At some point while growing up, many of us played board games with our family and friends. I remember enjoying games such as Snakes and Ladders, Monopoly and Uno. While researching for ideas for Theo’s upcoming 3rd birthday, we thought we would introduce him to board games.
But he’s only going to be 3! Will there be anything suitable for his age? Well, Germany is heaven for board games lovers. Haba, a well established toy manufacturer in Germany, makes educational board games for children as young as 2 years old. We came across Bärenhunger and thought it was a simple enough concept for Theo to understand and so we got it to try it out with him.
1. Throw the die and feed the bear the right food.
2. Turn all the food tokens to their back sides and play it like any other memory game.
3. The most “difficult” of all for younger children, ask “yes” and “no” questions to guess what the other players’ favourite food is.
We tried out Games 1 and 2 with Theo.
1. Promotes team work
Cooperative games are great for the little ones since there isn’t a winner or loser among the players. Everyone is working together towards the same goal. If you have kids playing together, no child will feel bad for being the loser.
2. Works on motor skills
The child has to balance the food tokens on the spoon to feed the bear. That works on their motoric skills. Theo did find it funny when the token slipped off the spoon and kept pretending to make a mess though.
3. Enhances verbal skills
As adults, we’ll probably throw the die, pick the token up and feed the bear without uttering a word. However, when playing this game with children, it is important that we “make” conversation. Ask the child what the die is showing, what colour the fruit or vegetable is, what the next course of action is etc.
4. Practice taking turns
Daniel, Theo and I played this game together and we emphasised the importance of taking turns. Initially Theo wanted to keep having a go with the die but we explained that he had to wait for his turn (after Papa and then Mama’s). This is an important skill to learn – not to snatch and insist that what he wants must be given at that instance. It didn’t take him long to understand that that’s one of the rules of the game.
5. Help kids to focus
The game can easily be completed in 5 minutes. While it may seem like a really short game for us, 5 minutes can be a long time for a 2 year old. Sitting still and watching others have their turns require kids to be patient and not lose interest in the activity.
Most importantly, this is a fun game that we enjoyed as a family.