Geeklings Speak Out

In honor of Speak Out With Your Geek Out, my kids decided to write their own posts about some of their favorite things.

My son, age 9, wrote about some of his favorite games. He’s an avid game player; he also enjoys reading, drawing, and taekwondo. He plays acoustic and electric guitar and starts cello next week. He had a blast playing the role of an evil goblin in the Snow Queen ballet—he thinks the red and gold mohawk suits him, and he’s right. He has a great sense of humor and  the most contagious belly laugh I’ve ever heard.

Games

I like a lot of different kinds of games. I like video games, trading card games, board games, and other card games. I want to tell you about some of my favorites.

Munchkin is a fun card game. The cards help you defeat monsters. The monsters give you 1 or 2 levels depending on the power. The first person to get 10 levels wins. I like the illustrations because they’re funny. Everyone ends up laughing—like the two handed sword is a picture of a sword that actually has two hands. You can help another player to be nice—and to get some of their treasure. To hurt another player, you can play a wandering monster or help the monster in other ways (it can be ancient +5 or have its mommy which makes it +10). I usually help the person who has the lowest level and pound on the person who has the highest level—or my sister.

I really like the game Pokemon, but I don’t get to play it very often so I mostly like collecting the cards. Sometimes I collect cards to get a powerful deck, even though I don’t play a lot. The cards give information about the Pokemon and I like the art. Lots of my friends collect cards so I get to trade cards with them. The Pokemon are cute. I know the Pokemon by sight, which makes the different games fun. Collecting the cards got me interested in the Nintendo DS games and in the graphic novels.

I play lots and lots of Mario games, and the more I know about Mario the funner it gets. I know the characters, which makes it really fun to play all the different Mario games. In lots of the games, you go on adventures to save a princess. It’s always “Princess Something” for some reason. In the sports games, you can pick which character you want to play. Mario makes everything more exciting. Like, in Mario Kart, you do more than just race—you race in the middle of a volcano and throw spiky blue flying turtle shells at your enemies.

Eleminis is a very fast card game. You try to collect all of the eleminis, basically making a perfect environment with no trash but all of the elements. The eleminis are cute. You shouldn’t get attached to your cards because you keep moving them around and you probably won’t have them for very long!

Ascension is a deck building game, but you don’t collect your own deck like in Pokemon. You build your deck from the main deck by buying them during the game. It’s sort of like Munchkin but a lot more serious. You defeat the monsters and you buy cards to get more powerful. You get honor points by defeating monsters and getting cards that are worth honor points. The person with the most honor points wins. Once you’ve played it enough, you can develop strategies like picking “draw” cards to buy. There’s a story behind the game about a hero who defeats monsters which makes the game more interesting.

These are some of my favorite games. I think you might like some of them, too.

My daughter is just about to turn 11. A very avid reader, she enjoys comparing books to their movie versions. She also enjoys games, but she prefers tabletop to video games. She’s been taking ballet for nearly 8 years; she also plays piano and violin/fiddle. She has an artist’s eye and an engineer’s mind—she creates using the media of Lego bricks, clay, wire, beads, and paper, among others.

Books I Love

READING. It’s one of the basic skills of life that you need to know. Most people, once they’re good at it, read for fun. But the problem is, some people can’t find anything to read that they’ll like. Here are some series that I love, and if one interests you, I recommend trying it out.

The first series is one called Tales of the Frog Princess, by E.D. Baker. It’s about a 15-year-old princess who finds out that she’s a witch. Now, when you hear the word princess, what do you think of? A beautiful girl with perfect posture and a tiara perched on top of her head of long, honey blonde curls? Well, this princess doesn’t fit that description very well at all. She gets into all kinds of adventures. If you like magic and adventure that’s unpredictable and fun, this series is for you.

The next series is one you almost definitely have heard of and may have even read. It’s called Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling. It’s about this unusual boy who discovers that he’s a wizard. This is one of the best sets of books I’ve ever read. You get so involved and the characters become your best friends. Harry’s an eleven-year-old boy who lives near London, England. He is treated badly, but everything turns out. At first, it’s almost realistic fiction. But then it’s all fantasy. If you like anything I just mentioned, you should try out Harry Potter.

Now is a set of children’s books called The Fairy Chronicles, by J.H. Sweet. They are about girls who find out that they’re blessed with a fairy spirit. I like this series because first, I love fairies. Second, they have so much adventure. They’re exciting and fun with a sprinkling of mischief. They also show good problem solving skills, believe it or not. Even though you may be an adult, (or a boy,) you probably know a person who would like this series. The art is beautiful too. And there are lots of illustrations, but they’re still chapter books.

OK, no more about people who can do magic. Now I’ll talk about magic that happens to people. The next series is more about the land than the people in it. It’s called The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis. Children end up going to Narnia by mistake. And they have the best of adventures. They come from England to Narnia, which is kind of medieval, if you know what I mean. And there’s so much magic that I don’t know what to do with myself. Like when one of the characters gets turned into a donkey. Or when some of the characters drink a special cordial and they become healthy again when they are hurt or sick. The animals talk, and the trees pick up their roots and “walk” around. There are unicorns and centaurs and dwarves. You should try out Narnia if you like any of these things that I just said.

The next thing is a book, not a series, and it’s called The Fairy’s Return and Other Princess Tales, by Gail Carson Levine. It’s a treasury of fairy tales but with a twist. Some of my favorites include: “Cinderellis and the Glass Hill,” “The Princess Test,” and “The Fairy’s Mistake.” There are fairies, and they cause problems throughout the stories. They’re all connected, because they’re about the same family and kingdom. If you like fairy tales, this book is for you.

Now that I’ve told you about these series, I hope you’ve found something to read. I love these books, and if you’re interested in any of them, I hope you do too!

A Word from Mom: In Defense of Video Games

I know—video games are supposed to make your kids into slack-jawed idiots with no attention span. And I’ll admit that we put off getting a game system for as long as possible, for a variety of reasons (we still only have a Wii and a Nintendo DS, so we’re not exactly much of a video game family). And I can see that hours upon hours of screen time every day probably aren’t a good thing.

However, I love what these games, particularly Mario and Pokemon, do for my kids—primarily my son. Instead of stifling his imagination, they give him a universe in which to play, and it’s a universe he shares with his friends and his sister because they all know the same games. In fact, he made some of those friends because of their shared knowledge of the games. So they make Mario gardens out on the playground. They take turns being Pokemon and their trainers. They run around pretending to have Mario Kart races. Mario and Pokemon inspire them to draw pictures, create clay and Lego sculptures, and write stories.

I worried a little when we got the Wii that it would result in a lot of sitting on the sofa with glazed over eyes. But usually when they play, it’s full of bouncing and cheering each other on. And when the TV is turned off, the entire world is an interactive game.

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