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Subject: Save my school's K-2 game club from Monopoly rss

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Cat Jane
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I am a teacher and run a 4th/5th grade after-school gaming club at my school. I started last year, and this year another teacher started one for 1st to 3rd grades. For next term, she is stepping down so we're giving the games she bought to the replacement leader and expanding the club to kindergarten.

However, in talking about this transition, she said, "But... I mean Monopoly is probably too hard for kindergarten." I internally freaked out, realized I had been blissfully unaware of what games she had bought in Sept, and decided it was time to save their collection by buying some better games.

Help me out-- what are your recommendations for kinder to 2nd-grade games for an after-school club?
Preferably some that are very easy and need little rules explanation and then some that are a bit more complex and can introduce them to the world of gaming.
 
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Hastings
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Sorry whats that in age range?? - I can never keep track of the difference between the UK and US classes.
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Nathanael Robinson
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There are many good options in Blue Orange's catalog.
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Scott
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I have a 5 year old that has been playing games with me for about 2 years. She just started kindergarten this year and here are some of her favorites to play with me.

Hoot Owl Hoot! has gone over well with my daughter. It's a simple co op that is a bit similar to Forbidden Island/Desert.

Outfoxed is a game we just got that has been really enjoyable for her.

Loopin' Louie, Click Clack Lumberjack, and Coconuts are all dexterity games that go over amazingly well with her and whatever family members are playing with her.

Abraca...what? is a good push your luck/deduction game that she has really enjoyed lately. It will need an older kid/adult playing to read the cards and explain things though.

Monstertorte is a new one for us, but it's a lot of fun for everyone involved.
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Bryan
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    The age group is 5 to 8 years.

    Monopoly reaches down to 2nd grade (with coaching) but no lower. Monopoly Junior goes down to Kindergarten. Kids really love both games, in spite of what people think here.

    I'd be curious to know if the sessions have stated educational goals. I liked using Sputnik to teach, but it's hard to find now. (Used to be at Ollies for five dollars a copy!)

             S.

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Chris Van Deusen
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There are good options in the HABA - Habermaaß GmbH catalog, like Animal Upon Animal and Rhino Hero, and people seem to love Pharaoh's Gulo Gulo, though I haven't played it. I'd think at least some in that age group would be able to navigate Forbidden Island with some guidance. My kindergarteners have been obsessed with FUSE lately, which features math, logic and collaboration, though we usually play it without the timer.
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Angus G
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The biggest hit at our house has been My First Carcassonne. I know some people say that you can just as easily use regular Carcassonne, but I find this one has some major advantages:

1. The game has nice big tiles and big meeples for tiny fingers (definitely helps for the Kindergarten kids)

2. All tiles can be placed anywhere. While my 7 year old strategizes for the best move possible, my 4 year old puts the tile anywhere he thinks looks good. There's no having to correct him saying "No, sorry, that can't go there".

3. You can score even when its not your turn. Scoring is based on which colour of kid is on the road when it closes, so often there are multiple people who score when a road closes. This means although my 4 year old often has no idea what he's doing, he's still in the running. For Kindergarten kids, I suspect they will just be learning how to strategize, so this makes for a good way to keep them in the game while watching some of the older kids to learn some strategy.
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Colin Gillespie
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There is a ton of stuff out there for kids games, and there are some publishers who are known for their quality. Almost anything by HABA - Habermaaß GmbH, Zoch Verlag, Blue Orange Games, ThinkFun, or Gamewright will be good.

Check out any past winners of the Kinderspiel des Jahres award for children's games ( http://spieldesjahres.com/en ), as well as their recommended list. Some of the games on the Spiel des Jahres list for family games might even be appropriate for the older kids, or have junior versions available. Many of the titles will not be available on this side of the Atlantic, but several are, and they are all worth checking out.

In terms of types of games to look for, there are a growing number of kids co-op games that are good because they keep the kids engaged for the whole time and they are working together on something. Dexterity games are fun, because they often put adults and kids on equal footing and because of the toy factor.

Lastly, here are some specific examples of ones that have worked well with my kids:

Max - is a cooperative roll and move game, where the players have to share the green pips between three small woodland creatures in order to avoid the big tomcat that moves when black pips are rolled. It is made by a small company who exclusively make coop games. It's ugly to look at, but cute and fun to play.

Monza - is a racecar game where a fistful of dice are rolled each turn and the players must find a path forward by matching the colours on the dice with the coloured spaces on the racetrack.

Cardline: Animals - is a card game with gorgeous animal artwork, where the players try to get rid of their cards by playing them to a sequential line based on size, weight, or lifespan. For added fun, swap or mix in Cardline: Dinosaurs

My First Stone Age - won this year's Kinderspiel award and my 6 year old really enjoyed it wheb we tried it at a con a couple of weeks ago.

Buggo - is a memory game/push your luck where you flip over tiles to try too find a certain number of bugs without going over or finding a spider.

Ice Cool - was another hit at the recent con, where you play tag by flicking plastic penguins around a set of rooms. One player is trying to tag all of the others, while the others are trying to go through gates and collect fish before they get tagged.
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Cat Jane
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Thanks everyone for the advice!
I have decided to develop a games spreadsheet for my school to keep for future years with a list of games for different ages in different categories that we have bought for the school.
I will purchase many of your suggested options add these to our school's spreadsheet.

Keep the ideas coming-- thanks for the help!

And my First Carcassonne is adorable
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Cat Jane
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coligill wrote:
There is a ton of stuff out there for kids games, and there are some publishers who are known for their quality. Almost anything by HABA - Habermaaß GmbH, Zoch Verlag, Blue Orange Games, ThinkFun, or Gamewright will be good.

Check out any past winners of the Kinderspiel des Jahres award for children's games ( http://spieldesjahres.com/en ), as well as their recommended list. Some of the games on the Spiel des Jahres list for family games might even be appropriate for the older kids, or have junior versions available. Many of the titles will not be available on this side of the Atlantic, but several are, and they are all worth checking out.

In terms of types of games to look for, there are a growing number of kids co-op games that are good because they keep the kids engaged for the whole time and they are working together on something. Dexterity games are fun, because they often put adults and kids on equal footing and because of the toy factor.

Lastly, here are some specific examples of ones that have worked well with my kids:

Max - is a cooperative roll and move game, where the players have to share the green pips between three small woodland creatures in order to avoid the big tomcat that moves when black pips are rolled. It is made by a small company who exclusively make coop games. It's ugly to look at, but cute and fun to play.

Monza - is a racecar game where a fistful of dice are rolled each turn and the players must find a path forward by matching the colours on the dice with the coloured spaces on the racetrack.

Cardline: Animals - is a card game with gorgeous animal artwork, where the players try to get rid of their cards by playing them to a sequential line based on size, weight, or lifespan. For added fun, swap or mix in Cardline: Dinosaurs

My First Stone Age - won this year's Kinderspiel award and my 6 year old really enjoyed it wheb we tried it at a con a couple of weeks ago.

Buggo - is a memory game/push your luck where you flip over tiles to try too find a certain number of bugs without going over or finding a spider.

Ice Cool - was another hit at the recent con, where you play tag by flicking plastic penguins around a set of rooms. One player is trying to tag all of the others, while the others are trying to go through gates and collect fish before they get tagged.


Thanks Colin. Do you have suggestions for kids co-op games that you'd recommend?
For the upper grades I have Forbidden Island, but would love options for younger grades. I saw you had Max in the list.
Thanks!
 
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Robert Osterman
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We have Zombie Kidz It's a cute little puzzle game. Plays fast, easy for a group to get their heads around the goals, and coop.
 
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Cat Jane
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I just checked in yesterday on the collection that was bought for the 1st to 3rd-grade club last term and found out the other options are Candyland, Sorry, and Chutes and Ladders.
Excited to bring in these new games recommended by all of you!
Also looking forward to buying and playing some of the dexterity games as this is a new genre for me.
Finalizing my initial list to buy next week, so keep sending recommendations! Thanks.
 
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Mystery McMysteryface
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Simple, fun & cute card games:
Sleeping Queens
Galloping Pigs
There's a Moose in the House
Zeus on the Loose
Rat-a-Tat Cat
Aquarius

I have been successful teaching to non-gaming kids:
Forbidden Island
Tiki Topple
Treehouse
Sorry! Sliders
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Anna F.
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Re:
Maybe you've already gotten way too much advice, but I will throw in my 2 cents regardless.

I would suggest getting a variety of game mechanics to suit different kids' developmental needs. For example:

Speed - eg Spot it, Slamwich

Dexterity - eg pick up sticks, animal upon animal (great game btw)

Matching - eg dominoes, or for more advanced kids Rummikub

Letters - eg Appletters, Pairs in Pears

Storytelling - Rory's story cubes, Tell Tale

Resist the urge to buy anything with a Disney princess or Superhero on it.

As others have said, Blue Orange, HABA, and Gamewright are excellent companies to look into.
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Robert Osterman
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snapdragon23 wrote:


Resist the urge to buy anything with a Disney princess or Superhero on it.


In all fairness: My son (age 7 at the time) picked out Disney Enchanted Cupcakes for my daughter (age 3 at the time) for Christmas last year and it was a ridiculous hit with her. It's basically Cooties. But with Princess cupcakes.

I know that's the exception but if you're going to get a game like Cooties and it's for a girl who likes princesses....
 
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Colin Gillespie
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cjane9 wrote:
coligill wrote:
There is a ton of stuff out there for kids games, and there are some publishers who are known for their quality. Almost anything by HABA - Habermaaß GmbH, Zoch Verlag, Blue Orange Games, ThinkFun, or Gamewright will be good.

Check out any past winners of the Kinderspiel des Jahres award for children's games ( http://spieldesjahres.com/en ), as well as their recommended list. Some of the games on the Spiel des Jahres list for family games might even be appropriate for the older kids, or have junior versions available. Many of the titles will not be available on this side of the Atlantic, but several are, and they are all worth checking out.

In terms of types of games to look for, there are a growing number of kids co-op games that are good because they keep the kids engaged for the whole time and they are working together on something. Dexterity games are fun, because they often put adults and kids on equal footing and because of the toy factor.

Lastly, here are some specific examples of ones that have worked well with my kids:

Max - is a cooperative roll and move game, where the players have to share the green pips between three small woodland creatures in order to avoid the big tomcat that moves when black pips are rolled. It is made by a small company who exclusively make coop games. It's ugly to look at, but cute and fun to play.

Monza - is a racecar game where a fistful of dice are rolled each turn and the players must find a path forward by matching the colours on the dice with the coloured spaces on the racetrack.

Cardline: Animals - is a card game with gorgeous animal artwork, where the players try to get rid of their cards by playing them to a sequential line based on size, weight, or lifespan. For added fun, swap or mix in Cardline: Dinosaurs

My First Stone Age - won this year's Kinderspiel award and my 6 year old really enjoyed it wheb we tried it at a con a couple of weeks ago.

Buggo - is a memory game/push your luck where you flip over tiles to try too find a certain number of bugs without going over or finding a spider.

Ice Cool - was another hit at the recent con, where you play tag by flicking plastic penguins around a set of rooms. One player is trying to tag all of the others, while the others are trying to go through gates and collect fish before they get tagged.


Thanks Colin. Do you have suggestions for kids co-op games that you'd recommend?
For the upper grades I have Forbidden Island, but would love options for younger grades. I saw you had Max in the list.
Thanks!


You're right, forbidden Island is a great choice for a co-op. Forbidden Desert works too, especially with the toy factor of putting together the airship, but it is a little more involved with he way that the sand moves around so it would require a bit more guidance. I would also put forward Flash Point: Fire Rescue so long as you leave out the advanced rules and find an appropriate way to describe what happens to the people you couldn't rescue "they had to go to the hospital to get looked at.

That's all that I could think of from the games that I have personally played, but a quick search of coop children's games brings up 5 pages of results. Highlights include:

Rory's Story Cubes - And all of it's many variants. roll a set of dice with imaginative icons on them and work together to come up with a story based on them

Go Away Monster! - Perhaps a little simple even for your audience, but this one has the players reaching into a bag to pull out the required items for their bedroom tableau while avoiding the monster pieces

Outfoxed - a cooperative deduction game to see which fox stole the chicken pot pie before the culprit escapes.

Leo - Get Leo the Lion along a 30 card path by playing movement cards. If he gets to a tile that matches the colour you played you are safe, but if it is a different colour he stops and has a chat with the animal, wasting precious time. You have 5 days to try and get him all the way to the end, so memory and cooperation are key.

Orchard - Work together to harvest all of the fruit before the sneaky ravens steal it. This one has seen many different versions since it was first published and seems to be an evergreen hit.

Ghost Fightin' Treasure Hunters (a.k.a. Ghostbusters: Protect the Barrier Game) - is a kid friendly ghost busting co-op that won the 2014 kinderspiel. Enough said.

I'm sure there are others, especially if you look in the general co-op section for games that can be simplified, but that should do it for now.
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Marc Nelson Jr.
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Monopoly Deal Card Game satisfies the "Monopoly requirement" while being much quicker and more fun.

Catan: Junior is a good, quick, no-reading version of the classic.

Sorry! Sliders is a fun dexterity game that's ubiquitous in thrift stores.

Marrakech is beautiful, and gives a bit of the Monopoly feel of "you landed on my property!".

Ducks in a Row is like tic-tac-toe with movable pieces.

Tales & Games: The Three Little Pigs is a fun Yahtzee-style dice game with fantastic art.

Stratego is an oldie but a goodie. My boys (5 & 7) are crazy about it!
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Daniel Blumentritt
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Stratego is a good one - even for kids too young to grasp a whole lot of strategy, if they can understand which numbers are better than which one others, and can do a little bit of memorizing, they can start to learn the game and enjoy it.
 
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Allie Tyndall
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I've lost track of US class ages, but when I taught Early Years I played The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game with four year olds. It is excellent and easily links to at least the UK curriculum as you can use it for dexterity, colour matching, counting and addition and subtraction within five, as well as simple tactical thinking and gamesmanship. Also, the components are irresistibly gorgeous.
 
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Andy Leighton
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I would think some of the chicken games would also work well. Pick Picknic, By Golly!, Heckmeck Junior (if you can find it) would all be suitable.

 
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Giller
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Didn't see it in the list above, but didn't read super careful....

Survive: Escape from Atlantis! is one my 5 year old loves. It does have a little "violence" (sharks eating people) so it might not be suitable......

*edit* Roll For It! and Hey, That's My Fish! were a hit with my kids too. *edit*
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Ryan Woodson
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As a former educator myself and avid board gamer I salute you.
I have a 6 year old and have successfully gotten him into gaming. (Gives me an excuse to buy games for myself.)
Here is what I have picked up so far and played with him.

1) Dr. Eureka - Highly recommend. Great for spatial reasoning and all those abstract math concepts without numbers. They "mix" molecules to create different "compounds." (Confession - The first time we played 10 cards and he legitimately beat me 3 times.)

2) The Magic Labyrinth - Another great spatial game. Simple and fun. He has actually requested to take this to a friends house to teach.

3) Ticket to Ride: First Journey - Simplified TTR if it actually needed it.

4) Ghost Fightin' Treasure Hunters - Mentioned many times already

5) Carcassonne - He loves this one. Good for pattern recognition. And also teaching them to add and skip count with the scoring.

6) This one is a stretch, but Dominion - He enjoyed it, but it is not sustainable meaning I would not leave him with this to play with friends because of the language dependency.

7) Sneaky Sneaky Squirrel - Basic game, not a lot of strategy but he and his Mimi enjoy playing this one together.

As a note, I picked up TTR, Labyrinth, and GFTH at Target on their Buy 2 Get 1 sale which is currently going on now. They also carry Dr. Eureka and SSS in store.

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Kevin Buchanan
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Good call,

I have few dealings with our school's K-level students, but out of the games we have around, I know Rhino Hero proved to be a fair hit.

As for my son, we had him playing Chicken Cha Cha Cha, Rhino Hero, Pegged Out and Sushi Go without any issues. With retrospect, Pairs and Dino Hunt both would have been manageable as well.
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Andrew T
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Here are some games that my kids love. I tried to put them in order of age youngest->older. We all game together so they will try games that are recommended for older children and pick them up with ease as long as an adult explains it (and they can read). However, we do see that if they try to explain most (modern) games to their friends it does not go over well and children who are not "gamers" are reluctant to want to try.

Race to the Treasure
Simple path building game, cooperative game to get the treasure before the ogres do.

Sequence for Kids
Simple connect-4 board game with fun animal cards.

No Stress Chess
A Chess teaching game. Great for younger children to learn how the pieces move. Using cards, the game chooses which pieces the players can play so you do not have to "think" about strategy. This basically gets kids learning how pieces move until they are ready to play without the cards.

Monopoly Junior
There are lot of versions of this, some are better than others. Easy for kids who can't read to play.

Can't Stop
Dice rolling, Press your luck. Essentially teaches kids to gamble.

Adventure Time Love Letter
Love letter games are simple, hold 2 cards and play one card.

Zombie Kidz
Very small/simple/quick/(cheap) game. Cooperative play to encourage talking and strategy of where to move.

Catan Junior
Resource buying and spending.

Ticket to Ride
The rules are very simple!

Dungeon Roll
Dice game where one player gets to be the bad guys and one player tries to defeat dungeon levels. This is not easy for a kid to learn on their own, but once they understand the game it is easy and fun. (get the expansions!)

Splendor
Very strategic game for younger players.
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