Playing board games

I pulled out my board games for kindergarten day. I have only two (each): Scrabble and Monopoly. Scrabble works really well if you tell the kids that it’s a cooperative, rather than a competitive, game.

I had never been successful having kids play Monopoly (in fact, I have taken out the games only about four times in 26 years). But there was a perfect storm of a university volunteer, a middle-school event in the gym, and the need to split the class, some of whom had seen the game in my closet and begged for it.

This time, we drilled some important phrases to start, and then added a key rule. If anyone speaks English, they have to pay whoever catches them 50 (rubles, in our case). If it’s a general outcry, the 50 rubles go to the bank. Wow…did that ever work. Kids were having a fine time speaking Russian.

Really, the high-frequency phrases take care of most of what they need to say; they just have to occasionally circumlocute. “I want to buy,” “Give me,” “That’s wrong,” “Throw the die,” “Take the card,” and so on…these are all phrases that came out of their mouths with no trouble. So, surprisingly, did “Calm down!” I must say that occasionally.

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