As regular readers of this blog will know, I decided this year to homeschool Little Miss in order to help fill in some of the huge gaps in her learning. I hadn’t anticipated this would be any different from teaching a large group of children in school. How wrong I was! One of the biggest hurdles we have come across, again and again, is a lack of resources available to homeschoolers. As a teacher I knew all the websites to download games, worksheets and flashcards from, but I wanted something different. Something fun and engaging. Something to get Little Miss excited about her learning. So when we were offered the chance to review Plyt, a new board game designed to help children with their maths skills, we jumped at the chance.
What is Plyt?
Plyt is a board game for up to 6 players aged 4+ which is all designed around basic calculations. The premise is simple. You throw a number of dice, perform a calculation and then move your piece around a board until you reach the ‘winner’ space in the centre. Simple? Yes, but there is so much more to the game than that!
Firstly, this is one of the only games I have ever come across that allows children and adults of all differing abilities to play together on a level playing field. This is the genius of the game! The game can be made harder or easier for each individual player without giving any one player an advantage. Every person decides how many dice they are going to throw, with each person always including the black master dice in their throw. Then they decide what calculation they are going to perform when they throw their dice. And finally, they decide whether to challenge themselves by throwing extra dice on a go to have the chance to move more spaces.
So, to give you an example, our family ranges from Little Sir at 4 through to Mr N at 43 – and this is how we played.
- Little Sir played with only the master dice. He rolled it, recognised the number and then counted the correct steps with his piece.
- Little Miss played with the master dice and one other dice. She rolled them, added them together, and then moved the number of spaces shown on the master dice.
- I played with 4 dice including the master dice. I multiplied them together, and then moved the spaces shown on the master dice.
- Mr N played with all dice including the master dice. He also multiplied them together and then moved the spaces shown on the master dice.
In all instances, we were all just moving the number of spaces shown on the master dice, so it was a level playing field. The best thing about the game is the fact you can change how each person plays as they develop with their maths skills. So as Little Miss begins to learn her tables, she will fix one of the dice at the times table she is practicing and just roll the master dice.
What do you get in the box?
In the box you receive the game board, red and black dice, a dice bowl, a timer, playing pieces, ‘chance cards’ and 2 instruction manuals (one quick one and a longer more detailed one.) The timer is included to add an extra level of challenge if you need it. The chance cards add an extra level to the game as when you land on one of these you have to follow the instructions – for example, ‘move forward the number on the master dice.’
The long set of instructions were a little complicated to begin with, so I was pleased to see the Quick Guide include as well. It meant we could get straight into the game, see how it worked and then read the longer manual once we understood the rules.
Does it really help improve maths skills?
This was going to be the biggie for us. We have lots of games we play together but very few of them are suitable as a learning tool which moves the learning forwards. However, after playing Plyt for 2 weeks Little Miss has made huge improvements in her basic maths skills! When we started playing, she was struggling to add two single digits together. 2 weeks later and she is now challenging herself to add 4 and sometimes 5 digits together! A huge improvement. We loved the fact that she could challenge herself when she felt more confident, and this has given her such a huge boost!
Where can you buy it?
Ultimately, we really love playing Plyt. We love the fact we can all play together regardless of age or ability. I love the fact that both the children are learning at the same time as playing. The children love the fact that they can challenge themselves and they love competing with us. It has become our go to game! It doesn’t take hours to complete, isn’t complicated to understand and most of all, it is good family fun – and nothing gets better than that!
Disclosure: I was kindly sent a copy of Plyt in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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