Game nights were always some of my favorite memories from my childhood. My mom didn't play games too often with us, but we would go to my cousins' houses and play with them. It was always awesome to sit at a table with adults and essentially be equal to them in the game. To match wits and skill and try to win. Mr. River and I have talked before about wanting to do game nights with the girls when we're sure they won't swallow random pieces.
Blue is now three - the minimum age recommended for quite a few childhood classics! She'd been playing a few boardgames with ABA aimed at younger children: Hulabaloo, Candy Land castle (preschool version?), and Cariboo. Supposedly she was doing great at the real CandyLand game while at her friend's house as well.
So Sunday afternoon rolled around, Baby Bear was still napping, Blue had just finished resting (i.e. had refused to take a nap, sigh). So we pulled out one of the games that Blue got for her birthday. She got three: a Disney princess cupcake game, Ladybug Game, and a Dr. Seuss matching game. She opted for the Ladybug game. So I poked out the game pieces, skimmed the instructions, and we were off!!! Just in time for Baby Bear to wake up and decide she wanted to play too!
The game is pretty easy - you are a ladybug and your goal is to get to the finish line. Each turn, you pick up a ladybug card that tells you how many spaces to go forward or back. At two points you are stopped during the game: The praying mantis requires a "pass" and the ants require 10 aphids (game pieces you collect via squares and cards).
Blue know how to count and can recognize 0-9, so she had no problem picking up and reading the cards. She also has a great attention span. However, there is a certain cultural knowledge that goes along with playing a game as a game and not just treating it as a toy. Blue wanted to zoom her ladybug all over the board and didn't really grasp the idea of wanting to get to the end of the game - where there really was no reward except "yay you won!"
Nonetheless, she did great with a bit of guidance and redirection from us. She counted out her aphids for the ant, gave the praying mantis his pass (though looked rather confused by this), and won the first match!
Baby Bear did her part to add some chaos to it by constantly launching herself - over daddy's legs - to attempt to eat the aphids (part ant?). We tried to distract her with the fourth ladybug game piece, but after turning it in her hands a few times, it was launched, and she went back for the aphids. Good thing daddy has quick reflexes!
So all in all, a great afternoon and a fun way to start our own Family Game nights/afternoons. Though, I think we will limit the games to Baby Bear's naps :)