Sumoku is what you get when you merge sudoku, a crossword puzzle, Qwirkle, Scrabble, and arithmetic. Yes, I know. That description sounds AWESOME, right? Previously, in my math gifts recommendations, I promised to Sumoku as my game of the month. The wait is over.
My math nerd son adores this game and recruits me to play whenever he gets the chance! Sumoku uses strategy, helps kids practice their math skills, involves critical thinking, problem solving, and, to some degree, visual and spatial perception.
It’s recommended for ages 9 and up. However, depending on your child’s grasp of addition, he may be able to play earlier than that. For example, my son is 8 and he is able to play this game easily. (Note: I purchased this game myself. Links below are affiliate links.)
How to Play Sumoku:
There are five Sumoku game variations, including a solo version, which my 8 year old enjoys playing when I am otherwise occupied. Regular play goes something like this:
Players draw 8 numbered and colored tiles and the youngest rolls a die to determine the “key number”. The first player creates a row of numbers in which the sum totals a multiple of the key number, ending his turn by drawing replacement tiles. Within a single row, numbers — but not colors — can be repeated. Players then take turns adding on to the rows in a manner similar to Scrabble. Players score points according to the sum of their row. The game continues until the tiles are used up.
Tips for Playing with Kids:
- Understanding addition and the concept of multiples is essential to playing Sumoku. However, children under the recommended age of 9 can certainly play this game if they have the requisite math skills.
- Be sure to play a few games without points, especially if your child (like mine) is sensitive to losing. Without points, the game becomes more about the fun of math practice, rather than the winning.
- Unlike many of my game of the month choices, Sumoku is not the best game to play with younger children at the table.
- Patient children could play on mom or dad’s team by placing tiles as instructed (thus exercising fine motor skills).
- As kids get familiar with the rules of the game they will enjoy the advanced versions, one of which is “Speed Sumoku.”
What about you? Have you played Sumoku? Does it look like a game your kids would enjoy?
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