Thursday, February 16, 2012

Adult Board Games turned into Toddler Activities

The other day, searching through our family's collection of dusty, lonely, old board games for some dice, a bit of inspiration unexpectedly struck, leaving Tyler with two new independent activities and a new game to play with us! Here's what I came up with:
This, as you may know, is Boggle. It used to be one of the few games my husband could beat me at on a pretty regular basis. For now it belongs on a tray for Tyler, who adores placing each cube in the tray (good for fine motor), counting each as he goes. When he shows that he's grown a bit tired of it I may use garage sale stickers to place numbers in the tray, 1-16 (left to right) so that he may place them in order and gain reading prep skills in the process. Though I'm trying to focus more on quantity rather than recognizing numbers, he knows 1-20 plus many up through 100 now thanks to his mp3 player, but that's another post!

This next activity uses Scrabble holders. Though it used to be our favorite game, my husband and I haven't played Scrabble since about thirty minutes before Tyler was born (speed Scrabble was an awesome distraction). When I first created it I used letters that look the same lowercase as they do uppercase (c, o, v etc) and was going to have him simply place them on the holders for fine motor work, then remembered the Sesame Street Memory/Matching Tiles that I made him months ago. Much more fun! He not only works to place the tiles, but decided to naturally match them as well. This activity also works a bit on visual spatial skills as he has to fit all ten onto the holders without much empty space to play with. 

This is the special edition year 2000 Monopoly edition. It's shiny and "new age" and I was thrilled when I received it for my birthday twelve years ago, though it isn't exactly my husband's favorite game to play so it's barely been used. At first I thought I could just give Tyler the little houses to stack for fine motor work, then I developed a bit of a game.

To play, we put one house each on all of the properties and railroads. We put the property/railroad  cards (we excluded the electric/water company as they're a bit challenging to find on the board) in the middle. We choose our pieces (Tyler is always the bike, not surprisingly) and place them on Go.

We take turn picking cards. Whatever card you end up with is the color you move your piece to, but not specifically that property. If Tyler picks light blue, he can move his piece to any light blue property. We then take the house that's on that space. The point is to get as many houses as you can. So if you chose a red card and only one red property has a house left on it, you would want to put it on that one. I figured Tyler would be motivated to get as many houses as he could so that he could stack them and make a tall tower. 

Tyler is still learning this game and we haven't made it anywhere close to using all the cards (not shocking). The most frustrating thing about our game has been the houses getting pushed around accidentally when he reaches to move his piece, but it's fun and is teaching him more of those "taking turns" skills as well as a bit of problem solving.

On a bit of a side note, when at our local library for story time, we noticed that a large stack of games had been added to the children's area. Fun! We played Go Fish (with no numbers on them, a bit to Tyler's  dismay) and I began teaching him how to play Candy Land, but Connect Four was his favorite. While I didn't talk much about putting four of his colors in a row yet, he did get a lot of great fine motor, sorting and turn taking practice!

I would love to hear from others who have adapted games for older children or adults into activities or games for little ones!


  1. What fantastic ideas here..going to try some out for my twins..thanks for the inspiration!!

  2. Some great ideas! We don`t have many board games {although scrabble, monopoly and uno/card games we do have} as a lot of things require a better understanding of English {which hub doesn`t have}- we often play scrabble for English practice though both here in Japan and when we visit family in Australia.

    I love board games and hope to get more and more to build up our collection over time.

    I think you could do some fun stuff with uno and playing cards but haven`t made anything for my boys yet.

    Would love to get connect 4 for them while I am home this trip though- thanks for reminding me!

  3. I do love playing scrabble..since i was 8 years old my mom taught me how to play it, it can enhance my memory and i can encounter new words which i would look in the dictionary if i don't know the meaning of it.