Tuesday, July 21, 2015

{Review} Shape Whiz by SimplyFun

Unexpected Homeschool: Review of Shape Whiz from SimplyFun. Educational and geometric fun!

Amber is all about the games: board games, video games, card games, you-make-it-up games... However, when I tell her a game is "educational" she will play, but her heart is not in it. Nevertheless I was cautiously optimistic when we received Shape Whiz from SimplyFun as a review product. It's clearly a 2-D geometry based game, and Amber loves geometry.

The game is designed for 2 to 4 players ages 10 and up and uses two types of cards: shape cards and whiz cards with a question to solve. There are also detailed playing instructions, complete with pictures and diagrams. It only took us one read through of the instructions to fully understand the premise of Shape Whiz. The game can be played at two difficulty levels simply by including or excluding the two types of shape cards.

Unexpected Homeschool: Review of Shape Whiz from SimplyFun. Educational and geometric fun!

The first step of the game is to understand the presented question on the whiz card. Proper geometric vocabulary is used along with mathematical symbols. The whiz card questions all deal with one of eight properties of the 2 dimensional shapes shown on the shape card grids. All the players quickly scour through the turned up shape cards to be the first to find one card that answers the question posed, whether it be for a shape with two sets of parallel lines or all obtuse angles. 

Just in case your geometry skills are a little rusty, the back of each shape card lists the eight properties for the shape shown. You can check your opponent's selected answer card from the information on the back or simply agree they have found a correct answer.

What did we think?
I nonchalantly offered to play our new game with Amber, in hopes she wouldn't think about it being educational. Luckily, she was more excited about a new game than anything.

After briefly discussing all the possible nitpicky situations Amber could envision, and finding the answer in the rules, we were off and playing. Amber and I are both fiercely competitive people, so our rounds of Shape Whiz went fast and furious. Rarely did we simply agree our opponent had found the correct answer first, and instead required an information check from the back of the selected shape card. The exception was when looking for a specific number of sides. I believe my rather sarcastic answer when Amber asked if I wanted to double check her selection was, "I can count to 3." 

Unexpected Homeschool: Review of Shape Whiz from SimplyFun. Educational and geometric fun!
(Left) Game play - she was serious about reading the Whiz card.
(Right) She won that game - and most of the others that day too!
We found the easy level to be a good starting place to acquaint ourselves with the game play. However it quickly became too simple and we noticed many of the whiz cards referenced shapes not available in the easy shape set. After adding in the more difficult cards the game was even more interesting but still not beyond Amber's abilities.

The whiz card questions did highlight Amber's confusion with comparison symbols (greater than and less than). She can read them in math problems with numbers, but confuses them in English sentences. I usually won the rounds with those symbols in the question since I read them faster. Amber and I played for two hours straight the first time and scared our cats with the raucous laughter. 

We also played Shape Whiz as a family, much to my husband's dismay. While he didn't mind the game itself, he is not nearly as competitive as the rest of us. Needless to say, he was not a winner that day. It was still an entertaining family time. 

Unexpected Homeschool: Review of Shape Whiz from SimplyFun. Educational and geometric fun!
(Top) Family game day. They were grumpy because I was winning and stopped to take pictures.
(Bottom) Again, I was winning and she was counting how many cards she had left (too many. Muhaha!)

I'm not entirely sure Amber has yet realized we are building her geometry skills through the play of this game. We did noticed her reading of the comparison symbols has vastly improved over the past month. This game has become a new favorite with Amber!

If you are looking for an easily portable, entertaining, yet educational game for the entire family then check out Shape Whiz.

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Please visit other members of the Review Crew to see all the fun they had with Shape Whiz and Expanders!

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