Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Compound It All!

Compound It All!

Spring 2015 Games
Ages: 9 & Up
Manufacturer: Lee & Low Books
Price: $29.95

Here's a word-building game that may prove confounding, but is unquestionably compounding!

At its core is the grammatical concept of compound words. Each player gets a hand (five to seven cards depending on how many players) from the three decks of 52 cards each. Each card has a score number; each deck has a different difficulty level. In turn, players try to create a compound word using the cards from their hands, or by drawing new cards, or by taking cards from the discard pile. A nice and competitive dimension for word play is that players can even steal words from opponents to form a compound word.

So, let's say you have in your hand the eight-point Fruit card and the six-point Cake card, which, of course, adds up to Fruitcake…and 14 points. Or the two-point Under card and the two-point Water card, which equals a four-point Underwater. How about Jail and House? Snowball? Fireman? You get the idea.

They're not all that easy. Game rules offer some complications as well, and an hourglass sand timer allows players to add more pressure.

Each round ends when one of the players runs out of cards. That's when everyone adds up their points to determine the winner. Or games can extend to first to reach 200 points, or any arbitrary goal. Scoring can get dicey but after a few rounds it all makes sense.

This game is a cool way to strengthen vocabulary and critical thinking skills, not to mention to enjoy the word-play fun of coming up with some occasionally unexpected compound words.

Don Oldenburg   ©2015 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

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Lee & Low Books

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