Thursday, January 31, 2008


When Julie and Richard were children, we played a lot of board games. Every year for Christmas, in addition to gifts that they received as individuals, they always received one or two board games.* We started with Sorry when Richard was four, using the games to learn to count and then to add. Eventually, we used Yahtzee dice to play Sorry, using the color of the larger number to decide whether this move would be decided by addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division. It led to interesting games and the kids learning basic math in an enjoyable way.

Julie was at a disadvantage to Richard for some time, because in the early years two years difference in age can really affect how well you do math and strategy. But, not for long. Julie's desire to do things as well as Richard did them led her to play games to win.

Except when my parents came to Fairbanks to visit. Julie couldn't stand the thought of her grandmother losing. So I was treated to the delightful spectacle of Julie trying to lose to her grandmother, while her grandmother was trying to lose to her.

* as well as items like the large box of Legos or other construction toys that I could not afford two of although they both liked them. The rule was whichever child took the toy from the shelf could decide wether to play alone or with the sibling. However, the other child got to decide if the first child could play exclusively with only one or more of the jointly owned toys. Usually what would happen was they would share playing with a number of construction toys. Some marvelous things were built on my living room floor.

Images courtesy of World of Monopoly
Spilling the Beans


Laura said...

This is a beautiful entry. I tend to buy my kids their own board games but they are good at sharing them because, well because one can't play a game alone. James hates to lose, and is still rather young for some of them, so it does end up with me rocking him and explaining that fun can be losing as well.

J at said...

Who wants to see a disappointed Grandma? Not me, I'll tell you that much. ;)

Rain said...

how ironic. Last night, for reasons that escape logic, I dreamed of buying a humongous set of tinker toys. It was expensive but my husband said he could use it for leverage experiments and so I said okay. Now I loved tinker toys but not sure I wanted to dream about them. Actually my favorites for my kids were lincoln logs. Now for them I could be convinced to buy a huge tub.

J at said...

Ha, I guess I know what triggered this post...Jon Carroll's column. I'm guessing that because I just saw the part about Grandma and me while eating lunch and reading the paper. :)