Although the garden is small, someone finds it big enough. We mean children, who were given care of it. If they succeed in growing, either its beautiful flowers or sweet strawberries, they will certailny enjoy their harvest.
And sometimes the children do not even need soil, trowel or seeds. Instead, they just need to open box called Kleiner Garten (Little Garden), which was prepared for them by HABA company. This is a game belonging to series “Meine ersten Spiele” (My first games) and created by Christiane Hüpper with Joëlle Tourlonias responsible for illustrations.
Basic task of the small yellow box with gardener on the lid is to teach children concentration, vocabulary, colors and fine motor skills in nonviolent ways. This all is done using cooperative play, which makes children (with parents) assemble garden on a folding board. There leads one path made of circles and in the middle is also a round flower bed. In addition to the piece of land, there are also molehills tiles, pieces of flowers, vegetables and fruit all waiting for the player in the box. There are also wooden components – dice with colorful polka dots and figure of gardener and his tools.
At the beginning of the joint efforts, players set up board and place all semicircular crops tiles next to it in piles together with round pieces of molehills. One space with molehills will serve as starting spot for gardener and all other components are prepared also aside.
Each player in his turn rolls dice and moves gardener pawn clockwise to the next box with a border same as color rolled on the dice. Two things can happen: if figurine stands on a box with a mole, then instead of growing flowers, pile of dirt in the middle will rise. Child thus finds largest remaining piece (they get smaller as the height of molehill is increasing) and places it on top of eventually already laid tiles.
Conversely, if gardener stopped safely on a free space, then player himself can choose one of the flower beds and let the plants there grow. Again, he does that by taking the largest curved tile, that is still available and puts it in a place, where these seedlings are growing. Like this, burrowing mole and nature are competing against each other, racing who finished his work first. If the players work together to reach crops in all three beds in a timely manner, they win as a team. Conversely, if Molly the Mole digs up the whole pile and stand triumphantly on its earthen pyramid sooner, then they have all lost.
Kleiner Garten is an example of how to make beautiful and functional children’s games. During the game, children learn not only to recognize colors on the dice and the board, but also get to know the plants and how to cooperate. Everyone is sharing victory and defeat.
The actual gameplay mechanic is simple, but at the same time challenging enough. As the plants are approaching flower, the pile of dirt also increases. Of course, players only need luck to succeed. If dice shows wrong color, then the players can not do anything about it. But the coincidence is an integral part of the game, so one end in victory and the other will not. Therefore, children will also learn to lose together by playing Kleiner Garten.
So far, we have talked only about the gamplay itself. But its really important to mention, that this box is recommended from an incredible two years up. And very precise and massive processing of all components corresponds to this. And it’s surprising, but the children with small assist of their parents, are capable to really spend some time in the game even in such an early age. The rules provide adults with guidance how to lead children with right questions towards completing their goal and thus make them involved in the game.
Game processing is throughout the interesting. Rivalry between the players and the mole is designed very well, and besides its function, it all also looks nice. Flowers do really grow as player place tile on another tile, as well as a pile of dirt in the middle does.
Kleiner Garten is an excellent children’s game. It is designed for the very smallest of us, which opens the way to many new experiences. And each such playful opportunity to teach children something useful is priceless. And to top it all, Kleiner Garten is still good game.
+ beautiful massive processing
+ cooperation for the smallest
+ will teach children many things
+ two years up (!)
+ playing can be aided by adults
+ well-chosen theme