Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Henry received a cooperative board game for his birthday last year, called Seeds for the Birds. We tried to play it once several months ago, but he wasn't ready for it. We pulled it out again the other day, and we had a blast. We played it two times through (and then he wanted to play it again!).
He doesn't completely get it yet, but it still feels like a fun and productive use of time. He gets to practice following directions, sequencing, facing frustration (when the squirrel gets the nuts!), and delaying gratification ("It's my turn right now, Henry."). It also gives him an authentic opportunity to practice counting and develop real number sense (as opposed to just memorizing and reciting numbers).
It's a "cooperative" game rather than a "competitive" game because all the players work together to help the bird get the seeds (instead of the squirrel). It's interesting that a game that promotes cooperation actually reinforces a scarcity mindset about nature (it feels kind of wrong to root for one animal to get all the seeds instead of sharing them with all the animals), but it's still fun. And we're not opposed to competitive games either. I think it's good for all of us to practice losing with grace and centering ourselves when we start to get frustrated and sad. I'm wondering what other games would be good for a 2.5 year-old? Some of the games I remember loving during my early childhood include Candy Land, Shoots and Ladders, and Hungry, Hungry Hippo.