Cooper is really into...errr, obsessed, with Mario. Since the spring his interest has been peaked and he loves Mario just about as much as the Ninja Turtles.
We had a hard time trying to balance Cooper's time playing Mario with the other things a 3 year old should be doing...playing outside, playing inside, playing upstairs, playing downstairs, playing at the park. Playing, playing, playing...with things other than video games.
When he first started playing on his own (yes, he's 3 and can play almost as well as I can) I didn't think much about how much time had gone by. He didn't play for hours, but I also didn't have a strict set time. Well, I noticed a little thing called ATTITUDE accompanying him after he started playing. So, I set a strict time of 20 minutes a day. Thinking I had solved my problem we proceeded with a 20 minute a day regimen for a couple of weeks. Nothing much changed. If anything, it made things worse due to a full blown tantrum when it was time to turn it off.
I decided that Cooper should earn his time. If Cooper has a good day without any time-outs or spankings he gets a sticker. Each sticker is worth 10 minutes of Mario time. He has two options for cashing in his stickers. He can wait until the end of the week, with the possibility of playing 70 minutes, or cash them in mid-week and doing some 30/40 minute sessions. This option has worked wonders for us. His attitude has been MUCH better, and the stickers have motivated good behavior. And, when it's time to turn Mario off, he's ok with it because he understands his time is up.
I wanted something else, though. I wished for some type of Mario game that could be played without having to play a video game. Enter: our Mario Game Boards.
I made this Mario game board. We bought little lego Mario pieces to play with, took out a piece of dice from our Farkle game, and I colored a half-size poster board.
Not to be out-done, my husband also created a Mario game board. He designed it and had it printed on some heavy-duty material. My only critique: it's so big!
Here are the rules with a few up close pictures.
Objective: Be the first to get to the end of the pipe.
Coin spaces: When you land on a coin, you get to move ahead one more space.
Star spaces: When you land on a star, you get to move ahead three more spaces.
Red Shell spaces: When you land on a red shell, you have to move back 2 spaces.
Black space: When you land on the first black space, you get to shoot across to the other black space, like a cannon. (On my board game).
Box with vine: If you land on the space under the box with the vine, move up the vine to the cloud space. (On Andrew's board game).
When you land on the same space as another player, you have to "battle". A battle is done by rolling the dice. Higher roll wins. The person who rolled the lower number goes back one space.
***The only time you do not battle is if you land on the same space as another person after moving because of a special space or battle. Ex: If you battle with someone, and go back one space, and another player is on this space, you don't have to battle. Or, if you land on a star and move ahead three spaces, and there is another player on that space, you don't have to battle.***
It has been so nice to have this game board. On a day when we aren't cashing in our stickers, this game can be played so he can get his Mario fix.
Are you having the same Mario challenges we did? Try these things and see if they help!
If you don't want to draw it on your own and would like a smaller size version of the board Andrew created, visit his website and email him. Just a couple of dollars and you'll have the file for your own game board.