Spring-Collage2Be sure to check out the other bloggers who are sharing a series this week through iHN’s Spring 2013 Hopscotch.

Math Minute {Practicing Place Value}

Two things coincided to make me buy Monopoly Millionaire recently…first, lots of moms were talking about playing it with their homeschooled kids because it must have been a hot game this Christmas. Secondly, I10 was having trouble with place value in large numbers.

So, I thought…why not try to play and we can talk about numbers in the hundreds of thousands with zeros all over the middle! That will help.

I have several Monopoly purists in the house, but this is a quick game to play and fits the bill for practicing with large numbers.

We’ve been working with place value in long division problems and that throws my fifth grader for a loop sometimes…the quotient with the zeroes in the middle. You know the ones.

Here are a few other resources for place value fun:

Interactive Math Journal- this is a nice little notebooking packet for math journaling. She has some place value activities in here.

Family Math- has several games involving place value and estimating, money, and digit value

Math on the Level- Money & Decimals Manual has a lot of ideas for teaching students large number place value.

Do you have any ideas for teaching large number place value? Feel free to share them in the comments below!

Math Play

Have you played with math lately? I like to play math with my kids at least once a week! Sometimes it’s a commercial game and other times it’s one that I’ve made up- I just knew I could find all kinds of math play using number chips.


I’ve posted on math games before…makes me think it would make a great math page to link to. But, I thought about now some of you might be looking to for a little math boost. Listed below are some of our favorites: (This is not an exhaustive list, if I find more I will add to the pile!)

  • Set- what a great way to practice visual discrimination. In searching for a link, I came across this daily online Set Puzzle. How cool is that?
  • Equate- pictured above it’s a math Scrabble game, but way harder than Smath. This is a great game when you combine getting the highest score
  • Sumuko- super game to practice multiples
  • Labyrinth- this one requires thinking ahead and planning and seeing moves a few out which I’m terrible at!
  • Yahtzee- this one requires math to score and see who wins! It’s also a fun way to practice patterns and identifying sets
  • Math Dice- mental math fun and there are two versions. Check out the Math Dice Junior as well.
  • Zingo- for the younger set
  • Corners- fun little card game from the RightStart card games

Last spring I taught a math co-op class and it was fun to play math games each week. One thing I found is that although the “math wise” kids knew a lot of math facts fast, they had trouble with strategy. We worked on that throughout the semester.

I know many of us are tempted to think of games as the icing on the cake with not a lot of substance compared to solving problems and finishing those math book pages, but I encourage you to think of math games as more nutritious and to make sure your children get more servings! Math games help kids to solve problems in a unique way and help to develop a more creative approach to problem solving.

Conversion: Missionaries of the Middle Ages Game

One of the projects E13 worked on during his year with the Middle Ages was a game. He opted out of the suggested projects from WinterPromise and created this game which is all about Missionaries of the Middle Ages.

The object of the game is to convert your area to Christianity by creating converts, churches, monks, and monasteries. You must collect resources during the game in order to achieve these goals.

He made the board with a Bare Book board and maps printed from the Uncle Josh’s map CD.
He chose missionaries that he studied and got the images from the History through the Ages Timeline figure CD from Homeschool in the Woods. We laminated them and I helped to cut them out- there were so many resource cards, we all helped!
In order to convert or do other actions, you must have a set of criteria like prayer, empathy, etc. Some ways are of converting are more full proof than others. Usually do so by force doesn’t work out.
These are the situation cards that give you the chance on how to convert the people you come across.
These are the choice you can make.
These are the solutions to the choice you made. These tell you how many converts you get or what else happens.
Not only did it earn a blue at the county fair, but it was chosen to go to State Fair!
We played the game to check its playability and E13 was making a list of changes he needs to make to the rules. We need to start with more resources for sure!

The game is on the way to the Great NY State Fair the week after next and he’s excited to see how it does. His last game: The Truth about New York was a Monopoly/Trivia game about NY and it got a blue at state fair. Either way, this game is a gem. Great job E13!