One thing that we are always on the lookout for in our homeschooling endeavors are fun things to complement our core curriculum. Sometimes this is in the form of outside activities or electives. However, on those days when you can’t get out or the budget is tight, tools and resources that can be incorporated at home are always great. Our most recent experience has been with Dig-It Games‘ online game, Mayan Mysteries.
What We Received:
Mayan Mysteries comes as either an online subscription or as an ipad application. Our family evaluated the online version that was used through our family PC. This game is designed for children in grades 5-9. We had our 13 year old and our 9 year old evaluate it to see what they thought.
Once we received our login information we did not encounter any problems in using the game or with it being accessible whenever we tried to log in. We did find though that only one game can be played at a time. So with our two boys wanting to try it out, they either had to play together or we had to cancel one players game for the other one to start a new game. So in essence, a subscription is good for one user at a time.
How We Used it:
When our logon information arrived, I helped the boys to get logged in and then set them lose. They were really able to take it from there in exploring and playing throughout the game. The setting of the game is an adventure where the player visits different archaeological dig sites. At these sites, they learn about the Mayan people, their artifacts, and other aspects of the Mayan culture. There is some map work, math calculations in learning about their money system, and also areas where they learn about the Mayan calendar. Our older daughter who is very interested in languages also wanted to get in on the game as the boys began exploring the hieroglyphics of this culture.
For those with a competitive spirit, there is a scoring system where you earn points for artifacts found and activities accomplished. These scores are saved on-line and compared to other on-line users.
What We Thought:
Pros: Mayan Mysteries has some really great information in it. Our boys were able to share new things learned about this culture each time they played. So it can definitely be classified as educational and not just entertainment. It also was comprehensive in giving them a very thorough overview of this culture.
It is comparable in price to other games with a current retail cost from the vendor’s website of $21.99.
Our 9 year old was a bit challenged with some of the content, but enjoyed using the game as much if not more than his 13 year old brother. He is about to go into 4th grade so the appropriate age range may be larger than what it is being marketed for on the vendor’s website.
Neutral Comment: This is one of those tools, especially given the age range it is targeted for, that really depends on how it is presented to your child. Preteens that are used to playing any kind of gaming system will find that the graphics, speed, and overall presentation may not be as engaging as their other games. However, when presented to these same children as a fun activity to possibly replace a writing assignment, workbook pages, or other types of activities that may be required in conjunction with a study of Ancient Civilizations, will find it a wonderful alternative. For this reason, I think the way that the game is presented by the parent is critical.
Areas for Possible Improvement: It would be great if multiple children were able to log on under different user accounts without having a erase a previous game. For those children, that have a desire to finish all the sections and gather all the artifacts it is very discouraging to have to start over in order to provide a sibling the opportunity to play. Another option would be to let multiple players play at the same time.
I am not sure that there is a lot of drive for the user to play the game a second time, once they have reached the end. This makes it somewhat hard to judge whether the price is a pro or con. Most games, workbooks, and add on activities that parents would purchase to embellish core curriculum would be in this general price range. However, with this not being a purchase, but rather a one year subscription, it is also hard to reuse this with younger siblings to really feel like you are getting your money’s worth.
As always, you don’t have to take our word for it. Check out what other TOS Crew Members have to say by clicking on the box below: