This is part of a series called Training Games, where I review children's games when playing (with modified rules) with my twin toddlers. This review was written when my twins were 21 months old.
My kids are almost two years old, and I’ve gone through all the board games we have that are meant for toddlers to play in this series. So this series is coming to a close, but that’s a good thing because it means my kids will be playing games by the actual rules soon! With this final post, I wanted to talk about how my boys “play” board games now that they can go into our game room.
My boys love playing board games, and they’ll often point to the game room and ask to play games. When we go in, I let them each pick out one game to play with, and try to make sure that they put it away before picking out another game. We also made sure that our more rare/expensive games are out of reach, so we don’t mind if they mess up game components.
Most of the time I steer them towards the children’s games. They like the HABA games a lot, but they also really like playing with Outfoxed!, which is a deduction game for ~5 year olds. My kids really like playing with the plastic pieces, especially putting them back into the insert, which has spots for each piece.
A good board game insert is like putting pieces in a puzzle for toddlers!
Sometimes my kids wander over to the other non-children’s games as well. Some games I veto when they pull them out if they don’t have any kid-friendly components. But one of my bottom shelves in our game room has a few classic games, and they’ve actually enjoyed playing with some of those!
The first one they grabbed was Boggle. That was completely unexpected, since I had almost forgotten I owned it (it’s an old copy I got at a thrift store and haven’t played myself). They like playing with dice (with careful supervision), so they were excited to see all the little letter cubes. The game they’ve made for themselves is just to put the letter cubes into the slots on the cube holder, or into the lid. I guess anything that involves getting to put small pieces into slots is like a puzzle for them. I was impressed with how much time they could spend putting the letter cubes into the holder, then dumping it out, and doing it over again.
"Playing" Boggle for the first time
Lord of the Rings Backgammon is also fun for them, since the pieces are all rings and one of my kids really likes trying to put rings on his fingers! They also like pulling out my custom Kirby chess set (they know who Kirby is since I have a lot of Kirby things) and playing with the pieces. If we had a regular chess set, I’m sure that would be great for them since the pieces are pretty durable. Unfortunately, the pieces of my custom one aren’t too durable (I made them out of polymer clay and they’re falling apart).
But basically, even if you don’t have any games specifically for children, there are a lot of games with components that toddlers can play with. It takes some more energy separating out the components to keep them safe - I usually take the instructions and other things I don’t want them playing with, put them in the lid, and set them aside right when they open the box. But it’s worth it, because they love playing the games and it’s great seeing them improve with handling the game pieces and with putting the games away when they’re done playing!