One of the best things about homeschooling is that we don’t have to teach – or learn – in the traditional manner. When learning is fun and interactive, kids are more involved and interested, and retention is significantly improved. No matter what type of homeschoolers we are, what sort of curricula we use, or what our preferred methods to teach and to learn, we can always benefit from adding in something *extra*curricular.
The Wise Alec game series from Griddly Games has one primary game, plus three expansion sets that may also be played alone as travel games. We received Nature Nuts, an expansion set billed as “Nature Trivia with a Nutty Twist!” With three topical decks, Plants, Animals, and Earth, Nature Nuts is science-themed, covering an intriguing, eclectic assortment of facts.
(Which reminds me, I still need to look up a “Proxigean Tide”… I’d never heard of it. Apparently it’s an extremely high tide that only happens once every 1.5 years. That card stumped all of us, and I promised to research it. And I want to go to the beach after it. And during the extremely low tide that is the opposite, if there is such.)
Nature Nuts includes 200 cards divided among four decks: the three topics I previously mentioned, plus a fourth “Wise Alec” deck. Also included is a custom 6-sided die, and it’s all packed in a brightly-colored, sturdy little box that has the best closure method I’ve ever seen on a game box. (I think it’s held together with magnets.) Seriously, it does not come open on its own, and the way it’s put together, it looks like it will hold up well through years of real-life wear and tear. I wish all game boxes were this sturdy and reliable, there’d be a lot less missing pieces!
For the travel game editions like Nature Nuts, you’ll want to make sure you have a pencil and paper, or some other, more creative method, on hand for keeping score. (We used my phone one day, and we joked about using change… which, now that I think about it, might not be all that bad an idea.)
During gameplay, the player rolls the custom die, and then must do the action that the color showing on the dice indicates. If the color is red, green, or yellow, he will be asked a question from the next available card of that color/topic. (There are two difficulty levels on each card, and the instructions suggest several ways to handle choice of diffculty level and point goal, which makes it extremely adaptable for use with various ages.)
When the color rolled is blue, the player gets to choose their own color/topic, while orange means that the player to their right will choose. A roll of purple gets them a Wise Alec card, where they will be given a random challenge that could be anything from a brain teaser question to a physical challenge like who can hop the farthest.
The original Wise Alec game is played slightly different than the expansion games. A game board is provided, and a standard die. The players roll the die at the start of their turn, move the appropriate number of spaces, and complete their turn based on the color of the space landed on. (Of course, if you had both the original and an expansion set, you could always choose to use the colored die with the main trivia set, also.)
All three expansion sets and the original game can easily be mixed and matched for variety and increased replay The games are intended for 2-6 players, ages 8 and up.
We’ve really enjoyed Nature Nuts, and the kids have asked if we can purchase the rest of the games in the series. (That’s a pretty high compliment when all four of them are in agreement!)
Topics included in Civilize This expansion are Ancient, Medieval, and Modern history. Sports Buffs has questions on (Sports) History & Moments, Rules & Origins, and Athletes & Stats. The original Wise Alec game provides History, Science, and Spelling. I’d really like to see this line of games branch out with more subject areas in in the future, there’s huge potential in games of this type, especially when they’re as well done as Wise Alec is.
To see what other crew members had to say about this product, check out the TOS Homeschool Crew blog post, Griddly Games.
**I received this product for free as a member of the 2011-12 The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew so that I could provide you with an honest review of it by our family.**