Little M is at the age where she's able to learn how to play games and understand some instructions. I've been waiting for this because I've always loved playing games. Doesn't matter what kind of game really, board games, card games, word games... they can all be so much fun. As I was growing up I remember visiting my great grandpa and my grandpa down in southern Colorado. We would stay in the small farmhouse and in the evenings after dinner and after we'd gotten ready for bed the adults would play cards. I remember the sound of the cards being shuffled, the talking and the light glowing from the living room as we were sent to bed with the playing still in full swing.
When we got older, during holiday's when we'd have family over we enjoyed playing Pictionary after the holiday feast and dessert. There is always a lot of laughing and some arguing over some of the drawings that come out of those games.
These are some of the greatest memories and it's something I've always looked forward to sharing with my kids. Well now that Little M is of the age our first board game was of course CandyLand. This is actually a great game for teaching things like taking turns, counting, colors and of course, winning and losing.
The first time we cracked it open, Mila was all a twitter over the pictures of the sweets on the board. She of course, chose to be the ice cream play piece. I was the marshmallow. I gave all the pieces names. There's Isla Ice Cream, Mitzy Marshmallow, Go-Go Gumdrop, and Ginny Gingerbread. The game seems a lot shorter than I remember it (thankfully). We played once and I was just focusing on her counting and taking turns. By the end, Mila was pretty much done taking turns. So I waited a while and the next time we played she really enjoyed it. Yay! The only problem... she seems to have really good luck and wins most of the time. I admit, I may have looked the other way the first couple of times on a couple of unauthorized spins she made on the color wheel (what parent hasn't?) but now I jump on those and she seems to win more often than not!
So I decided to teach her another game because it's usually pretty hard to get the hang of. I decided to teach her Uno. I had read a blog by Sarah Punkoney over at Stay at Home Educator and thought it was an awesome way to teach number and color recognition. Mila's already got her colors down but her numbers are something she's just starting to learn. So we played with our cards facing up and we went through the game. Every time one of us plays a card we say what color and what number it is. Well, it turns out, she's pretty darn good at this game too! Sometimes she does get bored with how long the game can take and sometimes she decides she wants to change the color when she doesn't have a number or color that matches, but other than that, she really enjoys playing.
So how can I teach her about losing when she keeps wining? Well, I decided on our last game of CandyLand to play as "Goofy" and as Mommy. She always has me pretend to be a character of her choosing. Well Goofy won and she said, "no I won". I had to tell her that it's ok if someone else wins, we can just tell them "good game, maybe we can play again." So we did, and that time she did win (honestly, she's really pretty lucky!) I guess I'll just have to keep looking for opportunities and as the mommy, be the good sport and teach by example when I lose (because it keeps happening! :). And when I do get the chance to win, emulate good sportsmanship.