Pros: *self correcting pieces *teaches grammar rules *fun and educational *inexpensive
Cons: *only 4 verbs *no tray for pieces *box does not close all the way
I found the DK Silly Sentences game at the bookstore at the beginning of the year, but I was unable to review it until now because DK Games was not in the database. I’d like to give a big thanks to MaryTara for adding this for me!
This silly sentences game is intended for children ages 4-7. It contains 124 puzzle pieces. Each puzzle piece has a word or symbol written on it. These puzzle pieces contain everything you need to create your very own silly sentences:
The set includes the words “a” and “the”. Because a sentence starts with a capital letter, there are upper case versions of both articles in addition to the standard lower case versions.
There is quite an abundance of nouns to be found here. The nouns feature a wide variety of people, places, and things. They range from very common words like boy, girl, and house to more eclectic words like princess, dinosaur and kangaroo. Each noun also has a picture on it- presumably to bolster sight word vocabulary. One thing that we did find to be odd was that the sandwich was labeled “hero”. Now I know that “hero” is a regional term, so it seems odd that it would be included rather than the more widely used term “sandwich”. This was also a source for much confusion for my young companion, who read the word “hero” and then looked at the card in befuddled amusement.
This is definitely an issue. There are a ton of nouns, but only four different verbs- “jumped”, “climbed”, “ate”, and “saw.” It was a huge disappointment that there was such little variety. You can’t really get very silly if your nouns are doing the same four things. Also, you have to use a preposition if you want to use “jumped” or “climbed”.
There is a fairly large selection of adjectives like “green”, “thin”, and “big”. This is a great way to introduce the concept of how adjectives provide additional information about a noun- i.e. not just any monkey, but a thin monkey.
Colloquially, a preposition is anywhere a cat can go. In this set, you can use the prepositions “over” and “on” to add additional details to the sentence.
And finally, because every sentence ends with a punctuation mark, there are a number of small pieces with nothing but a period on them. It would have been nice if there were exclamation points as well, but I didn’t find this to be as big of a problem as the lack of verbs.
As I have mentioned, the pieces in this game are puzzle pieces. They are designed to be self-correcting. For example, every upper-case article has a flat left edge, so you cannot stick something on before it. Likewise, periods have a flat right edge, so you can’t put anything after it. Also, you cannot piece words together if it is not grammatically correct. So, you can’t have two nouns in a row and you can’t have an adjective after a noun or a preposition before a noun unless there is an article.
The puzzle pieces also have colored strips on top that determine which part of speech is being dealt with.
According to the instructions, the way you play the game is that you place the nouns face up on the playing surface and then you distribute the other pieces. Players take turns adding one piece at a time, using nouns from the pile, to build sentences. The first person to use up all of his/her pieces is the winner.
We have not really played the official game, but we have enjoyed building our own sentences and then taking turns reading them. This is great reading practice for my little buddy, who loves sending me away while he makes a sentence and then challenging me to read his creations. And then he asks me to make sentences for him to read.
124 pieces is a lot of pieces, and sorting them takes quite some time. I think it would have been helpful if a plastic tray had been included. This would make it easy to keep everything together and to sort and categorize the pieces. But there is no tray and so all the pieces just sit at the bottom of the box. The box is not very deep, and it is difficult to close the box all the way. I have to put a rubber band around the box to keep it closed.
Despite its flaws, I would still highly recommend Silly Sentences. The pieces are sturdy and they are self-correcting, so this teaches grammatical rules. Also, this is great reading practice- the pictures that accompany the nouns help reinforce sight words. Finally, this game can be enjoyed as a solo activity or a group activity. Silly Sentences is a solid buy, but I’m still hoping they will create an expansion pack with some more verbs!