Friday, April 06, 2007


Come on.

Michelle Hastings admits she's sometimes cheated to get through a game of Candy Land with her 5-year-old daughter, Campbell. The board game can take just too long, she said. Disney Monopoly is another big offender.
"A game like that, it could literally take you days," said Hastings, of Holliston, Mass. "A lot of times, you don't play games because they take so long."

Candy Land takes days? Maybe I'm not playing Candy Land correctly, but I think the longest game of Candy Land I've ever played took all of fifteen minutes. (This lady may not be totally with it since she named her kids "Campbell" and "Peyton.") Candy Land is designed for really young kids. You're doing something wrong if it takes days to complete a round of Candy Land. Uno? That game could go on for days. Monopoly? I've never played a complete game of Monopoly. But... Candy Land? Don't you have something bigger to worry about than how long a game of Candy Land takes? Like perhaps freeing up some time so your kids don't feel a profound connection to "Cat's in the Cradle?" ("Oh, Mommy? She's the lady who text messages me all the time.")

"A lot of people like playing games, but they want resolution," said Jim Silver, editor-in-chief of Toy Wishes magazine. "And that's why you see some of these quicker games coming out."

Of course people want a quick resolution. That's the American way! Fast food, speed dating, credit cards-- we want it now. Games are a great way to teach kids how to take turns. (I vividly remember needing to be coached by my cousin and mother on how to count spaces on Chutes and Ladders and wanting it to be my turn right away.) Games also teach kids how to be good losers and good winners. The boy I babysit has the propensity to do a victory dance-- complete with finger pointing, fist pumping, and hip swivels-- when he beats Eldest at a game. Since they play a lot of board games, he's learned to be more civil when he wins. Board games teach patience, and a lot of that would be lost if we try to rush them along to just get the fun over with already.

Here's my free board game tip for you, parents. If you're playing a game and you've got somewhere else to be, why don't you just leave the game out on a table so you can resume the game later? That's how we did it back in the olden days. The people I babysit for do it that way-- they start a game of Monopoly and take notes on where everything was when they get bored and put the game away for later.

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