Starting Games

By popular demand, I will write a few posts about some games that Katie has enjoyed playing over the past couple of years. I would also love to hear about other people’s favorite kids games.

We started playing ‘board’ games with Katie when she was three, and that seemed like a good age.  You can probably start a bit earlier with some kids, but my guess is not by much.  Here are some of Katie’s earliest games:

Zingo – Katie got this game for her third birthday and it was the first one we played with her.  Similar to bingo, but requires the kid to pay a bit more attention.  When a picture comes up, only the first person to notice that they have it gets to put the tile on their card.  It also comes with a fun tile dispenser which Katie absolutely loved and insisted on controlling every game.  We don’t play is so much any more, but this was definitely a favorite for quite a while.  There are also variations where the tiles have words or numbers on them.

Sum Swamp – On one hand, this game is nothing special; the board consists of a snaky path and the players take turns throwing dice to determine how many steps they get to advance.  The one thing that sets this apart from games like chutes-and-ladders is the non-standard dice, which there are three of.  Two of the dice have the numbers 1-6 on them and the third one has + and – signs.  In order to find out how far to advance, the child has to solve a small addition or subtraction problem.  This game is mostly responsible for making Katie comfortable with single-digit arithmetic.

Dominoes – This one needs no description.  However, we have a set where instead of dots, the tiles have pictures of characters from one of Katie’s favorite Russian cartoons.  I think this really helped make her more enthusiastic about the game.  So if your kid likes princesses or cars, or anything else that you can find on dominoes, I’d recommend starting with those rather than the traditional ones.

Match It! Memory – There are several variations of these games where you have to match words to pictures, numbers to addition/subtraction expressions, first letter of a word to the rest of it, etc.  Katie has a few of the variations, although by far not all.  You are supposed to play memory with the cards, but Katie just likes to find the matching pairs in the open.  For some reason, this is one of Katie’s most frequent go-to games when she plays by herself (ok, it can’t quite compete with dolls, but might actually be a second).  When she would sometimes wake up way too early in the morning and we’d send her off to her room to play, we would often find her playing with one of these sets.

Ok, that’s it for now.  In future posts I hope to write about games that we have been playing more recently with Katie.

About aofradkin

I enjoy thinking about presenting mathematical concepts to young children in exciting and engaging ways.
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3 Responses to Starting Games

  1. Daniel says:

    Have you tried with SET?


  2. Daniel says:

    Thank you. I tried with my daughter when she was just 5 but she found it too difficult. So we’ll try next year!


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