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17 Math Activities for Preschoolers

As a parent, you will want the best for your children. Once they hit preschool age, you and your partner might start wondering what you can do to put your child ahead. It is easy to overthink all the ways that we, as parents, can teach our kids in fun and exciting ways. Here are 17 fun and easy counting and math activities you can do with your children to help them learn simple numbers and other basic mathematical concepts.

17 Activities to Try with Your Preschooler:

Look for patterns…EVERYWHERE:

Patterns are a great way to work on math with your preschooler. There are patterns all around you and your home – tiles in the kitchen or bathroom, patterns in the fence, or in a piece of home decor. You can even point out the patterns on their clothes! Take a “field trip” with your preschooler and point out all the patterns around your house or their bedroom. If your child loves music, there are plenty of patterns to recognize in children’s songs. Help your child to identify and copy simple clapping and rhythm patterns in their favorite songs. These are both incredible ways to point out to your preschooler how repetition is a natural part of life and beauty.

Investigate Shapes:

While investigating shapes, children can discover the ways that different shapes fit together to build the items that we use or see everyday – cars, tall buildings, and eventually puzzles. Work together using yarn to create various shapes – circles, squares, triangles – as a budget friendly way to teach shapes. You can even use learning about shapes as a means to create some artwork together.

Encourage Estimation:

Help your preschooler learn about making guesses based on what they can see! Fill jars with buttons, candies, beads, or any other small items that you can find and ask your kids to guess how many of each of the items is in each jar. After they guess, they can count how many of the items are in the jar. Over time, children’s guesses will get closer to the actual amount of items in each jar, but this is a great way to get them started with educated guessing! Plus the fun colors and shapes are sure to keep them engaged!

Introduce Sorting:

Anything around us can be sorted; pens, pencils, socks, shoes, cups, mugs, glasses, silverware, you name it – it can be sorted! You could get them to help you out around the house by helping to sort the recycling. Even little kids can help sort papers from plastic and glass. This is great way to teach children how to organize items down to small and more manageable amounts.

preschooler cooking

Image via Pexels

Let them “cook”:

Encourage your preschooler to help you in the kitchen! Your child can help with measuring and counting our ingredients (two eggs, three scoops, etc.). You can also supervise the usage of knobs and buttons on the stove. This is also a great opportunity to have them help pack their daily lunches or snacks as they can help portion out the foods they eat each day. For example,  “I eat 5 carrots and 3 grapes at snacktime!” Think about having your preschoolers count out their Cheerios, Halloween candy, or even Easter candy! The options for counting food have no bounds! They can even help out with feeding pets if you have any!

Play a “look out” game:

While out on a walk or riding in the car, ask your child to count how many fun things they see! Those fun things could be any item that your child chooses to count – stores, fire trucks, dogs, or anything else that the child might recognize. With this activity, they can practice counting and talking about all of the fun things that have counted.

Track your child’s measurements:

Get out the ruler or yardstick to mark your child’s height on the wall. Talk about how big they are in comparison to their siblings or favorite animals – this helps them to think about themselves and the world around them. This is a great chance to introduce your child to units of measurement and help them compare and contrast the marks on the wall to see how much they’ve grown from year to year.

Use the phone:

Learning how to use the telephone has more than just a mathematical benefit, it’s also good for emergencies! Next time you’re making a call, write the number down and have your child help you dial it into your phone. This helps them to see the numbers being used, but also gives them a chance to practicing reading them from left to right. Your child gets bonus points if they can memorize the number!

Plant a Garden:

Preschoolers love helping outside when they can. Have your child assist with counting out the seeds and then making sure they put the set amounts in the right rows or pots. Once the plants start growing, they can count out the leaves and petals as well! This is also a great place to introduce science concepts about plants and plant growth.

preschooler gardening

Image via Unsplash

Color by Number Sheets:

Most young children love to color! As their number recognition skills continue to improve, they can learn to match the colors with the numbers, but early on they may need help identifying what number goes with what colors.

Dominoes:

Aside from playing a tabletop game, dominoes can be used to teach simple math concepts! Children can count the dots on each domino, children can sort matching tiles and create stacks, and they can create shapes and towers with matching dominoes. Dominoes are a cheap game that can easily be found at most stores.

Tell the Time:

Reading a non-digital wall clock is something that even little kids can do! Clocks are everywhere, so this is something that can be worked on at almost any time! Practice reading the numbers and telling time to the quarter and half hour as they are able. Once they have reading a clock down, you can compare and contrast a digital clock and wall clock together for another great conversation about time and numbers. Don’t forget to mention that there are sixty seconds in one minute and sixty minutes in one hour!

Read a Number Book:

There are many amazing books for preschoolers! Some of the most popular include: City by Numbers by Stephen T. Johnson, Chicka Chicka 123 by Bill Martin & Michael Sampson, or How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague. Number books are a great way to practice numbers and counting, but books like these also introduce your child to other educational concepts. Not to mention a little bit of reading practice! Check with your child’s teachers or even the local children’s librarian if you need more ideas, they are a wealth of knowledge about great counting books for kids!

Mark the Calendar:

Introducing your child to a standard calendar is a great way to introduce the concept of days and passing time. Have them highlight special days on the calendar (birthdays, holidays, other celebrations) and create countdowns to those special days. Working with calendars often helps children to understand days of the week and how the sequence of days happens each week. You can also have them help in creating a calendar – learning about leap years, but also how many days are in each month.

child making calendar

Image via Unsplash

Pay for Purchases:

Whether at a real store or while “playing store” at home, teaching children about counting money is never a bad idea. This is also an opportunity for them to practice reading numbers on price tags and counting their own money! Kids can even help search for matching items to coupons inside the store while shopping! It’s never too early to squeeze in a few lessons about money management as early as possible. Tip: Don’t take the little ones into a busy store to practice counting their money, go on a slower day to avoid a line and many waiting customers.

Play Card Games:

Who knew that teaching math concepts to your preschooler could start with a standard deck of 52 cards? Games like Memory (teaching kids to look for similar cards and pairs), War (teaching your child about numbers that are bigger and smaller), or Go Fish! (helps your child to identify and talk about numbers) are fun to play, but also have some educational value. You can also play games with various flash card decks or other game decks (like Old Maid). Here is a great value pack of cards with lots of fun designs!

Popular Phone Apps:

Let’s face it, kids know how to use some apps better than many adults! Capitalize on that and let your child practice their math skills on your phones and tablets. Some popular math apps include: Preschool Math Games for Kids, Todo Math , and Math Master Kids. These are all interactive apps that are entertaining for kids, but also give them a chance to practice math functions and number identification. Who knows? Maybe they’ll find math exciting when they’re bored! Use that screen time to their (and your) advantage.

For preschoolers, learning about and exploring numbers should be all about fun and play. Work with them to discover how numbers can fit into their everyday lives. As they see those numbers in action, they’ll get more and more comfortable with the math concepts around them. Have fun exploring those numbers (and concepts) together!

Featured image via Pexels

Lawn Games for the Entire Family

 

Summer brings with it a great opportunity for families in search for new and fun things to do! Everyone knows that too much free time can lead to boredom, so finding fun, inexpensive, and innovative ideas that keep everyone interested is crucial to making the most of the summer season! Lawn games are a perfect for getting the family outside and spending time together. Here are our favorites you can try with your family! There is sure to be a lawn game for everyone!

 

Lawn Twister

To set up this easy game, begin by painting a “twister board” onto the lawn. It is best to cut a template of a circle out of some leftover cardboard. Use ground marking spray paint on the grass because it washes off easily. Grab your twister spinner from a kit if you have one, or print out a new one from online and add a spinner!

 

Tug- of-War​

This classic game includes the entire family as well as friends or neighbors. Get a long and sturdy rope and either some colored tape or marker to mark the center of the rope. Split into two teams and begin pulling. One fun twist to the game is extending the rope across either a stream or water sprinkler. Tug-of-War is not only about strength, but it is also a lot of fun, and there are many variations of the game that can be played. A true classic!

 

Frozen T-Shirt Race​

This game is easy to set up and even more fun to play. To start, grab a single t-shirt for each player and soak it in water. Once it is thoroughly wet, squeeze out any extra water and fold it up. Place all t-shirts in a plastic bag with wax paper in between the different shirts. When they are completely frozen, distribute the shirts. The winner is the first person who can completely unfold their t-shirt and put it on!

 

Badminton​

This is a traditional lawn game that the whole family can play together. The net can be set up in any open space. The only materials needed are the net, racquets for each player, and a shuttlecock. Here is our favorite kit in case your family needs one or is looking for a quick replacement!

 

Water Balloon Toss

Grab five different buckets. Set them up in a line on the driveway or pavement. If different sized buckets are used, place the larger ones closer to the start and the smaller ones at the end. Label the closest bucket 25, then the next 50, 75, 100, and 500. Use filled water balloons to toss into the buckets. The winner is the one that can score the most points!

bucket of green water balloons next to legs of small child wearing shark shorts and crocs

Image via Unsplash

 

Bean Bag Ladder Toss​

For this game, all that is needed is a step lapper and some bean bags to toss. To start, label each rung of a step ladder with different points. Normally, the top rung will be the highest number. Throw the bags between the rungs to score points!

 

Cornhole

Cornhole is a classic lawn game that is loved by the whole family. Design a cornhole board that has a theme that represents the interests of the family. To start, set up the boards opposite from each other. Split the players up into teams of two and give each team four bags. The opponents will alternate the tosses until all of the eight bags are thrown. The team that reaches 21 points first wins the game. Ask friends and neighbors to bring their portable cornhole boards and set up a tournament in your yard!

 

Giant Jenga

This game requires a little more preparation, but it will last for many summers to come. Buy several 2×4 boards that can be cut into 48 ½ inch pieces. The boards can be cut by hand or at a local lumber yard. After the pieces are cut, sand the edges so each piece is smooth and can be easily slid across the other pieces. To add some creativity and color, paint the ends in different colors. There is no need to seal the wood because it may cause the wood to stick and the pieces will not slide as easily. Once the project is complete, you can begin playing the game. Store the pieces in a garage during wet weather to prevent warping.

 

Glow-in-the-Dark Capture the Flag​

After the sun goes down, try a different take on this classic game. Divide up family and friends into two teams. Use different glow stick colors as the flags for each team. Give each player two glow bracelets which match the color of their flag. The objective is to find the opposite team’s “flag” and bring it back to their side. Whichever team can do this, wins!

 

Outdoor Bowling​

Fill 10 2-liter soda bottles with water or sand, and use a rubber ball as the bowling ball. Adjust the length of the lane according to the ability and age of the players.

Image via Flickr

 

Slide and Toss

The Slip and Slide is a yard activity the whole family has enjoyed for many years. To make it into a game that involves scoring points, gather a tarp, duct tape, and Frisbees. To set up the game, cut different shapes into the tarp and reinforce the shapes with the duct tape. Give different point values to the shapes and then hang the tarp at the end of the slip-n-slide. To play, slide down the slide, stand up, spin around four times and throw Frisbees to gain points. The winner is the person or team with the most points at the end of the game.

 

Blanket Run​

This easy and fun game only requires blankets to play. Simply have one person sit on the blanket while the other stands and holds the other end. The winner is the one that can pull their partner across the lawn to the finish line first.

 

Playground Games​

Playground games such as jump rope and hopscotch are fun, too! They can provide hours of outdoor family entertainment and require very few materials. You don’t always need something crazy to have a good time, and the basic playground games can go a long way!

 

Final Thoughts

 

Summer is an exciting time for creating lifelong memories. Summer entertainment does not have to be expensive and should include the entire family. It can be as simple as making bubbles and hula hooping, to creating competitive games. Whichever activities your family chooses to participate in should be fun!

Featured Image via Unsplash

 

Winning Youth Football by Dave Cisar: A review

It is Saturday morning, and elementary and middle schoolers are suiting up for the big game across America. Helmet, check. Mouthpiece, check. Shoulder pads, check. Cleats, check. Your player is ready. The question, however, is your team's coach ready? 

The book and video series by Dave Cisar, called Winning Youth Football (WFY), is the answer to this question. Many dads have been talked into coaching their child's team, thinking it would be easy only to come to find out there is a lot more to the game than when they were playing in high school. What offense do we run and why–Winning Youth Football has the answer. What defense do we run given the minimum play requirements in our league–Winning Youth Football has the solution. What strategy do I use when the other team is more athletic–Dave Cisar has the answer. How do I communicate with parents-WYF answer this question and more? Dave has provided an A to Z when it comes to running a team. 

Bottom line up front:  We highly recommend the Winning Youth Football book & video series. Now is the time to plan for next fall. If your team had a losing season, purchase the series. First, read the WYF book from beginning to end to find out what is in the book. Then pick one of the questions below to develop the answer with confidence that the solution in the book will make your team better. Our teams have gone from average to compete for and winning championships. So again, we highly recommend it; see other coaches' reviews here.

As a dad new to youth football coaching, you probably don't even know what questions you should be asking. This article is written for you. Here are three questions from the three phases of the game:

  • What offense should I be running with my third-grade mitigate team?

  • What defense will stop the number one scoring play in youth football?

  • What will be our team's strategy when it comes to special teams?

We will answer these questions according to Dave's research and experience.

What offense in youth football provides a distinct advantage over the defense?   

There are a lot of items that are the same, and Eleven players are on both sides of the ball. Each team will receive a kickoff. Both offenses have to travel the same yards to get the first down. That said, there are many differences you as a new coach can exploit. Coach Cisar's system enables you to do just that. 

Advantage #1:  One of the main points to Deve's offense is you outnumber the defenders at the point of attack. Suppose you think about it from the vantage point of playing chess. When you have more pieces attacking a square than the number of defenders who win the exchange? You do, and you come away from it with a material advantage. The single-wing system Winning Youth Football employees can provide you with the numbers advantage on every play.

Advantage #2:  Often, advantage $1 above causes the other team coach to overreact. If not the coach, youth players often start to over purse to the numbers advantage side. When the coach or players start to adjust, the WYF system is just that, a system that allows you to take advantage of the adjustment. For each base play, there is a counterplay. These calls are often home run hitters and score a touchdown in that the defenders that should have stopped the play are looking and running to the wrong side of the field. Given these counter plays, we have had many 60, 70, and even 80-yard plays by average players for six. The system is real, and the advantage is yours as the offense.

Advantage #3:  Dave has spent years studying and researching the game, so you don't have to. Here he has discovered a gold mine. The way he has designed the single-wing snap creates deception and makes the defense guess who has the ball. If a defense is a step slow at recognizing who has the ball, there is no question who has the advantage. Test this, take your linebackers and line them up (both teams are at full capacity with lineman and defense lineman in three-point stances). Using Coach Cisar's system snaps the ball to any one of three quarterbacks in the system and asks them to call out who has the ball. If they get it wrong just one out of four times, you have an advantage, but frequently I see my best linebackers get 50% of the calls wrong. Again, test it for yourself and especially for your assistant coaches. When they see the players are essentially guessing, your defense coordinator will believe in the offense.

What defense will stop the number one scoring play in youth football?

Youth football is not the NFL, it is not the NCAA, and it isn't high school football either, especially in the younger grades. Therefore, taking and implementing the San Franciso 46ers offense in third grade is idiotic. The same is true when it comes to defense. In our experience, 95 to 98% of offensive plays are run plays. Therefore, having a Defense that shuts down the run is essential. Even more to the point, what is the number one scoring play in youth football? According to Dave, the most scored with play is the sweep or end-around. Coach Cisar mentions the second most scoring play is the reverse. Given this, having a defense that eliminates both of these plays takes away a team's home run plays and forces them to grind out a victory. Often, teams will become frustrated when not breaking chunk plays, and you see offensive coordinators attempting to add a new play or concept in the huddle. When you see this, you know you have won the battle. Read Winning Youth Football: How to Create a Dominate Defense to find the answer to what defense you should be using.

Note: Having your players understand the formation adjustments is critical. You can't just line up in one formation without adjustment and expect to do well. The defense is the same, but reacting to how the offense is aligned is critical. As a coach, your job is to put the players in the best position to win on every play. Coach the adjustments and how to react to adjust to motion. Again, the defense will be the same but alignment to different formations will be very different (read the chapter about scouting one opponent to learn how to set your team up for success during practice). Oh, and by the way, install defense-first!

Did you say Special Teams?

There are three phases of the game. On more than one occasion, I have seen coaches instruct their players about their special team formation and assignments during warm-ups of their first game of the season. Special teams play can win or lose you a game. The numbers have proved coach Cisar's strategy. We have used it to perfection and, on multiple occasions, have prevented a team's offense from touching the field for an entire first half. One coach said, "Thank you for allowing us to watch our defense play the entire game." 

Knowing how important special teams can be is one takeaway from the series, but probably even more important is the practice plans and objectives that have been laid out for you. You won't be that coach introducing special teams at the first game if you have implemented the system as recommended by the Winning Youth Football system.

Sample Page WYF

Sample Page WYF

Want to be a winning youth football coach?

After having purchased the book, read it cover to cover. Dave has done a great job covering every aspect of the game and the off-field team administration. In the beginning, you will have to pick and choose the chapters you study, but to fully grasp the impact that these insights and plans can have on your team, it will take multiple seasons. Coach has even added to the system over the years, but that is for another time. The offseason is the time to start preparing to win next year.

Good luck! I suspect if you install Coach Dave Cisar's system, you won't need luck to win, however.

Wide feet?  Check out our article about Best Football Cleats for Wide Feet.

This book is absolutely the best book around to help a youth coach learn his craft. Coach Cisar guides you through all the pitfalls from players selection, team building, offense, defense, drills, how to deal with parents, and most importantly how to have fun and win. After purchasing this book, I decided to check out Coach Cisars other products. I found his website  and decided to call to get some suggestions on different training materials. Coach Cisar got on the line with me and was very generous with his time and information. Without a doubt one of the best youth coach trainers in the world. You WILL NOT be disappointed!

Nathan and Tyler

Amazon Review

Top 5 New Board Games of 2021

Best Board Games of 2021!

This last year has been full of surprises! The biggest surprise was just how much time we would be spending at home and with our families. You have probably been thinking of some fun ways to keep your kids entertained. Besides some fun scavenger hunts, or other indoor or outdoor games, let me suggest a couple of new board games for you and your family to try! There are a ton of board games out there, and knowing which ones will be a hit can be a gamble. Luckily, my friends and I have tried a ton of games released in 2021 and made a list of our favorites!

#5: Juicy Fruits

Juicy Fruits Board Game Box

Number five on my list of top board games from 2021 is the game Juicy Fruits. This game has a lot of moving parts, so you might have to play it a couple of times to get all the rules down. In this game, each player has their own Tropical Island to capitalize on. Each Island has fruits they can harvest to then use as a resource to gain points. There are multiple strategies to winning, but first you have to clear space on your board by filling orders on boats. Each boat order gives you points, so even clearing your board is one way to win!

Opposite of clearing you board is filling your board. Each player has their own Island, but there is a shared “Market” where you can buy vacation attractions, food booths, or other fruit baskets. Any attractions you buy are placed on your board and cannot be moved from their spot. This can make fruit harvesting a challenge, due to the games unique fruit sliding mechanic. Another way to win is to buy the moving food booths. These can be a great way to make lots of points quickly, but be careful of competition! Another island with a food booth could get all the points first!

Overall, this game is pretty fast moving and not too competitive! You spend all of your time and attention on your own island, so there isn’t much island to island competition. Because the turns can be pretty fast, unless you have planned ahead, your turn might come quicker than you expected and slow you down. Juicy Fruits is also only a four player game. Many families do not fit in that box and you might have just a few too many players in your family group. This one gets an 8/10 from me for its pure fun! I think the brightly colored and fun shaped fruit pieces really make the game, and as your family gets more advanced, there is an optional “Juicing Station” with lots of fun features.

Capstone Games Juicy Fruits
  • A part of Capstone's new Family Brand
  • Quick and simple gameplay with remarkable depth
  • Utilizes a clever and unique sliding mechanic

#4: Tiny Epic Pirates

Tiny Epic Pirates game pieces

Do you like Pirate games? I have an uncle who collects them and we have reviewed some pretty awesome Pirate board games in the past! Since this is a 2021 game, it is brand new and freshly printed!

Tiny Epic Pirates was easily my favorite, but I cant quite give it the number one spot. This game is part of a series of games. Ever heard of Tiny Epic Zombies, Dinosaurs, Galaxies? If not, I highly suggest you look into these gems as well. Tiny Epic Pirates is called Tiny & Epic for good reason. When my copy came in the mail I was shocked at the tiny box size! Even better than the box size were the tiny Pirate Ships! I have a soft spot for small things and this one called my name!

You play as a pirate! (Obvious I know.) You take your ship and pillage, fight, recruit crewmates, hideout in secret coves, and bury treasure! Each player, hereto referred to as “pirate”, starts with a captain card with a special ability and a helm card. The rules can be tricky to explain and trickier to understand, but it basically works like this: Plunder Booty from islands or from sinking merchant ships, then sell that Booty for doubloons. once you reach 12 or 13 doubloons, you have to sail to an island and bury your treasure! The game ends when the first person buries their third treasure chest.

If you love pirates, doubloons, and tiny ships, this game is definitely worth a try! When playing, I found a couple of weird rules I wasn’t crazy about, but the reason Tiny Epic Pirates doesn’t take first place is because of its difficulty. This is not a game for small kids. Even tweens might struggle. The rulebook is quite lengthy, and there are some features of this game that feel overly complicated. All that being said, this was my personal favorite and I give it a 9/10 fun rating! If you have some real board game nerds in your family and feel up to the challenge, pop Tiny Epic Pirates into your Amazon cart next time you’re looking for something interesting!

Gamelyn Tiny Epic Pirate Board Game - Notorious Pirate Ship Board Games, Strategic Board Games for Adults, With Rulebook, 210 Game Pieces, and 7 Ships
  • UNIQUE PIRATE GAME - Sailing a pirate ship is an adventure in and of itself, but it's just one possible...
  • REAL PLUNDERING EXPERIENCE - The popular board games offers plundering in a great way to acquire goods...
  • HIGH-END TRADING - Gamelyn's risk board game features a Black Market, which is the one place in pirate...

#3: MicroMacro Crime City

MicroMacro Crime City ranked best board game of 2021

MicrroMacro’s Crime City is one of the most surprising board games I have ever played! Crime City was created in Germany and won the most prestigious board game in the world, the Kinderspiel des Jahres award for 2021. In the board game community, that means this thing is kind of a big deal. Since winning the award, this game has been sold out all over the world. They printed more copies in September, but they were sold out in a week!

So, what makes it so great? Crime City is essentially clue and Where’s Waldo smashed together. The box comes with a 75cm x 110cm map of “Crime City.” Rightfully named, the map is covered in cartooned crimes to be solved. The characters on the map mostly resemble animals or blob shapes with bodies. The black and white cartoon nature means there are no explicit images, but there are some adult themes. Luckily, the creators of Crime City have a clear rating system on each case.

The game comes with 16 cases to be solved. Cases range from 6 to 15 cards, each asking for a new piece of the investigation. On the front card of each case, there is a title, a game length, a star difficulty rating and an icon with its rating. The instruction manual describes these ranks as either, “Accidents” or “Adult themed Crimes”. The handbook expressly recommends parents play through any adult ranked crimes to determine their playability for their children.

As a young adult, I think the couple of cases I have played through have been a ton of fun! Some are really challenging, but everyone has something to do! This game really is addicting, and MicroMacro knew what they were doing buy only having 15 cases to solve. Although there is a lot of variety in the cases, there isn’t much replayability. Which means you kind of have to stretch out the cases unless you rush out and buy the expansions.

My only other complaint is the map. It is so big, and its only glossy paper. Unless you have a large flat game-space, this thing is going on the floor. And, because everyone is leaning over the map to find the clues, wrinkles and creases are inevitable. Because it is black and white stains or spots might become a problem. Despite these shortcomings, I give it a 10/10 fun rating! There are so many surprises and the hunt for the crime is so thrilling! If you are okay with getting an expansion once a year, I highly recommend MicroMacro Crime City! And, if I haven’t convinced you, MicroMacro has a playable demo on their website here!

Pegasus Spiele 59060E - MicroMacro: Crime City
  • Together, the players solve 16 tricky criminal cases by determining motives, finding evidence and...
  • Deductive talent is important in order to unravel everything riddle
  • 75 x 110 cm large game board

#2: Bristol 1350

Bristol 1350 Board game pieces: picture includes the Patreon expansion

Bristol 1350 is the fourth and newest board game from Facade Games. Each game comes in a nifty Book box, and has delicate stylish pieces. Each game is historically themed, including Salem, Tortuga, and Deadwood. Bristol 1350 is themed after the Black Plague in England. It might seem a little dark, but it is actually a seriously fun party game! Unlike all the other games on this list, Bristol 1350 is a 9 player game. I’ve played this with 3 people, 4 people, and 7 people. Seven was easily the most fun!

Each player chooses a color peg. Then the each peg is placed inside one of three colored carts. Each round, 6 dice are rolled. The color on the dice represents how many spaces that colored cart can move. The symbol, either a rat or an apple, represents whether or not you have to “mingle.” This gets into the main theme of the game: get past the finish-line and don’t catch the plague! You also can’t have any infected people in your cart either. The whole game is a matter of avoiding the sick, and moving your cart.

Well, what happens when you get sick? That might just be the best part! In Bristol 1350, when you get sick, your win scenario changes. Now, you win when you infect everybody or if you cross the finish-line and make an noninfected person.

It’s a game of poker facing and sabotage. Its fight for yourself until you get sick, then its fight to destroy everyone else. I give this about a 5/10 for four or less players, but a 10/10 fun rating with six or more! I don’t have enough friends to play a 9 player game, but I bet anything it would be a ton of fun! It is very stylistic, and the rules are simple. The game is fast paced, and can be extended if you wanted longer play. But the coolest bonus: the awesome Book Box makes it great for storage.

Bristol 1350 Board Game of Strategy, Deceit, and Luck for 1-9 Players
  • Bristol 1350: The dreaded Black Death has descended upon Bristol and you need to escape! To win, be on...
  • Solo & party game modes: Bristol 1350 is a light strategy and social deduction game for 1-9 players ages...
  • Contents: 1 magnetic book box, 9 character cards, 27 remedy cards, 28 symptom cards, 3 miniature carts, 1...

#1: Happy Little Dinosaurs

Happy Little Dinosaurs board and piece set

Just by looking at the picture of Happy Little Dinosaurs, you can probably sense something familiar. This is one of many games made by Unstable Unicorns, most famously known for their games Unstable Unicorns, Here to Slay, and Llamas Unleashed. Their art style is known as the brand Tee Turtle. They make lots of quirky adorable tee shirts.

The cards have the same adorable and quirky descriptions, and the player boards are to die for cute. Although this is only a four player game, it is the shortest game on the list. My family could go three or four rounds of this and still have a great time! Similar to the play style of other board games like Exploding kittens, your goal is to avoid your own destruction, foil your opponents plans, and get the most points.

The winner is either, the first player to reach 50 points, or the last player left alive. When you near the end of the game, the tension ramps up, and you can smell blood in the water. That is when you pull out all the stops, play all your meanest cards, and force someone out of the game. Be sure to play nicely! Or your family might not want to play with you again.

This game is quick, lighthearted, cute, great for all ages, and affordable. You can pick this up at your local Target! No need to search board game stores or look online. You can grab this next time you stock up on toilet paper! This gets a 10/10 fun rating, and a 5 star review.

Happy Little Dinosaurs Base Game
  • Lately, it feels like we’re all just dinosaurs trying to avoid the falling meteors.
  • In this 2-4 player game, you’ll try to dodge all of life’s little disasters while tuning out your...
  • Happy Little Dinosaurs takes 30-60 minutes to play and is for 2-4 players. It is recommended for ages 8+.

The Verdict:

So, if you are wondering what your next Christmas family board game should be, I hope you will consider one of the five above! They are fresh, unique, and fun in their own ways. Every game on this list has brought smiles to my family and friends faces! These are the best from this year, and they get the official FunAttic stamp of approval!

Splendor: The Ultimate Gate-Way Board Game

Do you want to introduce more board games into your family time? No, I don’t mean Monopoly, Candyland or Scrabble. I mean a fun game that all ages can enjoy and won’t consume your whole evening (unless you want it to)? Splendor is a fast paced, easy to pick up board game that doesn’t break the bank.

When I first encountered Splendor it was my grandpa that owned a copy! My grandparents are not typically “board-game-people”. We pulled it out and played a quick round with two young adults, one tween, and one grandparent. It only took a minute to set-up and a minute more to explain the rules. In 20 short minutes the game was over and everyone had fun!

How it Plays

The concept is simple: collect gem tokens to buy gem cards. The cards have a point value as well as an assigned gem color. Each gem card you buy can then be used in place of a gem token. The more cards you have, the more cards you can then buy! The first player with 15 points signals the last round. At the end of the last round, the player with the most points wins!

I found many interesting, yet simple features of this game that make it enjoyable. The game plays three tiers of cards laid out in a grid which represents the board. There are 6 types of gem tokens: Diamonds, Sapphires, Rubies, Emeralds, Garnets, and Gold. The gold tokens act like a wild card and are only received by reserving a card. I found this especially useful for winning! There are also Aristocrats for high point values, which you receive automatically as soon as you qualify for them.

The game is simple and easy to explain. The rounds are short, so no one is waiting too long for their turn, and there are multiple strategies that can be employed to win the game. For example, when I play, I always aim for an aristocrat and so far I have never lost! If you want to play with young children, the bright colors and tangible tokens are great for helping them keep track of what they have and what they need. If you decide to play a round or two with your die-hard board game buddies, the tactical opportunities can create a riveting experience with triumph and revenge.

Why it’s worth the buy!

If Splendor becomes a family favorite in your home, as it has in mine, that might open the door to other unique board game experiences. When introducing more complex games to your family, you can refer to Splendor for any similarities or as a measure of difficulty.

Splendor is truly a game for all ages and experience levels, so, whether you are introducing your kiddos to board games or opening your parents or grandparents eyes, Splendor is the perfect “gate-way” game.

Sale
Splendor Board Game (Base Game) | Family Board Game | Board Game for Adults and Family | Strategy Game | Ages 10+ | 2 to 4 players | Average Playtime 30 minutes | Made by Space Cowboys
  • STRATEGY GAME: Compete to build Renaissance Europe’s most lucrative and prestigious jewelry business....
  • FUN AND FRIENDLY COMPETITION: Players vie for control of gem mines, trade routes, and storefronts to...
  • COUNTLESS REPLAY OPPORTUNITES: Fast and intuitive, this strategy game is a fun game for game nights. The...

How to Play Pictionary: An Illustrated Guide

The quarantine has left us all in need of entertainment. It’s no wonder, then, that people have taken to appropriating the age-old game of Pictionary to Zoom’s environment. If you’re one of the people that wonder how to play Pictionary, then you’re in luck, as we’ve outlined an easy-to-follow guide that will bring you up to speed in no time.

Playing Pictionary on Zoom is not as complicated as some might think. You can traditionally play Pictionary with a pen and some paper. Zoom’s Whiteboard feature, however, offers an amazing alternative. Spicing up a board meeting before delving into what’s serious has never been this easy!

What is Pictionary on Zoom?

Pictionary is a word-guessing game created by Robert Angel in 1985. The game is generally played in two teams and has the end goal of identifying a larger array of words than your competitors. The team that scores the largest number of words is declared the winner.

Zoom is a particularly awesome platform to play Pictionary on due to its popularity and ease of use. The onset of the pandemic has left many people migrating their daily business to Zoom, greatly inflating its user base. Fans of Pictionary know this only means more people to play with.

Zoom’s Whiteboard feature makes playing Pictionary a breeze, although playing online means that you’ll have to use a random word generator as well for a complete experience.

Want something different or is Pictionary not what you’re looking for? We’ve put together a large list of games for you to peruse and enjoy, so take your pick!

vector concept of children playing pictionary

Getting Started with Pictionary

Learning how to play Pictionary is easy, although mastering it requires more than just a couple of ad-hoc games. First thing you should take care of is to relax. While Pictionary is highly competitive in nature, there’s no reason for you to get too involved. Some joke that it’s the type of game that destroys friendships. We’re glad to let you know that’s anything but true.

Ready? Great! In order to play, you’ll need to gather the following materials:

  • A Zoom account.
  • (Optional) Pen and paper.
  • A random word generator.
  • A timer.

We’ll be assuming that you’re going to be using Zoom’s Whiteboard feature instead of the traditional pen and paper approach. This removes the need to keep track of word categories on account of the generator.

Setting Up Your Teams

While you can learn how to play Pictionary on Zoom with more than just two teams, the general rule of thumb is that it’s far easier to understand and enjoy the game when there’s fewer teams to worry about.

If you have a large table and are not sure if you can accommodate everyone, then just split it in two and assign more players to a team than otherwise instead of adding more, as that tends to bog it down with additional paperwork.

The situation in which there are only three remaining players can also crop up, in which case it’s recommended you designate one of them as the dedicated sketcher.

Establishing House Rules

Pictionary has a set of rules that must be followed in order to keep up with the spirit of the game. There are also many who have chosen to modify them to their liking. There’s a varied amount of house rules available that you can enforce before starting play, so it’s wise to discuss them with your group for the perfect experience.

The word “basketball” is a classic example to consider when trying to determine house rules. What do you do if a player guesses “basketball hoop,” instead? The consensus among veteran Pictionary players is that the answer goes as long as the key word has been identified.

In traditional Pictionary you determine the starting player by rolling a six-sided die. This doesn’t quite apply to Zoom Pictionary. You can choose the starting player in a myriad of ways, such as going in the order of the webcam layout. Or alphabetically. Or by age, to give only a few examples!

people socializing via video conference

How to Play Pictionary on Zoom

So you’ve learned what it takes to play Pictionary and now you’re eager to get started. First, you must split the players into teams. Then you should get ready to apply your artistic skills before the timer runs out.

The first player has to start the 60 second timer and generate a random word. They will then have to appropriate it onto Zoom’s Whiteboard through drawing.

Let’s assume they generate the word “dog.” This means that the first player will have to illustrate a dog onto the Whiteboard. Then the other player has to guess it correctly before the timer runs out.

There’s always going to be someone who is going to try and declare the word before the first few lines have been laid out, which is great, as it’s all in the spirit of the game.

The host of the game or the player assembly will have to determine a success threshold for winning the game. Traditional Pictionary is played on a game board and has a slightly different scoring system than what Zoom allows. It’s important to establish the winning number of successes before starting play.

The team that first reaches this threshold is the winner, chalking up a success for each word guessed off the Whiteboard.

If you’re part of the winning team, then congratulations! You’ve gotten the hang of Pictionary, and will no doubt have a slew of future successes when playing against less experienced players.

If you’re part of the losing team, then congratulations as well! Pictionary is a game and should be taken thusly. Losing just means you have room for improvement, and there’s no better time to apply your recently learned talents than in future games.

Other Zoom Games Worth Trying

Zoom isn’t just good for playing Pictionary. There are many other games you could engage in, all of which are perfect for a video conference environment. Here’s a small list of suggestions that will leave you enthusiastic at the prospect of discovering a whole world of traditional gaming done virtually.

Twenty Questions

Need to test the amount of general knowledge you’ve acquired over the course of your lifetime? There’s few better ways to impress your peers with just how many things you know than by challenging them to a game of twenty questions.

Truth or Dare

See how brave your friends and family are by challenging them to a game of truth or dare. This staple childhood game can be played on Zoom with no effort whatsoever and is simple enough to thrive in situations in which time is of the essence.

Hangman

What a classic! Students have been playing Hangman since time immemorial, and the game is still very popular among certain groups. Zoom’s Whiteboard feature makes it easy for you and your group to play this awesome word puzzle game. Train not only your mind, but your ability to develop long-lasting friendships!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you play Pictionary without teams?

Yes! While Pictionary is a team game at its heart, Hasbro has also put forward rules for players who would like to eschew the idea of teamwork. All in good fun, of course. If this is what you’re into, then we have some great suggestions for you.
You can play Pictionary in three players by splitting up the table in two teams and choosing the third player as the designated artist of the game. Drawing for the rest of the game isn’t all that fun, however.
The artist is also going to score a point whenever they draw well enough that one of the other players has guessed a keyword. This way you can reward both normal players and the artist.
One simple way to play Pictionary without teams is to rotate the role of designated artist after every guessed word. This can be done in any manner, whether from left to right or by the flip of a coin.
If the artist has a higher score than the other players, then he can no longer be an artist, and is only relegated to guessing.
You can also establish a set number of successes that will win the game instead of deciding freeform. Our suggestion would be to go for 9, which makes for a quick, stress-free game.

Is Pictionary a good game for children?

There’s few games, in fact, that are better suited to a developing child than Pictionary. Learning to identify words and concepts through a visual medium can help develop a child’s cognitive and perceptive skills to great effect.
Pictionary might sound a bit too difficult for certain children, although if you patiently take the time to explain how the game is played, then it only becomes a matter of practice.
Exposing a loved one to a traditional game like Pictionary is a great choice for parents who want to take an active hand in their development.

Can you play Pictionary in class?

Using Pictionary as a learning tool is a very wise move for teachers from all over the world. It’s easy to make class fun when you’re playing a game! If you’re looking for a more personal, laid-back approach to teaching your students words, then Pictionary is exactly what you need.
The convenience of having a blackboard or a whiteboard available solidifies Pictionary as being the end-all classroom game. It is a great introduction to a particularly intense lesson, as it can help students unwind and relax before getting to work.

Are there other ways of playing Pictionary?

You can play Pictionary in a wide variety of ways. The most common way of playing an alternate version of Hasbro’s timeless classic is Reverse Pictionary, which is particularly good when in a classroom environment on account of its unique nature.
Let’s assume your table has been split in two. A designated guesser has to be chosen by each team, who will have the sole privilege of attempting to identify key words. The guesser will have to be positioned with their back to the drawing board.
The game host must write down a word on the drawing board. The two teams will then have to draw it onto any canvas which will then be presented to the designated guessers. Their role, of course, is to identify the key words.
This is a fun way of putting a fresh coat of paint on Pictionary and will no doubt greatly improve its replayability value. Playing Reverse Pictionary on Zoom can be tricky, although that obstacle can easily be circumvented with a bit of creativity.

The Bottom Line

Pictionary is a spectacular game for all ages. Zoom’s Whiteboard feature has made it easy to get together for a bit of rest and relaxation. This opens up a large host of gaming possibilities.

Understanding the rules of the game can be difficult at first, especially when adapting Pictionary to an online video conference. You’re bound to have loads of fun as long as you follow the instructions.

Want to do us a favor? Then enjoy yourself and create some memorable experiences with your friends and acquaintances. Pictionary is the sort of game over which you can easily bond, so forget about your worries! Don’t be afraid to dive right in. You’ll be better for it.

You’ve learned how to play Pictionary. Now it’s all up to you!