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Subject: How to turn my toddler into a little gamer? rss

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Shawn George
United States
Toledo
Ohio
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My daughter will be turning 2 in a few months and I'm starting to think about games that I can introduce her to. Her current hobbies include scribbling with crayons and playing with her baby doll, but I figure it's time to give her something a little more intellectually stimulating so that hopefully in a couple of years she can join her old man in some more serious games.

So parents, what are some good recommendations for games that can hold a toddler's attention span, and (hopefully) have rules simple enough that they can understand? I know that HABA has a lot of great titles available, but they can be a little hard to find for a reasonable price here in the US. What's easily available and fairly inexpensive (
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Thomas Hoiland
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I picked up a Roll and Play http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/1278/ for my little boy, but I can't really recommend it as he's still a year or so from being able to use it much (2.5 months old).
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Tom Tom
United States
Carrollton
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First thing (as you probably know), most of these aren't going to be games that you "really" enjoy. More of a training exercise in getting them ready for bigger and better.

The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel
Count your Chickens
Richard Scarry Busy Town
Candy Land (I know, cliche, but my daughter loves it)

Happy gaming!
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Beau Bocephus Blasterfire
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Berrien Springs
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I generally find that if I'm into something, my kids tend to get curious. I think just enjoying games in their presence usually does the trick.
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R H
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Bethany
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Thoi412 wrote:
I picked up a Roll and Play http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/1278/ for my little boy, but I can't really recommend it as he's still a year or so from being able to use it much (2.5 months old).


Subscribed.

My daughter just turned 2 and my wife and I would love some recommendations too. I have Mice and Mystics ready for when she turns 10ish. My old copy of HeroQuest from when I was 9 or 10. Just trying to find some games for before that.

Ones I have thought about are:
A la carte
Hey, That's My Fish!
Robot Turtles

Something I came across a few months back was this: http://www.seite42.de/e_index.htm

Heavy in regards to PnP, but, kids love Disney.
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Darth James
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My daughter is 2 years old and she loves Snail's Pace Race. She likes setting up the snails (she puts them on the right colors, even) and rolling the dice. That's about the extent of what she's interested in right now, though we have started to get her to move the appropriate snail when the dice are rolled.
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Jason Leidich
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Loopin' Louie is one I see mentioned often and I intend to get at some point. My boy is only 1.5 months now so I have some time.

Some others I came across that I think I'll try are:

Snail's Pace Race
Viva Topo!

I bookmarked this list, you may find it helpful if you haven't seen it already:

I just became a father! Time to celebrate! Suggest children's games and earn GeekGold!
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rekinom
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Best age appropriate games for us have been...

First Orchard
Go Away Monster!

These lists have been helpful...

Item for Geeklist "Most Useful Geeklists, Threads, Quickbars"
Anaya's Board Game Progress: A sequential list of Kid's and Toddler games she loves
How to raise a 2 year old into a board game lover
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Luke Halvorsen
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My daughter will turn two next month, and we recently started playing Jenga. Usually, I choose the piece and start it for her, but then she takes it out and places it on the top. And she loves it when the tower falls over.
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Adam Mitschelen
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I started my daughter on Hi-Ho Cherrio when she was about 2. Those iconic games are popular for a reason. They're simple and help teach counting and colors. She has her own games now; Animal upon Animal, Monza. Really, any of the Haba games are good choices. Now (she's 4) she "plays" Agricola with us. She builds a little farm and feeds the carrots to the "dirty pigs" and loves being a part of what the adults are doing.

The key, I think, is not to push it. Frighteningly enough, your kid might not be a gamer. Time will tell. Right now, you can emphasize playing by the rules, taking turns, finishing a game, and helping clean up. But only get a game out to play with her if it's what she wants to do. Like anything else, if you make them do it, they will hate it.

Just never ever play chutes and ladders. That game is the worst.
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pax domina
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This book: Marshmallow Math. The Kindle edition is only $3!

http://www.amazon.com/Marshmallow-Math-Early-Young-Children/...

It has tons of simple fun games that develop Math Concepts (i.e. Number Sense) in your child. Math + Games + Fun time with Mom and Dad = WIN!!

This skill development will hasten your child's ability to game with you as well as his/her interest in gaming.
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Laura Blachek
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charlotte hall
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At two, my son was no longer putting things in his mouth, so i uncovered my game shelf. I picked out about a dozen games that i didnt mind potentially losing pieces to or getting damaged and we would spend a little bit of time just messing around with the pieces, rolling dice, flipping cards, moving pawns, etc. none of the kids games i bought have gone over nearly so well as the adult ones. Right now he is 3.5 and other than one of the family pasttimes games, we haven't sat through any game or played it correctly, but he has recently started pulling out the rulebooks, looking through them and announcing we will "play them right".... Which means making the board look like images shown in the rulebooks.

He helps his daddy build legos pretty regularly though.
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Andrés Santiago Pérez-Bergquist
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Mountain View
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My daughter is 21 months, and she likes Martian Dice (and my recent acquisition Ninja Dice). She doesn't get counting yet, but she's mostly good on matching symbols, and she enjoys rolling the dice, picking some up, rolling some more, and then letting me have a turn. She's having fun and learning the structure of how games and turn-taking work (as well as being very big on the ritual of carrying the game in from the cabinets in the garage and then putting it away afterwards, which she insists on doing). We've also tried her on going through a deck of Coloretto and sorting the cards into piles by color, and she enjoys that. She mostly just wants to be participating in whatever the adults are doing, and the details don't matter yet.
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My recollection is that none of the kids in my extended family picked up gaming until 4+. Prior to that it was activity play. Your results may vary.

Cranium Hullabaloo was well-liked and is playable by toddlers. (Is it a game?)

Max was an early success for everyone, adults included.
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Ladson
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Dino Dice
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J R
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At 2 I think my son played only Memory as a solitaire activity.

Age 3 was when we started introducing him to board games. Go Away Monster! was absolutely perfect. We also did Candy Land, mostly because I wasn't much on BGG at the time, I wish we had gotten him Snail Pace Race instead.

Age 4 was more a big increase in gaming activity. Check out my played games to see what we've mostly played: Three Men's Morris, War, Checkers, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Max. Hisss! was probably his favorite game for a long time.
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Ryan D
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Dover
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Check out the HABA collection. Some can be easily found in the states.

Also I am a fan of Three Little Pigs.
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Pete
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My daughter loved Dwarves and Dice at that age. Also This Big! and Bumparena.

Pete (has a game-crazed 5 year old now and a 10-month old gamer in training)
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Jennifer Derrick
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I would say it's kind of like getting kids into reading. Go with what they like. Not what you wish they would like.

If she shows interest in a TV character, movie, etc. and there's a game with that character or franchise, try it.

If she shows interest in a book or story and there's a game based on that, try it.

If she shows an interest in a certain animal or occupation try to find a game based on it.

If she plays a game at a friend's house and loves it, buy her own copy (even if it's Candy Land or something you consider equally horrible).

Getting kids into gaming means hooking them with things they like. At this age they're not thinking about the best mechanics, a game's "pedigree" or anything like that. They just want to play something fun, something that interests them, and maybe something that their friends are playing (or want to play).
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Shawn George
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Thank you for the suggestions, everyone!

I decided to grab Snail's Pace Race for now. I do already own Loopin' Louie (which earned mostly blank stares from her), Jenga, and Candy Land, so I will give those all a try once I think she's ready. I will definitely be returning to this thread in the future and trying more of your recommendations. Thanks again, everyone!
 
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Pete
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OxfordRow wrote:
I would say it's kind of like getting kids into reading. Go with what they like. Not what you wish they would like.

If she shows interest in a TV character, movie, etc. and there's a game with that character or franchise, try it.

If she shows interest in a book or story and there's a game based on that, try it.

If she shows an interest in a certain animal or occupation try to find a game based on it.

If she plays a game at a friend's house and loves it, buy her own copy (even if it's Candy Land or something you consider equally horrible).

Getting kids into gaming means hooking them with things they like. At this age they're not thinking about the best mechanics, a game's "pedigree" or anything like that. They just want to play something fun, something that interests them, and maybe something that their friends are playing (or want to play).
If you won't play Candyland, your kid won't play Catan Junior.

Pete (plays Candyland)
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Jordan Fraser
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I suggest just letting your child interact with the components. Don't worry about following all the rules at first. My son (3 1/2)is just starting to 'play' games, but he has been enamored with my game collection for more than a year. I recently let him watch me play games with friends one night, and his excitement was through the roof.

I've never tried to push him into the hobby; I've just let his curiosity bring him towards the games "daddy" plays, and in turn, towards boardgaming in general.
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Pete
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Poserdisposer wrote:
I suggest just letting your child interact with the components. Don't worry about following all the rules at first. My son (3 1/2)is just starting to 'play' games, but he has been enamored with my game collection for more than a year. I recently let him watch me play games with friends one night, and his excitement was through the roof.

I've never tried to push him into the hobby; I've just let his curiosity bring him towards the games "daddy" plays, and in turn, towards boardgaming in general.
Exactly. Plus let the kid choose the game, and always offer the option of a "new game." When they choose, they're more likley to respond favorably. When I make my daughter play a game, she always seems to hate it.

Pete (has burned a few good kids games by forcing her to play them)
 
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Jason R
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My son will be three next month. He loves Hungry Hungry Hippos and Ticket to Ride.

For TTR we simply take turns drawing one card, identifying the color, and placing a train on that color track. Then of course when a line is completed there is much jubilation.

Of course he loves to play 100 counter pickup.laugh
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Mark Wignall
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Easy, just tell them than can't, and by their very nature they will demand, nag you endlessly and plot behind your back with mom to let them play.

Problem solved...Game on
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