This morning, my 4 year old son and I went through my games to find something to play. We ultimately pulled out this little gem:
I had forgotten that I had this game. It has been tucked away in a box with other little games, and simply had been ignored for the last few years. My mistake. This was a great game to teach a 4 year old.
It has cute rubber pigs, each in a different color (red, white, yellow, black, blue and red), a set of track cards, the playing cards which feature a cute image of a running pig on a different colored background that matches the color of the pigs, and food cards.
The essence of the game is this: Play one of your color cards to move the corresponding colored rubber pig. The pig that you move, leaps the the next available space. If that space is at the front of all the pigs on the track, you move your chosen pig to that space. It's just the next available space, no matter where it is. If the pig you move on your turn becomes the leader, you get a food card. If the pig doesn't become the new leader, you get no food card.
The game is simple, and fun. It is easy for a 4 year old to grasp. It din't take long for him to realize that he could move any pig he wanted, so long as he had the card to move it. He also got excited when he jumped all the pigs to take the lead and got the food. He could name each item of food as he got it (cabbage, corn, carrots, etc.)
I've had the game for roughly 10 years, and have always enjoyed it and have taught many non-gamers this little card game. Its fun and everyone has a bit of a laugh. But don't over think the game.
It first appears random, but the more you play it, you feel like you can create a strategy. Unfortunately, when there are several players, it really always comes down to guessing what pig your opponent is going to move. No matter what strategy you have devised, it's going to be destroyed because the 3 people who have turns before you are each going to move that one pig you need to stay in place for your strategy to work.
But it's fun. And with a four year old, there was some actual learning elements involved. It strengthens color knowledge, food knowledge, counting (the number of food cards) and, best of all, learning to take turns and be patient. We got excited when each of us got a food, and laughed when the food was taken away.
Overall, I'd say another fun game session with my son. What more could a father want?