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March 25, 2011 - April Leiffer Henry
Around the age 3-and-a-half mark, Elliot started to become interested in playing board games – mostly Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders. He was first introduced to these classics at my parents’ house, so we bought him his own Candy Land as well as the “Tigger and Pooh” version of Memory for him to play at home. Elliot also enjoys Hungry, Hungry Hippos.
I remember playing all of these games when I was a child, so I find it interesting to enjoy them with my son. Here’s how they shake out.
Candy Land: Although the object of the game is to make it to the Candy Castle before the other players, Elliot cares most about collecting all six character cards – for example, Princess Frostine and her ice cream cone or Mr. Mint with his candy cane. If someone else (usually me or Daddy) draws a character card, we can expect a slight outburst. Elliot can be three color squares away from winning the game, and if he draws the gingerbread man (the character closest to the start of the trail), he gets so excited, you’d think he’s won a trip to Disney World. During the last installment of this game, Mike drew two character cards. While Elliot handled it fairly well, Mike quickly realized Elliot’s affinity for the character cards; Daddy put Jolly Gum Drop and Gramma Nut back into the deck so Elliot would draw them.
Memory: When we taught Elliot how to play Memory, we figured out quickly that he was more successful using only one-third of the 72 cards. Even with 24 cards, he has his favorites. And, if I pair two of his faves, Elliot will be sure to tell me, “Hey, I wanted those!” There are also many occasions when he will turn over three or four cards, rather than the rule-following two, in an effort to make a match. And, other times, I deliberately mismatch because I know I have turned over an Elliot favorite.
Hungry, Hungry Hippos: Elliot likes to begin with the blue hippo, then rotate until he’s played with every color. He sometimes requests that I stop my hippo from eating so his can chow down more completely. When the game is over, I usually count how many balls my hippo has collected, but Elliot doesn’t care how many he has. Instead, he sorts the balls into groups by color. Last time we played the game, he then added my “winnings” to his collection, sorted them as well and proceeded to make a connect-the-dot kind of picture with the balls.
I love that my son gets creative, especially with the results of the Hungry, Hungry Hippos game. I don’t want to stifle his imagination by resorting to my rule-follower nature.
So, moms and dads, do your young ones follow the rules when it comes to games? At what age should we as parents enforce the rules? When is it OK to say, “If you do not follow the rules, we are going to put the game away”? Do you ever “stack the deck” so that your child will get the results he wants?
And, now for your enjoyment, some recent Elliot-isms that made me (and his daddy) chuckle.
Mike, Elliot and I were all lying down on the floor. Elliot got up to retrieve a toy, so I scooted in closer to Mike, who pulled me in and hugged me. Elliot returned and proceeded to work his way back onto the blanket. “Do you want get between us?” I asked. “No!” he replied. “I want to be in the middle!”
Elliot occasionally likes to play with my hair. Recently, while he and I were sitting on the couch, he began running his fingers through my hair as if he was making a Mohawk. “Do you want me to make you a rock star?” he asked me.
While discussing one of his favorite movies, "Up," Elliot said "I like the part when Mr. Fredrickson hits the guy on the head with his cane." I told him, "Well, that's not a nice part. Mr. Frederickson got in trouble for hitting that man." Elliot thought for a moment, then said, "But, Mr. Frederickson didn't have to sit in time out."
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