Another wonderful game suggestion for young children

There are so many wonderful games out there, the real problem is not having enough time to play them all! If you have a young children at home, this week I am highlighting three of my favorite board games to play with young children. Yesterday I wrote about Yatzee Jr and today it’s all about Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

The silly name of this game is enough to get any child off the couch and over to the table to play with you!

This game is based on the popular book by Mo Willems. Actually, my grandson had not seen the book and still loved the game. But I think that any child who loves the book will be delighted to play the game, also.

This is a typical board game with the object being to collect four tokens (one from each side of the game board) and return to the bus depot first. Each player takes a turn by spinning a spinner. The spinner can land on any one of six spaces, three of which allow the player to move his own piece and three of which allow the player to move the pigeon (more on the pesky pigeon is coming in the next paragraph). There is no one way to move around the board, though, so each player must decide whether to move backwards or forwards with each turn.

Now about the pigeon… In addition to the bus pieces that each player has, there is a pigeon piece on the bus. Each time a player spins and land on the pigeon side of the spinner instead of on the bus side, that player must move the pigeon the designated number of spaces. If the pigeon lands on your bus, you are sent back to your home base. In this way, this game involves both offense and defense — offense as you try to maneuver your bus to the tokens and back to the depot first, and defense as you try to move the pigeon towards your competitors’ buses.

My grandson actually hoped he would land on the pigeon side of the spinner and had more fun chasing my bus with the pigeon than he did collecting the tokens!

This game is ideal for children of all ages. When playing with a younger child, you can play cooperatively, collaborating on each move to help each other get tokens quickly. Also, you can work together to move the pigeon as far away from your buses as possible. With older children, you can be more strategic by using the pigeon to block your competitors and by planning your route around the board to take advantage of special spaces that allow you to swap places with other players’ buses. This game is both silly and challenging and you and your children will love it!

Check back later this week for my third game suggestion!
For information on helping your child develop important school-readiness skills, please visit Renee at for a kindergarten readiness test and free kindergarten worksheets.

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Renee Abramovitz is a a former preschool and kindergarten teacher who retired in 2008 to become a “full-time grandma” to her four beautiful grandsons. She is passionate about the idea that all parents are their child’s first and most important teacher and strives to give parents the tools and confidence they need to successfully work with their children at home. Renee shares tips for working with young children at where she offers a free kindergarten readiness test parents can take to assess their child’s readiness to start school plus hundreds upon hundreds of free kindergarten worksheets for parents to use at home with their children.

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  • Nekky , October 26, 2011

    Nice post. I got something similar from a second hand sale in our church but haven't got time to play it with my kids.

  • Melinda , October 28, 2011

    I love board games and thought I knew them all, but I've never heard of this one. Cute idea. Being on the third child, I love NEW games. 🙂 I'm tired of so many.

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