You love playing games and if/when you have children you want them to love playing games too, right? But there aren’t that many games for kids younger than 3. HABA has a few, Think Fun has the Roll N Play games, and MindWare has Seek-a-Boo but there really aren’t a ton out there to choose from. But this year Peaceable Kingdom released THREE new games for two year olds: Monkey Around, Where’s Bear?, and Bedtime Bunny. I had a chance to try Monkey Around with a bonafide 2-year old and here’s how it went:
First, monkeys are funny and so are fabric bananas which is good because this game has both! The game has a board with a drawing of a large tree with 5 spots for circle cards. Randomly select 5 and do them. If you can complete all 5 then you’ve won! Unlike Peaceable Kingdom’s cooperative games for older kids, the line of 2 year old games have no loser. Yep — if you can focus long enough to do the game then you win! If not, well I guess the game just ends. There’s no bad guy and no scary chance of losing.
Playing the game with the 2 year old was fun. The cards are all physical activities you do together (“Shake Hands!”), solo (“Pretend to Climb a Tree!”), or sometimes it’s something that involves the fabric banana (“Balance the Banana on Your Elbow!”). The ones with the fabric banana were definitely a favorite of the 2 year old I was playing with, so I wish there were more of these. Even with that slight complaint (and I do mean slight), the game was engaging and we played twice in a row before it turned into “look at the funny things I can do with this banana” time — which I guess is still sort of “playing with the game.”
Hopping on my soapbox for a second: Some may argue that a cooperative game with real way to lose (besides walking away from playing) isn’t really a game. I get that side of the argument, but the idea of pulling out something special for a parent and child to play together for a limited time teaches them that games are different than toys. That they are a special thing played with someone else — parent, sibling, teacher, friend, family, etc. I think it’s a great way to get little gamers started! The 2 year old I played with? She’s got a whole game collection that is set aside from her other toys and she has to ask to play with them. When she does, it’s a special event and she can already tell you that “me likes playing games!” Makes your gamer heart melt.
Monkey Around Stats:
~$18 Amazon, local game stores
Ages 2+ (you could try with an 18 month old – but all kids develop differently!)