Sunday, January 9, 2011

Family Time

Our extended family was very generous to us this past Christmas and we received more gifts than we know what to do with. A couple in particular have given us some good family time.

Trivial Pursuit Family Edition
My wife and I are huge fans of Trivial Pursuit and own well over a dozen versions of the game. We have a couple of the Disney versions of the game that we've played with our older kids (older meaning slightly less than 8), but Disney questions can get old after a while. This Christmas we were given the Trivial Pursuit Family Edition, which has general knowledge questions. Like the Disney editions, it has cards with harder questions for adults as well as cards with easier questions for kids.

The difficulty of the adult questions is equal to, and possibly slightly less than, the questions found in other editions of Trivial Pursuit. Since our kids are a little younger than the game's recommended age, we were worried that they'd get frustrated. However, between our children's perspicacity, a small amount of assistance from mom and dad, and actual age appropriate questions, they were able to compete with us and ended up loving the game.

Electronic Snap Circuits
This electronics set was given to our oldest daughter with the understanding that daddy would provide some guidance. It's effectively a large, easy to use breadboard kit that's similar in principle to the ones I used years ago in an introductory course in electrical engineering and an instrumentation class. The kit has both basic components (resistors, capacitors, LEDs, switches, etc.) as well as more complex electronic parts.

This particular kit has instructions for assembling about 300 different circuits. The manual is straightforward and has useful illustrations as well as descriptions of what each circuit is supposed to do, how it works, and how it builds on, or is a modification of, a previous circuit. However, it certainly doesn't hurt to have an engineer for a dad who can provide further explanation. I helped my daughter with the first few circuits until she could build just about any of the circuits in the manual. It's encouraging to see how excited she is to use the kit and to experiment. Maybe I'll be able to get an engineer out of at least one of my kids.

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