So this looks fun, right?
I mean, just look at the gamepieces inside the box:
They’re all “dude!” and “cool!” and “super fun!,” and we know this just by looking at their body language. Arms stretched out, eyes wide open, smiles aplenty – these crazy kids are pumped as can be about the exciting possibilities before them.
After all, they do get to spend their days here:
But let me tell you something that I know for sure: if one of those happy little gamepieces happened to be a parent who was trying to explain this game to his or her child for the first time, those facial expressions would be markedly different. And the body language would be a bit more, um, pinched.
Because if you’re looking at the picture of the gameboard and thinking about all the fun you and your favorite preschooler would have the first time you climbed up those ladders and slid down those chutes, I would just like to say that YOU COULD NOT BE MORE WRONG, MY FRIEND.
No kidding, y’all. I nearly lost my mind playing this game with A. last night.
You see, here’s the thing: if a preschooler sees a spinner land on the number 5 and then looks at a gameboard that’s covered with (useless) numbers, he might just think that he’s supposed to look for the next (useless) number with a 5 in it instead of moving ahead 5 spaces because that is the way a preschooler’s mind has to work when he plays Candyland, and then you will spend four or thirty six minutes trying to explain through gritted teeth that this game isn’t like Candyland, that you’re supposed to be right here, baby, right here on block number 42, and I know there’s not a 5 in there, baby, but I promise it’s right, I promise, because you’re supposed to count ahead five spaces from where you were, not just look for the next (useless) number with a 5 in it, so you need to just movethegamepieceplease. Baby.
(By the way, if the previous paragraph is confusing to you, then I would just like to say, “MY POINT EXACTLY.”)
It could be that the numbers on the squares are supposed to encourage arithmetic skills, but the encouragement loses some of its impact since the game is for, you know, preschoolers. Granted, A. does know all of his numbers, but we haven’t so much gotten started with addition and subtraction when anything larger than 10 is involved, so if I say, “Hey, you’re on square 27. You’re supposed to move ahead 5 spaces. What square should you land on?,” his answer is going to be “CHEETOS! I WANT SOME CHEETOS!” or “I WANT TO GO UP THE BLUE LADDER, MAMA!” without “32” ever darkening the door of his sweet little mind.
I’m trying to tell myself that last night was like “Chutes and Ladders” bootcamp for D. and me. It was training. It was tough and rigorous and taxing, but like anything else, it’ll get easier with practice. I really want to believe that, because A. had an absolute blast moving all the wrong places at all the wrong times. And I know that we should focus on the game-playing journey, not the top-o-the-ladder destination.
But this game gets on my nerves, y’all.
Mainly because I never thought I’d have to die to self while playing a board game designed for preschoolers aged three and up.
But now that I’ve vented, I’m going to fight the good fight and head back into the playroom. Chutes and Ladders will not steal my joy.
Just consider yourselves warned: y’all may have to pray some Scripture over me before the day is over.
And also, I’m not playing Candyland next and you can’t make me.