Day 790. March 01, 2019. Lagos...
A few months ago, on a train, Alice and I "played" The Fox in the Forest.
All she did was hold the cards and play one when I told her to. She didn't know what she was doing off course. All she knew was that she was having a good time "playing" a game with dad. I think she even won one bout! In Santorini, she has no idea about the goal of the game. Or how to foresee tactical advantages and possible scenarios. But she still enjoys moving her god piece and build buildings with him. She doesn't want to put her god on the top. She wants to put a blue roof on top!
Playing with the components of games that are clearly above her age helps. A lot!
A couple of days ago she asked for Spinderella. But she didn't want to play with the components as she had for the last 18 months. She really wanted to "play the game". I indulged her, adding the usual theatrical fanfare in the process. She won. Both times. Using the two different ant paths supplied. What surprised me was that she was counting and moving her ants up to six! Dazzled that she knew how to match the dies for the three possible actions. Baffled that she moved ants with a proto-semblance of planning! The spider movement still eluded her though. I helped with that. But not much.
She wants to play Rampage. She wants to play Lightning & Bolt's with the Bolt! She wants to play Onirim!
What does the future hold for the next two years? I have no idea! Alice being our only child, everything is still new to us every day! Surprises are the norm around her. We don't play as many games as we used too. For one she's no longer with a stay-at-home-dad and has moved on to a kindergarten. And that's ok. I believe now more than before, it's the time to stave the flow of news games with her. Pretty soon, her mind will be ready for all those easy gateways and simple abstracts!
What works for us: Letting kids have access to games beyond their age.
Some of the games that we've played in the last 2 years:
Unicorn: A set of cards with which you can play up to 6? games. All in increasing minimum age count. A game that really grows with kids! So far we've played only two variants. Go
fish Unicorn doesn't work with two players. But she likes it!
Lightning & Bolt: A hidden gem of a children's game. One where the child and a gamer parent are in equal terms of involvement. It was an instant hit with Alice!
La Princesa e el Guisante - Our first Haba disappointment. The pea isn't big enough to tilt the metal box. The cards are always balanced and it's easy to steady the princess even in the most precarious edges! Alice only asks for it, when she's in the mood for princesses.
Santorini: The mechanics are easy enough that even a 4-year-old can understand them. Move and build. That's it. And for now, that's all we need to have fun.
Links to the series: How to raise a gamer. Ages 2 to 4.
...how to raise a gamer: once upon a time...
...how to raise a gamer: patience my young padawan...
...how to raise a gamer: breaking rules...
...how to raise a gamer: one two many...
...how to raise a gamer: growing up...
Photo & Image credits: ZombieBoard