My kids were fascinated with bees this summer. I bought them a board game called “Buzz!” without looking past the recommended ages; kid’s board games are usually just rebranded takes on classics like Snakes and Ladders or Trouble. When I realized I had bought a “cooperative board game” I cringed; was this going to be one of those “everyone’s a winner, even the losers” type things? Was it going to be fun? Are three and five year olds even capable of cooperating?
I needn’t have worried. It’s not that everyone’s a winner, it’s just that you either all win, or you all lose. More precisely, you all win, or a cardboard bear wins. There is strategy involved, you just get to strategize together. You can still cheat, too – very important when playing with little kids. Kids love cheating. And nothing brings a group of people together like a common enemy, even when it is a cardboard bear.
The Bookstravaganza crew is jumping on the cooperative bandwagon this year. Previously, Bookstravaganza was a competition/fundraiser: who could read the most books in December, and raise the most money for a local literary cause? This year, they’ve banded together and are working towards a common reading goal: to collectively read and review one hundred books in December. You can cheer them on by following on Twitter, reading reviews on the blog, and by donating to Literacy Vans at the Edmonton Public Library.
No, I’m not participating this year. I had fun reading and reviewing ten books last December, but my oldest just turned six, and received three more board games for his birthday. I’m going to be pretty busy.