Tag Archives: games

The Reading Game: A TOS Review

The Reading Game: A TOS Review

The Reading Game: A TOS Review


Sacha’s<25: The Reading Game is a fast-action memory card game. It includes a six illustrated books. The cards & books work together to teach sight words. Ages 4+

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

Is it worth our time?  8 stars
Did it help us learn? 8 stars
Is it worth the money? 6 stars
Is it useful to me? 7 stars
Practicality-  7 stars
Quality-  9 stars
Kid Rating-  5 stars

Faith (4 1/2 years old) was so excited when the package came in the mail with The Reading Game in it!  She could hardly wait to open it up and play it.  Are you familiar with Wordly Wise? We not only use WW… we LOVE it!

The author of WW now brings us this new memory card game played with 10 cards (5 sets of words) during each stage of the game.

The game is played with 2 players-one student and on teacher/tutor/older sibling–taking turns flipping over 2 cards and trying to find matches.  If you flip over 2 cards that match you have to say the word on the cards before you “win” them.  After playing a series of 6 “stages” or games your student will  have mastered 30 words and will be able to read the first book in the series. Here is a video to show you how the game is played.  (Please note that the card backs are in color now, see the above photo.)

It sounds simple, doesn’t it?  Yes and no.  Faith really had a hard time remembering what the words were.  She was getting frustrated very quickly and would then want to quit.  We took the game very slowly and even after playing it multiple different times she still hasn’t learned enough of the words to read the book.  I think that if she was a little older this would have made a big difference in how much she liked it.  She wanted to like it and would ask to play, but just got upset too easily when she couldn’t remember a word and knew she wouldn’t be able to read the book if she didn’t know the words.  We have had the game about a month now, but she can only read maybe 15 of the words from the first set (Skunk) of cards.  We have played through the 5th stage of the game.

From The Reading Game Website:

The Reading Game is a learn-to-read program consisting of six illustrated storybooks: skunk, snake, bear, penguins, unicorn, and zebra. Each book comes with a simple word matching card game. Each game is played in six stages, each of which teaches five words.

Frequent exposure through play hard-wires these words into long-term memory. The card game requires two players, the student and a tutor. When used in classrooms and reading centers, parent volunteers or student “reading buddies” can easily be shown how to play the matching card game. By transforming rote learning into a fast paced game where there is a winner every few seconds, learning to read becomes fun.

After completing stage six of the first game, the student has a reading vocabulary of thirty words.

The first story is told using just those thirty words. It tells of a skunk without a stripe who is rejected for being different but finds acceptance among a group of cats and becomes their defender. Each subsequent game in the series adds a further thirty words for a reading vocabulary of 180 words by the time the complete series is finished. Of the twenty-five most commonly used English words, twenty-two are on that list; of the forty most commonly used English words –thirty. The multi-sensory teaching approach – through the card game play and the storybooks – works well for retention and student enjoyment.

What I liked:

  • The card themselves — the backs are very colorful and the fronts are very easy to read.
  • The books are cute & well illustrated.
  • When Faith would recognize a word she was so excited.
  • By the end of the 6 sets of cards and books children will know 180 words.

What I didn’t like:

  • How easily frustrated Faith got playing the game…even at just 5 words a game, it was stressful to her…she was really good at making matches, just not reading them! (I think in about 6-12 months she will really like this game!)

To sum it up: I think this is a game that some kids will love and thrive with.  Some, like my own, may just get really frustrated.  It seems like a fun, low-key  way to learn sight words.

The important information:


Order from: http://www.thereadinggame.com/

Price: $24.95

To read other TOS Crew reviews of this product click here.


Disclosure/Disclaimer:  I received the above product free of charge for review purposes.  I am only expected to give an honest review.

Say Anything Family Edition: A TOS Review

Say Anything Family Edition: A TOS Review

Say Anything Family Edition: A TOS Review

Sacha’s<25:A fast paced game that will keep you laughing, while learning what your loved ones think….Great for ages 8 and up (with a little help anyone can play)!

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

Is it worth our time? 10 stars (for family fun!)
Did it help us learn?  N/A
Is it worth the money?  10 stars
Is it useful to me?  10 stars (for fun!)
Practicality-  9 stars
Quality-  7 stars
Kid Rating-  10 stars

Overview: Say Anything is a light-hearted game about what you and your loved ones think.  It gives you the chance to settle questions that have been hotly debated for centuries.  For instance, “What magical power would be the coolest to have?” or “What would be the most fun thing to throw off a tall building?”  So dig deep into your heart or just come up with something witty – this is your chance to Say Anything!

How to Play:

  • Each player (or team) gets a dry erase pen, answer board and 2 Player Tokens.  You will also need a napkin or paper towel for each player to wipe of their answers.
  • Choose a Scorekeeper.  They will tally the scores after each round on the Score Board.
  • Youngest player goes first.  They get the Select-O-Matic 6000 (sort of like a spinner) They are the Judge for the round and will not write an answer this turn. They take a Question Card from the deck and choose which of 3 questions they want to ask.
  • Everyone else writes down what they think is the best answer to the question and places it face up on the table as quickly as possible.  (Sound similar to Apples to Apples?)
  • Once all the Answer Boards are on the table the Judge secretly picks their favorite answer on the Select-o-Matic 6000 and places it face down on the table.
  • Now everyone else uses their 2 Player Tokens to guess which answer the Judge picked…they can place both tokens on the same answer or split the tokens between 2 different answers.
  • Then the Judge reveals their favorite answer, turning over the Select-o-Matic.
  • Now it is time to score the round!  Players get 1 point for each token on the answer that was selected.  The player who wrote the answer gets a bonus point.  The Judge get 1 point for each player token placed on the answer they selected. (Max amount of points any player can get in a round is 3 points)
  • Now erase your answers and start another round.  Player to the left of the judge becomes the next judge.
  • Game ends once everyone has asked 2 questions.  Player with the most points wins!


Sample Questions:

In My Opinion….

  • What would be the coolest thing to collect?
  • What’s the best song ever?
  • Which animal would I least want to meet in a dark alley?
  • What one word best describes me?
  • What would be the worst habit to have?
  • I just wrote a book. What is it called?
  • What should never be brought home as a pet?

What we liked:

  • All ages could play together! (Best for ages 8 and up because there is writing involved, but with a little help from a parent anyone could play)
  • It was such a fun game, we did a lot of laughing together!
  • Easy to learn, quick to play game!

What we didn’t like:

  • The Select-o-Matic 6000 (sort of like a spinner) kept coming apart. There was nothing to hold it on from the back.  No big deal, just a bit annoying!
  • Only comes with 6 boards, so if you have more players, you will have to team up!

To sum it up: Another great game for the entire family.  This would also be a fun game to have another family over to play with or to pull out at the next family gathering.  What about buying it as a Christmas gift?


The important information:


Order from: Amazon for $13.85

Price: retails for $19.99

****You can also head over to the NorthStar Games website to see where you can purchase it in your area.

To read other TOS Crew reviews of this product click here.


Review: Wise Alec Civilize This! by Griddly Games

Review: Wise Alec Civilize This! by Griddly Games

Wise Alec Civilize This! by Griddly Games

Sacha’s<25: A portable, history trivia card game for ages 8 and up. It’s an easy-to-learn, fun way to reinforce  or learn about some different historical periods.

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

Is it worth our time? 7 Stars
Did it help us learn? 7 Stars
Is it worth the money? 8 Stars
Is it useful to me? 6 Stars
Practicality- 8 Stars
Quality-8 Stars
Kid Rating-8 Stars

We received Wise Alec Civilize This! travel game and expansion set from Griddly Games.  It is a history trivia card game for ages 8 and up..  We were all very excited to play this game for the first time.  Matthew (11), Joy (10), Andrew (7) and I (yeah, not going there with my age) played it the first time.

There are two ways to play the game.   Either you play for a certain amount of time and tally the scores (highest score wins) or you can play until a player reaches a certain score (say 50 points).  We played for half an hour.  Our scores were still pretty low and we had a hard time answering quite a few of the questions.  We liked the Wise Alec card aspect of the game (keep reading).

 Check out this short video on how to play:

In case you didn’t watch the video let me tell you a bit about the game so it makes more sense before I go on with my review.  It is a simple game to understand.  On your turn you roll a colored dice. The color the dice lands on dictates what you do next.

You will either take a card from one of the four card piles (Ancient, Medieval, Modern or Wise Alec) or you get to choose which category or the player on your right gets to choose which category question you get.  The trivia questions are based on different historical time periods.  When it is your turn you get to choose if you want a 3 point (easy) question or a 7 point (harder) question.  My kids felt that even the easy questions were pretty difficult.  It might have been that we haven’t studied world history in 2 years (we have spent the last 2 years on American History with Sonlight)!  However, the kids weren’t frustrated with it and we all enjoyed the Wise Alec cards.

The Wise Alec cards are a fun addition to this trivia game.  The game rules state when you pick up a Wise Alec card to “be prepared to do exercises, tongue twisters, brainteasers, win or lose points, get special bonuses, or other wacky things.”

The thing I wished was different: It would be nice if the cards had the option of multiple choice answers.  I think it would help for the younger aged players.

I had to laugh, I went looking for the game a day later and wondering where it had been put only to find out that the boys had taken it up to their room and they had been playing it late at night!  So, I guess that makes it a hit, they enjoyed playing a game in which they are still learning and having fun at the same time!
A couple quick tips:  My kids were laughing at me trying to open the game.  I thought it slid out of a case, but the case is magnetized on the side and opens that way.  Also, make sure that you keep the clear plastic that covers the cards.  If you don’t the cards tend to slide all over the case and could possibly fall out.
TO SUM IT UP: We are a huge game playing family.  It was really nice to have a game that took no set up, travels easily, can be played anywhere and isn’t complicated to learn.  We were playing the game within 3  minutes of opening the box.  (Even better is that the instructions are pasted to the inside cover so they can’t get lost!)  If you are looking for a fun way to reinforce history or learn some quick facts this game is for you!

The Important Information:

Wise Alec: Civilize This

by Griddly Games  (check out their website to see all the other games they have)
Can be purchased through Amazon or look for retailers on their website.
Price: $14.99
Disclosure/Disclaimer:  I received the above product free of charge for review purposes.  I am only expected to give an honest review of the product.
This is another review for TOS Crew.  You can check out other reviews for this and other products here.

A Fun Game-Ruckus!

A Fun Game-Ruckus!

I hope that you had an awesome weekend celebrating Jesus and all that He did for us!  We had a great time in Iowa and our hosts served up a wonderful Easter meal.  After dinner a few of us played a game new to us.  It is called Ruckus.  It was an absolute blast to play!  I had to share it with you.  I had never seen it before!

It is a simple game to learn and even non-readers can play the game.  Everyone starts out with 7 cards in their hands (all funny picture cards).  The “dealer” (each round a different player is dealer) keeps giving each player a card until players can start making matches.  Once you have a match you lay the set in front of you.  Here is where it gets fun.  If you have a single card in your hand and it matches someone elses set on the table you can steal it!  Then you lay it in front of you.  Whoever gets rid of all of their cards first gets 5 points plus all the points in their stacks on the table.  Everyone else adds up what they had on the table and subtracts what they had in their hands.  Really a simple game, but it gets crazy!  I think the instructions say to play to 50 points, but we just kept a running tally and played about 2 hours it was so much fun!

It is available on Amazon for less than $10! Click here see it there!


The Meal Rating Game

The Meal Rating Game

I’ll admit it, I have the hardest time meal planning. I don’t know if part of it can be blamed on the fact that my husband has a strange work schedule. He might not be home for dinner some nights during the week, but it totally depends on the week. (I really don’t want to cook a big meal on a night he isn’t home, when the kids would be thrilled to have breakfast for dinner.) Maybe I could blame some of it on the fact that with 5 kids, it is hard to come up with meals that EVERYONE enjoys. Some of it might have to be that I have a hard time coming up with meal ideas. I get stuck in a rut.

Anyways, regardless of all of my excuses, I had to plan meals a couple weeks ago and I could only think of 3 meals. This is when decided to enlist the help of my children. We started with lunch meals. I had them call out all the different meals we eat for lunch and I listed them on a sheet of notebook paper. I couldn’t believe the number of meals I had forgotten that I had made.

Then we came to the fun part….we rated them. I had my kids rate each meal from a 1 to a 5. 5 meaning it was one of their favorites and 1 being that they can’t stand it. They had so much fun with this. We then did all of our breakfast meals and dinners. It was fun hearing what they really loved and what meals were just edible in their books! But, best of all it gave me some great ideas for meals that we hadn’t had in a while. It has been a couple weeks since we rated everything. I have to laugh when one of them says, “Ooo, I have to change my rating, that has to be a 5.”

I encourage you to try it with your kids. If nothing else, I think it made my kids see that I value them a bit more. They enjoyed having the input of what meals they really liked. Not only that, but it really created a point of conversation.

Next, I would like to do a list all the activities that we do as a family and another of all the things they like doing (or would like doing) or not so much. I think I would learn a few more things about my children doing this. And, I think that they might learn or remember about a few more things they like too.