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One of our Christmas gifts was this game, Max, made by a small family-owned company called Family Pastimes that makes only cooperative games (they even print and make their own boards and boxes).

We must help get the little Creatures safely home before Max, the Tomcat, catches them. In an exciting way, children learn logic, consultation and decision making. An important issue to discuss is also raised: we don’t like Max catching those Little Ones, yet we recognize that he is a natural hunter. How do we resolve this in our minds and hearts? Let’s talk it over.

The game is just at Amie’s level.  She isn’t getting the strategy yet, but a game like this – not too simple, not too complex – is just what will help her understand the necessity of thinking ahead. The duration of the game is also well within her attention span… so there’s time for one more, of course, or two…

It’s also very engaging. Amie gets very concerned about the little creatures – a bird, a chipmunk and a mouse. So much so that she calls Max back to his porch (with a treat) even when he isn’t anywhere close to being a threat. So much so that she tries, very clumsily, to manipulate the dice, which decide who gets to move ahead, the little ones or Max. When I told her she has to leave it up to the dice, she tried hard, but soon I caught her again.

- Amie, we shouldn’t cheat.

- Shhh, Mama! Max didn’t see me do it!

How is that for immersion! I had to put a stop to it after three games. She was getting too excited.

I heartily recommend it anyone with a three to four-year-old, or older child. Also check out Family Pastimes’ other cooperative games: they have them for all ages. Of course I’m putting “Harvest Time” on our urgent wish list!

(I hope this company won’t be adversely affected by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.)