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Subject: Game recommendations for 3 1/2 year old rss

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Chris Stones
United Kingdom
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Hi,

I'm trying to get my 3 1/2 year old interested in board and card games both purely for fun but also with an educational slant without being out and out educational.

At the moment we play Stay Alive (just to drop the marbles rather than any sense of strategy), Dragster (which he loves and more often than not beats me!), Buckaroo (which makes him jump!) and Zombie Dice (the brains are replaced by broccoli and the shotguns are explosions).

We've also played Tsuro and Labyrinth but I end up playing for him although he'll move the pieces.

I was thinking of getting Rory's Story Cubes to get his imagination going but when I look at the age recommendation it varies from 3 years and up to 6 years and up.

So if anyone has any recommendations for board and/or card games that a 3 1/2 year old would like then I'd appreciate it.

Cheers,

Chris
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Shane Larsen
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Go Away Monster! is fantastic for that age.

Also, if you can get ahold of it, try Hide the Kids!.

Have fun. I can't wait to game with my kids some day!
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John
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My First Carcassonne or even Carcassonne (though I'd suggest not playing farmers & possibly not bothering with scoring, handing him a tile rather than letting him pick, and maybe reducing the number of tiles). Our 3 1/2 year old plays Carcassone with us & his (older) sister.
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Lizzie
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Aquarius has a preschool variant.
Dancing Dragons could be used to play a simpler set collection/memory game.

Also hooray for raising the next generation of geeks!
 
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Bernard Hopkins
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HuggableHamster wrote:
Aquarius has a preschool variant.
Dancing Dragons could be used to play a simpler set collection/memory game.

Also hooray for raising the next generation of geeks!


At that age I had the most luck with:

Go Away Monster!
Shopping List
Cranium Cariboo

I don't think it was too long before she was ready to enjoy these too. She was certainly playing them at 4.

Gulo Gulo
Escape from the Hidden Castle
Loopin' Louie
Perfection
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John
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I found Where's my Cupcake? is surprisingly fun despite the pink box and lack of any decisions. If I have to play a children's game with no decisions this would be my choice. It could easily be used to play memory games too.
 
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Chris Stones
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thedacker wrote:
Go Away Monster! is fantastic for that age.

Also, if you can get ahold of it, try Hide the Kids!.

Have fun. I can't wait to game with my kids some day!


Thanks Shane, I like the look of Go Away Monster! so that's on the 'to get list'!

zabdiel wrote:
My First Carcassonne or even Carcassonne (though I'd suggest not playing farmers & possibly not bothering with scoring, handing him a tile rather than letting him pick, and maybe reducing the number of tiles). Our 3 1/2 year old plays Carcassone with us & his (older) sister.


Thanks John, I have a friend who has Carcassonne so I'll borrow it off him and have a go with it. If it turns out to be a bit too complicated then I'll have a hunt for The Kids of Carcassonne although it looks a bit difficult to get hold of.

HuggableHamster wrote:
Aquarius has a preschool variant.
Dancing Dragons could be used to play a simpler set collection/memory game.

Also hooray for raising the next generation of geeks!


Hi Lizzie. Both the games you quoted looks good but I love the colours in Aquarius plus it's reasonably cheap so that's another one for the list!

My other half's not a board gamer so doesn't really see the appeal of them but I can't wait until Zack is old enough to sit down with me and play some of the more complicated ones - Android Netrunner is my goal with him although I'm not sure when that'll be! It certainly beats just plonking him infront of the TV though and I'm finding that it's encouraging him to be more confident and also building up a certain amount of hand/eye co-ordination as well as just have fun!

Arctic Jack wrote:
At that age I had the most luck with:

Go Away Monster!
Shopping List
Cranium Cariboo

I don't think it was too long before she was ready to enjoy these too. She was certainly playing them at 4.

Gulo Gulo
Escape from the Hidden Castle
Loopin' Louie
Perfection


Bernard, I've had Shopping List on my radar for a while as the Orchard Toys range do have some great games.

All the games you've suggested look great so I think a trip to eBay may be in order as a lot of them are a few years old now so getting hold of them might be a bit tricky.

zabdiel wrote:
I found Where's my Cupcake? is surprisingly fun despite the pink box and lack of any decisions. If I have to play a children's game with no decisions this would be my choice. It could easily be used to play memory games too.


Another Orchard Toys game! Looks good so another one for the list!!


Thanks to all for your replies.
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Graham
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My oldest is a similar age and his current favorites are Gulo Gulo, Carcassonne, Zooloretto Junior, and Loopin' Louie.

I have been keeping track of his (and his little brother's) gaming preferences on a geeklist, which has some additional detail on these and a dozen other games.
 
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Jeff Dougan
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My hack of Carcassonne for 4 1/2 year olds, which seems to work OK for most of my 3-year-old's attention span:

Draw a tile. Play a tile. If you complete a feature, score one point per tile. (Use one meeple each on the scoreboard.)

I've also hacked Qwirkle a bit to make it accessible for my 3-year-old. Instead of the normal rules, each tile you place in a turn has to match either color or symbol for everything it touches. (Sort of like the really old Popcap game Alchemy.) No scorekeeping here.

My FLGS owner also heartily endorses Click Clack Lumberjack. I have recently acquired Dino Hunt Dice, but haven't been able to try it out with either kid yet.
 
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Curt Carpenter
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Advanced search to the rescue!
 
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Chris Stones
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grahamf wrote:
My oldest is a similar age and his current favorites are Gulo Gulo, Carcassonne, Zooloretto Junior, and Loopin' Louie.

I have been keeping track of his (and his little brother's) gaming preferences on a geeklist, which has some additional detail on these and a dozen other games.


Graham, I've just won Loopin' Louie on eBay so that should be with me soon fingers crossed!

Thanks for the link to your list of games, that's perfect.

Cheers,

Chris
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Alyssa McCain
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My daughter is 5 now and in the past couple years her favorite games have been:

Richard Scarry's Busytown: Eye found it! Game - co-op, fun!
Animal Upon Animal - my daughter loved playing with the pieces
Cat in The Hat: I Can do that! - active game
Guess Who? Extra - great to work on descriptive vocabulary and deductive reasoning
Spot it! - fabulous, quick take along game. Easy to entertain everyone while waiting at a restaurant, doctor's, etc.

Now that she's five we play the following frequently:
Sleeping Queens
Unnamed Object
Labyrinth

Carcassonne and Catan: Junior are on the horizon.
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Chris Stones
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karana21 wrote:
My daughter is 5 now and in the past couple years her favorite games have been:

Richard Scarry's Busytown: Eye found it! Game - co-op, fun!
Animal Upon Animal - my daughter loved playing with the pieces
Cat in The Hat: I Can do that! - active game
Guess Who? Extra - great to work on descriptive vocabulary and deductive reasoning
Spot it! - fabulous, quick take along game. Easy to entertain everyone while waiting at a restaurant, doctor's, etc.

Now that she's five we play the following frequently:
Sleeping Queens
Unnamed Object
Labyrinth

Carcassonne and Catan: Junior are on the horizon.


Alyssa,

I was wondering about Guess Who? as I too thought it would be good to increase his vocabulary and reasoning. May well get it so thanks for the recommendation (and confirming what I thought!)

I'll have a look at all the other games as well - I think some of them may be US-centric and so perhaps a little tricky to get hold of but I'll have a go!
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Gary Jones
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Your profile doesn't say where you are, but in the UK we have Orchard who just publish games for that age. Some of our 3 year old's favourites are:

Crazy Chefs, Pop to the Shops and Lunch Box Game.

There's loads and most of them have some sort of hidden educational element like how to handle money or how to tell the time.

The components are amazing quality, really thick cardboard, wish some of the games I buy were as well made. Cheap too considering.
 
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Michael Hyland

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The Dr. Seuss games were good with my son.

Cat in the Hat I can do that

Green eggs and ham speedy diner

Dr. Seuss super stretchy

Magic kitchen is also good for that age I think.

Kids are into tactile experiences at that age. Buy something too old and they just play with the pieces and make up their own rules anyway. Prescribed rules are of no interest at age 3.5 but exploration is.


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David Larson
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Chicken Cha Cha Cha is a fun one. My youngest has been beating me at this one for about a year now. We started just before her 4th birthday. It's a memory game, and her short term memory trumps mine cluttered melon too often.

(image by mkgray)
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David Larson
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She also adores Slamwich, which can be played as a simple matching game, or with included variants. Disclaimer, part of the attraction is her grandparents bought her the deluxe version that comes in a metal lunchbox.

(Image credit ArtEmiSa64)

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David Larson
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My youngest caught on to Sequence for Kids fairly quickly, and was engaged enough to stay with it and accept a little strategy advice here and there to improve her play.

She's looking over my shoulder as I write this, and recognized the game. When I asked her why she likes it she told me, "Because the chips look like fruit salad." I wouldn't have thought of that.

(Image credit dsmeyer)
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Marc Nelson Jr.
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I'll second Animal Upon Animal and Sequence for Kids, and throw in:

Monza
Labyrinth
Giro Galoppo

Also, if you have an iPad, that can make games much easier for little kids by handling the math, holding the cards, etc. My three-year-old was surprisingly good at the Neuroshima Hex app!
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Let's Play Two!
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Gamewright has a lot of good ones for young kids. Among our favorites for that age are:

Rat-a-Tat Cat
Duck, Duck, Bruce
Sleeping Queens

all of which gave my daughter a head-start on addition. In the case of RTC and SQ, we began by playing open-handed until she understood the flow of the game. Worked like a charm.

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Gary Jones
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My daughter who's 4 in 2 months is just picking up Tsuro - not much strategy but she likes placing the tiles and moving along the paths.
 
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J Boomhower
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My youngest, who just turned three, loves Go Away Monster, Richard Scarry's Busytown: Busy, Busy Airport Game and Pictureka! (he just uses the picture cards and finds them on the board)...
 
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James
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Here's a huge +1 for Go Away Monster! (playable right away easily) and Sleeping Queens (playable with some coaching). With SQ, you'd want to set aside the point values of the queens to make an easier game and play with open hands at first. As was mentioned, Gamewright games are fantastic.

As an improvement on basic memory games I'd also recommend Enchanted Forest. Some would say that it skews more to girls (I don't see this myself). If you consider this, I'd take out the mechanic of adding and subtracting dice as it can lengthen gameplay in an unsatisfying fashion. For memory I'd also recommend The Magic Labyrinth; my daughter and I just played this today.

Finally, though this is a step up, I wouldn't overlook Dungeon! once the child gets to four (particularly if you want to raise them as a thematic gamer!). You might have to add the treasure values, but the move and fight mechanic couldn't be simpler. My seven year old daughter loves it and just requested it today, as a matter of fact.

This is getting ahead a bit, but you might keep in mind Castle Panic for when the child turns five - a terrific Daddy and daughter co-op experience in our family.
 
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