Thursday, January 24, 2013

Let the Games Begin!

surprisingly adept snowshoer
I feel like we've been making a lot of progress in our house these days.  With the winter break and holidays and colds and snow everywhere, we've spent a lot of quality indoor time together.  The cat and dog have even come to an uneasy truce.

The best news is that Ben has finally come around to playing board games with me.

I've always felt that games are hugely important for kids and grown-ups both.  Not only are they fun, they provide a structure for social interaction, mental challenge, creativity, healthy competition, gracious winning and losing, building innate understanding of probability and math, and probably a dozen things that aren't coming to mind.

Ben's brother played his first decent game (Busy Bridges) around age 3.  We built an oversize version of Monza that fit his Hot Wheels cars.  We tried lots of different games for the next few years, like Fearsome Floors and Labyrinth.  We even recreated the D-Day invasion.

Boardgames had to be put away as soon as Ben got mobile.  The joyful chaos of flipping the board over was too much for him to resist.  Game pieces were to be strewn about and boards were to be ripped.  If he wasn't devastating our game, he would be wreaking havoc elsewhere, making it very hard to focus for any length of time.

Now, though, we've got at least two games he likes:  Sequence for Kids and Snail's Pace Race.  Sequence is particularly great - we take turns, flip over the next card ("I got an elephant!"), pick out the correct color token, and find the animal on the board.  There's a teeny bit of strategy, but we'll worry about that later.

There's still some joyful chaos - we've misplaced half the dice for Snail's Pace Race (which makes it really slow) and we have to keep duct tape handy.

It's worth it though -- hearing Ben say, "I'm a winner!" made my heart grow three sizes that day.

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