Chicken Crashing Fun
- What: ChickyBoom game from Blue Orange
- When: Ages 2 and up
- Why: Develop fine motor skills and counting, easy to play
- Where: Amazon
You may have heard of Chicky Chicky Boom Boom, the popular kids’ book where the letters climb a tree until they all fall down. But though the title sounds familiar, this ChickyBoom game has nothing to do with letters. It does have lots of crashing, though, and my kids all love it.
It requires zero literacy skills, so when my youngest received it for his second birthday, he could play as well as his older siblings. That happens in very few kids games, and I liked that. In addition, it can be fun for any age, yet requires very little skill except a somewhat steady hand, though it encourages number recognition as well.
The game comes with a yellow plank, six purple “chickens”, seven red wagon wheels that my kids call tomatoes (they do bear a strong resemblance to the sliced fruit), and seven round yellow cylinders for hay. Players load the plank with the assortment of stuff in any order, then lift the entire assembly onto the included red balancing podium. The game starts with each player removing one item without crashing the entire construction. It ends with a crash, and usually a laugh.
Each piece earns a different number of points, from one to three. The person with the most points at the end wins. For young kids, you can start by counting the pieces themselves to determine a winner. Once they’ve mastered that, you can work on math skills by adding the number of points for each piece instead of merely counting them up. Because no number goes higher than three, it works great for beginning math skills.
Since the order and placement don’t matter, and you can stack chickens on top of hay or wagon wheels or both, you can still play the game even if you lose a piece (or three). In young kids, it helps develop hand eye coordination and fine motor skills as well as patience and a reward for moving slowly. (I don’t think that lesson has sunk in with my older two kids yet.)
The manufacturer recommends ages 4 and up, probably because the round yellow hay bales may present a choking hazard. My two year had no problem with the game, however, and my six year old was more likely to gnaw on the pieces than either of the two younger kids. If you have a kid that likes to explore by mouth, wait until they pass that phase or remove those pieces until they can resist the appeal of the bright colors.
Otherwise, despite the recommendation on the box of two to four players, it works great for as many players as want to play. I imagine it gets out of hand after five or six, but I don’t see any other reason that more than four can’t participate at the same time. You can also do teams, with each team member taking turns as teams alternate, as well as individual practice.