Working with Kitchener Public Library (KPL), Daniela and her students hosted several Family Board Game Fun events in which we introduced children and families to many new board games that can be played by children as young as 2 years of age and that can be played in only 10-15 minutes. The events were very successful and enjoyed by patrons! What was especially unique about these events was seeing groups of siblings, parents and children, grandparents and children all playing and having fun together, with a diverse number of languages spoken. Daniela worked with KPL to curate a new collection of 34 board games for young children that was introduced into circulation at KPL's Central Branch in April 2021.
In the News!
Coming in 2024! Expansion through all 5 KPL locations and a new KPL Collection for Older Kids (8 to 14 years)
New funding to expand in 2022-2024! Read more in the University of Waterloo News! Daniela received a grant from the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation to expand the collection for young children to all 5 branches and also create a new collection of board games for 8- to 14-year-olds, which is aimed to be in place by Oct. 2024. In addition, a new Build a Board Game 5-week summer program will be held at KPL in the summer of 2023 for the first time hosted by our lab.
This outreach project was first covered in the University of Waterloo's News
Our newest article!
is now available openly in the American Journal of Play!
Please read before using materials below
This initiative is described in more detail below and relevant materials are provided openly for other interested libraries or institutions to use and adapt according to a CC BY-NC license, unless stated otherwise. This license allows re-users to distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon the material in any medium or format for noncommercial purposes only, and only so long as attribution is given to the creator. (The creator for the text of these materials should be indicated to be Daniela O'Neill. Some items may have other stated attributions, such as photographs or drawings for which sources and any applicable permissions are noted).
Please note that the materials below are those that Daniela and her students worked on and provided to the library. Much more work went on at the library to get this collection off the ground. If you are interested in learning more about the library side, please contact Kitchener Public Library - Central Branch for details.
Board Games in KPL's Collection for Young Children (2 to 8 years) - April 2021
- The original 34 board games in KPL's collection for young children were chosen to meet a number of criteria. Some of the most important criteria I took into account when choosing the set of games were:
- suitable for children from approximately 2 to 8 years of age
- no commercial or popular culture figures or themes that might limit cross-cultural play and conversation
- wide variety of different themes and topics that would appeal across different ages, genders, and cultures
- involve little to no reading to play (aside from instructions to play, and for this we created 1-page Quickstart Instructions) to facilitate play by mixed-age groups and in many languages
- an element of chance, so that adults or older siblings playing with younger siblings won't always win
- mixture of competitive and co-operative games
- beautiful aesthetics wherever possible - wooden pieces, eco- and child-friendly materials, art and design features
- high-quality and durable
- allow solo play or other kinds of play, such as pretend play, with the materials
- allow for different ways to play beyond the instructions (e.g., a memory game could become a lotto game, a hide-and-seek game
- In addition to these criteria, many of these games were part of Board Game Buddies in the elementary school recess program for several years and had proven to be very popular with the students. The games were also part of 4 Family Board Game Fun events at the library to get additional feedback from patrons as to whether they liked the game(s) and would like to see it in a collection.
- The following table lists all the 34 games in the KPL collection with some short descriptors, suitable for use in describing the full collection in a binder, list for patrons etc.
- The following excel table lists all the 34 in the KPL collection games in the current KPL collection in a greater amount of detail (e.g., manufacturer information) and is easily sortable along different criteria (e.g., age, competitive vs cooperative) using excel
- Note: the original collection was expanded by 15 games, but we are still working to add the information for these new games.
On the new Talk2Thrive YouTube Channel, Daniela is featuring short videos of some of the games! This is a work in progress and they will be uploaded as they are made.
- These 1-page instructions were originally make for Board Game Buddies in the school recess program. Because we wanted older children to be able to rapidly learn the games, we created a set of 1-page instructions with very simplified wording compared to the more detailed instructions that often came with the games. Also, these instructions all follow a similar order in terms of setting up the game, playing the game, and how it ends (as instructions that come with games often presenting this information differently making it harder for children to follow and understand them. These simplified instructions also added a little extra element of literacy practice for students. For the library program, especially the Board Game Family Fun Events, we found these instructions to be very helpful in getting game play going quickly. We printed the sheets and put them in a protective plastic covering and handed them out along with the game. They have also been included with the games in the collection when they are lent out (except for one game, Sleeping Queens, for which the complexity of the game did not easily allow a 1-age format.)
- The following zip folders contain all the 1-page Quickstart Instructions for all of the games in the KPL collection (apart from Sleeping Queens). These instructions are provided in Microsoft Word and PDF format in case a user wishes to edit them. Because of an uploading maximum per zip file of 25 MB, the files are broken up into 5 parts:
- Quickstart Instructions Part 1 • Quickstart Instructions Part 2 • Quickstart Instructions Part 3 • Quickstart Instructions Part 4 • Quickstart Instructions Part 5
- When library patrons are visiting the library in person, a binder can be made available to them to peruse the collection and see descriptions of the games in more detail. These 1-page descriptions are all formatted in a similar way with information regarding the following:
- An overall game category that included the following categories: My first games;
- Playing time
- Number of Players
- If solo play possible
- If reading required or not
- Short description of the game and a photo of the game
- The following zip folder contains all 1-page Game Descriptions for all of the games in the KPL collection. These instructions are provided in Microsoft Word and PDF format in case a user wishes to edit them.
- At time of clean-up for Board Game Buddies in the schools, or at time of return of the game for the library, it is important that a check is made that all components of the game have made it back into the box. To help this happen, content lists were made up for all the games. This contact list can be placed, for example, on the inside lid of the game box, or the back of the Quickstart Instructions.
- The following zip folder contains all 1-page Content Lists for all of the games in the KPL collection. These instructions are provided in Microsoft Word and PDF format in case a user wishes to edit them
A set of 5 posters was developed to use at events that describe different kinds of learning afforded by playing board games. They are shown below and provided in pdf form. (if you need an alternate form, please contact Daniela to see if it is available.) These posters are provided under a CC-BY-NC license and so can be used but only for non-commercial purposes. Images of children are from kankham@123RF.com and our standard license obtained from 123RF permits non-commercial sharing of these images embedded in these posters.
The following Boardgame Learning Posters folder contains PDF copies of these 5 posters.
Pamphlet of Tips for Parents
This small pamphlet was developed for parents and other caregivers to provide some tips to enrich play and conversation during boardgame play for choosing similar games for young children. It also highlights some of the many types of learning that can happen during boardgame play as shown on the posters. The pamphlet of tips is provided in pdf form. (if you need an alternate form, please contact Daniela to see if it is available.) This pamphlet is provided under a CC-BY-NC license and so can be used but only for non-commercial purposes. Images of children are from rastudio@123RF.com and our standard license obtained from 123RF permits non-commercial sharing of these images embedded in the pamphlet. We printed it landscape orientation, 2 pages per side, double sided, so that it only takes one page to print it all. This pdf will allow one page, double sided printing (flip on short side) and then fold in middle to make 4 page pamphlet.