Today I came with two very simple games, designed for my little daughter.
Of course they are a lot boring for me, but funny for my girl. They has no strategy, only random.
They are intended to force the very little children to count, search matchings and apply a little logic and also serve as an introduction for more complex games.
Step 1: Resources
Months before my daughter's birth, I purchased LOTS of thing for her... and LOTS of thing for make games for her:
14mm Dices, 14mm Ludo tokens and LOTS of sheets with 11 mm round stickers with several pictures on them, all of it in 1€ stores.
I used for the first game
- 48 Fish stickers
- 2 Dices
- 36 Ludo blue tokens
and for the second:
- 90 Bug stickers
- 10 Frog stickers
- 7 Dices
- 59 Ludo red rokens
I used two eggs from some kind of toy-machine as case, you can use whatever you want or can.
Step 2: The Fish Game
I took 12 sets of 4 same-fish sticker (the rest will be used in other games later).
Then I put three of them in three tokens and the fourth in a face of a dice. An so on. Easy.
Step 3: Playing the Fish Game:
Distribute the tokens ramdomly and equally between the players, from two to four (36=2x18=3x12=4x8).
First player roll the dices, and retire the tokens matching the dice results; may be 0 to 6 tokens. Look below *
Second player do the same, and so on.
The player who first retires all the tokens wins.
* May be he has no tokens of a fish, may be he has 1 , 2 or 3. So two dices = 0 to 6 matching tokens.
* If the child don't find all the matching fish he has, you can warn him or do not, as you wish to monitor his progress.
* You can add a more complex rule letting the next player benefit for an not-used dice result to motivate the kid to match correctly.
The end game is always almost balanced, the statistic does not fail.
You can change the rules, and let the player choose only one dice to roll. So the kid must analyze and choose a strategy.
Step 4: The Bugs Game
All bugs (and frogs) were different (or may be the same, it is not important), so no matchings here.
Put 59 bugs stickers on the tokens; it is a prime number, so it is impossible to tie no matter how many kids play.
It is a big number, and force the childs to count. You also may use 61 wich is also prime and still can loose two tokens.
Look at the next step for the dices' instructions.
Step 5: The Bugs Game's Dices
The seven dices are formed this way:
Four have 1 Frog and 5 Bugs
Three have 2 Frogs and 4 Bugs
Results vary from 7 bugs to 7 frogs... but there will be a lot more bugs than frogs a lot more of the times. The statistic does not fail.
The four dices in the back were discarded ones; they has more frogs and don't work as well as the seven elected. But you can try another combinations of dices' faces.
Step 6: Playing the Bug Game:
Each player (from two to eigth) roll the dices. Each frog eats a bug, so the player must retire both dices. The number of bugs dices remaining is the number of bugs that player can take from the pile (always odd). And so on.
The player with more bugs when the pile is emptied wins.
It also works with six dices, but results will be always even and may result 0. It is your choice.
If the dices' results are more frogs than bugs, the player must retire bugs from his pile (if he has bugs to do that). It is uncommon, and it is fun to see the child's face when it occurs. And it is even more fun to see his face when it occurs to you ;-)
Again, the statistic does not fail, and the end of the game will be almost balanced (but never tie); you can let the child to see the cardinality (it may be hard) or force him to count, or fight verbally with you for the victory... or you may play "the second round"
Step 7: The Second Round
Simply invert the direction, and return bugs to the pile as dices determine.
The first player to empty his pile wins.
In this way the game lasts twice as normal... and the end game is really, really balanced.
Step 8: More Will Come.
As you can see, I have a lot more stickers (cars, ships, planes, hearts and tools... and more fish, frogs and bugs), so there will be more games, with more strategy next time.
Play with your children. Don't forget they grow. And they finally won't play with you... so play with your kids now, when you still can do it.
I hope it was fun. Thanks for your time!