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Subject: What games to start a 3 year old with? rss

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Matt Epp
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Never too early to start indoctrinating gaming with the next generation. Where did you start? Where did you go from there?
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Leif Carlsen
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My three-year-old daughter loves Tell Tale: Fairy Tale, Memory (My Little Pony theme sells it for her), and Blink. At that age, I think all my kids love(d) Don't Break the Ice, Connect Four, Nada, Loopin Louie, Cthulhu Dice, and Croak. Also, Robot Turtles.

From there? Onwards and upwards. For example, my boys, ages 7 and 9, like Pandemic.
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Keith Rouleau
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I posted this in a reddit thread, so I'll just copy it here.

I think First Orchard by HABA would be great, you just have to play it right. My son just turned 3. We had played with it a few times before when he was 2 and a half, and he liked to play with the fruit and sort them out. But this past weekend (we played it for his birthday) he really got it.

I had him set up the game which he loved doing. The I told him about the bird, and that we have to hurry up and get all the fruit in the basket before the bird eats them. Then before he had a chance to start messing with stuff, I just started right into it. I quickly rolled the dice, which rolled yellow. I urgently and excitedly told him to quickly put the yellow in the basket. I told him good job, and quickly gave him the dice and told him it was his turn. I tried to keep things lively with a sense of urgency, like we were playing a real time game with a short timer. I acted like the bird was going to eat all the fruit if we didnt go fast. This didnt give him time to let his thoughts wander and kept him engaged. I let him be the official picker who was in charge of putting the fruit in the basket after we rolled. If either of us rolled the basket, I let him pick the color we wanted to get. I also got excited when we were 1 away from finishing a color, and made a huge deal about it when we finished all of one color. I would flip the tile over, exclaiming he did a great job and gave him a high five. Then quickly moving on to the next roll, keeping that imaginary timer at bay. If either of us rolled a color that was already gone, I'd let him pick any fruit color that was left. If we rolled the bird, I got excited about it, saying "Oh no he's gonna get the fruit!!" while I moved the bird, keeping a smile on my face. I let him roll into the box top so we weren't chasing the die all over. Once or twice he tried to take a second turn, or just place the dice down on the face he wanted. I told him we can't do that, its against the rules and the bird will eat all the fruit if he catches us doing that. It made it a non issue and he just rolled it the correct way or let me take my turn.

When we won, I made the biggest deal ever and jumped around with him and high fives all around. He got really into it and we played two more times that night, with no more attempts at breaking the rules.

I wanted to add that I also own the 2+ version of My Very First Games: Animal upon Animal, Little Builders and Here, Fishy, Fishy!, all made by HABA. After First Orchard was a success we had Mom come in and play Little Builders with us. It was a failure. We couldn't keep his interest, and he refused to play by any rules. He just wanted to move the truck around and build the house. I think its too complicated to keep lively, so at this age it's still a toy to him. I think the other two games might work though, they should be simple enough that I can keep them fast. The only problem is there's no looming evil in those two games, and they aren't co-op. Having the bird in First Orchard really helps. He's the big bad, and the referee. He knows he can say no to me, but he can't say no to a bird that doesn't give a crap and will eat his fruit if he doesn't listen. I'm not sure how I'm going to convince him of some external force to keep pressure and interest in the other two games though. Maybe I'll add a shark to the fish game, and a meat processing plant to the animal game (jk).
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American in Chile
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We started with the classics:
Cootie, Tipsy Tower, Don't Break the Ice, Mickey Mouse Memory, Mickey Mouse Yahtzee

Then we moved on to more classics:
Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, Clue Jr., Monopoly Jr., Scrabble Jr.

Somewhere in there we found the Ravensburg games:
Junior Labyrinth, Race to the Roof, Rivers Roads & Rails

I know all these are frowned upon by most BGGers, but our children enjoyed them, and I don't see anything wrong with them.
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Pater Absurdus
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Go Away Monster!

The perfect game for 2-3 year olds.
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Russ Rivet
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Drtaco wrote:
I posted this in a reddit thread, so I'll just copy it here.

I think First Orchard by HABA would be great, you just have to play it right. My son just turned 3. We had played with it a few times before when he was 2 and a half, and he liked to play with the fruit and sort them out. But this past weekend (we played it for his birthday) he really got it.

I had him set up the game which he loved doing. The I told him about the bird, and that we have to hurry up and get all the fruit in the basket before the bird eats them. Then before he had a chance to start messing with stuff, I just started right into it. I quickly rolled the dice, which rolled yellow. I urgently and excitedly told him to quickly put the yellow in the basket. I told him good job, and quickly gave him the dice and told him it was his turn. I tried to keep things lively with a sense of urgency, like we were playing a real time game with a short timer. I acted like the bird was going to eat all the fruit if we didnt go fast. This didnt give him time to let his thoughts wander and kept him engaged. I let him be the official picker who was in charge of putting the fruit in the basket after we rolled. If either of us rolled the basket, I let him pick the color we wanted to get. I also got excited when we were 1 away from finishing a color, and made a huge deal about it when we finished all of one color. I would flip the tile over, exclaiming he did a great job and gave him a high five. Then quickly moving on to the next roll, keeping that imaginary timer at bay. If either of us rolled a color that was already gone, I'd let him pick any fruit color that was left. If we rolled the bird, I got excited about it, saying "Oh no he's gonna get the fruit!!" while I moved the bird, keeping a smile on my face. I let him roll into the box top so we weren't chasing the die all over. Once or twice he tried to take a second turn, or just place the dice down on the face he wanted. I told him we can't do that, its against the rules and the bird will eat all the fruit if he catches us doing that. It made it a non issue and he just rolled it the correct way or let me take my turn.

When we won, I made the biggest deal ever and jumped around with him and high fives all around. He got really into it and we played two more times that night, with no more attempts at breaking the rules.

I wanted to add that I also own the 2+ version of My Very First Games: Animal upon Animal, Little Builders and Here, Fishy, Fishy!, all made by HABA. After First Orchard was a success we had Mom come in and play Little Builders with us. It was a failure. We couldn't keep his interest, and he refused to play by any rules. He just wanted to move the truck around and build the house. I think its too complicated to keep lively, so at this age it's still a toy to him. I think the other two games might work though, they should be simple enough that I can keep them fast. The only problem is there's no looming evil in those two games, and they aren't co-op. Having the bird in First Orchard really helps. He's the big bad, and the referee. He knows he can say no to me, but he can't say no to a bird that doesn't give a shit and will eat his fruit if he doesn't listen. I'm not sure how I'm going to convince him of some external force to keep pressure and interest in the other two games though. Maybe I'll add a shark to the fish game, and a meat processing plant to the animal game (jk).


Just pulled this one out for my Son who is three, He loves the baskets and fruit, We have yet to play but it looks fun.
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Russ Rivet
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Boom Boom Balloon Popping balloon's
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lampeter
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My 3 year old likes:

Animal Upon Animal
Sneaky Sneaky Squirrel
Piratatak
Uno Moo
Monkey Beach
Hoot Owl Hoot

She also enjoys playing on an adult's "team" for more complicated games and playing with spare components.
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Brian Robson
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+1 for any of the Orchard games.

At 3, my son also loved Monkey Madness and Nino Conillo ... two of Reiner Knizia's finest
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Alexandre Santos
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My 3-year old really enjoys the Orchard, which he regularly requests and completely understands. That game really helped him understand that certain die results allowed him to perform certain actions, and the turn structure of a game. And as previously mentioned, he gets the urgency of picking up fruit before the crow arrives.

He also likes to play Monza. He understands how to select dice to pay for movement, but still needs help to know what are the available locations to move into (often he wants to jump to far ahead).

Rory's Story Cubes are a great toy for him, although it's more an activity than a game.

Recently we have started to play My First Carcassonne. He enjoys laying the tiles but does not yet grasp the concept of completing a path, and for sure has no sense of strategy.

The same can be said about the orchard, he never attempts to optimize his moves (which means we lose 50% of our games to the crow), but that can be expected from a 3-year old

About Nino Conillo, it was unfortunately destroyed by his older sibling, which may nevertheless be an indication of the success of the game.
 
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Monica Elida Forssell
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I have played a lot of Maskenball der Käfer with kids ages 2 and up at my daycare. Real fun!!
 
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Sarah
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Mine loved Jenga and The Enchanted Tower when she was three :-)
 
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Sarah
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Oh and kerplunk and rory's story cubes

And piratatak as someone else mentioned
 
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Brian Mayer
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Redward wrote:
Go Away Monster!

The perfect game for 2-3 year olds.


This!

Plus any of the My First Games from HABA. Orchard implementation is especially good.

The Selecta Spiel, which have been reprinted by Pegasus: Ladybugs Ball, Hopp Hopp Haschen.
 
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christine wavle
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Go Away Monster
Max
 
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Alex Cannon
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My Two-year-old has a blast with Hungry as a Bear and it has variable rules for different ages. I'm definitely going to be investing in HABA games for the net few years. I've also heard that blue-orange games have a good line of children's games so might be worth checking them out too
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Sam Lam I Am
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Carcassonne without meeples. Just match pieces.
 
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Violet Mackerel
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I didn't know about Haba (or BGG), some of the popular choices named above, or the wider world of tabletop games when my son was 3. We started with classic "memory" tiles, Raccoon Rumpus, Go Fish (I got him a sort of fan-shaped, hand-held card holder so he didn't have to try to hold all the cards in his hands while he played), then moved on to UNO, Spot it Jr.! Animals, and Hoot Owl Hoot!. We bought a friend's son Roll & Play around that age, and it seemed good, too.

When he was about 3 1/2 we introduced Rat-a-Tat Cat (but let him look at his cards)and Maunz Maunz, and the big hit at 4 1/2 was Sleeping Queens. Played Labyrinth at a family member's house and enjoyed that (when he was 4 1/2?), so we bought a copy.

Around 5, Love Letter: Batman and Munchkin Adventure Time took over. Lots of other games along the way, but those are some highlights.

At 5 1/2 we visit the game cafe every few weeks and try out new games -- whatever strikes our fancy. I appreciate the tips on how to make "adult" games accessible to kids, as he often wants to try things rated for much older people, but we'll play the simple and sneered at stuff, too. (Right now, he loves Tenzi, for example.)
 
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Theo Peters
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+1 The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game
 
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Paul Goddard
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Some good suggestions above but I just thought I would point out that recent episodes of Board Game Breakfast on the dicetower youtube channel have included a segment aimed at games for young children. If you don't want to sit through the whole episode look for it around five minutes from the end of the video. Dan and Cora make some great videos, worth watching even if your kids have already grown out of the featured games
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