In Part Three of Raising A Geekling, we looked at Animal Upon Animal and talked about how it aids in small hands working for better dexterity and hand-eye coordination. Today, we’re going to look at a game that takes those skills and takes them a step further. I contacted Peaceable Kingdom when I started this series and they were very supportive and on board (ha) with this idea and agreed to help us out! So today, we will be looking at…
In Stack Up!, players use a spinner and stack colored blocks on a board using various means. Different levels of difficulty will have little gamers stacking with their hands (level 1), or using wooden ‘stack sticks’ to pick up and place blocks. One side of these sticks have a thinner side that can be inserted into holes in the sides of the blocks (level 2) or rubber stoppers (level 3) that require a bit more finesse.
I think the beauty of Stack Up! lies in two parts. One is that it appeals to kids’ natural desire to destroy. Don’t get on me…its a real thing. We’ve had more fun watching the stack fall at times than actually doing the stacking! The other is that it is a clear and gradual upgrade in the rules. Each “level” has age targets, but as with all games, these are subjective to your child’s unique skills and determination. My 3 year old decided that age 5 level 3 (using the rubber stoppers) was how this game needed to be done and wouldn’t even tolerate using his hands. Besides, there are “drum-thumpers” present…why would we not use them?
A feature we did not use but is worth mentioning for parents of very small children is a free-play invitation in the game. On the other side of the game board are 4 large colored squares. Allow your children to stack similar colored blocks on these colored spaces to enhance color recognition and flex those early building skills!
Peaceable Kingdom has a real heart for children. This includes finding new ways for them to have fun with their families while building important hands-on skills as well as thinking skills. The box says that the game is a preschool skill builder game, but as I mentioned could be used with kids that are just learning to stack and identify color.
Keep your eyes open for our video review of this game coming soon!
Educational or Fun? Why Not Both?
I think as adults that we lose the sense of enjoyment when we are learning. Whether it is something we are studying that we don’t care much for or if it just feels like research instead of fun, this is where being a kid, or teaching one, has its advantages. I plan on homeschooling my geekling and doing so in a format that is almost like a dungeon crawl/RPG. At this point in his life, playing games is just plain fun. Mom is always down to bust out a game, and playing is awesome when you’re a little kid. But what I’ve observed as a parent are the skills he is gaining.
Obviously things like hand-eye coordination are picked up through games such as Stack Up!, but he’s gained from others as well. We are flexing his imagination with Rory’s Story Cubes and telling mini stories. We are teaching him about luck and probability in our modified version of Zombie Dice. All the while he is learning about taking turns and remembering rules in between games. It hasn’t been a long time since we started this series, but in that short time he has come so far, and I couldn’t be more proud!
Until next time, happy gaming – with your kids!