Monday, December 31, 2007

Crazy Castle - Strategy Weaponry

Do you need cheaper ammo., a faster gun or area coverage?

I know many people don't like/approve of shooting games but simple ones like this actually have a lot of strategy involved that go way beyond just shooting a weapon.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Kongregate Overview

A little like Neopets but with a darker, older interface that appeals more to older kids. And it should because many of these games require more of the player than the games at Neopets.

That doesn't mean we quit Neopets, it means we added another membership for those days that we're wanting more complex/demanding games.

We still kept Neopets for those days that we want to eat warm soup, look at bright, happy colours and play games that are 'friendlier'.

Let's face it, as homeschoolers we know that transition from one level to another is not the same as going from Monday to suddenly being Tuesday. It's more like: Monday, Tonday, Tunday, Tuenday, Tuesday.... Then we slip back to Monday again for a while but advancing to Tuesday more quickly during the second transition.

Anyway, it's free to join and no charge for the games. This makes it a great free game place worth joining because of the wide variety of skills that many of their games help build without the player really being aware (simply because they're too busy having fun).

During play, the member (like in Neopets) earns points for playing games but also for rating games, giving reviews, etc. There are also special badges that can be earned... and believe me *that* can be a real thrill and something that kids think is worth talking about at the dinner table.

The badges are good items to get as they show certain skill levels have been acquired (speed, practice, etc.) A great place to start is with Fancy Pants because it's the easiest badge to earn and really gets you wanting more. (Yes, I'm speaking from personal experience.)

One of the better points of this site is that you get added point for uploading a game that you've made.


Don't know how to make a computer game? Well, there's no time like the present and no place like Kongregate (that I've found so far). This is the place where you can track down the makers (like the guy who created Fancy Pants - a favourite of our whole family from our toddler through to the adults) and ask them questions. Many of them have blogs and are more than happy for any feedback they can get, as well as being happy to help a school-aged kid get started in the newish realm of game creation.

Talk about a cool challenge!

And even if the kids think, "No way, I'd never be able to make a game!" Every time they're playing a game, there will be that little voice in their head that reminds them that *someone*, *somewhere* sat at a desk and uploaded this thing that was created (most probably) in a home, by someone 'youngish'.

Kongregate Home


Hexiom is driving me crazy... I love it!

Talk about a great brain exercise! A little along the lines of Sudoku but better because of the visuals that deal with hexagons and their various combinations.

Math without the math - iykwim. ;)

MSAR (my suggested age range): 8 and up

Monday, December 10, 2007

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Paper Weaving

Any two types of paper.
This can mean strips of paper grocery bags; newspaper; light cardboard from gift/toy boxes; craft paper.
Scissors, strip cutter or ruler to help rip strip of paper that are relatively even.

This is fun for all ages because the complexity of the craft can be altered to suit the age of the artist.

For example:

My eight year old son just likes to see what two colour of craft paper woven together look like.

My ten year old daughter made a protective book cover out of hers.

I place little Christmas stickers or used an ink stamper on the lighter squares of my woven paper and will use it for Christmas wrapping paper.

You could use the same technique using markers and writing one letter on each light-coloured square and leave the note somewhere for your child to find. Then they will get your 'secret' message by 'reading' the small squares in sequence.

Eg. |L |o |o |k| |i| n| |t |h |e| |f|r|i |d |g| e| |f |o| r| |a| |t| r| e| a| t| .|

Then you can start experimenting with skipping different numbers of 'threads' and interweaving different colours for different effects. Can you make the shape of a star or a fish?

I'll try to add some photos later.

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Hexiom - Kongregate