Tuesday, July 27, 2010

2 New Games for the Library

I have been building our board game collection in the library over the last few years. Buffy Hamilton's recent mention of adding new games to her library this year inspired a quick shopping trip! Her post reminded me that I wanted to add some new games to our library too and I was near one of my favorite local toy stores.

When I think about my big goal for the K-5 library, I want kids to see it as a place for learning, thinking, exploring, discovering and creating. I want them to know that there are lots of tools for these things and that the library has a variety of tools to support the different learning they might do. Books, laptops, Legos, puppets, board games, cameras, magazines, and ipods are some of the tools available to kids in the library. I want them to think about which tool will support their learning and have access to a huge variety. I want them to see the library as a place that will support them with whatever tool it might be that they need and I try to fill the library with the best learning tools for elementary students.

In terms of games, some of the popular games that we have in the library are BANANAGRAMS, SCRAMBLED STATES, SET, and COUNTDOWN. Each of the games we have in the library supports learning in a different way. Some are strategy games, others connect to books. Some connect to specific learning that K-5 students do. Along with more strategy games (which I believe you can never have enough of!), I hope to pick up the new DON'T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS board game as well as a FANCY NANCY board game for the younger kids. Some of the fourth graders asked about learning to play GO this year and having GO Tournaments, after reading HIKARU NO GO.

I picked up two new games that I am excited about today. The first is MULTIPLAYER PENTAGO. We have two of the regular (2 player) PENTAGO games in the library and they are a huge hit. If you don't know Pentago, it is a great visual strategy game for two players. Kids of all ages loved this game and after the first few days, I never won a game! This new 2010 version, is the same game but is made for more than 2 players. The board is colorful and up to 4 players can play this one. The 2 Pentago games were almost always in use so I am sure the kids will be excited about the new challenges and fun that this one provides. I also just discovered that you can play Pentago online--with a friend or against the computer. That will be another way kids can enjoy this great strategy game!

I also picked up SQUARE UP. It looked like a good game and I trust the Parents' Choice Award when it is on a game. This is a pattern/puzzle game in which two players race to slide cubes in order to match a given pattern. Although this is designed to be played with two players, it looks like there are ways for individuals to play and learn.

I also like to have some puzzles in the library. Most are either strategy puzzles or puzzles that go with books. I think puzzles encourage collaborative work in a way that other tools don't. When I saw the CRAZY CHEESE MATCHING PUZZLE, I thought it would be a great thing to put on a table during Student/Parent Walk-Through Day. I love to put things out that encourage parents and children to explore together. I think families could have fun with this one.

I don't have a huge budget for games but I do want to add a few more quality games this year. I would love to hear what other librarians are putting in their libraries in terms of games.


  1. Glad to find a list of games - I'm not a librarian, but I'm always looking for games for my kids, whose ages range from 4-14. They've recently been enjoying Quiddler (the youngers are on my team).

  2. I love this vision of the library. We have a Lego table with our Lego books, and I'm working on adding a chess table, but I'm going to take a look at some of these games and puzzles that you've mentioned. Our library is the hub of our school. I'd love to encourage the kind of activity that you're describing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  3. Yesterday at the library I saw some kids and grown-ups playing board games together and it was just so lovely. What a great way to spend a summer afternoon.

  4. Used your link for pentago online--fun game! Thanks for the info on games!


  5. I am starting an after school Scrabble club this year. I have the Jr. version as well as the original Scrabble game added to the library. They will be available at other times of the day as well, but I thought this would be a good way to get our older students to think about words.

  6. My students love playing Blokus. I bought a magnetic poetry kit from Amazon that's a big hit as well. At a school where I once taught, the librarian would hold Connect Four Tournaments for the top readers at the end of each grading period. Your library sounds like a great place. I also enjoy your blog!

  7. Think Fun is a great company for promoting strategic thinking.

    Here are a few of our favorites from lots of places...this would also bring math to the library. CrossWise, Flip 4, Dizios, Guacamole, Quiddler(word card game) Trionimoes, Qwirkle, Pictureka, Zingo and What's Gnu for little ones. Blokus, Boggle,Doodle Dice, Yatzee, Set, Tranrix, and Hiss.

  8. Hi Franki,

    Glad to see all the great games you are collecting in your library. You would love our basement full of the best boardgames. I recommend Zooloretto (and there is an extension) for your upper elementary kids. We also love Ticket to Ride - great for geography (and then Ticket to Ride Europe, Switzerland, the Nordic countries and Germany (with detours into Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland and France).

    My husband, Martin, is a Go player and will be glad to hear your kids are playing Go. Go began a resurgence in Japan after Hakiru No Go came out.

    Looking forward to September.


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