One of my favorite things about family time is playing games together. I love it. I love to have that relaxed atmosphere, with a hint of competition. I love the laughter and the lessons in sportsmanship. You learn a lot about people when you play a games with them. And it brings everyone to neutral territory, as teammates, rather than parent and child, or siblings.
We play lots of games. In my house in Utah I actually had a huge walk-in closet just for my games. I had that many. And puzzles. It's not hard to accumulate games when you've homeschooled for as long as I had. But you know how it is, some games really blow. They're way too complicated, way too boring, or take way too long. Or they just seem stupid. We have a few games that we return to over and over again, and I get very excited to find a new one to add to our rotation. Sunday nights are for treats and games. And I think we have a winner here, so add it to your Christmas list. It will make a great family gift.
Okay, so here's the deal. It's easy. There are 9 big tiles covered in I-Spy type picture drawings on both sides. You arrange the tiles in a 3 x 3 square, and that's your game board, so it's different every time you play. And sometimes throughout the play you are directed to rotate a tile, or flip a tile, so things are not static for long.
There are three colors of playing cards and two dice and a timer. The object of the game is to find as many pictures as you can and the first person to accumulate 6 cards wins. You roll the colored die. Whichever color shows, that's the color card you draw.
Red cards are for bidding on. Let's say I roll the red. I say, "I bet I can find 4." (of whatever the red card tells me to find, like "things that fly", for example, but you can't turn the red card over to see what it is you're looking for until the bidding stops.) The player to my left says, "I bet I can find 5." It goes around, and you can bid or pass. When it stops, you flip the red card over, start the timer, and you have 30 seconds to find whatever it is. If you are successful, you keep the red card. It's hard!
Green cards are just for you. They're just like the red cards, except no bidding. If you roll a green card, you also roll the standard die, and whatever number shows, that's how many of the pictures you have to find. Make sense? If you succeed, you keep the card.
Blue cards are Pictureka! cards. Instead of a description like you find on the red and green cards ("find vehicles"), you'll just see a drawing, and that's what you have to find. But it's open play for everyone. You start the timer, everyone looks, and the first person to spot it, points at it and yells "Pictureka!" That player keeps the card.
First person to 6 cards wins. Easy, yet difficult enough to be really fun. And with little ones, you can just play the blue cards and find the pictures. Great for detail observation and memory skills, higher-order thinking for kids, and you can play with as many people as you want, from two, to. . .well, we played with all seven of us.
So, there you have it. And it's on sale at Amazon for $13. How's that for cheap entertainment? Go buy it, play it, and you can thank me later. Turn off the TV and play a game together. And Merry Christmas.