Happy Heart Kid games

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Have you guys ever supported a Kickstarter? I have supported two or three campaigns and I’m completely fascinated with this type of funding.

When the Happy Heart Kid games popped on my radar, they were in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to bring character-building topics and activities to children in the form of board games and kits. Social emotional learning… in a cute box.

I am one of those people who FIRMLY believes social emotional learning is a critical component to raising children. Our elementary school works in lessons on a regular basis and I cannot say enough about it.

When I was a kid, I myself dealt with a massive amount of worry and anxiety and it breaks my heart to see these same emotions pop up in my kids and their peers. Anything that helps us to be more respectful towards and gentle with one another is a very good thing, in my opinion.

Happy Heart Kid games are focused on social emotional learning topics such as Gratitude, Diligence, and Empathy. I swear my heart just jumped a little while typing those words.

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I reached out to the folks at Happy Heart Kid games and they graciously sent me a copy of their Manners game to try out with my own little people. I set out to play it a few times and see if I could actually impress upon my children the benefits of having good manners.

Our particular game came with a board and wooden pegs and a die. The instructions explained we were going to have “dinner” at someone’s house. Each time we rolled the die and moved to a new color square, a player would answer a question from a color card or ACT out a scene. For instance, if you notice your friend has some food stuck in their teeth, should you a) say politely, I think you have something in your teeth or b) start to laugh and point.

It’s like they spied on my dinner table last week.

IMGP5383The table talk cards provided a prompt for good table conversation topics. What movies have you seen lately? What’s your favorite season? And while they may seem like simple questions, I love that the prompts encourage open-ended questions rather than the ones I hear my kids asking… isn’t summer your favorite season? Don’t you love the Incredibles movie? I think part of being a good conversation partner is being able to ask open-ended questions.

We played the game twice. Once with a crowd of restless neighborhood kids and another time at the dining room table with just our little family. You can imagine that the second time was a bit more productive. But even when the restless crowd was playing, I noticed that the kids all wanted to join in and answer the table talk questions honestly and respectfully. One little boy wouldn’t put the card down until he learned what every single person’s hobby was. What a sweetie.

I’m dying to see what the Empathy and Gratitude games are like. More activity sets will become available online as they are completed. You can find out more about Happy Heart Kid and follow them on Instagram at happyheartkid. This is a wonderful young company producing cool things and it will be exciting to see how they grow.

Disclosure: I did not receive any compensation for this post; however, Happy Heart Kid did provide our family with a copy of the game to review.

Happy Heart Kid games

Board Game Geek-ing Out: My First Carcassonne

IMGP5162 Board games have had a resurgence in popularity during the last decade. Our family owns a ridiculous amount of board games… some might say an embarrassing amount. However, our resident board game geek (Mike) insists in the everlasting awesomeness of board games and because we love him, we have learned a lot about this world.

Today we’d like to introduce your family to My First Carcassonne. The game Carcassonne was one of the first big “Eurogames” to become popular in the United States. Eurogames started as a niche product, imported mostly from Germany, and have since taken off in the U.S. — you can even find them at big retail stores.

For those of you unfamiliar, Carcassonne is a popular board game that where players randomly draw and place tiles which represent components of a town (fields, cities, roads) and as you place the tiles you can put down figures (called meeples). It’s fun, doesn’t take too long and great for people who are just getting into board games.

IMGP5170BUT DID YOU KNOW? There’s a junior version called My First Carcassonne designed for the younger set. It used to be called Kids Carcassone, but they went out of print and commanded crazy prices on Ebay. It’s back in print now, with a new name.

Mike first purchased this game for our kids last year. It’s quick and easy to play and no reading or complicated point counting is required (such a nice feature for little ones). The idea is for village children to catch all the lost sheep. Each player chooses a color and then draws and places tiles. The goal is to place your tiles and complete paths through the town of Carcassonne. As you complete a path, players place their village children. The first person to place all their village children wins.

If you have elementary age kids, it might be best to start them with the original Carcassonne. However, kids who are non-readers or who have short attention spans would really enjoy this one. As parents of children who can’t always focus for very long, it’s been a fun little game and a good way to kill a little time without committing to several hours. (We have yet to play Monopoly with our kids because a certain mother in this household can’t even sit still that long.) IMGP5076 According to the box: 2-4 players, 4+ years, 20 minutes

Our notes: Works best with three or more players, age range feels accurate to us, definitely a short game (which Maggie REALLY appreciates)

Board Game Geek-ing Out: My First Carcassonne