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Have you ever played a game with a kid between the ages of 2 and 7? If there was a chance they may not win, was it any fun? I know from a LOT of first hand experience that it can be brutal. The child in question gets more and more upset or worried that they are not going to win and eventually the game ends abruptly because they don’t want to play anymore. It is a truth universally recognized that if you don’t finish a game no one wins, right?
I have 2 little monkeys who prove this rule on an almost daily basis. And now that they can play each other it has become few and far between that a board game actually ends with a winner. Usually it ends with one, or both, walking away. Although my youngest tends to make up rules and not count accurately so she always claims victory but…we will never know.
We discovered cooperative board games as a family from a wonderful SEIT teacher and friend who faces the challenges of high anxiety and attention disorders every day. She gave my son a gift one year for his birthday, it was the game Hoot Owl Hoot, and it was amazing. The point of the game is for EVERYONE to get to the nest before the sun rises. So you have to encourage each other, dare I say root for one another, to win the game. Talk about a novel concept! I still thank her for this gift.
There are a few other great cooperative games we have found, even for younger kids like my daughter, who is almost three. One that she loves is a game called First Orchard. The game usually takes more time to set up than it does to play, but the set up also helps with color recognition. (you have to match the colors of the fruits to the right trees, which could be a game in and of itself) Once it is set up you role a die with colors and a few icons on it to collect all the fruit before a raven makes it to the orchard. It’s very straightforward and even when the raven wins no one is super upset…or trying to take a swing at another player.
Here are our top 10 cooperative board game recommendations.
10. Stone soup
I am not suggesting these as the only games to play, we have had a lot of fun and good learning with some of the jr. series; monopoly jr. and scrabble jr are a lot of fun but I’ll do another post on those. At the end of the day I just enjoy ending each game night with a cooperative game to conclude on a positive note.
Moral of the story: Family game night is a lot more delightful when we can all win.
I want to hear from you! My favorite board game as a kid was monopoly, I have great memories of epic games spanning long evenings. What was your favorite childhood board game?
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