I have a speller in the family. This is not something that surprised me since I absolutely LOVED spelling when I was in the grade school. It was where I excelled. Spellings Bees were something I looked forward to all year. Therefore, I have been excited that my daughter has found spelling to be fun as well.
I’m always looking for fun ways to integrate learning. Learning games are a favorite in our house, I’m sure they are in yours too. So, when given a chance to review the new Spell Trek game by Simply Fun, I jumped on the chance.
Our family is already a Simply Fun fan. One of our favorites is Let’s Jet, a geography game. We have a good time flying all over the world in this game. Therefore, I was intrigued how Spell Trek would be set up. We were not disappointed.
Spell Trek, by Simply Fun, is a game when players “trek around the world, trying to take photographs of the things they see.” However, all the vowels are missing from the words describing the things they see and you can’t move forward until you have the right vowel.
The game says it is for ages 6 and up; however, I think if you have a younger child that is beginning to read or recognize words, they could play with some help. The game could be a great way to practice vowels identification.
When we first played, my daughter was very excited. She got many of the “wild” cards, which look like a camera and can be used for any vowel you need. The cards are worth the number of letters in the words. For instance, if you spell ANT, you get an “A” and then spell ANT for moving forward 3 spaces. There are words that are worth 3, 4, and 5 spaces. In addition, some harder words that have more than one vowel may have a star to allow you to move forward a bonus square.
My 2 year old wanted to play, but mostly just zoom the cars around the board. Though he sure acted like he was thinking about his words. However, my daughter and I had a great time playing. My daughter wanted to play again immediately (and again, and again) and was quite excited to win. She was also excited that she got to go first because the rules state the person with the most vowels in their first and last name get to go first.
One of the strategies of the game is that you can swap cards with other players if you draw a vowel and don’t have a word card in need of that vowel but one of your opponents does. For instance, if you draw the “E” and you have no words that require an “E” but your opponent has “B_LL” you can trade one of your cards, as long as you haven’t started the card with another vowel, for their “B_LL” then play your “E” and move forward 4 spaces. My daughter didn’t like me swapping her favorite word cards but sure liked it when she could “steal” mine.
We played four games in a row the first time. That is something nice about the game. It can be played quickly if you only have two players. You can have up to four players though. The directions, like all Simply Fun games, have a suggestion to make the game a little more fun. We decided that it would be fun so we added the suggested variation of making the sound of the animal when moving ahead on the bonus stars. The word BULL slowed down my daughter a little but she gave it her best!
I thought it was great that the game itself enforces good spelling practice like saying the word, spelling the word as you move ahead for each letter, and then saying the word again (that’s the part we added). The directions are simple and easy to read through with lots of pictures, which is helpful if your children want to play themselves, without adult assistance.
In addition, Simply Fun included a “key” on the back of the direction of all the words, which can be used if the kids are unsure of the spelling of a word. We didn’t use it but I can see it being beneficial if you had children playing together with adult assistance.
We played four times in a row the first time and my daughter and 2 year old asked to play it again the next day. Here’s my daughter winning the fourth game in a row!
Overall, I thought the game was great fun and appropriately challenging for the beginning speller. Spell Trek is colorful and not too complicated making it an excellent way to have some spelling fun any time Check out their games on their website, you are sure to find one for your whole family.
Pros: Easy to understand directions. Colorful board. Not too long.
Cons: Only four playing pieces, though you could easily add more of your own if you wanted.
If you haven’t heard of Simply Fun, check out their website. They offer games for every age from infant to adult. Combining education with fun, Simply Fun’s mission is simple: make learning fun and easy for children and keep families connected. What more could you want in a product?
*Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary of Spell Trek from Simply Fun for the purpose of facilitating my review. No monetary compensation was given. All opinions expressed herein are unbiased and not influenced by the developing company or its affiliates in any way.*