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Raising A Geekling : Part Two

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The response we got to our first Raising A Geekling post through shares, Facebook, comments, and emails told us that the pursuit of raising our kids to share our hobbies is a widespread desire. We were glad to discuss games and approaches with you all and hope that this series will continue to help gamers gather ideas for their little ones.

Remembering Our Roots

I know a lot of people who hear about board games and immediately think games like Monopoly and Clue – for many, these aren’t very exciting. That feeling of dread may also warm over a parent’s face when they try to think of games that are aimed towards their little ones; Chutes & Ladders, Candy Land, Life, etc. I don’t knock these games, because they do have educational value to them (and we’re playing these games with them for THEM to have fun and learn, right?), but there are so many more games available now for kids. While we certainly just started to dabble in them, we’re hoping to collect a great list of resources for parents when deciding what old-school games they should pick up, and what ones are available to the newest generation.

My personal favorite games from my childhood? Hi-Ho Cherry-O, Monopoly, and Battleship. They may not be the best, but I have great memories tied to them, usually because of who played with me and the time that they spent with me. We are raising a generation that is easily pointed towards a life of their eyes fixated on screens and technology. These things are useful and very entertaining, but our children are going to remember the time we spent with them more than the time they spend staring at a digital screen. What better way to do that than with board games?

One of the games that might make parents cringe is Cootie. My mother picked this up for my geekling about a year ago, but for some unknown reason *cough* we waited until recently to pull it out. This might be a stretch for “tabletop”, I’ll admit, but I believe that teaching kids about turns and winning/losing gracefully is important, and we’ve discovered a lot about this with Cootie. However, more often than not, we end up tossing the die back in the box, and he plugs away at being a bug builder. But, he is 3, and no one can blame him.

A Friend’s Suggestion

When discussing this series, a friend of ours suggested a game he had picked up for his 4 year old daughter. This game is called The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game by Educational Insights. I’ll spare you a full rule run-down for now (we’ll have a mini review up soon), but the game is fairly simple. Players get a tree stump with 5 colored holes in it. Players take turns using a spinner to use the cleverly designed Squirrel-shaped oversized tweezer to pick up, or steal, acorns. The first player to fill their tree wins!

So much concentration!

Our son LOVES this game. If there is ever a moment when he isn’t occupied with something else and there is even a fraction of a clear surface on the gaming table, it has to be Sneaky Snacky Squirrel. And honestly, the game is fast enough that any parent would have time to play a game or two of this. The art is whimsical and the setup is easy – all things that a parent, busy or not, wants in a kid’s game!

The game promotes some motor skill (using the oversized tweezers to pick up specific colored acorn pieces), color identification, and counting. There are some special “actions” such as the Storm (player loses all their acorns), the Sneaky Squirrel (you get to steal an acorn from another player’s tree), and the option to select any 1 or 2 acorns you want. Each of these takes some simple explanation for little ones to pick up, even if you have to remind them a few times.

He has gotten better at color identification, remembering the rules, and his dexterity has improved over the short couple of months that we’ve owned this game. I fully believe we’ve already gotten our $20 investment in this game back in giggles, sharing victories, and the geekling pretending to be a squirrel.

To The Future

We are happy to share with our readers that the folks at HABA Games were excited about this series and are supporting our endeavors in providing parents with gaming options for their little ones. We will be featuring a game of theirs in our next Raising A Geekling post, so be on the lookout!

As always, we want to hear from you!  What games do you enjoy playing with your kids? Are there any game companies that provide games for children that you think we should be aware of?

Until next time, happy gaming – with your kids!