From Crib to Cribbage


Host a family games night!” the Hasbro ads chirp merrily. And it sounds like such a good idea—for those people with perfect children. Children who will, for example, roll the dice as opposed to pelting them at the cat. Children who won’t put game markers up their nose while they’re waiting for their turn. Children, in fact, quite unlike most of ours.
But playing table games with a preschooler doesn’t have to be an exercise in frustration—and having the occasional coffee table games night, complete with fun and easy finger food in lieu of dinner, can be a nice break for everyone.

Before the big evening arrives, prep your kids first by practicing a few simple gaming skills. Keep a pair of dice in your purse and take turns rolling them while you’re waiting at the dentist. This will help the kids get used to exchanging turns, and give them practice in counting the dots. Make it fun by picking a magic number and whoever rolls it gets a point. Or play a very scaled-down memory game by tackling “Concentration” with just three or four matching pairs of cards.

When they’re ready for board games, go for tried and tested favourites that work with the preschool age group. You can’t beat the classic games of Candyland or Hi-Ho Cherry-O, neither of which require reading or more than rudimentary counting.

Other savvy faves are Zingo (bingo with pictures instead of numbers or letters), Alphabet Soup (a set of card games great for non-readers) and Cranium Cariboo, a fun treasure hunt game that teaches letters, numbers, shapes and colours in quick, 15-minute games just right for short attention spans.

So pour the hot chocolate, settle in, and roll the dice. You still might not look like that perfect family in the commercials, but you know what? Your kids will always remember those times you put everything else down and played with them. And what could be more perfect than that?

Available at BC Playthings and other fine toy stores


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