Even as I approach middle age, I have never lost a basic curiosity of how the world works. I get giddy about history, I muse out loud over scientific conundrums, and I analyze words and language into oblivion. I admit: I’m an information junkie. It follows that one so thirsty for knowledge would be drawn to home school, and now my kids tease me for being overly enthusiastic about the math formulas and historical events we have had the privilege of teaching and learning together. They also roll their eyes when I point out the educational value of activities that they’d prefer to compartmentalize as simply “fun.”
But my nerdiness can’t dampen the fun of a new game we recently discovered that is almost too educational to be true (shhh, don’t tell the kids). Timeline (Asmodee, $14.99) is simple in concept. Players receive a few cards with an invention, discovery, or work of art on one side and the year of that invention, discovery or work of art on the other. The “year” side remains face down. Players take turns building a timeline of cards by guessing the year in relation to the other cards already played. Was the accordion invented before or after the violin? Find out as you try to be the first to play all of your cards. The game is short but spurs lots of fun conversation about world events. We first played it with my extended family of four generations, and it was fun to banter about now-obsolete inventions that my grandparents remembered, new inventions that my kids take for granted, and even ancient discoveries that we hadn’t quite placed in time before.
Available in different themes from Inventions to American History to Cinema, Timeline is a fun tool for teaching kids about history and their place in it.
Find more great family game night ideas in this month’s The New Domesticity column.
Check out 2017’s top toys, as voted by toy experts nationwide, here.