Electronimoes: A Fun Introduction to Chemistry

by Caitlin Curley

If you follow our homeschooling journey over at My Little Poppies, you already know that our family loves board games. One of the many homeschooling perks is the time available to sit down and play games as a family. Board games are an integral part of our homeschool routine, and I am always on the hunt for new educational games to play as a family. Recently, I had the opportunity to play Electronimoes, a new chemistry-themed card game, with my children.

ELECTRONIMOES UPDATE

Disclosure: I received Electronimoes for free in exchange for an honest review. As always, all opinions expressed herein are my own.

The History of Electronimoes

Electronimoes is the brainchild of Julie Newdoll. With a bachelor's degree in microbiology, a minor in art, and a master's in medical illustration, Newdoll was looking for a way to make abstract chemistry concepts, such as elements, atoms, bonding, and orbitals, more accessible to her own young children.

The creation of Electronimoes has been an interesting journey. Newdoll first started with a set of rubber stamps, which she continues to sell, representing the first ten elements of the periodic table. From there, Newdoll created games and puzzles featuring the elements and then, later, Electronimoes.

What is Electronimoes?

Electronimoes is a deck of circular playing cards featuring the first eighteen elements of the periodic table. The game is played much like dominoes. Each card represents an atom of a particular element ready to bond with the right number of atoms. The deck also includes noble gas and ion cards.

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These colorful cards are designed to help children understand the structure and bonding behavior of the various elements. Each card includes the element's name, atomic symbol, proton number, plus protons and electrons. Electrons are denoted by arrows, while colored shapes represent the different atom clouds thought to be arranged around atoms. This visual format helps children begin to grasp why particular atoms like to bond together.

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To play, each child is dealt up to 14 cards. The top card from the deck is placed face up on the playing surface. Players take turns matching the lines on the cards together to bond the atoms and create compounds. The play is quite simple: earn double points for double bonds, triple points for triple bonds, and all cards easily match together and when you "close" the molecule, you win the stack. Young children can easily play this game without any prior chemistry knowledge, and yet the deck includes seven different game suggestions for more sophisticated play and therefore this game can easily be played at the high school level.

What did the kids think?

My children are 7, 5 1/2, and almost 4 years of age. Prior to playing Electronimoes, their only exposure to chemistry was via Theodore Gray's Elements text and cards and Schoolhouse Rock videos. Before playing our first (of many!) round of Electronimoes, we watched the instructional video online.

The rules of play were easy to understand for my game-loving crew. If your children have played any matching games or dominoes in the past, they will easily grasp the rules of play for Electronimoes.

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Simply take turns matching the cards until you "close" a molecule.

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When you close a molecule, you win the stack!

We easily played a dozen rounds of Electronimoes on our very first afternoon. You can see from the following video that even my 3-year-old was still happily engaged during our last round. And he won the stack!

What did mom think?

There are many aspects of Electronimoes that I appreciate, including:

  • I love that this game was created by a mom as a way to explain chemistry to her own children.
  • These colorful cards capture children's attention.
  • The game is simple to play. You can play right out of the box.
  • Children do not need to know anything about chemistry in order to play. That said, they will learn about chemistry as they go along. The conversations the game inspires are fantastic.
  • The most basic level of Electronimoes play involves matching and early math skills, so you are learning more than just chemistry.
  • Electronimoes is a wonderful way to introduce abstract concepts to children in a hands-on, visual way.
  • Even though the game is easy to learn and play, it is not a game your family will soon outgrow. The deck includes seven game options, many of which include sophisticated high school level chemistry concepts.
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There are so many variations of play with one deck of Electronimoes. Here you can see my children working together to try to create their very own Periodic Table.

I think that Electronimoes would make a wonderful addition to any family's game closet. Electronimoes would appeal to homeschoolers and math and science teachers. Homeschoolers and teachers should explore Newdoll's website, as she offers other learning materials including stamps, puzzles, models, games, and artwork.

Electronimoes on Kickstarter

Newdoll recently launched an Electronimoes Kickstarter campaign. The first 1,000 Electronimoes sets were self-funded. Now, Newdoll would like to raise enough money to fund a larger batch of Electronimoes in order to lower the overall cost of the product, making it more easily accessible to parents, educators, and homeschoolers. To read more about the Kickstarter campaign, or to contribute, please click here. You can also follow Julie Newdoll and her journey with Electronimoes on the web and on Facebook.

Caitlin Curley is mom to three kids, a school psychologist, writer, bookworm, nature lover, coffee drinker, Chesney fan, list-maker, board game nerd, and now-suddenly-unexpected homeschooler. She writes about the journey at My Little Poppies

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