Monday, January 25, 2010

Jan24_TicTacToe_SM

Anna loves games and has no problems whatsoever following the rules of simple games. So far all the games we played were games of chance (think Chutes and Ladders) or concentration games (Memory). Of course, as adults, we prefer games of strategy, and we have a big collection of board games for adults at home. I have no illusions – it’s going to be quite a while until daughter is able to play Settlers of Catan or even as simple as checkers, but I was wondering what would be a good way to introduce games of strategy to her where outcome is not determined by a pure chance. She received this tic-tac-toe game from $1 section of Target as a birthday party favor, and was quite excited to learn the rules of the game. It was in her math box for a while before I moved it out of circulation.

I will not claim that she fully understood tic-tac-toe. We played many times, but it seemed that her grasp of the strategy of the game was tentative at best – she would play one good game, then would completely miss the next, then recover again. I don’t think she liked the fact that the best possible outcome of the game between players who both pay attention to the board is a tie. She certainly likes to have a clear winner in the end.

So here is the question for my readers – at what age did you introduce strategy games to your oldest child and what was it? Do you have any good ideas for early strategy games?

15 comments:

My Boaz's Ruth said...

I guess it depends on how much strategy you are looking for.

Obed got Haba's "Orchard" game for Christmas and plays it nearly every day that it is out and available for him to play.
It doesn't have a LOT of strategy, but there is an element of strategy.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

We have Clue Jr, Monopoly Jr, Blockus, and Connect Four. As I read your post I was trying to remember who plays what, and at what age they started. It seems like age seven or eight is when they begin to enjoy those games, but I'm sure it depends on the child. I know we started checkers, and chess when my oldest was five or six. The younger children play a lot of memory games, and as you said, games of chance.

MaryAnne said...

We haven't started strategy games, but I've seen kids learn chess and checkers as early as four years old - although with chess they are memorizing the moves more than they are using any strategy. I think in some ways checkers is easier to understand than tic tac toe.

Debbie said...

We've tried Tic Tac Toe, but it was sort of a flop. I've been thinking back and checkers seems to be the first game my kids picked up but not until about age 5or so. Now Selena loves Memory Match and is getting very GOOD at it both on the computer and playing with me at the table.

danita said...

i personally hate strategy games--or any game where you have to think ahead--i guess that's what strategy is. but, we've been playing tictactoe forever! if nothing else, it's good practice in turn taking, forming letters, etc. my daughter is 6 and she is just getting the idea--take the middle square, block mommy, etc. we also love super tic tac toe and reverse tic tac toe. connect four is also good!

Mom and Kiddo said...

I never played tic tac toe with my son, probably because I never really liked it that much. He loves games, and recently started playing strategy games like checkers and we got a game called animalogic. even though he plays them, he is still not thinking very strategically. That seems to come later, I think. At least for us.

Mom and Kiddo said...

Oh, I forgot to mention connect four. That's a pretty good strategy game, too. But, again, not much strategic thinking happening.

Ticia said...

We just got out Cover Your Tracks from ThinkFun. It's a one player game, and you have 4 pieces you have to fit into the board, and those 4 pieces have to cover the tracks.
It's a challenge for them to figure out how to fit the pieces in so it covers the tracks and also fits the pieces.
It's a little bit of strategy, and a little bit of spatial awareness.

Cindy said...

Drew loves to play tic tac toe. We have a really big board. When we play I coach him through it asking him why he is making his decisions and is there maybe a different way to do it.

Shannon said...

What about Yahtzee Junior? It's a combo of luck & strategy, F&B really like it. We've got a Princess & a Mickey version.

Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

Emily likes tic-tac-toe a lot too, and started playing checkers at age 4. No doubt, Anna will be there sooner than you think!

Susana said...

OK, I am NOT a strategy game player at all!! I don't have the patience to think strategy through, and I'm not ashamed to admit it:-).

However, Jamie is a HUGE strategy gamer, and he (thankfully) has taken on the role of introducing our kids to games involving strategy.

He taught Hanna to play checkers when she was five with an adorable princess checkers set:-).

Joe is just starting to get into strategy games, but not fully comprehending them yet--he's learning--with tic-tac-toe and battleship.

Good luck, and I KNOW Anna will really bloom and grow in this area!!

Infant Bibliophile said...

You know my son is only 2, so I can't really offer advice, but we love games and play with them often. Blokus is fun in terms of just playing with the pieces for now. We play Uno and he definitely understands the rules but probably not much complex strategy. My husband plays tic tac toe with him, but like you, I'm not sure he gets it 100%. I play connect 4 with him, but he just likes dropping the pieces in. I think he'll get the strategy in time. (My word verification on this post is "poopi").

MamaGames said...

We love games, of course. My son (now 7) started playing Kids of Catan around 3 1/2 or 4 (I think it's recommended for 4 and up)... but he really wanted in on our Settlers games and he's been playing since he was 5!

Some good strategic games that we're starting to play with our daughter (now 3) are the cooperative games like Caves and Claws or The Secret Door (by Family Pastimes). The nice thing about cooperative strategy games is that they offer a great way to start to talk about strategic decisions without being unbalanced in favor of the older players.

Francois Tremblay said...

You have already indoctrinated your child to believe in competition and to be a competitor. Your child will grow up to be neurotic and addicted to competition unless you show her some cooperative games which will show her that she can trust other people.