Family Game LITTLE Kids Can Play!
#1

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I have to post about this game my grandson got for Christmas. I was surprised by how able my 2-year old granson (he'll be 3 in a few days, though, mind you) was to play this game -- and how "un-boring" it was for the adults as well.

It's called "Busytown." The game board is looooong -- one that most folks would likely have to set up on the floor. One end is the "Start" area; the other end is "Picnic Island," your goal. At Picnic Island, there are little tokens set up depicting food.  But, here's the rub:  pigs live on Picnic Island, and if you're unlucky, they'll eat up all the food before you get there. Alas!

In between the Start spot and Picnic Island are very busy, intricate drawings of people (animals) going about life. There's a construction site, and over there's a gas station. And so on.

Players work as a team, against those nefarious pigs. IOW, all the humans are on the same side, with the same goal. Either everyone loses, or everyone wins. While I am very much NOT one of those "competition sucks" people, I think this is a good thing for a kid's very first board game -- besides which, there are situations in life in which teamwork against an outside enemy is the deal.

The dynamic is such that each player takes a turn spinning a spinner. Most of the spaces tell you to move forward (so easy counting is involved). But at least one of the spaces lets you know that those dastardly pigs have eaten some of that picnic food you're trying to get to! Oh noes!

-- and yet another space asks you to draw a card from a little deck. The cards show an object, say, for ex., a banana. All the players have to scramble as quickly as they can to find as many hidden bananas in those depictions of animals going about their business I just described. Little plastic magnifying glasses are used to mark all those that are found. When the timer runs out, the magnifying glasses are counted up, and everyone moves forward the number of spaces equal to the number of magnifying glasses.

Now, to get to Picnic Island, you have to take a ferry. But everyone has to be ON the ferry in order to cross. The tension builds as maybe there's one food token left and one player left who hasn't made his way to the ferry. Will he get on the ferry so everyone can get to Picnic Island before all those hungry oinkers eat all the food? You must play the game to find out!

My only beef with the game is that, in my opinion, the timer doesn't last long enough. That's easily remedied by flipping it over a few times more, or using a timer that takes more time for the sand to empty.

All in all, this is the cutest, most fun game for LITTLE kids -- I'm talking 2, 3, 4-year olds! They can play a board game with their family, just like the bigger kids do! It blows Candyland and Chutes and Ladders out of the water. I was very impressed with it and just had to tell y'all about it Smile

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http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B002V3RCE6/thewolfboutique

Anyone know of other family games that LITTLE kids can play, too?
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#2
Hide and seek games are excellent for littles. We have several.

We always turn our games into collaborative games at that age - by daughter who's 7 is starting to enjoy more competitive games and right now loves Rat-a-Tat Cat.

But we love for the littles Who Knows Whose Nose, which we play collaboratively or silly-like. We also like Hisss, which is rated 4+ but can easily adapted for younger children and/or collaborative play.

The trick is to buy games not from the big-box stores, but from small retailers that specialize in games. Many of the European-style games are far superior. I can often find them at the thrift store too.

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