Thursday, October 29, 2020

Sprint Along with Math Facts {A Byron's Games Math Sprint - The Mental Math Game Review}

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

If you have children that need to learn or practice math facts and like educational games made with quality materials, then take a look at Math Sprint - The Mental Math by Bryon's Games.

Earlier this year, our family had the pleasure of reviewing a geography game created by a boy named Byron during his prolonged hospital stay.

We appreciated Byron's initiative, creativity, and game, so were happy to hear that he has released a second original game: 
Math Sprint - The Mental Math and were eager to review it.

The Creation, Contents, and Play of Math Sprint

As we understand, Math Sprint - The Mental Math was originally created for a local game inventor challenge and grew out of Byron's love for Olympic racing events.

Created by a kid for kids, the game is straightforward, yet flexible so that kids, families, and even classrooms of kids, can enjoy learning and practicing math facts together.

Meant for 2-8 players - or teams of players - ages 7+, the game takes about 30 minutes to play if you use the 400 meter dash options, or less time with the 200 and 100 meter options.

To play, different colored plastic runner game pieces are places around a running track printed on a thick, foldable, laminated gameboard. Then, as players correctly answer mental math questions involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and/or word problems printed on well-made game cards, they "race" around the track to the finish line.

Along with the game board, 8 runner playing pieces, instructions, 92 addition and subtraction cards, and 106 multiplication and division cards, there are also coach tip cards, 10 dry erase cards, a dry erase marker, 30 wild cards and 30 challenge cards.

These work together to make the game flexible.

Not only can you adapt how long the game will last by choosing the 100m, 200m, or 400m options on the track, but you can choose which types of cards you use, how many, if you want to create additional customized cards, etc. The variety of well-made game materials and simplicity of game set up and play, make it flexible.

Plus, for an extra touch of fun and imagination, the plastic game piece "runners" are brought to life through illustrations on a "Meet the Runners" page on the opposite side of enclosed game instructions.


Basically, there is a name and picture for each colored piece with some indication of the runners' hobbies, interests, etc. These "profile pictures" of the "runners" can help kids choose which runner to play as and give them something relatable to "break the ice" with.

How We Played and What We Thought

My daughter, youngest son, and I were eager to try Math Sprint and opened it to play soon after receiving it.

We found set up simple and play straightforward - and had a laugh with the exercise prompts.

After playing our first time, my daughter was not eager to play again, but my youngest son asked me to play multiple times and enjoyed the game.

When I asked both children for their feedback for this review, they gave very different thoughts.

My daughter said:

Math Sprint is a game board with flashcards to help kids practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. 

The game board looks like a race track.


It has some prompts for exercises every so often - like standing on one leg - and multiple starting lines with one finish lines. There are eight lanes for players.

Each player uses a plastic running figure to mark their place on the board.

To play, if you get a question right, you move forward. If you don't, you don't move forward. 

There are also a dry erase marker and cards. You can use these to figure out problems, to write down problems you had trouble with, or to make your own silly game cards.

I did not really like this game, because it was kind of just doing flashcards with a board. I would not recommend it as a fun game, but it could be good if you have to do the problems anyways.

Obviously, she is not a fan. She found the game a bit too simple in design and also does not tend to prefer things that require instant recall. With this in mind, I might suggest that this game be modified when played with children challenged by memory issues, dyscalculia, etc. Perhaps using a timer and some manipulatives to help children figure out problems when mental math is too hard and, then, having the children write their answers on the dry erase cards, with every child who writes a correct answer by the time the timer runs out being able to advance, could work.

(I know this might defeat the intent of mental math - but it would still allow for math practice)

My youngest son, on the other hand, who likes speedy competition, said:

My sister, mom, and I played Math Sprint for this review.

I liked how it had you think quickly with the cards and how there are different lengths on the board that you can play. 

One thing I did not like about it is that it is not as fun to play with two people. To help this, we counted down when playing with two of us, giving me 10 seconds to answer and Mom only 5.

I would recommend the game to people who are learning multiplication and practicing math facts. It is a basic game, but can be fun for those who like think quickly like me. I like it!

As for my take on the game, I:
  • love that it is made for kids by a kid.
  • find the cards, game board, etc. sturdy and well made.
  • like that it has options for different playing times, levels of math skill, etc.
  • am delighted that one of my children likes it, but can see why another did not.
  • appreciate it as a resource to help children practice mental math abilities.
  • can see myself using the board for other practice (such as phonogram, spelling, and word reading drill with young tutoring students).
  • picture the sturdy playing cards being used for self drill by children who like flashcard type learning.
Overall, I think the game is well made, simple to play, and can be appreciated by math facts learners who like speedy competition.

If you'd like to learn what other families thought about as they experiences playing Math Sprint, see 40 blog, social media, and video reviews by clicking through links at the Homeschool Review Crew.

You can also find Byron's Games on social media:

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Start a Tradition of Painting and Praying for All Souls

If you are looking for an activity to do with your family as you live the liturgical year this season, how about breaking out paints and using your artwork to remind you daily in November to pray for the dearly departed?

Several years ago, as a part of our AMP (art-music-poetry) club activities, my children and some friends made All Souls Day calendars.

Since then, we painting as a preparation for the Month of Souls in Purgatory has become traditional for us.

Some years, we make a calendar and list the names of dearly departed to pray for on each day.

Other years, we simply paint seasonal images to put on our liturgical shelf or kitchen table as a reminder to pray.

All years, we find the painting time gives us a time to be creative while talking, once more, about offering prayers an sacrifices for the souls in purgatory, what All Souls day is all about, and opportunities to help the dearly departed through gaining an indulgence for them.

It is a tradition we enjoy that, perhaps, your family might, too.

If you would like us to add intentions for any of your dearly departed into our prayers this November, just comment on this post with a name or let us know with a comment on our Facebook page.

We'd appreciate prayers, especially, for the souls of Theresa, Mary, Jack, Francis, Regina, Dickie, Gerry, Adrian, Briar, and many other beloved dead. Thank you.

If you'd like other ideas for All Souls Day, browse some of our past posts.

We are grateful for you joining us in prayers for the dearly departed this November.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Enjoy and All Saints Day Picnic and Party

 Are you looking for an outdoor way to enjoy All Saints Day with friends?

Last year, I shared plans for our All Saints Day Picnic and Party

Those plans came to fruition with a fun, faith-centered gathering - something we hope to repeat this year.

If you would like to do similarly, here are some snapshots and notes to inspire you.

Plan and Set Up Simply for an All Saints Day Potluck and Party 

Planning was simple for our party. I simply followed the 4 Steps to an All Saints Day Picnic and Party that I shared last year, putting word out to our local Catholic homeschooling group on Facebook and creating an event so people could RSVP and share.

I offered some costume ideas, and had my kids come up with their own:

St. Dorothy - a maid.

St. Maurice (I think it was. He always tries to find one with a sword, and I cannot recall which one he was, to be honest.)

And, Saint 
José Luis Sánchez del Río!

Then, the day before the event, I reminded people with a message that said, "Looking forward to seeing all... with or without costumes as you desire and with picnic dishes or drinks to share, and, if you feel creative, a saint-related game or activity."

I also printed out and laminated some food signs, game signs, and prayers, gathered some game supplies, and got some food together.

This made set up at the party a breeze.

I was able to quickly put a tablecloth and food on a picnic table, put an easel up with a prize basket next to it and get an obstacle course together in very little time, so the party could begin.

Chat, Pray, and Play with Inspiration from the Saints

As people arrived, they dropped off their food to share, greeted one another, set out blankets and portable chairs, and, then, shortly after, gathered together to chatted about the significance of the day.

Because we knew we had some people arriving late, we talked a bit about the day, prayed grace, and prayed an All Saints Day prayer:

Dear God, thank you for the example of the Saints.  I desire to join in their company, worshiping you forever in Heaven. Please help me follow their footsteps, and yours, Jesus Christ. Please help me to conform myself to Your image, seeking Your will in all things, as the Saints did. Please help me to devote myself, and all that I do, to Your glory, and to the service of my neighbors. Amen.

Then, the kids and grown ups dug into Saint-Inspired eats...

which included St. Dorothy's Apples and Noodles...

Sts. Isadore and St. Maria's Stew...

St. Bernadette's Sticks...

Saint Charles Borromeo Hot Spiced Apple Cider and St. Juan Diego's Mexican Hot Cocoa.


While the children ate...

...we began a game of Saint Pictionary.

For the game, I had a stack of picture books of saints and had a child open to a random page. Using the image on the page - and sometimes an idea or two from me...

... the child sketched the saint, symbols of the saint, stories about the saint, or what the saint was patron to get others to guess the saint...

...whoever guessed correctly chose a prize and took the next turn.

While playing, kids continued to help themselves to our saint-inspired eats.

Pray the Litany of the Saints

Once our late-comers had arrived, I asked different children and family to lead us in each of the sections of the Mini-Lintany of Saints.

So beautiful to pray together with children leading!

Enjoy an All Saints Obstacle Course and More

Then, it was game time!

Some children kept playing the pictionary game.

Others got together to put together "Boxes of Joy".

In honor of St. Nicholas, one mom had five boxes that families brought various items to fill so that children in other parts of the world might enjoy them.

We also had an All Saints Obstacle Course that children took turns at, picking a prize upon completion.

For the course, children
 Pivoted like St. Paul (using ouTwist and Shape board, though a Simply Fit Board or a Sit-n-Spin would work just as well).

Then, they ran and grabbed some fake flowers...

...and climbed a piece of playground equipment where they showered flowers from Heaven like St. Therese.

After that, they put on "armor", took up a banner and sword, and  St. Joan of Arc and
journeyed like St. Joan of Arc.

Dropping the the armor, play sword, and pool noodle banner, they, then, Leapt like St. John the Baptist by jumping over hurdles made with plant stakes and pool noodles. (You can see those in this picture.)

Turning back toward the starting/finishing line, the children then Balanced St. Augustine's Books by walking on a small homemade balance beam with a book atop their heads.

Finally, they Finished the Race like All Saints by running back to the starting line.

Back at the starting/finish line, kids were able to pick a prize. (I had older children help distribute prizes from the basket.)

Children of all ages - and even some parents - enjoyed the obstacle course!

Serve with Saint Kateri Tekakwitha

At the close of our party, we added a community
 service component by giving kids bags and having them do a Saint Kateri, Patroness of the Environment, Clean Up Scavenger Hunt using a free printable which I had prepared - thereby leaving the park better than we found it!

We closed with prayers and encouragement to continue living well as the Saints Militant, as we aimed to be Saints Triumphant and increased our prayers for the Saints Penitent.

Final clean up was then a breeze - and all went away with smiles, having enjoyed our time together celebrating All Saints Day.

I pray that this year, we are able to enjoy another All Saints Picnic  and Party and that you might enjoy your All Saints Day a bit more with inspiration from this sharing

Saints Triumphant, pray for us.


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