Monopolize the Fun and Learning
- What: Monopoly Junior
- When: 5 years and up
- Why: Fast paced, educational fun
- Where: Amazon
Got a budding real estate agent in your household? Try out Monopoly Junior for a kid-appropriate introduction to the popular property game.
The newest version has four tokens from the original in their “younger” forms, such as a puppy instead of a dog, a kitten, a small boat, and a car. Properties have names like ice cream parlor, pet store, candy shop, skate board park, and video game arcade. Instead of houses and hotels, each property gets a sold sign with the image of the owner’s token.
We have an older version of the game based on a carnival theme. Each property boasts the name of an attraction, like Haunted House or Roller Coaster. Each color property has only two, never three, properties in the collection. The four different color railroads act as roll again spaces. Instead of jail, players pay a fee to go to lunch, and place toll booths on properties that correspond to the color of their plastic car used to move around the board.
Kids can manage the smaller money denominations. Bills come in amounts from $1 to $5, making addition easier for smaller kids. Only toll booths exist in our version, no hotels or other upgrades to owned properties. The smaller boards makes it easier for everyone to reach, and you can still collect extra income by landing on Loose Change, where entrance fees for fireworks and water shows (spaces on the board) go.
Monopoly Junior has only Chance cards, no community cards. Cards net you free properties as well as the ability to take over properties owned by others – unless, of course, someone has a monopoly, in which case they are safe. Chance cards also give you rides on the four different colored railroads, and send you to various spaces around the board. Learning to read the different cards (“Go to” vs “Free” and the name of the properties) has helped my kids’ literacy skills as well.
We spent a lot of summer playing to work on academic skills and my children not only didn’t notice, but begged for more on a daily basis. All of my kids will play this game over and over as many times as they can talk someone into it. The smaller bills have really helped them with their math skills. Even my three year old likes to put his car on the board and roll the dice and move it along, working on his counting skills. He couldn’t care less about the money, but his siblings more than make up for that in their desire to get all the money. My kids will even give me loans when I run low on funding so we can keep playing.
My kids like the full fledged Monopoly game after playing this lighter, faster version, but can’t quite manage all the rules and math required yet.