December 4, 2014

USAopoly Review: Treasure Trax
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Just in time for the holidays, I am reviewing some more games for promoting language development. One relatively new addition to my speech room is Treasure Trax, by USAopoly. This scavenger hunt-themed game is geared towards a younger crowd (ages 3 and up) and would be the perfect stocking stuffer for a parent with young children who love activities that require them to be on the move.

The game contains 60 sturdy square cardboard cards that are broken up as follows: 
Game components.
-- 30 location cards: These cards contain a picture of a place/item that is commonly found within and around a home: bed, doormat, dresser, sofa, vacuum, TV, tree, etc.
-- 18 search clue cards: These cards contain descriptive attributes -- either a color or a letter (A-H).
-- 12 animal cards: Each of these cards depicts a different animal.

The game also comes with a cute little cloth tote to store your cards in.

Prior to playing the game, an adult helper chooses 10 location cards, 5 search clues, and 5 animal cards. One location card is put aside (this is the place where the scavenger hunt will begin). At this chosen place, the helper places a search clue (e.g., card with the color 'blue'). An animal card is then hidden by an item that corresponds to the search clue (e.g., the lion card is hidden by a blue toy). In addition to the animal card, the next location card is left in this spot so that the child knows where to look next. The helper continues hiding the cards in this manner until they are all placed around the house.

To play, the child starts out at the first location card. They use the clues to find the next card until they have collected them all. For extra fun, the helper could place a little treasure or prize at the last location.

This game has a lot of educational components for young children, such as color identification, sound identification, and vocabulary. You can also work location concepts into play by asking the child where they found a particular card (e.g., under the table). And because of the movement component, this activity would be fabulous for active kids! The game duration is estimated at 10 minutes, which is about the attention span of many preschoolers.

Please note that this game will require an adult or older child to facilitate play (since someone has to set up the game by hiding the cards), which may make it challenging for two younger children to play independently.

I was really excited about this game, but found some limitations for my Speech room setting. Most of the location cards have items that are only found within a house and are nowhere near a classroom. I think another way to improve this game would be by adding different attributes (rather than letters A-H), such as "soft", "small", "cold", "squishy", "wet", etc. I think many pre-Kinders would have difficulty identifying items that start with a particular letter, which renders the letter cards useless.

With some finagling, I was able to pick out enough cards that matched my setting in order to play this game with some of my younger kids. They did really enjoy it! It was something different and they got to move around! I am definitely holding on to this game for the day I have kids of my own, so I can play it with them around the home ;).

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