Who would have ever thought that there could possibly be learning games for toddlers? ThinkFun has created Roll & Play, which is geared for kids ages 18 months and up. First children try to roll a large, plush, colored dice. In our house it never gets rolled though, more like thrown way up in the air, so thank goodness it’s soft! Then if yellow is on top, the child follows the actions on a yellow card. Each color of the dice corresponds to a different category such as animal sounds (green), colors (blue), emotions (yellow), counting (orange), body parts (purple), and actions (red). There are 48 cards in all, 8 cards for each category.
What’s great about Roll & Play is that there’s barely any set-up, there’s no concept of winning or losing and no reading involved. Children look at the picture and follow simple directions. All the cards store in a pocket under the purple square on the dice, so all the cards are contained on the dice keeping everything in the same spot when not in use. Toddlers do not have an attention span to play for long periods of time, so you can literally throw the dice a few times and move on without a lot to clean up.
There are a fair amount of cards though and I would not suggest placing all the cards out at once. Pick a few cards from each category you think your child may be successful with at first. Kids are impulsive and with too many things to look at they get distracted. Gavin had all of the cards all over the living room in a big pile within seconds. The cards are pretty durable, but capable of crinkling, being folded and ripping.
6 categories can also be a lot for children to look at in terms of choices, so you may need to hand your child the card from the correct color pile first, and really focus on them completing the instruction or direction which is really the most important piece of the game in my opinion. Animal sounds, body parts and actions will be the easiest for younger children. Color recognition, number counting and emotions are definitely for older toddlers and preschool aged children.
You will definitely need to get off the couch or the floor and act out the instructions initially. Toddlers learn by imitation and if they don’t know the skill, then you will be the catalyst for learning by showing and demonstrating to them how to complete it. I think you’ll be surprised how quickly they will learn to associate the pictures on the cards with the actions just after a few practice trials, doing the activities eventually on cue after they learn them, but don’t be afraid to let loose teaching them, that’s what makes playing with toddlers fun. The sillier you can be, the longer they will engage with you!
What’s your favorite learning game for toddlers?
ThinkFun provided this game to facilitate this review. The opinions are my own.