We've discovered some gorgeous new Arabic games for you to enjoy together, and have been happily testing them out for you this holiday...
Let’s face it, the Easter holidays this year were a bit of a washout. And the problem with having three children with lots of energy stuck indoors is keeping them entertained in the house while it pours with rain for days on end.
This holiday though we had a new trick up our sleeve, thanks to the package of Daradam Arabic games that arrived just before the holiday. There was something in there to suit all ages: building blocks with Arabic letters, the Chkobba Kids maths game, and two memory games. We invited Babel Babies co-founder Ruth, our resident Arabic teacher and translator, to come and test the games one afternoon with her four-year-old son so that we could try them out on different ages from two up to seven, as well as with adults.
The verdict? We all loved them. Everyone from Quinn (aged 2) to Grandad (aged 71) had a brilliant time with the games and we spent hours playing all of them.
First of all we tried the Arabicity wooden matching and memory game, and discovered all sorts of architectural landmarks from Arabic-speaking countries together, learning the Arabic words and also the French too (much to Cate’s joy!) The cards are lovely and tactile because they are made of wood, so they are easier for little hands to pick up and also very hard wearing. The illustrations are beautiful. Our favourites were Morocco and Lebanon - gorgeous as you can see!
Then we unwrapped Chkobba Kids, which we particularly love because it shows children that our number system comes from Arabic numbers, and also our house is full of mathematicians so this game kept us amused for hours. It's a simple addition game where you race to collect the most cards by picking up cards on the table that add up to the same number as a card in your hand. For those just learning numbers the values are represented with the coloured triangles on each card. Our six and seven year olds both picked it up quickly. The colours are all gorgeous too, and the cards have a lovely matte finish and come in a very portable box. Ideal for taking on holiday, which we did when we went away for the weekend over the Easter break. Grandparents enjoyed playing this too - it is a lovely activity to share with the whole family.
In a similar-sized box was Arabicouples, another matching game with delightful illustrations of people from 21 Arabic countries. As someone who can’t read that much Arabic I found this one trickier, but the pictures work by themselves too: you can learn the flags, look at traditional costumes, and learn the names of the countries as well as playing pairs.
The grand finale was the absolutely stunning Arabicubes box of wooden blocks with Arabic letters and geometric patterns. Did you know that geometric decorative arts flourished in the Middle East because Islamic art tended to avoid representations of people, which could be seen as idolatry? Well, now you do, and these blocks are testament to this beautiful cultural heritage. What is brilliant about the cubes is that the smaller blocks have the vowel markers, so it is possible to make up Arabic words with the right vowels positioned above and below the consonants...this made Ruth particularly happy. Everyone enjoyed the cubes in lots of different ways: the littlest built towers and knocked them down, and my two older children enjoyed the letters and making words. There are printables available on the Daradam website to support learning the Arabic alphabet.
I love the colours and attention to detail in all of these games - they are definitely something I will be proud to display on the coffee table and use all the time, rather than one of those children’s toys that gets stashed away in a basket because it isn’t appealing to the grown-ups.
Shukran, Hanna, for letting us play with your wonderful products. Hanna is a fellow MumBoss who wanted to play Arabic games with her son and couldn’t find anything she liked, so she made some of her own. We love them, and think you will too!
If you'd like to purchase any of the four Arabic games, we will be putting an order through at the end of April and offering FREE DELIVERY for all orders placed by April 30th 2018.
Please email us to place your order for:
Chkobba Kids: £9