February 7, 2012
Last month, we just got a fun board game to test out and review, called Morphology.
Probably the best description is that it’s like Pictionary, but with objects. Instead of drawing your word, you have to build it with a bunch of small objects like string, beads, cubes, pawn-looking pieces, etc.
Our family of seven, ages 3 and up, played with it during early December (so it wouldn’t get swamped in the Christmas rush of toys) and everyone loved it. I know it says 13 and up on the box, but with a little help even the younger kids have fun with it . . . though my 3-year-old refused to build the word on his card and kept building Minecraft scenarios he wanted us to guess at: “It’s a creeper and TNT.”
Here’s what the kids thought of it:
12-year-old son: I like the ability to create anything you want in any form, shape, or dimension.
10-year-old daughter: It’s really fun. I love trying to build funny objects. But, I don’t know some of the words.
8-year-old son: I like building the things that it says on the card. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what the other people are building.
6-year-old son: It’s fun to build the stuff. There’s stuff to use and you have time to guess.
3-year-old son: I like the frogs! Yes, it’s fun.
- Fun & Learning at the same time: We now consider this game a way to take a fun break from our regular routine and still get some valuable ‘schooling’ done. Here’s why:
- Vocabulary builder – While many of the words are known by most kids, there are plenty that aren’t, so they are building their vocabulary in a fun way. (We usually had someone from the opposite team or a ‘non-player’ help with reading and explaining unknown words.)
- Spatial awareness and training – This game is a great ‘mind-stretcher’ for all ages as the builder tries to make odd pieces form a familiar shape and the guessers are trying to decide if the build is being done in 2D or 3D. Is it a 2D flat picture of a table? Or is it a 3D build of a table?
- Teamwork and communicating – A great exercise in getting your point across and understanding gestures, facial expressions, etc., all while you’re working together to figure out the answer.
- Social skills – Frustration, especially for younger kids, can flare up in this game as one person is trying to communicate the answer and the others just aren’t getting it, all the while, time is ticking away. I actually like frustration in non-critical situations, because I think it’s a great chance to help kids practice how to handle it. I try to use questions like, “How do you think you can stay calm when no one can guess your clue?”
- Many possible variations – When we first got the game, we started by just taking turns building a word and everyone trying to guess it. We didn’t even use the game board. This gave everyone time to practice the new skills of using objects to communicate while removing any time or win/lose pressure (to decrease the frustration level, if desired). The game allows you to easily follow the rules or make up your own.
- The cards seemed a bit thin and easily bent, which makes sense for an age 13+ game, but not so durable for our crowd.
- Occasional words seemed uncommon and difficult to guess even if you did a good build, ie: acne instead of zits, and banjo instead of guitar. We just added a rule that synonyms or “really close to the same thing” words would count as a score.
Overall, it’s a game that makes a fun variation from your typical board game and keeps the kids thinking and learning at the same time.
Posted under Homeschool Curriculum