Our youngest daughter is experiencing all sorts of developmental epiphanies in recent weeks. We’re having back and forth mini conversations, she’s able to repeat simple melodies from her favourite songs, and even her counting is developing faster than we expected. One area that has seemingly been a challenge for her to grasp is colours. A few weeks ago, pretty much everything was purple. Not long after, she started identifying colours by their Paw Patrol counterparts! It’s fascinating to watch, and adorable to see her respond to “What colour is this?” with an enthusiastic “CHASE!” (If you’re curious, Chase is the blue one.)
Fortunately, colour matching is a common element to find in games designed for 2-3 years olds, so we’ve had plenty of opportunity to talk and play with colours. One of those games is Flower Fairy, from HABA’s My Very First Games series. The story of the game is that of Rosalina, the flower fairy herself, who wakes up from her cozy bed, and decides to grow some flowers with her magic wand, journeying all the way from her bed to the flowers in a colourful dance!
Inside the box are a wooden fairy piece, 9 wooden flower stems in three colours (blue, green and pink) and three shapes, three cardboard blossom tokens, and a six-sided die.
The game also features a two-sided board, where Rosalina (the title character of the game), wanders along the path to either the Springtime Pond or the Summer Meadow. Players take turns rolling the ABSOLUTELY MASSIVE action die, which will either result in a colourful circle, a sparkling star, or a pink image of the flower fairy herself. If the roll result is a colour, the player will take a matching stem piece and place it on the matching flower space – on one side of the board the match is a colour, and the other will match by shape. On a star result, the player chooses any stem and places it in the same way. And finally, if the fairy appears on the die, Rosalina will move one step forward on the path, bringing her closer to her flowery creation. Once the third stem is stacked, players can also add the blossom token on top, to bring that flower to a glorious bloom! The game can end in one of two ways – if all three flowers have a bloom token (the players win), or if Rosalina finishes her journey to the flowers (the flower fairy wins).
Before learning anything about how it played, the thing that sold me on Flower Fairy was the components. Everything in the box is positively massive! Big, chunky, colourful wooden bits, and thick, sturdy cardboard. It’s a delight to have on the table, and once the box is open and the pieces are on the table, I don’t even need to ask if the girls want to play. Visually, it could not be any more perfect!
The rulebook is also an amazing element for adults, as it includes a bit of story to help introduce the game to small children, and encourages free play with the components before presenting any sort of structure to the game. It also suggests a number of questions and ideas for engaging the young players outside of the game itself. Everything about this manual is infused with thoughtfulness and care.
If I were a child-free gamer looking at this title, I’d have to grumble about the lack of choices in the game. Each turn is about rolling the die, and obeying the result. However, I am the opposite of child-free, and this game is absolutely not about making choices! Teaching a toddler to take turns, handle game pieces with purpose and respect, and matching colours and shapes, is more than enough for a 2 year old to grapple. It also has allows plenty of opportunity for creative play and storytelling, which is an important intangible for the munchkins to dive into regularly.
For us big kids, as beautiful as the game is, Flower Fairy won’t be making it to the table once the littles have gone to bed, and due to its simplicity, will certainly have a shorter lifespan on our shelves than some other children’s games. By the time our Little Bean is 3 or 4 years old, we’ll likely be gifting Flower Fairy to another family.
We may only play with it for a year or so, but Flower Fairy is a game we would highly recommend for children aged 18 months to 3 years. Two Little Thumbs Up!
My Very First Games – Flower Fairy is a cooperative children’s game of colour matching and dice rolling. Plays in 10 minutes, for 1 to 3 players, and is recommended for ages 2 and up. Designed by Christiane Hüpper, with artwork from Anna Karina Birkenstock, and published by HABA.