GAME ON #5: DJECO's 'Little...' Game Series
Djeco's ‘Little…’ Series of board games is a FANTASTIC way of introducing your littlest ones to first game concepts! Created specially for toddlers between 2.5 and 5 years old, these first games cover important facets of early play such as cooperation, memory, association, colour recognition, as well as the development of fine motor skills; strategically converting them into game play that is not just easy to understand, but fun and easy enough to execute.
Develops… Memory, Observation, and Speed.
A delightful game that introduces the concept of memory to first players. Colourful and perfectly sized for little hands, this game requires a player to hide 1 of the 9 garden creatures under the bush box, after which the rest have to try and deduce which one has gone into hiding.
The Need for Memory Game Play…
When it comes to boosting your child’s memory, nothing works better than memory games as it approaches the concept in a more fun and enjoyable manner. Such games not only improve concentration and enhance cognitive skills, they also increase attention span and help to keep focus.
Little Memo is particularly good because, on top of all that is mentioned, it trains visual memory as well – not to mention that playing against a ticking clock forces them to think fast and hence, boosts brain functionality. Consider it healthy exercise for the brain!
Need A Little Challenge?
In all honesty, 9 garden creatures might be a bit of an ability stretch – especially if your players are all below the age of three. Not only with it leave them feeling frustrated, they may even fail to grasp the concept of the game at all.
Consider the age group and then determine an appropriate number of creatures for comfortable game play; after which, you may slowly increase it to the eventual 9. Not only does this fully maximize the play value of this game, it leaves your kids feeling more satisfied and achieved with their own progress and abilities.
Develops… Colour Recognition, Observation, and Speed.
Each player takes turn throwing both dice to establish the target colour combination. When the dice settles, everyone then searches amongst the pile of butterflies in a bid to ‘catch’ the one with the matching colour combination.
The Need for Colour Recognition…
Colour recognition is an extremely crucial milestone in every child’s early cognitive development. It helps create a link between visual clues and words; but constant repetition and expanding on what colors are (or what they are not) will not help them understand what colours actually mean. In order to fully understand the concept, children need to be acquainted with it using a more tactile approach.
Little Observation is an ideal game for developing colour recognition as it not only induces conscious colour distinction, but is manipulative and does so in a friendlier and more tactile approach. Children retain better when they get to ‘touch’ and ‘feel’ stuff, as opposed to traditional one- or two-dimensional methods of learning.
Need A Little Challenge?
If you think this is the sort of game that your kid will outgrow fast, think again. The best part about Djeco’s games is the amount of free play involved in each setting – even when it is seemingly structured.
If your kids are a little older, make a scavenger hunt out of this instead: Hide the butterflies at various places inside a room (or even the entire house if you think they need a workout!), and send them hunting for the matching butterfly! This can turn out to be a test of memory too, as somewhere along the way, amidst all the excitement and running around, one of them is bound to forget the target combination. We’ll leave it to you to decide if they are then allowed ‘reminders’ or not!
Develops… Cooperation, Social Integration, Fine Motor Skills
Players work together to get the four arctic animals across the bridge and safely to their igloo on the other side. Depending on what the dice shows each time it is thrown, either the animal gets to take a step forward and closer to the other side, or a pillar from the bridge has to be removed.
Little Cooperation provides a unique game play as the players will either all win together if they manage to get the animals across safely before the bridge comes tumbling down – or they will all lose together, if the bridge falls down before the animals are across.
The Need for Cooperative Play…
‘Our child has a problem with losing.’
That is probably one of the greatest grievances that we hear most from our parent customers – and for good reason too. Electronic games these days leave practically no room for kids to lose: if they don’t like the way a game is progressing, all they have to do is press the Restart button and no one will be any wiser. This ultimately creates a ‘Winning Only’ attitude, which is not only unhealthy, but obssessive and psychologically detrimental when the child gets older.
Cooperation games like this are hence, particularly useful for kids who need to adapt to ‘losing’; after all, losing in a team is always easier to stomach (and way more fun) than losing on your own.
Develops… Fine Motor Skills
Players take turns stacking the stems, lily pads and frogs on the game board – all without causing the structure to fall. A fun dexterity game where children practice their motor skills while simultaneously learning to think one step ahead.
The Need for Balancing Games…
Particularly for toddlers and kindergartners, board games and other learning games that invite physical interaction holds an important role in developing and advancing motor skills. Little Balancing encourages manual dexterity and strengthens balance, as well as enhance hand-eye coordination and visual focus.
Need A Little Challenge?
The original game play calls for all the stems, lily pads, frogs to be distributed across three main structures. However, if this starts to become a little too effortless, bring it down to two (or even just one) structure instead! The towers will then have to be built higher and balancing becomes a precarious task for all – even the adults!
Develops… Association Skills and Critical Thinking
The game starts with each animal being placed on their corresponding habitat. The various picture cards are then flipped over, one at a time; and the first player to correctly guess where it should go wins that particular picture card.
The Need for Association…
Association is more than just fun play, it’s a by-product of well-honed critical and logical thinking. The concept of Association, which is often sidelined in early childhood development, actually plays a fundamental role in transforming children into effective thinkers who make well-reasoned decisions, as opposed to non-thinkers prone to poor choices. Particularly with Little Association, children are continuously encouraged to look at the bigger picture, and then formulate appropriate evaluations based on their knowledge.
Need A Little Great Challenge?
Turn this into a game of Imaginative Play (Warning: this variation is a great challenge recommended only for the older kids)!
Instead of placing the picture card on the right habitat, it now goes to either of the other two habitats, after which players have to rack their brains for a way to associate that card to this new, strange habitat!
For instance, upon drawing a Carrot Card which rightfully belongs with the rabbit in its garden, players may choose to place it on the pond with the frog instead! Why?
Well, because no one in the pond eats the carrot, which means that it will go bad. And when it does, it will start attracting flies – flies which the frog in the pond will be all too glad to slurp up!
Imagination is a more abstract and advanced brain function that, when coupled with Association, forms powerful memory and creative skills. By pushing them to think outside the norm and consider atypical methods of explanation, children grow to become quick thinkers and fantastic problem solvers. Games that explore and expand creativity can also help with nurturing the self-esteem and self-acceptance, inspiring a greater connection between personality and activity.