January 11, 2012
The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Cooties: Book & Board Game Match-Up
The Book (by Eric Carle): As a tiny green caterpillar eats his way through the book, he is transformed into a beautiful butterfly. -- Amazon Book Description
The Game (from Hasbro): The original build-your-own-bug game! Build your very own silly and colorful Cootie. Start with a body; add a head and a hat. Finish it off with a pair of lips, an antennae and a twirly tongue. Your Cootie will never be the same twice! Includes four Cootie Bugs with parts, plus die and gameboard. --Amazon Product Description
The board game I actually play the most often is Cootie. My three-year-old loves it. There is no strategy to this game. No clever trade-offs. The real reason it's fun? I get to play a game with my kid. And we get to build these cool bugs. The game play is super-simple. Roll a dice. Take the corresponding piece. But we learn to take turns, read numbers on the dice, and did I mention we get to make cool bugs? We've actually gotten this out so much that the cardboard box fell to pieces, and the game itself now rests in a plastic shoebox.
Likewise, my copy of the classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar fell to well-loved pieces. There's something intrinsically fun about holes in a book. Turning the page and seeing the hole change from being in an orange to being in a strawberry never ceases to feel like magic.
These two fit together for simple reasons. Bugs. Fun. Kids. I figure after both of these, we'll be able to count to six and name the days of the week. More than that, these are both gateways, allowing the little ones to experience two things they always see the adults doing -- reading books and playing games. Both of these were favorites of mine when I was little, and there's something sweet and nostalgic about enjoying them with my kids.