Looking for a GNU Way to Play an Old Favorite?!

In a recent post on her family’s love of games, a mom of twins and former teacher shares the powerful ways games have integrated into her family’s lives.  From brain games that give mom and dad a mental workout when the kids go to bed to the apps that allow them to take their favorites with them on the go, this is a family who knows the value of play – and play they do!

What's GNU?As a former teacher, I most appreciated the ideas she shared with ways to modify the ThinkFun game What’s GNU? to make game play a truly intensive lesson in early word-building.  These little tweaks she added were all done organically to preserve the fun of play, and her daughter loved every minute!  As a parent and educator, she delighted in the fact that, due to the game setting and fun of play, her daughter “has no clue that she is practicing reading/spelling skills!”

Here is an excerpt from her post with some fantastic ideas to try at home:

Then I played their online version of What’s Gnu, which teaches reading/spelling skills and added that to the shopping list.  We don’t play it right now as they list in the rules.  Here’s how we use it:

  • Find the 14 word-ending cards.  If you’ve ever taught phonics, these are the word family cards (ig, an, at, ow, etc).
  • Sit across from one another and spread out your 7 cards in front of you.
  • Click the machine to spit out two letters.  The one closest to you is “your” letter.
  • Use it to form a word… if you can.  For the first round or two, you can usually use any letter.  But it gets harder once you have fewer cards.  For instance, let’s say that you’re down to “an” and “at” and the letter you get is “J” — that can’t be used to form a common word.  So you lose that turn.
  • Whoever fills all 7 cards first wins.
  • I have lost consistently every single time we’ve played.

Looking for more ideas for ways to use What’s GNU? to build your child’s skills?  Check out this fantastic post on ways a creative homeschooling mom uses What’s GNU as a fun learning tool!

Have you taken a game and changed the rules to build more fun and/or learning into your play?  Please share your ideas!

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