I'm pretty sure that I've mentioned before how most children's board games make me want to poke my eyes out with a spoon. Especially if they're geared to three and four year olds (I'm looking at you, Candyland.) or have anything to do with Dora.
Uno has made the cut, and so have Yahtzee junior and Connect Four, but other than that, there aren't many out there that I would play voluntarily.
This week, my daughter came home with an egg carton math game, that's all about adding, and is actually kind of innovative if not actually fun*. But that's not the important part. The important part is that it reminded me of a game that I used to play when I was a kid; that actually is fun!
Allow me to introduce you (if you're not already familiar) to the game of "Awari".
The rules are simple, and the materials are super easy to find; all you need is an egg carton and thirty-six of something. Seriously; dried beans, marbles, small rocks, little glass blobby things.
(Now, I didn't actually read all the way through the rules in the link up there, but they look a little complicated, so I'll tell you the version that I taught Beege.)
1. Each cup starts with 3 beans/whatevers.
2. Each player gets one side of the board. Their "home" is at the end of the board on their right side.
3. On each player's turn, they choose one of the cups on their side of the board and scoop out the beans. Drop one bean into each of the next cups, dropping one in your "home" pile if you pass it.
4. If you land in your "home" pile with your final bean, you start your turn again, choosing another cup. If your final bean lands in a cup containing any beans, you scoop them all up and continue. If your final bean lands in an empty cup, your turn ends.
5. The game is over when one player's side is completely empty.
6. The winner is the one with the most beans in their "home" pile.
Not only is it educational (counting, adding, taking turns, following rules), but it's kind of relaxing. Zen even.
Plus, it's good for your humility to get your ass handed to you by a six year old when playing a game. (Not that she has yet, but it's just a matter of time; the kid is sharp.)
*For me, it's not fun. For Beege, it's fun and educational.