Jul 242012

Do you know a child who has trouble following directions? Or one who can’t remember things he hears?

I do!

William, my 10 year old, has many learning difficulties. One of them seems to be related to auditory processing. (I do not have an official diagnosis of auditory processing disorder, but he is definitely weak in this area.) When I heard about HearBuilder Auditory Memory Software from Super Duper Publications, I was very interested in trying out the program with him.

The program is a game that helps children gradually increase their auditory memory and listening skills. The game involves the player as a secret agent who has to perform various activities in order to stop the villain.

The program is divided into 5 areas. They are:

  • Numbers
  • Words
  • Details
  • Closure
  • WH Info

After starting the game and clicking his name, the student sees the following screen.


From this, he can choose to go to any of the activities or check his progress in Agent Status. After all the levels of a game are completed, a badge will appear on this screen as well.


In the number game, the player is required to listen to a list of numbers, then type them in as the combination. It begins with a sequence of 3 and gets progressively more difficult.




The words game is similar to the numbers game. A sequence of words is read, and the player must click on the corresponding pictures in the same order.



The other games are more challenging and require higher level thinking skills. The details game asks players to select one of the people based on certain facts about them. For example, in the following picture the student might be asked to select the boy that is not wearing a backpack. (This picture is from the first level. They do get more difficult! The instructions are all auditory, of course.)


Another interesting game is closure. In it, the player has to fill in the missing word. It might say “Peanut butter and j..” or “Ring around the r…” The student is given choices and must select the right one.


The last game is the most difficult of all. In WH Info, there is a short factual “case” that is given. The player then has to answer a question about the case. The questions are all WH questions: who, what, when, where, or why.


We had a very good experience with this game. The software ran smoothly with no bugs. The games are engaging. After 6 correct responses in the main games, the player gets to play a reward game that is more fun and less educational.

My son who has difficulty with auditory memory doesn’t love the game, but he definitely likes it better than any of his schoolwork! Lizzie, my 5-1/2 year old, really likes the game and has asked to play it many times. Although this game was designed with the special needs student in mind, it is one that can be beneficial to any student. Neither of my children are anywhere close to completing the entire program. The games become progressively more challenging and higher levels even add in background noise.

You can purchase HearBuilder Auditory Memory Software from Super Duper Publications. The home edition is $69.95.

Disclosure: I received a copy of HearBuilder Home Edition in order to write this review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Sep 252011

My family loves games. We have acquired quite a large collection over the years. We used to have a family game night, but we have unfortunately let it disappear in the busyness of this season of our lives. We definitely need to try to add that back soon!


Loving games as I do, I was pleased to be selected to review Tri-Cross by Games for Competitors. I received two versions of the game to review: the standard edition and the eco-edition.

Tri-Cross is a game of strategy that is played with 2-4 people. The game consists of a board and tiles of 4 different colors. The tiles are marked with different numbers of +’s. There is a special Tri-Cross tile as well. The object of the game is to occupy the middle of the board for 4 turns, or to jump all of your opponents’ pieces and be the last player remaining. These videos explain the basics of game play and the more advanced levels.

The day we received our games, we opened them and starting reading the instructions. Or more accurately, I sent my 2 older children to read the instructions and try it out. They came back and said they thought they had played a game correctly, but they were a little unsure.

A 2-player game

I  read the instructions and kind of scratched my head. It is the kind of game that you just have to start playing while referring back to the instructions. Once we started playing, the game became more clear. We tried out the different variations and found that we prefer to play with 3-4 people and the pieces face down so your opponents don’t know your pieces until they challenge you. Actually, I found it challenging to remember my own pieces.

A 4-player game

The game is both simple and complex. The rules are simple, but the complexity comes in the strategy. I have just scratched the surface of figuring out a good strategy and recognizing the strategies of my opponents. It is not as complex as chess (which none of us are big fans of) and the games are typically shorter. We all appreciate that about Tri-Cross.

I mentioned that I received 2 versions of the game. The eco-version differs from the standard in both its packaging and game board.

As you can see, the eco (or travel) version is packaged in a small bag. I like the small package because it is much easier to store and take with you.

The eco-version game board is made of cloth, but uses the same tiles as the standard version.

I like that the fabric game board it is easy to fold and stores compactly in the bag. However, we didn’t like playing the game on the cloth board as well as we did on the standard board. We had trouble with the pieces wanting to slide around due to the creases in the fabric. The problem is lessened if you play with the fabric board on a hard surface. If I were going to own only one version of Tri-Cross, it would be the standard board. But, I do foresee us taking the eco-version along on our next camping trip. Because when we camp, space is very important! Plus, when we camp it always rains, and the eco-version wouldn’t be damaged by the damp weather.

Tri-Cross is available to purchase on the Games for Competitors website. The standard version is available for $24.95, and the eco-version is only $19.95. Thank you Games for Competitors for sending us this fun new game!

Disclosure: I received this product as a member of TOS Homeschool Crew. I was not compensated for this review and all opinions expressed are my own.

Feb 032009

Last night my family made up a fun geography game.  All you need is a map of the United States and at least 3 people to play.  You can assign one person to be the judge and use the map to check the others’ answers.  Or, if you are playing with someone who is fairly confident about U.S. geography, you can just have someone check the map when there’s a dispute.

Here’s how to play the game. (All this is done without the players looking at a map.)

  1. The first person picks a state. 
  2. The next person picks a state that borders the first state. 
  3. The next person then picks a state that borders the second state, but cannot reuse the first state. 
  4. If you pick a state that is incorrect (i.e. doesn’t border the state or has already been called.)  you’re out. 
  5. Play continues until you run out of states. (You either have named all the states or get to a point where all the bordering states have already been called.)
  6. The last person to be able to name a correct state wins the game.

An example game might go like this:

  1. North Carolina
  2. South Carolina
  3. Georgia (this is the only choice because SC only borders 2 states and NC was already named.)
  4. Alabama
  5. Mississippi
  6. Tennessee
  7. Missouri
  8. Kansas
  9. Colorado
  10. Utah
  11. Nevada
  12. California
  13. Arizona
  14. New Mexico
  15. Texas
  16. Oklahoma
  17. Arkansas
  18. Louisiana

That would be the end of this sample game because all the states that border Louisiana have already been named.  This is a great game for exercising your memory 🙂 You could try to see how many states your family can name without getting stuck.  You could also add saying the capital when you said the state.  There are lots of possibilities with it.

We had a great time playing this game.  The older kids (5th and 3rd) were quite competitive.  Even my 1st grader was able to play on some of the states. I think this may inspire the kids to study their maps more.