Keeping a 3.5 years old occupied as I already mentioned more than in passing is though, and keeping one occupied away from the TV indoor on a hot day is even harder.
And with Summer strongly upon us, I am crafting a war plan to minimize idiot box exposure and maximise fun and creativity at home.
Step one is getting more age appropriate board games, the one we already own are mostly games DH and I play, snake and ladder failed to get more than 2 minutes attention from Ishita at which point she screamed “Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaas” (Enough). And left me trying to find another one. I have the Dora the explorer memory game, but she looses patience with it fast enough, so we need to keep the game simple with 6-7 pairs of cards. And we have of course Tumbling Monkeys, which Ishita likes for one game and as a parent irritate me because the setting up of the game lasts longer than the actual game.
So here came the time to dig in the classics, and one of the games that never fail to keep a toddler entertained is this one:
I give you: Hungry Hippos, the simplest, fastest, funniest game there is for a 3 year old to enjoy. It existed when I was a kid, and I played it long enough to remember my cousin and I making experiments with the beads and see where exactly would a marble be un-gulpable by any of the four hippos and how much manic whacking of the handles to action any of the hippos it would take to make the unreachable marble move…but I’m going off topic here…the purpose of the game is simple, move your hippo fast enough so it ends up eating the more beads, the player whose hippo ate the most wins. As I said simple, and totally within grasp of a toddler, and what’s not to love about seeing a hippo gulp down beads?
It’s one of these games that are so ridiculously simple and unpretentious, the goal here is to have FUN, there is no hidden message, no disguised educational content, no redundant facts to learn, no difficult meaning to grasp, and no strategy (toddlers don’t do well with strategy games, they need action and fun).
it’s a game that is well over 30 years old, and still sells, what’s more it’s not even a costly imported one, Hungry Hippos is distributed by “Funskool” in India and if you ask me it was 549 rupees well spent.
I got Ishi in an Auto to go hunt for it after school as all my favourite online shopping sites were out of stock (I guess many parents dreading the Summer break dilemma got the same idea I had). Luckily there is a well stocked toy store in our neighbourhood, and I found it there, then we headed to the stationary and art supply shop while we were in the area, and ended up buying craft paper, googly eyes and glitter paint to work on another craft project I found while on a pinning spree on Pinterest. Which I’ll blog about later this week.
The rest of the afternoon was spent playing Hungry “Plippo” as Ishi calls it, and then made our craft project, because you can’t ask a toddler to wait for another day to do something that involve glitter paint and googly eyes.
The “plippos” were back in business this morning before going to school, DH who never saw the game before fell in love with it, and our 4 hippos now have names, Ishita was in favour of calling them all Plippo because that’s what they are, but liked my options : Candy, Bubbles, Sunny and Veggies, which are the names of the pink, blue, yellow and green hippos…in that order. And Ishita’s favourite is “Veggies”, which is funny considering that everything green on her plate is still kryptonite.