## Saturday, February 14, 2009

### Game Day-is it always this frustrating?

Today we tried a new game, Duck Duck 1,2,3, by Cranium Games.

Me Too liked this game because it has a spinner and he is in charge of spinning for Mommy. Otherwise Cootie is a much better game choice for him because he can have pieces in his hands to keep him busy while Kal-El and I actually go through game play.  For this game, the pieces have to stay on the game board.  As a result, he screamed a lot when it wasn't his turn to hold the spinner because he wanted to hold my duck.

This is a very simple game.  Each player starts with a Mama duck who is missing her three ducklings.  The ducklings are scattered around the game board.   You move from stepping stone to stepping stone (or lily pad) to pick up your ducklings and then take them to the island in the center of the pond.  There is a spinner that has the numbers 1-5 to determine how many places you can move each turn.

Is it always this frustrating to teach a toddler to play games?  My expectations were apparently way too high.  I expected we would have to work on understanding the relationship between the result of Kal-El's spin and how many spaces he could move.  Oh was I wrong...he could already do that.  We had to work on many, many other things.  Such as:

1. You have to spin before you try to move.
2. Spin the spinner only once, not 5, 9...12 times!
3. How to move along the stones approximately in order not "one," (skip two spaces) "two," (skip six spaces) "three...oh look I have a duckling already!"
4. Not to take baby ducks when you are nowhere near the pickup zone.
5. Not to steal the other players baby ducks!

UHG2BK! Unfortunately, I am not much of a rule breaker.  After a while my blood pressure really began to climb.  It didn't help that I had Me Too next to me stealing game pieces and screaming "duck!" and "have this!"

Thank God for my husband who asked me afterwards, "Well, did Kal-El have fun?  Yes? Well that was the point now wasn't it?"  Yes, Kal-El did have fun.

I, however, won the bad-mommy-of-the-year award. I was definitely using my "fake" patient voice and not my real one.  I don't know if he knows the difference yet.  If he doesn't, I'm sure he will soon.

I think I need to drink a glass of wine (or two) about 15 minutes before we try to play again.  Or even better, have Daddy play the next couple of rounds with him and I can wait in the wings until Kal-El has caught on a bit.  My husband is really patient and, very relaxed, and good at teaching anything to anyone of any age.  We are a good match because when I get intense about there being rules and procedures for everything, he is there to even us out.  He never needs a reminder that things are supposed to be fun

The game has a very nice game board and pieces that the boys really enjoyed.  After we played through the game twice, they had "free play" with the board and pieces.  They liked making the Mama ducks and ducklings swim around the pond and visit the pool, the picnic, and the playground.  Kal-El also particularly enjoyed having a "duckling party" once they reached the island.  As with everything these days, I wonder if they tested this game on actual children.  It was difficult for me to snap the ducklings into place on Mama's back.  My only other criticism is that it only comes with two Mama ducks.  It means that game play is uncrowded, but I really would have enjoyed a third set of ducks and ducklings to let Me Too play with.

Afterwards we had a very successful round of Cootie.

#### 1 comment:

1. I have a couple of suggestions that might help! Firstly, break down all the things that your son needed to have known before playing sucessfully and then make up REALLY simple games that concentrate on that one thing. SO, you could play the game without any of the ducklings just randomly going around the board visiting places by only moving the right number of spaces. We have a thomas the tank engine game that was a race from one end of the board to the other - and that was all! Outside or big games where the child is the playing peice can be a good way of practicing because taking a step is so much more obvious than counting spaces on a board. I'm sure you can think of other ways to get the concepts explained in a young child friendly way!