TOYS, GAMES & GADGETS
We have just come back from a week’s holiday in Wales. Feeling a touch guilty about the prospect of parking The Child in front of the Ipad of an evening, we decided to take some board games along. We took Monopoly Junior and Draw Out. Whilst really I was thinking that I would much rather be putting my feet up by the fire, reading the paper and enjoying my large glass of vino blanco, I slightly begrudgingly sat down on night one to commence what would be our Monopoly-a-thon. I actually really enjoyed it. It was fun, although the vino blanco did help to take the edge off.
Monopoly Junior is a good place to start with family board games. The board is half the size of a regular Monopoly board so in theory this should make the game faster moving. The pieces are different coloured cars, the houses are ticket booths and the streets are amusements. This Monopoly follows the same principal as regular Monopoly - the person who runs out of money first loses and the person with the most money at the end is the winner. There are also chance cards and instead of ‘going to jail’ you ‘go to the café’. I have found in the past that some games for children can be a bit tame but this still has the fun element of being able to choose whose property to knock off and replace it with yours if you get a ‘free ticket booth’. This led to much hilarity when The Child was knocking off my or The Husband’s Ticket Booth, but did not go down so well when his Ticket Booth got knocked off = Lesson 1: learning to be a good loser.
The Child, was The Banker which worked out particularly well as this introduced stealth maths practice. He had to count out all the money and add and subtract the notes for the right amounts and over the week we could see how he was getting more proficient at this = Lesson 2 : improving maths skills.
Some of the games went on for quite some time, so the attention and interest from The Child started to wane, but we left it for a while and then carried on where we left off. We were even playing it first thing in the morning! (let me tell you Monopoly at 7.30am is not something I ever thought I would be doing, especially not on holiday. In fact being up at 7.30am is not something I never thought I would be doing on holiday – it used to be a miracle if I made it down in time for breakfast but how things change when you have children!) Slightly blinky, a strong coffee helped take the edge off = Lesson 3: Patience
I won every game – this was mostly luck, but a large part of it came down to my superior skills and strategy. (This is what I told The Husband anyway). The key seems to be getting as many double ticket booths in a row on the most expensive amusements, thereby almost guaranteeing a payout every time someone passes by = Lesson 4: Greed is good (not sure if it is the most appropriate lesson for The Child, but hey! )
The version we were playing was the Waddingtons 2001 Junior version, I think a more recent version has been produced by Hasbro which has slightly different features – I don’t think you can knock someone off their spot which is a shame as that was one of the most fun bits. I think the international versions also differ a little and there are also several themed Junior Monopoly games available. However overall they all follow a similar principle and much fun was had by us all with the added bonus of having educational elements. Monopoly Junior gets a big tick from me and a big tick from The Child.