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Word Frolic! Village Idiom™ I / Smarticulation™ Language Edition I Review by Marcy Crabtree

LeftSide RightSide

Learning with the whole brain is the idea behind the language building games at LeftSide RightSide. Cards games such as Word Frolic! Village Idiom™ I and Smarticulation™ Language Edition I help both children and adults learn in a fun way that uses critical thinking skills from the left brain right along with the creative skills of the right brain.

Award-winning Word Frolic! Village Idiom™ I for ages 12 and up, helps teach idiomatic language with engaging, often silly, story cards. Each of the 52 cards explores a different idiom and uses an engaging story with a pun lead-in to the idiom. For example:

People tried to tell the Maple Syrup Bandit that what he was doing was immoral, but, convinced, of the righteousness of his vision, he ______________.

Hid his head in the sand.

Spun his wheels.

Stuck to his guns.

Along with the answer, each card gives a clear explanation of the meaning of the idiom. As an added educational boost (and what homeschooler doesn’t love that?), there are related Bonus Questions to explore the subject of the idioms further. For the above example, the bonus question was, "How is maple syrup made?"

Another fun addition is called Talk of the Town. These thought-provoking questions are meant to stimulate even more conversation. “What’s the strangest pancake you’ve ever had?” for example.

There are instructions for two or more individual players, teams and even a single-player version, along with several variations on the game. Kids and adults will enjoy this punny game, and everyone will have a new arsenal of mnemonic devices for a whole slew of common idioms!

Smarticulation™ Language Edition I boasts the ability to help you “express yourself intelligently.” Also for ages 12 and up this card game can be played with 1-6 players The 40 Challenge Cards are divided into 4 categories:

Out on a Limerick teaches Greek and Latin prefixes using limericks. For example:

On the Road
quotes passages from works of fiction. You identify the author and the book.

The Eschewbox
gives you the opportunity to correct grammatical errors in a paragraph.

Rooted Out
focuses on teaching root words with a challenging multiple-choice word replacement game.

Each card boasts a primary activity, along with 3 educational, conversation-starting bonus questions.

Both of these card games were played with my 12-year-old son. He (we) found Smarticulation™ Language Edition I especially challenging. I can see it used more for the high school SAT or ACT preparation, though reading through the cards for increasing knowledge was an activity my son enjoyed. Adults who are interested in improving their knowledge of the English language will also enjoy this game.

Word Frolic! Village Idiom™ I was the game we both enjoyed very much. My son is at an age where he’s often asking questions about what idioms mean, so while he didn’t necessarily find this game easy to play, he did enjoy it immensely, and being a child of great humor, he loved the puns.

I do feel the need to attach one warning to this review. These games are obviously secular  in nature, and while there were not many issue with content, there were a few cards I removed from each game due to either language or content that I felt inappropriate for our family. Words such as “hottie haughty”  and “freakin” occurred several times in Smarticulation™ Language Edition, but probably the most concerning was one of the puns in Word Frolic! Village Idiom™ I:

The way Herbert preferred to drink his whiskey usually mirrored the state of his marriage: ___________.

On the rocks.

On pins and needles.

Hard as nails

Removing the objectionable content from either game does not affect play at all. In total, I believe I removed approximately six cards.

Each card game sells for $19.95 and may be purchased through the RightSide LeftSide website.

Product Review by Marcy Crabtree, Assistant Marketing Manager, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February, 2013