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Learning the U.S. Presidents – Brainbox Memory Game

How much information do you think you could remember in just 10 seconds? 

Hint: If you brain is 43 years old and living with four children, the answer may be less than you think. 

Recently (when I was pulled into the abyss that is Amazon), I came across Brainbox’s U. S. Presidents game, a memory challenge game for kids (and parents) to learn about the U. S. Presidents and also work on memory and observation skills. It quickly made its way into our Amazon cart and then home. Since making its debut, the kids have been pulling out the cards and learning fun tidbits and facts about our country’s leaders (a definite win!). 

Playing the U.S. Presidents Game

The game is SUPER simple – pretty much three steps: study, remember, and answer a question to win. 

Pick a card from the box, flip over the ten-second timer, and take 10 seconds to review the facts and images on the front of the card.

TRY TO REMEMBER IT ALL! You will be tested…good luck parents.

Roll the die and have someone ask you a question from the six on the back of the card, based on the number you roll. Questions range from years served in office, political party, state born in, nicknames, vice-presidents, to questions about the graphics on the card. 

Collect your cards – the first one to ten wins. If you miss a question, your card goes back in the box for someone else to grab later. 

All of the cards are printed on heavy-duty cards (thicker than typical cardstock and near impossible to bend). There are 44 presidents included in the deck (Trump hasn’t been included yet since the game was published prior to his term). Each card does have little details that will help you as you try to remember (color coding based on presidential party, etc.). 

The set also includes 10 additional cards that cover the presidential parties as well as various landmarks and items specific to US History. A 10 second egg timer and die are also in the box. 

Skills Brainbox US Presidents Works On: 

There are a few things that U. S. Presidents has been great in working on with the kids (and me too!)

  • Thinking strategically – while we do want to learn the facts, you need to figure out picture clues and other strategies (like the color coding) to help you ‘scan’ faster.
  • Memory recall – kids have only a short amount of time to read over the card and commit things to memory. Sometimes something seems like it might be insignificant, but flip the card over and you may be asked how many birds were on the front. You never know what will be asked! 

Recommended Ages:

The game is recommended for ages 8+, but some of that may depend on your child’s reading ability and may result in adjustments. Our youngest isn’t a strong reader and he would not be able to gather enough info in the 10 seconds, so we either allow him additional time to look at the card or someone reads the card to him to help out. 

We haven’t kept a running score of our  games, but the kids have been pulling out cards at the breakfast table in the morning and going over facts in addition to the time the boys and I sit down together and play a few times a week. All of our kids (ages 10 to 16) have enjoyed playing this together and the 10 year old is the most competitive in the bunch! It’s been great seeing them each work on their recall and figure out different ways to remember things.

This game may be new to you (as it was to us), but I love hearing about different games, especially when there is an added learning twist in the game.

Have you ever played U. S. Presidents before?

Do you have a game recommendation for our family to try next?

 

Honestly, we LOVE the game and the kids have asked if we can get a few of the other ones in the set. Here are the ones that will be joining our home over the next few months: 


 

A few freebies to go along with President learning…

If you like these resources, you may also enjoy the president’s day handwriting pages, a free download! They are not specific to president’s day and include quotes from several presidents to use as copywork. 

The U.S. President Fact Files are another FREE printable that feature coloring images of all 45 U.S. Presidents along with room to write down important facts about each president. 

Settlers of Catan – Family Game Night

settlers of catan board game

The girls and I have a new game that we are in love with – Settlers of Catan. It’s been one that was recommended to us for ages, has been sitting in my Amazon cart, and two weeks I found it at a scratch-and-dent sale of sorts for an amazing price. To help you understand how much we are enjoying it, the game sits out and has been played nearly every single day since it came through the door of the house.

How to Play Settlers of Catan

The game board is built in a hexagonal shape and there are two sides to choose from to give players a variety when replaying. Each small hexagon on the board represents a different resources: forest, sheep, rock, grain, and brick. There are four different colors that can be used (up to four players) to build ‘settlements’ on the game board.

During the game, players collect resources based on where their first settlements are built, expand their territory by building roads and cities, and try to strategically ‘take over’ the island. The first person to reach 10 points earned by building road, settlements, and collecting special cards wins the game.

There is a great overview on the Catan website and even a game assistant app you can download to help learn the rules (love this!).

Once you really start getting into the game, there are additional extension packs that build on the main board so you can grow and expand on the base game: seafarers, cities & knights, traders & barbarians, explorers & pirates – and so much more!

Skills Catan Works On

There are a few things that Catan has been great in working on with the kids (and me too!)

  • Thinking strategically – while you want to get settlements and roads on the board, you definitely have to plan and think ahead on where you place your pieces so you are able to collect resources. You earn resources based on the number that is rolled (there are numbers in the center of each hexagon). If you have a settlement on that number, you earn that resource. Resources are then traded in to build roads, cities, and armies.

  • Probability – you never know how the die is going to roll. While each number on the board shows the likelihood of that number being rolled, you may have a game full of different numbers.

  • Negotiation – It’s frustrating to not have the resources you need to build something and players are allowed to trade/barter with each other. You can be stingy or kind (and I think we all can use a little kindness, right). Players need to think strategically in terms of trading, but it’s been neat to watch how relationships play into the game and are being built.

  • Decision-making – during the game players have to make various strategic decisions on how they will build their settlements and take over, based on their resources. Is it wiser to build a larger army or put up more settlements?

  • Value/Risk – As we play the game more and we begin to get used to how the game is played, there are more things I am noticing. Based on how you are doing, you can choose to sabotage another players settlements to prevent them from winning (by using the robber or stealing resources), block them from growing their territory – you need to weigh what is most important to you and if it will help you out in the long run.

      Recommended Ages

    Settlers of Catan is recommended for ages 10 and up. So far we have only played it with our 12 and older crew because the younger two discovered Battleship and have been playing that constantly. The game is built for four players, but you can add a 5 and 6 player extension, as well as multiple variants of the base board to make the game last longer. There is also a junior Catan version targeted toward younger children.

    The game typically takes us between 30 minutes to an hour and a half to play, depending on how strategically pieces are placed, how ruthless players are with each other, and often just by chance! Overall we have LOVED it.

    That’s what we’ve been busy playing lately.

    What games have you been playing and would you recommend – should we ever peel ourselves away from Catan?

A Few Other Games We Love

  • Farkle – a simple game of dice
  • Blokus – strategy game full of colors and shapes

 

Blokus: Family Game Time

Playing games is one of my favorite family memories from growing up. Somehow though, I managed to marry a man who is not as excited about games. This year, I am hoping to spend a few afternoons (or evenings) a week enjoying some game time with the kids and finding games that we can all enjoy together (or without my hubby – grins).

Blokus board game for family game time

This past month, we’ve been playing Blokus – a game that is new to us. If you haven’t heard of it, here’s a quick little recap.

How to Play Blokus:

blokus game board

There are four different colors in Blokus, and each player has 21 different shaped pieces. Players take turns placing pieces on the board, one at a time. Pieces of like color can only touch on the corners of like-colored pieces. During the game, players try to get as many of their pieces on the board, while using strategy to block their opponents from spreading across the board.

Skills Blokus Works On:

Blokus board game

There are a few things that Blokus has been great in working on with the kids (and me too!)

  • Thinking strategically – while you want to get your pieces on the board, you definitely have to plan and think ahead to keep areas open for your own pieces and to block your opponents.
  • Spatial thinking – kids have to picture how pieces are going to fit together on the board, either as they work around opponents pieces or in building their own pieces. Each piece is shaped differently, making it a fun challenge.

Recommended Ages:

Blokus is recommended for ages 7 and up, but those closer to the 7 year old age may need a little assistance. Overall the rules are simple, so kids catch on quickly!

We haven’t kept a running score of our Blokus games, but usually play on a game-by-game basis. All of our kids (ages 7 to 13) have enjoyed playing this together and the 7 year old has been getting fairly competitive lately! It’s been great seeing them each develop their own strategy to make the game work for them!

This game may be new to you (as it was to us), but I love hearing about different games, especially when there is an added learning twist in the game.

Have you ever played Blokus before?

Do you have a game recommendation for our family to try next?