Want to stretch their imagination without overwhelming them? Don’t mind breaking a few rules? Able to make no sense at all and not get frustrated? This may be the game for you and yours.
On the way back from England this month I was looking for something to buy with my remaining pound coins. I found these pictionary cards. Even at airport prices this was still affordable. It looked a little difficult for my 5 year old but I got it anyway. When I returned home to Japan, the sprog was the first to want to play it, and that required a rethink.
The cards include picture cards such as you see on the photo above and challenge cards shown in the oval above the pictures. The idea is to pick a challenge card and mime the challenge word or phrase using only the picture cards for others to guess. Even for adults that can be challenging. There are children’s challenges on the reverse side of the challenge cards, but even they require a certain level of reading ability and vocabulary. So, here’s the situation: 2 adults, 1 child and a given set of rules. We broke the rules.
We decided to take turns with the challenges. For my wife and I, my daughter would call out a number from 1-4 which decided our challenge. When she played, she chose a word from the card she could read & understand. If she couldn’t read or understand any, she chose another card. All of us stuck to the kids level challenges (to be honest the adult ones looked beyond me).
The greatest challenge was still to come. How would the sprog cope with building meaning from abstract pictures? She already had some experience from using Rory’s Story Cubes, but I did think the game would be above her. As it turned out I was half right. She could do some easily, and others not so easily. She was perfectly able to create a scenario with the cards, but sometimes they were almost impossible to guess. This was true for all of us however (I failed terribly describing ‘pumpkin’).
So why am I posting about this? Because the level of success in this case is the fact that she wants to play again. It seems to have caught her imagination. It’ a vocabulary builder and reading challenge. It’s an abstract thinking developmentalizer and a chance to get things wrong without sweating it too much. In short, it’s challenging and fun, and you can change the rules to suit your level. I didn’t want to make a team with my daughter because I would be telling her what to do. Let them have a go, let them not make sense.