Customer Reviews

85
4.6 out of 5 stars
ThinkFun What's Gnu
Price:$34.45 + $5.49shipping
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2012
I wanted a game to help my 6 year-old work on spelling and reading in a fun way, so I bought What's Gnu? I did read other reviews and was prepared to reconsider the game's instructions. After a bit of thought, we came up with different ways to play this game that made it fun for the whole family.

As designed, the players are supposed to slide the game mechanism and reveal 2 letters. The first to call out a valid word using a letter on the 3 word cards in front of them gets that letter and can complete a word card. First player to complete all 3 word cards wins. That might work if you have 2 kids at the same level, but obviously it is completely unrealistic for a beginning reader to compete against adults.

We changed up the rules so that each person gets 6 word cards. The first player slides the game mechanism and gets two letters and tries to use them in their word cards. There is no time limit, and if my daughter needs to put tiles in each card and sound it out, that's fine. Once the two tiles are done (either used or thrown out), the next player goes. With 3 players and 6 cards, a game takes about 20 minutes, which is a good amount of time for kids this age (and we can obviously change the number of word cards we use). Toward the end we were even joking around and making funny definitions for fake words. My daughter was laughing and having fun. She had no idea how much reading and spelling practice she just had.

I like that there are no batteries, it makes no noise, there is essentially no set-up (this is quite portable), and games can be made more challenging to suit kids' needs as they develop reading skills. I only gave it 4 starts instead of 5 because the instructions that came with it seem uninspiring and overly focused on time-based game play. If you have K-2 children, just toss the instructions, find your own ways to play, and you'll enjoy this game.
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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
This is a great game for new readers and for readers who need some extra help and practice. As a retired teacher and now a tutor, I'm using this with a second grader who is having trouble with reading. She really enjoys this game and is getting much better at spelling short words, as well as recognizing longer words because of the skills she is learning with this game. I'd recommend this to anyone with a young reader! P.S. It can also be used with older readers just as a fun game by having a time limit to make a certain amount of words.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 2, 2008
My daughter is in Kindergarten and we have had lots of fun with this game. Sometimes I think everything is in the timing... and with this game the timing was just right. We recently got this as a gift and my daughter and I have played it several times. We make up our own rules...and she loved it. We don't play competitively, we just work at making words.

I pull out several cards that will make a word then she makes the words, sounds them out and decides which word she likes better. For her the fun was making the words, not "winning".

She's not a game kid, we have lots of the classic games that we gave her as gifts and her three year old brother has played them more than she has. But this one we've come back to again and again, today she said "Wahoo gnu".

The only criticism I have is that they could have created a lot more word possibilities with the word cards.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2007
It was easy for me to adapt the rules to the needs of my 5 year old grandson.... possibilities are endless but an encouraging adult is needed to help keep a good pace and keep young ones encouraged and not overwhelmed. It's really an excellent skill builder.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2013
There is a short window of time when this game would be fun.

Beginning readers who are learning phonics would find it interesting. For our children, this period is between ages 3 and 5.

Kids know when games are supposed to be educational, the way they know that carrot cake and zucchini bread are ways of getting them to eat vegetables. This game falls into that category. It is helpful for adults to play with children, to help them sound out word possibilities. It is not realistic for children of different reading abilities to play the game without one player being bored and another being frustrated. Therefore, it is at best a game for one or two kids. The novelty would be fun for kids who are still learning to sound out words---these kids may require a bit of help. But the kids who don't need help would find the novelty to wear off quickly.

The above is just our experience, and it may be different for other people. We never enjoyed the game as a family enough to get it out frequently.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2007
This game is a great game for teaching phonics and new words. They love being able to choose the letters, and a great educational activity.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2007
great educational toy, although really need an adult to play with the child if he/she is just learning to read. Using the letter dispenser is alot of fun for the child (just like the tile dispenser in Zingo). It's a fun way for kids to learn - and they don't even realize you're teaching them!
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2010
As my 5 year old knew his letters well, but couldn't get the letters together to make words yet, I thought this would help. It did the trick and my son is starting to put letters together to make words. This game provides a bridge for a child to start putting letters together that's fun and not overly daunting. I would recommend if your child knows his/her letters well, and ready to start formulating words. Very nice materials that are durable and I hope to use with my younger child.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2011
I bought this game after having such a good experience with Zingo which is another product offered by ThinkFun. The concept of GNU is simple as it is all about putting together 3 letter words. Your child will need to think of what letter is needed to complete various kindergarten/1st grade words. My son just entered kindergarten when we got this game and he didn't immediately take to it. After a couple weeks of school, he pulled the game out and really got into it! He loves putting together the words and sounding them out. This is a great game for the family to play! I would say it is geared toward kindergarten and first grade based on my son's experience who is now 5 years old.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2008
The K-2 set think this is a great, fast-paced game. I think it is a great way to learn reading and spelling.
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