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Monday, August 27, 2007

Kids Games: Candy Land

D grew up playing many of the classic board games here and has been keen on introducing Ana to her first board game. So, he got her Candy Land - a game I had never played before and never knew about as a child.

Candy Land is very simple: Start at the Start, and as the game advances move towards the Candy Castle, which is the Finish. Upto 4 players can play at a time, each has their own pawn to move on the board.

Now, how does the game advance? Well, shuffle the given deck of cards and place them face down at the start of the game. Each player takes turns and draws one card. The cards have either one color block, or two color blocks, or a picture. The path is a rainbow path of colors - one color per cobblestone step that you advance on. The picture cards let you either jump forward many steps or fall back (falling back can be skipped for little players).

So, if you drew a card with one purple block on it, then find the first purple space on the forward path and put your pawn-self there. If you drew a card with two blue blocks, advance to the second blue space in the path towards the candy castle. If you draw a picture card like gingerbread or candy cane or licorice, simply advance to that picture space on the path.

What I like about this game:
1. Bright colors, baby-(girl)-friendly
2. Concepts of colors, color-matching, and counting
3. Simple rules and enticing finish (what little girls doesn't want to get to the candy castle and imagine herself to be the princess or something?)

What I did not like:
1. Glorifying candy in a not-so-subtle way, even if subliminally.
2. Difficult for small children to figure out which direction to move - the path is winding and has no clear indication
3. Orange is pretty close to red - at least the printed colors on the board - so, small children can get confused about colors when adult tries to correct them

Candy Land is a very simple board game, possibly a nice first board game for Ana. She seems to love the vivid colors on the board.

She has the concept of taking turns as we do it in other activities- like, when we are out at the park having fun and want to get a drink of water, I open the water bottle, let her have a sip and then tell her it is "Amma's Turn" and I take a sip, then she says, "Ana's Turn" and takes a sip and so on... so, it helps to know that. Now, there is no guarantee that she will respect and follow it at the game :-)

She also seems to have the concept of counting quite well, at least up to 5 or 6. I mean, she can recite her numbers all the way to eleven, in proper order, and recognize the numbers, but, as far as counting a given number of items goes, she seems to lose patience after say five or six and rattles off "saban, ate, ten" and gets it over with. But, this game just needs for her to know up to 2, which is a breeze, thankfully.

Of course, colors, she can recognize colors in English and Welsh, so, when she plays with D, she just calls out the card colors in Welsh! porffor=purple, melyn=yellow, glas=blue and so on. I couldn't remember half the colors in Tamil, so, I gave up teaching her colors in Tamil...

She is still a little young at two years and 4 months for staying focused on the game till finish, but, she seems to be interested - even if for short periods of time, before something else catches her fancy and she leaves the game hanging... which is fine by me. By about age 3 or so, she will get the hang of it and enjoy it more, I am sure.

What would I have liked to pick as her first game? The classic Memory game - well, we do it at home with just cards I make... but, it is not as sturdy, colorful and attractive as the manufactured ones.

To make a simple memory game, I use card stock paper cut to same size, and stamp the images on the cards: two cards will have the same identical stamp for finding and matching. I have many stamps like ladybug, fish, birthday cake, flower, seahorse and so on. So, it is easy to just stamp two cards with each rubber stamp and shuffle them and lay them out for her to play. Maybe I will dedicate a separate post to these memory cards one of these days...

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At 9:03 AM, Blogger Kodi's Mom said...

since you're doing posts on request (;)) could you please do one on which toys Ana enjoys the most? other than puzzles and crafts...

At 10:11 AM, Blogger Sheela said...

i'd love to, kodi's mom! thanks for planting this seed in my head :-)


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