Create the most simple game with one single dice.
For ages 3 and 4…
If you are a dad who likes playing games, and one day it so happens that your child catches one of your role playing dices and likes throwing it and finding out what number appeared on the top surface of it, you’ll keep grinding for the rest of that day, cause you know you have a plenty of shared gametime experience ahead of you together with your own child. And I can hardly find something more simple and yet at the same time as family bonding as this.
It happened to me first when my son Isaac was 3 years old. He catched in a glimpse my box full of dices, and he jumped to
it immediately, said “Uau” (cause that’s how you say Wow in spanish), and took several of them. I had to guide him though, very quickly, into starting from the beginning, with one d6 (dice of 6 faces). He kept for a while both asking what it was and turning all six faces as if looking forward to see some magic happening. I approached and explained.
Then he threw the dice for the first time in his life, and it was just as if some magic had really taken place.
I’ll push forward now. You need to explain the use of it. And there is nothing more simple than just drawing little boxes on a piece of paper: you can even make it like a road, or a story building, and whoever gets at the top first wins (find characters among any toys your child may have, or even use some other dice to play with). Just one small advice: three year old children can’t manage frustration all that well; let her roll twice if you feel she is being left behind, or even better, play cooperative, you both roll the dice in turns, but play for the same victory (sharing is nice).
Establishing rules will become more important from her fifth anniversary and beyond. Now is the time for fun. And that’s why by simply rolling a dice you are already achieving that. Is the sense of luck that brings all the fun in. Adding a target to it just makes it competitive, which is also good, cause it brings a reason, a purpose, to keep rolling that dice.
If your child is 4 years old, or just gets it faster than you’ll expect, you can push a bit forward, and make some simple rules, depending on where the characters fall at the end of a roll (check the next image and the description below as an exemple).
Grey area boxes (numbered 8, 16, 24 and 32) means your character falls back 3 spaces; the orange box at 18 means your character jumps forward 8 spaces; whoever gets to box 36 first wins. Use a d6 to play with.