The two games they sent us to try were Ocean Raiders and Cloud Hoppers, both maths practice games at a fairly basic level.
Ocean Raiders is designed to help youngsters practice their addition in a fun way and so that they don't realise they're learning and it certainly lived up to it's promise.
The concept of the game is basically a reworking of snakes and ladders. The winner is the first person to get to #49 and win the treasure chest while avoiding whirlpools which can take you back up the board, or finding the ones which can drop you down and give you an advantage. Each player moves by throwing the die and adding the number on the die to the position they are currently in. The difference is that the numbers are jumbled on each row so it isn't a case of simply counting forward the number shown on the die. Rather, you have to use maths to work out what the next number should be and find it on the board.
The die is 10 sided so it covers addition of numbers from 0-9. I played it with Bug (6) and Missy (10) and it helped give me a better understanding of their ability. For instance they could easily add 6 plus 7, but they couldn't transfer that knowledge to add 36 plus 7. The game gives a couple of different ways of working out the answer, one using fingers and the other using the tablets provided. Unfortunately they couldn't quite get the hang of writing on the tablets to work out the answer so we stuck to fingers.
Because Missy has ADHD and autism, and doesn't like maths, getting her to do any maths work is really hard. She can't 'see' it in her head and it doesn't hold her attention. However she quite happily sat down to play this game and enjoyed the challenge it presented. The game held her attention until we reached the end so that is definitely an endorsement. Bug also enjoyed the game although did struggle with the sums and I had to help her a little bit. But she really enjoyed working out the answer and finding the number.
The idea behind Cloud Hoppers is to help kids practice their subtraction skills, with some addition practice included. However it's done in such a way that it just feels like a game and my kids keep asking to play it!
The premise of the game is that there are 4 sets of aliens trying to reach a plant which is at #20 on the board. All the aliens start at #50 and have to subtract the number thrown on the device from their position to make their next move along the numbered clouds. The winner is the person who gets both aliens to the flower. Of course there are obstacles along the way, including if another player lands on the cloud you are already on, your alien has to go back to his spaceship at the start. There are also safe clouds, clouds which turn an alien invisible for a turn and clouds that drop you down a level. If your alien goes past #20 he is then on the leaves on the ground and has to add the number on the die to try to reach the flower at #20.
I played it with all the children. They did struggle with the subtractions and it was quite interesting to see what level they are all at. It was quite a lot of work for me as I had to keep working out the answers, but it exercised my little grey cells! The best thing was that by getting them to play Cloud Hoppers, they were practising their subtraction skills without even realising they were doing 'work', and they enjoyed it.
Whether your children are home educated or at school, these simple board games are an invaluable tool to be able to assess the level of your child's maths ability and also to help them practice so that it becomes second nature, without it seeming like 'work'. We shall definitely be playing these again at the weekends and during the holidays as the games keep the children working but they just think they're playing a board game.
If only all maths lessons were this fun, maybe children would learn faster and happier.
I also enjoyed being involved in their learning by playing a game with them while they learnt. It also gave me an opportunity to teach my autistic daughter the concepts of sharing and taking terms, something a lot of children with autism struggle with.
Both games can be bought on Amazon here, and you will also find a wide range of other board games produced by Logic Roots to help children with other maths skills.
I received these games for review purposes but all the opinions stated are honest and unbiased.