Don't hesitate to introduce this game to young children. It teaches counting in a fun way and, unlike many maths games, it has very few parts for tiny hands to lose.
Watch our video and you’ll be up-and-running in less than five minutes.
Its educational value is two-fold: firstly, it ensures that the child practises adding numbers together; secondly, it encourages the child to develop a strategy.
Which numbers to knock over is often a matter of choice. For instance, if the dice values add up to 10 then any combination of the numbers below can be knocked over (always provided that the blocks with those numbers are still standing):
3, 2, 5
1, 2, 3, 5
It can be seen from the above that three or four numbers can often be used to make up the total. All of which is much more exciting than adding just two numbers together.
Some players might aim to knock over the highest numbers first whilst others aim for the low numbers first. It is left to the imagination of the child to watch and learn which strategy to adopt.
The game provides an invaluable way to retain the interest of children when they are taking their first tentative steps into the world of mathematics
It is a simple game with very few individual parts. Unlike many popular board games (e.g. Monopoly), “Shut the Box” is not subject to any intellectual property rights and therefore it can be produced by anyone. This leads to healthy competition between manufacturers and they all try to undercut each other on price – all of which is excellent news for cash-strapped parents.
It all depends on who you listen to. Wiki asserts that it may have originated in France in the 12th Century but then again it may have been invented in the Channel Islands in the 1900s!
A quick search on Amazon reveals that there are over a hundred different versions from a plethora of manufacturers with most falling into the price bracket of £6.00 to £25.00. Fancy an up-market version? You’ll want to check out Jaques of London where you can buy a black walnut version for over £100.00 but the rules are exactly the same as a £6.00 set and it isn’t guaranteed to last any longer!
We chose to review 3 variants of the game and they are listed below:
This is the most usual size for the game – it measures approximately 25cm x 17cm.
The size is good for adult fingers to knock the numbers over without accidentally knocking two down.
Many manufacturers make almost identical, well-constructed games.
The one we bought and demonstrated in the video was manufactured by Imagin.
This really is pocket-sized, measuring only 14cm x 8cm. The one we trialled was nicely made although the dice are necessarily very small and may be a little difficult to handle by young children.
It can be slipped into a jacket pocket and played anywhere at any time.
At a cost of only £5.95 it gets our vote for being the best value.
Like the other versions we trialled, this is very serviceable quality with little to go wrong.
The rules are slightly more difficult to explain because up to 4 players can be involved - but a comprehensive rule sheet is included with the product.
Oddly, the one we bought came securely wrapped in clingfilm but without a box which makes it impossible to “Shut the Box”!
There is no reason why this version cannot be played with just two people but our suggestion is that you buy one of the cheaper versions (like the pocket-sized one above) to see if you enjoy it before buying this more expensive version.
A quick reminder: A subscription to Education Quizzes allows up to 6 children to play over 3,000 online quizzes and it provides endless hours of entertainment all for £9.99 per month. Subscribe