We've found board games for kids under three! Are they any fun? Can littles really follow the instructions and have a good time? Read on to learn Brianna and Monkey's experience with one of these introductory games. This post contains affiliate links. If you use one of these links to buy the game, we get paid, and that helps keep Busy Nest News running. Thanks!
Monkey Around game
We are a family of gamers. Monkey’s daddy grew up playing his friends’ GameBoys, and later sharing consoles with his siblings. While he was rescuing princesses, I was learning to play strategy games from around the world, restoring the brain of a mad scientist, and apprehending Carmen Sandiego (I vow that when I’m wealthy, I will pool my resources with others who grew up being called “Gumshoe,” and together we will give a new generation a chance to prove their smarts and win an Encyclopedia Britannica of their very own! Or, a Macintosh computer(?) whatever the contemporary equivalent is.)
Some of our greatest friendships were forged over tabletop battles. Gaming can be a fun, social activity, even for the naturally hermitty, like us. So we couldn’t wait to start playing games with Monkey. But all of our favorites are best enjoyed by someone over three or five. Even educational games are aimed at preschoolers, not two year olds. I figured we’d just have to resign ourselves to not playing any tabletop games with Monkey for a couple more years. Then, Monkey’s grandma came through with this delightful game that even a two year old can play.
Monkey Around: The Game
Monkey Around is a cooperative game from Peaceable Kingdom, now a part of MindWare (as of September 2017). This was my first experience with a cooperative game like this. There truly are no winners or losers, just a common objective that you’re pretty much guaranteed to complete. The game comes in a sturdy, square box. It contains a parent guide, instructions, a tree-shaped board, 40 round cards, and a banana-shaped bean bag. The objective of the game is to fill the tree with five cards. The cards are placed on the tree by completing the actions on the cards. For example, a card could tell you to balance the banana on your head, or to make a silly face. The cards also indicate if the activity is to be completed Solo, or Together. Complete the action on the card, and you get to place it on the tree. The game is over when all five spots on the tree are filled.
Monkey Around: The Reality
This game is crazy easy. Which is good when you’re playing with a two year old. Monkey can do the tasks on the cards, and they’re a good way to practice naming body parts and following directions. Five cards is a good number. We can get through one game of five cards. Then she wants to play again, and we complete three cards before she loses interest.
Monkey Around: The Verdict
Things this game has going for it: apart from the cards, cleanup is pretty easy. While there are 40 cards, they’re all one type and don’t require being sorted into separate piles. The banana is cute. The game is cute. Monkey loves playing it. It’s not very exciting to me. But why would it be? It doesn’t last long enough or have any stakes at all to make it exciting. It’s a bit of casual fun that teaches my little how to take turns and follow board game procedures. I think at this point, I can’t really ask for more. Monkey Around gets 5 eggs, and would make a great birthday present for a two year old with gamer parents. Poking around at the other Peaceable Kingdom games, there are a few others I’d like to try. Cooperative games expand social skills while introducing kids to the dynamics of gaming. Check them out now, even if your little is only one. For instance, Where’s Bear looks like it would be fun for children well under two, despite saying that it’s for two and up.
Note: Other bloggers who reviewed Peaceable Kingdom’s games last year, before the company was acquired, raved about being able to get free replacement parts. I contacted MindWare’s customer service, and they DO still offer this service for most of their games. If you lose the instructions, they might be able to get you a replacement, but it isn’t as simple as downloading a readily available PDF from the product page.
Does your family play games? What are some of your favorites for littles? If you enjoyed learning about Monkey Around and want to stay on top of all the fun ways to raise kind and brainy littles, follow us on social media and subscribe to our newsletter.
Ariel and Brianna are friends who met while working in a library. Now they collaborate to develop life-enhancing book club experiences.
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