By: Judy Lyden
"It's my turn," says the four year old.
"Na uh," says the three year old.
"It's Brian's turn," says Miss Judy.
"But he had a turn!"
"So did you, Triston."
"But his turn was longer."
"That's because he rolled the dice off the table and we had to find them on the floor. You just sucked on yours and spit them onto the table. There's a big difference, you know." Some facetiousness clung to Miss Judy's voice, and Triston looked up thinking the problem over like a very young sage.
And so goes a game with very young children. Games are taught. It's not an open the box instant do-for-me toy. A good game is worth learning because a really good game teaches while it entertains. It's a Greek concept going as far back as Horace.
Out of the Box Publications makes just such worthwhile and really quite splendid toys for children of all ages. We have four Out of the Box games at school, that for the most part, stay out of the box. Each game is attractive to a child because the pieces are interesting to young children and allow a child to discover how the world works.
"If you play your cards right," says Mrs. St. Louis with her tongue in her cheek, "You'll win."
Now it's Ty's turn, and he procrastinates so long trying to organize the world and everybody in it, the sand in the hour glass is gone before he's half done. "No fair," he says. "I was just getting started. I need more time."
"I didn't," says Alexa and smiles sweetly." The teachers are laughing at the typical boy girl exchange, and the game proceeds with both children making and failing to make the designs. "Oh, I get it," they repeat over and over again, and teachers are satisfied the children are learning.
Squint teaches timing, precision, mathematical thought and neatness. It's a remarkable little game in a bright green box the kids really love and can play with or with out a partner or in a whole big group.
Cloud 9 is as much fun. As the pretty gondola makes its way into the dozen level cloud board, the children make matches with the dice and the cards. "Don't you know if you have a green card and a yellow card?"
"Here it is," says the fumbler, and the children all cheer. And the cheering gets louder and louder as they watch the balloon rise and fall on the board according to their dice rolls and the cards in their hands, they learn to think things through, count and add and play with as many as five others and take turns.
"Can I play Wallamoppi?" asks five year old Hadley reaching for the box. "I can play by myself with Mayli. We know the rules. This is what you do," and the little beauty rattles on for five minutes telling Mrs. St. Louis every detail of playing.
Good games are just plain fun, sometimes educational with their studies of addition, subtraction, geometry, algebra and every good game has the multiplication of learning.