Marble Munching Fun
- What: Hungry Hungry Hippos Game
- When: Three years and up
- Why: Classic, affordable, multiple age range
- Where: Amazon
Remember feasting on marbles as a child? I don’t mean actually eating them, but playing Hungry Hungry Hippo. First, we scrambled to see who could get the best hippo color. Once we sorted out who had which hippo, the real fun began.
Players repeatedly hit the lever located on the hippos’ hind ends to try and capture marbles rolling by. Whoever ends up with the most marbles wins that game, but our games focused more on capturing marbles than beating siblings. A button by each hippo releases the marbles into the central basin. The force of the hippos opening and closing their mouths and extending their necks causes the marbles to bounce around this contained area. Once a hippo swallows a marble, it goes into a small collection area to be counted after all the marbles have disappeared. The player with the most marbles win, though some newer version feature a special golden marble. The player that captures the golden marble wins using those rules, and all the other marbles chomp for fun.
The game requires no literacy skills, but players need to be able to count to figure out who has the most marbles. Beyond that ability, it can be played by almost anyone who won’t eat the marbles themselves, young or old. It also has a fairly even playing field between contestants of different ages, so it can work well for siblings or friends who can’t normally play games together due to different levels of academic ability and interest. It takes only a matter of minutes to munch all the marbles, so kids can play over and over again, until the adults get tired of the noise levels.
When we played with only two players, we used two hippos each, one for each hand, so even two kids can make a lot of racket. Fair warning – I wouldn’t recommend this game if you don’t like a lot of noise. The marbles make enough noise rattling around in the middle arena, but kids armed with levers hitting them as fast as possible make so much more noise. I highly recommend this game for Grandma’s house or anywhere else your kids can enjoy it without you having to listen to the fun.