Marie’s Words arrived in the mail from Timberdoodle at a time when my two oldest children were a little frustrated about helping me review products. Believe it or not, they do not always enjoy our “experiments”. I thought I was going to have to pull teeth to get them to play this game with me. Fortunately, it is summer school which gives me some leeway. I just informed them that if they played the game with me cheerfully and helped me with the video (instead of hiding) they wouldn’t have to do any other schoolwork that day. 180 degrees later we were sitting around the Marie’s Words box reading the directions.
Imagine this – they had fun. We teased each other, and we played to win. I played to win. I lost, but I did play to win. One of the unexpected benefits of playing this game with my children is that I actually learned something about my daughter. I did not know how strong her vocabulary and sentence writing skills were until we played. She usually struggles to write longer papers for school work, but one sentence at a time she revealed a strength I did not know existed. Now we just have to translate that into essays.
Here’s how the game works. Each card has two sides. On one side, a word is colorfully illustrated in a memorable way. On the other side, the word is defined, shown in a sentence, and includes synonyms, antonyms, and pronunciation. Each round, one player takes a turn as the wordsmith. The wordsmith shows the illustrated side to the players and reads the definition out loud. He then copies the sentence (which he did not read) from the card onto his paper. Each of the other players attempt to write a sentence with just the illustration and the definition to go by. All three sentences are read by the wordsmith. Each player then votes for the one she thinks is the official Marie’s Words sentence. Each player gets one point for picking the correct sentence, and one point if someone else picks her sentence. The wordsmith does not vote or get points. You can play for as long as you like, or play to a certain number of points, or play for a set time. The length of the game is your choice– which makes this game great for portability and orthodontist waiting rooms.
Marie’s Words features 500 illustrated vocabulary words directly from the SAT study list. The purpose of this game is to increase your vocabulary and study the SAT words. But, your children do not have to know that. My children are in 6th and 8th grade. They have a few years before we will have to take SATs. I figure with a few years of playing this game between now and then they will be well prepared.
Next time we play, we will cut strips of paper to write our sentences on, so that we can be more secretive without going to such great lengths as we read out loud. The first round, my daughter watched my eyes reading the sentences from the notebooks and figured out the correct answer. After that we had to come up with more inventive ways to keep a secret which you will see in the video.
My Bottom Line: Marie’s Words is a fun game that made us laugh, giggle, snort, and learn. Did I mention we learned? I learned how to spell linch pin. The correct way. Everyone else learned the actual meanings of the words we played. Definitely recommend.
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Disclaimer: As a member of Timberdoodle’s Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of Marie’s Words in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.