Nice quote

"The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can." Neil Gaimon

Games (online, board, cooperative, card)

The Mammoth Book Of Fun & Games: Over 1,000 entertainments: Diverting word games, intriguing mazes, "jokes, easy tricks, puzzles, clever quizzes, mathematical oddities, family games and party games" by Richard B. Manchester

Quirkle - or

Zombie Dice: This game is fun, especially if your into Zombies!
Link to demo: 

Werewolves of Miller's Hollow: - A favorite game for big groups of 8 or more.
Here is a link that explains about the game:

Free trials are sometimes available:

The clickschooling newsletter had a link to this site - some fun games, esp on the puzzles tab, but some a bit schooly:

Touhou games (if you like manga, maybe you'll want to check it out):
From Connie Coyle's post in alwaysunschooled: "That game is so full of cool stuff. My daughter loves to learn and memorize patterns. She practices the different levels and memorizes the patterns of the bullets to get to the next level. Not only are there all sorts of mathematical concepts (exponential growth, etc.) but there is also a very rich story line."

Konane, or hawaiian checkers, was played before the missionaries came to Hawaii.
If you care to listen from approximately mid-way to the end of this episode of Voices of Truth, John Ka'ohelauli'i is interviewed about playing konane and talks about it's historical significance and why he feels it is a good game to play today (note: he does sell the game, so that is one good reason to market it, but he chose to try to bring back the popularity of this game because of it's significance to the hawaiians)

Online game ideas:

Minecraft -  - About $26 dollars, but well worth it - my kids LOVE this game! They play it because it is fun and interesting, though have done many "educational" things while they played. They have drawn maps, thought logically of how to do  things and wrote it all out with words and sketches, texted with other players, spelled, read, wrote signs within the game, used various math skills, learned how to do technical things like downloading different mods and worked with redstone circuits, etc.  If you want to read about other educational benefits, check out this wiki page (scroll down a little): 

A way to try the game out for 100 minutes or to play an old (build only) version for free: 

No need to make Minecraft school!  

Blogposts by people on what they have seen their kids learn by playing Minecraft:
Posted on Unschooling Gamers Yahoo Group on July 18, 2015 by Sherri Hoover (reposting with Sherri's permission)
We were at the library and my 8 year old picked up a a book and said, “HEY!! That’s Leonardo Davinci’s flying machine.”   The librarian stared at me with her mouth gaping open and said, “Wow! Some schools are teaching that to kids this little??”  I laughed and said “No. He unschooled. He flew that machine around in Assassins Creed.” - Sherri Hoover/Evan Hoover

"Tomorrow's Entrepreneurs Are Playing Minecraft Today" article: (Thanks to Alex Polikowski of the UnschoolingGamers yahoo group for posting this!)

Nice article on reading and Minecraft (on video games helping kids learn to why?....Because they are motivated and interested!!):

BBC News article "Why Minecraft Is More Than Just Another Video Game":

Minecraft: The Story of Mojang (Official Version!):

In June 2013, Brie Jontry shared a picture of her daughter playing Minecraft in the woods while skyping with her dad who was 3000 miles away (He was playing too.):

I snapped this photo yesterday of my daughter Noor Skyping and Minecrafting with her dad, who is over 3000 miles away. I'm sure such images are common for many of us here, but thought it might be a useful illustration for some newer folks. I've heard a lot of concern lately, both here on Facebook and in my day-to-day life from parents worried that their children would rather be online than playing outside, or interacting with others in the "real world." To me, this photo shows the real world: my daughter and her dad are connecting with each other in spite of the 1000s of physical miles between them; they're playing together with a group of other people (from all over the world) on a public Hunger Games Minecraft server. They're talking about literature and film and gaming, dystopian stories - the whys and hows of genre conventions. They're mulling over Huge questions about how to live (and die) ethically. They're laughing! And Noor is sitting in the warm sun, out-of-doors, in the woods. When they logged off, she went and worked on her newest shelter. Very few parenting concerns are hinged on "either/or" solutions. When we stretch beyond seeing more than only one or two possibilities (either playing outside Or on the computer, in this case) our children's worlds become exponentially larger, with more potential for laughter and learning and wonderful warm feelings of connection.

Link to main page of Unschool Quote-Arama (open group on Facebook):

Dawn Todd was quoted by Katherine Anderson in a post on Unschool Quote-arama on facebook (on June 7th).  It is a great example of a parent recognizing that getting another ipad would be beneficial to their family - it led to joyful sharing.  Their dad realized how important and valuable the scarce ipad was to his children.  Rather than think he needed to "teach them a lesson in sharing," he found a way to get them another one.  In doing so, he modeled persistence and patience by putting in time at work on Sundays and showed them a real life example of working toward a goal.  He also showed them by his actions that he values their happiness and is willing to do what he can to help.  His happiness about their enjoyment of playing together adds to the sweetness.  Here is the post -

 Katherine Anderson

An example of what learning to share looks like:

The other big thing that comes to mind is iPads.

We had one that was pretty much free for eldest to use whenever he liked. Because it was always there he could take it or leave it. He might go weeks without touching it. Then youngest got interested. Suddenly it's availability was limited. Suddenly he wanted it all the time.

My husband offered to do overtime to buy another (it would be secondhand like the first). I was hesitant. Don't kids have to learn to share? Then my amazing husband, who "only" knows about radical unschooling because I've told him about it, pointed out that they weren't learning to share. They were learning to fight. It was causing bitterness and resentment, so he went to work on a couple of Sundays and a new iPad arrived. He says they are some the best Sunday's he's ever spent. Not only is there no more iPad war, but now they sometimes choose to play a game together, on the same iPad. So now they really are learning to share!
~~Dawn Todd

Two More Good Links Related to Minecraft and Gaming on Sandra's Site

Debi Ford was surprised to realize how much her son was learning when she stopped restricting Grand Theft Auto. (sharing with Debi's permission):
I just had to share something... We previously put restrictions on the games that our son plays. I was concerned about what he would learn from games like Grand Theft Auto. We don't do that anymore. So, today he was playing Grand Theft Auto and asked me about the stock market. What is it? How does it work? Etc. The game has an option for him to "go online" and invest. He got so excited and was spending quite a bit of time learning about the different companies and investing options. I was a bit blown away by the options of the game and what he is actually learning from it. On the game he has a bank account, insurance for his car... and now he is investing money. I had no idea what restricting him was keeping him from. I am glad I know better now.

Roblox - Roblox is one of my kids favorite games.  There are now videos that help you learn how to make your own objects and more. 
To see more videos and tutorials, check them out on youtube.  
Plants vs Zombies - This is a super fun game and you can play for free online up to a point!!  My husband, our youngest child and I like this game so much - it is our favorite!

Scribblenauts - My kids Love this game!  Spell what things you want or need and that item appears.  They play it on the Nintendo DS Lite and on the computer.  

Zoombinis (various logic/math games) - Check various sources for the best prices for the games you want to purchase. 
More free math-related games online: 
(I love "Crossing The River" in the Math Cats Explore section.) (3 slices 2 is one of the games our family likes)

Fun site to play on (music and game related)

Chicktionary was a favorite game of my oldest daughter.  I can't seem 
to find it online at this time though.  Was a fun game...worth looking
for if you have time!  I liked it too!

Boggle is one of Katie's, Jim's, Makana's and my favorite games to play together!  
Note: When we play the game as a family, we make it easier for those still learning or newly able to read and spell.  ie. Makana can still count her words even if they are only two letters long and she can use any letters to make her words.  Her letters don't have to be right next to each other.  I've noticed as of the last time we played the game with my mom in early August, that she is able to make and spell more words and her handwriting is coming along. 
You can play it online too:  

Fold It: 

Video description of some Cooperative Games:

Some of the games we have on CD that my daughter Katie used to like when she was younger:
Cluefinders (math and language cds)
Math Blasters  “Mission 2: Race for the Omega Trophy”
JumpStart (Pre-School, Kindergarten and 4th Grade)
Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego?
Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?  

Programming Nintendo DS Game: 
Create your own games and apps in BASIC with a Nintendo DSi or 3DS.  A DS Ware program:  

I haven't played this, but it might be interesting to someone - OpenRelativity is a game engine designed by the MIT Game Lab for its educational game A Slower Speed of Light.  Philip Tan, creative director of the MIT Game Lab said (according to the link below) that "The MIT Game Lab is built around this idea that play is extremely powerful, and one thing games are good at is giving people an intuitive grasp of complex scientific ideas." To download the game or for more information: 

Do you like to play Mario?  My son Li watched this video called "Game Theory: Mario Is Communist?!?" and began to tell me about Stalin and communism and other things he picked up to do with history from the video.  It sparked his interest...and who knows what that will lead to.  It is something to connect to and build upon.  
Update: We're reading Animal Farm.  

Have you seen the video about Caine's Arcade?  You might want to check it out!

In Defense of Cartoons:


Marc Prensky - Author and Speaker - written a few books on gaming and learning.  
"Don't Bother Me Mom, I'm Learning"

Jane McGonigal  -  

Gabe Zicherman on video games.

Other TED talks related to gaming: 

"Playing fast-paced action games can improve task performance because it enhances your learning capabilities.  According to lead researcher Daphne Bavelier, this is because playing such games helps our brains become more efficient at building models, or 'templates,' of the world, which enables us to better predict what will happen next. 'The better the template, the better the performance,' she explains in a news-release. 'And now we know playing action video games actually fosters better templates.' "

Long-term study finds zero link between violence in video games and real life
The first long-term study has been completed on the link between the consumption of violent media and real-life violent acts, and has found... there is none. In fact, the only possible trend that cropped up over the last century was that an increased consumption of violent video games correlated to a decrease in youth violence.
Link to article/video on CNN about a college (Robert Morris University in Chicago) offering scholarships for gamers and how that will become more common in 2015, esp with smaller schools: 

Link to BBC article/short video to do with video games and brain changes:

Not crazy about the title, but good article about how making a game from start to finish says a lot about a person's ability to work hard and complete a task (and how that can matter more than a degree).

Peter Gray - Psychology Today - The Many Benefits for Kids Playing Video Games

A good article by Mary Gold on Sandra's site about learning connections through the Nintendo DS:

Penny Arcade video on gaming industry (someone posted this link on a group list): 

Science Daily article from June 11, 2013 - Video Gamers Really Do See More: Gamers Capture More Information Faster for Visual Decision-Making

"Unschooling Passions" article by Pam Laricchia (Published in the Journal of Unschooling and Alternative Learning in 2007).

Link to a document on Mom2Mom facebook group which has many various links regarding gaming (you'd need to join the Mom2Mom facebook group to see it though):

Blogpost on addicted generations (thanks to Alex P for posting the link in Unschooling Gamers yahoo group August 2015):

Books on Gaming:

"Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds For The Better" by Clive Thompson

Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes, and Make-Believe Violence by Gerard Jones (about how it makes kids feel powerful to kill monsters; talks about comics, etc) -I started reading this book a few years ago, but didn't finish it...yet.  Here's the book description from amazon choose their heroes more carefully than we think. From Pok√©mon to the rapper Eminem, pop-culture icons are not simply commercial pied pipers who practice mass hypnosis on our youth. Indeed, argues the author of this lively and persuasive paean to the power of popular culture, even trashy or violent entertainment gives children something they need, something that can help both boys and girls develop in a healthy way. Drawing on a wealth of true stories, many gleaned from the fascinating workshops he conducts, and basing his claims on extensive research, including interviews with psychologists and educators, Gerard Jones explains why validating our children's fantasies teaches them to trust their own emotions and build stronger selves.

"Don't Bother Me, Mom - - I'm Learning" by Marc Prensky (learning from games)

Includes gaming: "Everything Bad Is Good For You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter" by Steven Johnson
****Watch this short video that contains an excerpt from Everything Bad Is Good For You: that page is now not working. I found it here though:

Interviews with Game Designers: 

An older interview with Satoshi Tajiri, creator of Pokemon:
http://pokedream. com/pokemon/ infocenter/ tajiri.php

How one person got hired by Google without a degree

Article about learning math concepts easily by playing video games: 

Reality Bytes: Eight Myths About Video Games Debunked

Gamers More Likely To Be Social, Educated Than Non-Gamers "Gamers are more likely to consider family a top priority than non-gamers (82% vs 68%) as well as placing a high importance on friends (57% vs 35%). Gamers and their parents are also more likely to have been college educated (43% and 52%, respectively) than non-gamers and their parents (36% and 37%, respectively)"

Gaming as a varsity sport or as a way to get a scholarship?

Great article - "Hey, Parents. What Minecraft is Teaching Kids is Actually Helping them Succeed in Life"

Article explainig why Semantec's Chief Operating Officer put World-of-Warcraft on his resume 

Books and Movies about indie games: 

This biography is about the creator of Zelda and Mario: "Shigeru Miyamoto: Nintendo Game Designer" 


Indie Game The Movie (available on Netflix) 

"Indie Game Development Survival Guide"

Misc Sites to Check out on Gaming: (lots of links to explore from this site)

Game Recording Software:
Video on the best and worst game recording software (Katherine Anderson posted this link on Unschooling Gamers facebook group)


Facebook Post by Caren Knox about feeling grateful for technology that enriches their family's lives - and about moving from limitations to abundance and expansiveness by embracing that which brings them joy - 6/2013: 
Just thinking how grateful I am for the technology that allows us to watch a show we love, years after it was on the air, as simply as clicking a few buttons. We talked last night about why we didn't watch Firefly when it was originally airing. We did have a TV when it was on, though we had lived without a TV (MY choice, forced on the guys) for almost a year right before that. I felt so virtuous, being TV-free! I felt like I was protecting myself from my "addictive nature". I felt like I was protecting Evan & Seth from marketing that would diminish their connection to their "true selves". So, wow, now I'm grateful, too, for the path that took me to fully living in the world we're in, now, rather than some fantasy/mythical world of only wooden toys, limited exposure to technology (a myth itself! How would that even be possible?!), imagination/creativity expressed only in ways I approved of, i.e., nonviolent, "nice", not based on TV shows. Grateful to be living in a world of experience, choice, richness, and joy, rather than a world of arbitrary limits, fear, keeping tallies, guilt, and control.
Watching Firefly now doesn't undo the past, doesn't erase the small world I attempted to have us live in, but every moment of happiness now helps heal the hurtful results of that attempt at limitation. It's OK to be joyful. It's OK to love what you love, even if you love TV shows, and the ease of books on a Kindle. There is space for those things AND the wooden toys AND the printed books with their tactile enjoyment AND video games AND walks in the woods AND AND AND...


Good "With the Family" blogpost titled Proximity and Technology and Relationships

It is so not "just" a game:

Jo Isaac's blogpost about gaming - Lots of great links in here!  Please read, especially if you have fears associated with gaming. 

The Game Loft (Board, Role-Playing Games in Belfast, ME:)
The Game Loft offers healthy food (fruits, veggies, dip, actual meals!!) and people play role playing games, Magic The Gathering, board games, dice games (nothing electronic) and have live action combat gatherings once a month where people wear capes and use foam swords to lightly touch someone.  Parents fill out paperwork initially and there are rules (that make sense for their place I think).  It seems like a great place to go to learn about and play fun games.  

1 comment:

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