Beating a Three Year Old at Connect Four

It probably says more about me than I’d care to admit that, when I was left in charge of the three year old daughter of my friends, I tried to beat her at Connect Four.

My first defence is that it was a way to avoid getting bored with the series of failed attempts to play the box games she insisted on taking out of the cupboard and spreading over the floor.  We’d already tried Snakes and Ladders, for which I clearly failed to adequately communicate the objective, as she had more fun throwing the dice so it bounced off the furniture and had to be retrieved from the corner of the room, than in counting around the board, consequently there was no satisfaction at all when I landed on a ladder.

Then there was a game which seemed to involve building a pig out of the various plastic components, but as the instructions, many of the legs and the dice, which from the illustration on the box I deduce should have been there, were missing, there was little tension in the game.

So when she emptied Connect Four out onto the carpet I thought I’d see if with my methodical approach I could beat her more random one.  We successfully divided the tokens into red and yellow – she had the red – but from that point she had little interest in the rules, nor in the concept of taking it in turns and believed that the game was over only when she had no counters left.  The alternative rules I developed for myself were that I could only take a turn if she had, and that I wasn’t allowed to tell her into which column to drop her tokens.  I’m relieved to say that, even playing this form of random generator, I still won.

The child’s interest in the game waned before mine did, and she  moved  to more career based play, grabbing plastic replicas of various kinds of tools to show me.

Perhaps my favourite image of the afternoon was seeing the little girl with a green surgical mask from a medical kit, over her face, a white doctor’s coat not quite over her shoulders, the sleeves hanging down over her hands, brandishing a whirring plastic drill from the joiner’s kit at me.

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  1. margaret nickels

     /  November 15, 2011

    You’ ve really nailed the Child care situation ! Reading it sounds rather like 2x 3 year olds playing : totally separately only sometimes glancing off each other ! Magical ….. once again I have laughed ( and not unkindly!)


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