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Subject: Gaming with a 2 year old - Ottokar rss

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Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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I like to start my children gaming young, and this is a game all three of mine learnt to play while they were 2.

Fun Components

This game has wonderful components. Ottokar looks like a friendly little octopus toy that rattles, but also is part of the game. At just 2 they struggle to thread the beads on themselves, but with a little help they can manage it, and the colours are bright and vibrant, so even a young 2 year old will have no problems working out which bead goes where. Our dice has lost its colours over the years, unfortunately, and the pink side in particular is almost blank, which is a shame.

Simplicity of rules

The game is very simple, ideal for young children. I think the published rules (which unfortunately have got lost over the years) say that each child takes a colour, or two, and threads them on when they roll their colour. I only play that way with older children, and instead use a suggested variant posted on here for younger ones, that makes the game shorter. I give them one (or two) beads of each colour, and take the same myself, and we take turns rolling the dice, and threading one bead of that colour onto a leg (if we have one). It teaches colour matching, the names of the colours, and basic turn-taking. In theory it also teaches them that sometimes things don't work as they want - i.e. they roll a colour they don't have - but I find that often you have to wait until they're nearer 3 before they learn that - when younger they just reroll or turn the dice to a side they do have!

Randomness

Games for little ones have to be totally random, and this is no exception. My youngest child does almost always win right now, due to careful dice changing when he's losing, but then he's too young to understand the concept of winning and losing yet anyway - it's just a fun activity and taking turns that I'm emphasizing.

Did the child enjoy it?

All three of my children have had a patch of a few months when this was their favourite game. It's not a game that lasts as they get older - there's not enough in it - but it is an excellent first game for a 2 or 3 year old. There are hundreds of colour-matching games out there, but this would always be one of my first choices.

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

As games that are suitable for a 2 year old go, it's better than most - it's quick, it's reasonably fun threading beads on legs, and it's a fun way of learning colours while feeling like you're playing a game. As long as that's what you expect, it's fine. I do start to dread playing it for the twentieth time in a week though!
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