by

Barbara Klett

Email comments to: bklett@worldnet.att.net.

Instructional Objective

The learners will be able to anticipate the milestones of a baby's first year out of the womb and will share thoughts and experiences regarding child rearing.


Learners

The game is designed for married couples who are expecting their first child. The game is also appropriate for engaged couples who are considering the possibility of raising children.


Object of Game

Maneuver your "baby" through the first 12 months of its life outside of the womb and be the first team to reach the "birthday party".

 


Game Materials


Time Required

The game can be played by 1 couple or as many as 4 couples and will take approximately 45 minutes to an hour to complete.


The Set-up

Arrange the four game boards so players can travel from Months 1-3 to Months 4-6, from Months 4-6 to Months 7-9, and from Months 7-9 to Months 10-12, as shown above.

Place the green Milestone Cards on the space provided in Months 1-3. Place the yellow Milestone Cards on the space provided in Months 4-6. Place the red Milestone Cards on the space provided in Months 7-9. Place the blue Milestone Cards on the space provided in Months 10-12.

Place the Talk-About-It cards on the space provided.


Preparing to Play

FORM TEAMS
Players should divide into teams, with husband and wife (or engaged couple) as a team.

GET ORGANIZED
Each team should:

Each individual should:


Playing the Game

     
  1. Before the game begins, each individual should answer the questions on their Decisions Card. Do not allow anyone to see the answers on your card. Place completed Decisions Card in your Decisions Card Holder to be used later in the game.
  2. Each team will roll the number cube. The team with the highest number will go first. Play will continue in a counter-clockwise direction around the table.
  3. Each team, in turn, will draw the top Milestone Card in the Months 1-3 section of the game board. Read the milestone information given on the card aloud for all teams to hear. Make sure to identify the approximate time (identified in parentheses) this milestone may occur.
  4. When the milestone is read from the card, each team will examine their Derby-Bingo Card to see if they have that milestone. If the milestone is on their Derby-Bingo Card, they will place the appropriate Derby-Bingo Time Chip on top of the milestone. (One way to win the game is to be the first team to cover five squares in a row, vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, so pay careful attention to the Milestone Cards.)
  5. The team that read the Milestone Card will move their game piece the number of spaces dictated on the card. Each team will place the cards they draw, face down, in front of them.

Reminder: Draw Milestone Cards from the quarter of the year your game piece is traveling through (e.g., draw yellow Milestone Cards when your game piece is on the Months 4-6 section of the game board).


Two Twists and Turns

  1. There are points on the game board at which you and your teammate will have to make decisions on the path to travel. When your playing piece comes to a fork in the path on the Diaper Derby game board, read the first question on your Decisions Card for all players to hear. Then reveal the answer you wrote on the Decisions Card before the game began, verbally, as you expose your response through the window on the Decisions Card Holder for teams to confirm your answer.

    If you and your spouse gave essentially the same answer to the question, select the shortest path at this point on the game board and continue playing.

    If you and your spouse gave significantly different answers to the question, select the longest path at this point on the game board and continue playing.

     

  2. Some squares on the game board are identified as "Talk-About-It". If your team's game piece should land on a Talk-About-It square, immediately draw a Talk-About-It Card and read it aloud to the group.

    Share your thoughts or memories as directed on the Talk-About-It Card. At the first Talk-About-It stop, the husband should share. At the second Talk-About-It stop, the wife should share. Alternate answering between the two partners as you travel along the Diaper Derby.


Winning the Game

There are two ways to win Diaper Derby:

  1. The first team to cover five squares in a row, vertically, horizontally, or diagonally on their Derby-Bingo Card wins the game.

    OR

  2. The first team to reach the birthday party at the end of the Months 10-12 section of the game board wins the game.


Design Process

This game was originally going to be designed for parents of preschoolers who have children ages 0 to 5. As I started researching parent-teams for content I realized that issues of concern for parents of a two-year old and issues of concern for parent of a five-year old are LIGHT years apart. I'm relatively new to this child-rearing "thing" and do I have a LOT to learn!

I decided to narrow the audience of the game, and redesigned it for married couples expecting their first child. The content of the game is informative and introspective. A number of issues related to ideas and opinions on child rearing are presented, making the game appropriate for engaged couples who are considering the possibility of raising children in the future.

The path design of the game board was a difficult decision. The content of the game is linear, with numerous decision paths along the way. I wasn't sure how to direct the teams on which path to take through the game. Of course all players want to take the shortest path, but I wanted the reward of the shortest path to be granted to couples (teams) who had agreement on child-rearing strategies. If they can think about these issues BEFORE they have a child it will make them a stronger "team" as they raise their actual baby.

I decided to create Decision Cards with 10 difficult decision questions on each card. Those couples that share the same opinion on these questions were granted the use of the shortest path, for their "journey" may be a bit easier.

The content placed on the Milestone Cards will help the parents-to-be to become familiar with what lies ahead for them and their baby. In the game design I found it difficult to keep the players accountable for that content. It was too easy to draw a Milestone Card and simply read the number of spaces to move the playing piece. Enter the Derby-Bingo Cards and Time Chips. This element helps draw the players attention to the content of the game in a light, but purposeful manner.

The Talk-About-It cards were another addition in the game-design process. Working through the issues and experiences generated by these cards will give players an opportunity to discuss their thoughts and memories before the time they become the topics of a family disagreement.

Playing the game was an extreme help in the design process. The game evolved from a very dull exercise (Milestone Cards only) to a very fun and enlightening experience (Talk-About-It Cards and Derby-Bingo game).


References

Eisenberg, A., Murkoff, H. E., Hathaway, S. E. (1989). What to expect the first year. New York, NY: Workman Publishing.


Email comments about this game to: Barbara Klett.


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