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Subject: Gaming with a 4 year old - Where in the Wild? rss

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Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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This review is part of a series of reviews of how games have worked with my children. For the full list see: My children's game reviews - children aged between 2 and 12.

Fun Components:

The boards are very attractive with lots of animals in them, and the game comes with a book telling you what the names of all the animals are, as you find them. This in itself is a great activity - my son loves to sit there working through the board learning the names of all the animals, almost as much as playing the actual game!

Simplicity of rules:

The rules are incredibly simple - the adult, or older child, reads out the card, and everyone rushes to find an animal or plant that fits the category. First to find it takes the card and places it face-down on their board so that it covers one square of the board (there are nine squares). Cover your board, and you've won. These pose no trouble at all for a four year old child, and a slightly younger child would probably cope too, but struggle more finding the animal matches.

Randomness:

The first time you play an adult has a slight advantage, as they're slightly quicker to find things, and have more idea which animals fit which categories (young children don't necessarily know which animals are mammals, and find it harder to find things like animals that sit on cliffs, or live underground, as there are fewer obvious clues on the board). Rapidly though young children memorize suitable animals, and the boards themselves, and you won't have to handicap yourself to give them a chance - especially as if you're quicker you soon find that you have less board to look at, and are less likely to have a suitable animal visible, so it has an inbuilt catch-up mechanism. There are also easier questions on the cards, that you can use for slightly younger children, or the first few times you play, to give the younger children an advantage. I probably played the first ten or twenty games with my son using the easier categories, until he had clearly got the idea and was starting to help me with the harder categories!

Did the child enjoy it?

My son normally likes variety in games, suggesting the same game for a week or so, then moving on to another one. However I've been playing this one multiple times a day for well over a month now - it's been a HUGE hit! It's just taking Where's Wally, and similar "Find the X" books, to the next level - and my son has always loved those books anyway - this is just a more interactive version! My oldest often joins in when she's not at school too, and really enjoys it. I think I missed the right age with my older two - tried it when they were too young and found it a bit too hard.

And how is it from the adult's point of view?

I actually really enjoy this game. I enjoy Where's Wally as much as most people, and also quite enjoy the game Pictureka!, although it has a few flaws - this is just a children's version of the same game, with a fun theme. Definitely one of the more fun children's games I've discovered, and very different from most of them.
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