Series: Game On – Hoot Owl Hoot

If you missed the introduction check it out!  When it comes to games for preschool kids it can be difficult to find something where older kids and adults won’t become bored after a few minutes.  There are some alternatives which can be fun for the whole family.

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A Twist on a Classic

Candy Land is likely a game most have played at one time or another.  Players move from color to color hoping to get the ice cream cone and dreading the gingerbread man.  Created in the 1940s and produced by Milton Bradley (now Hasbro) for over 50 years, it was inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame in 2005.  But the game’s winner comes more chance than strategy as with it’s cousin Chutes and Ladders.  This could be frustrating to younger kids learning how to play board games.

So what’s the point of the game other than winning?  It’s learning to take turns, move along a path, and recognize colors.  Drawing a double color allows you to move two of the same color.  But the fate of each player is randomly left to the cards selected throughout the game.  

Meet Hoot Owl Hoot by Peaceable Kingdom, a company with a focus on cooperative gameplay.  It’s similar to Candy Land but with a twist.  Play is cooperative which can be important as a preschool child learns how to play board games.  There’s no frustration in working alone and losing.  As Emmet says in the LEGO Movie, “Everything is awesome when you’re part of a team!”  

The Colored Path

A path of colored circles create a spiral shape lead to a nest in the middle.   The object of the game is to get all of the owls to the next before the sun rises.  There’s also a row of suns where a piece moves along getting brighter each step.  No one is assigned any one owl.  It’s up to everyone playing to get the owls to the nest.  A total of six owls are included in the game but for beginners you can use two and increase the number as players learn the game.

Each player receives three cards which have a color or a sun on them.  The cards are turned over so everyone can see what cards other players have drawn.  If a sun card is drawn it must be played first before any color cards.  A player should always have three cards at the start of his or her turn.  

Players can move any owl piece to a color selected from their hand.  Whichever owl is moved occupies the next open spot of the selected color.  This is where a working together strategy can be used as players become familiar with the game.  If one player uses a blue card and the next player has a blue card it’s usually a good idea to use them back to back.  If an owl moves and the next color along the path is occupied by another owl that spot is skipped.  If all of the owls are able to make it to the nest before the sun comes up all players are declared winners..

Kids are taught how to work as a team and having fun is more important, win or lose.  If you have younger kids and haven’t tried this game, take a look.  My four-year old reaches for this game often when it’s his turn to pick a game.    



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