This Brainbox Game is an excellent phonics flashcard
resource as well as involving all the fun
and memory reinforcement features of the Brainbox range.
|Other Brainbox Games|
I don't think the Brainbox games people should have called this one "My First ABC": for many children this could be their third or fourth ABC attempt, and the "My First" epithet belies the fact that the design is grown up enough for much older children than those normally associated with the "my first" category.
Brainbox games are a great visual resource, are fun to play, and are effective for developing working memory. This one however has the additional benefit of being a useful phonics resource, with the memory game element adding to the obvious flashcard features of the design. For those who exclude all teaching that does not fit in rigidly with a synthetic phonics approach, I would say 1) Read "Teaching the Brain to Read" by Duncan Milne; 2) take out the blends cards - I reckon the colourful alphabet and H digraph cards are worth the money on their own; and 3) you can still use the blends cards by ensuring that the children identify the separate consonant phonemes and learn to synthesise them before including them in the game. I like the way the graphemes are printed across the background of the pictures, which reinforces the letters without detracting from the visual appeal of the cards, and I like the fact that the questions are not about the phonics, but about the cards. "Tricky" word spellings are also included alongside regular spellings - for example the initial E in "eight", or the O in "one": these can be pointed out to children without requiring them to be learnt. Brainbox "My First ABC" offers a wealth of material for a variety of activities - personally, I don't think anyone teaching phonics, whether at home or at school, should be without it.
How to play Brainbox games
Aim: to be the player with the most cards after ten minutes
All Brainbox games come with a ten second timer and a die. For Brainbox ABC it's a six-sided die, and for the other Brainbox Games it's 8 sided. This is because Brainbox ABC has six questions, and the other Brainbox games have eight. Play goes like this:
1) If you are the youngest player, take a card from the Brainbox and turn the timer over. Study the picture until the ten second timer runs out.
2) Pass the card to another player and roll the die, then answer the question that comes up - ie if you roll a five, you answer question no. five.
3) The other player reads the question and your answer is checked by looking at the front of the card.
4) If correct, you keep the card. If incorrect, you return the card to the Brainbox and the next player chooses a card.
5) The player with the most Brainbox cards after ten minutes wins! Simple!
Another Brainbox activity you can try is to ask a question first, then give the player ten seconds to find the answer. This is less daunting for children who really struggle with short term memory, and is a useful exercise in scanning for detail. They still enjoy the ten-second challenge.
With Brainbox ABC there are of course other options, such as sorting cards for alphabetical order. With the S blend cards in particular you can do second-level alphabetical order work as well - which comes first, SM or SP? Or just - "How many cards can you sort before the timer runs out? " Or you can play with 3 or 4 cards, set the timer, then ask "Which words begin with W (or whatever)" - by concentrating on the memory game, the children are remembering the phonics...
Brainbox games really tick the boxes for engaging the mind and providing a great social activity - anything that gets generations together, in or out of school, and away from TV and computer screens, has got to be good! And in the specific educational context of learning phonics, I think Brainbox ABC is a must-have for any child who is struggling in this area. If you get nothing else on this website for a child who is failing to get off the mark with the material covered in "Brainbox My First ABC", click on the add to basket button above and get this Brainbox Game!