Monopoly is a popular board game many of us have lying around somewhere at home. Even though even the 'Monopoly Junior' edition is only for ages 5 and up, it's possible to play the game with much younger kids, as young as two years old. It is a great game to learn the basics of numbers. Of course, you need to make new rules which are much simpler. The Monopoly Junior edition is particularly suitable, but the regular edition of Monopoly can be used, too. The Monopoly game items serve as great props and can be used in lots of different ways.
Example Monopoly game rules for toddlers
- Your toddler chooses a token (i.e. car or other object) for each of the players, and remembers which token belongs to which person. You might like to include favourite stuffed animals (cuddly toys) as additional players. Each player - including any stuffed animal - gets a bowl or plate on which to keep their Monopoly money.
- Each player in turn throws the dice, then the toddler counts the dots. Use just one dice for young players.
- The player then moves the tokens as many steps as dots on the dice. For toddlers it might be difficult to understand at first what consitutes one step (crossing the line from one space to another). It might also be difficult to understand at first where to start from, and to move the tokens in a clockwise direction. But that doesn't really matter. It is still fun and educational simply to count the steps - no matter where the token ends up.
- If you want your toddler to learn about money, you can give an amount of money equivalent to the number of dots on the dice and steps on the board. So each turn the player gets some money. For example, for three dots, take three steps, and take/receive three $1 bills. The toddler can be responsible for handing out the correct number of bills to each player. If the dice has five dots, the $5 bill can also be used instead of $1 bills. This teaches the association between quantity in terms of the number of bills, as well as in terms of the actual number on the bill. The Monopoly Junior edition also has $2, $3 and $4 bills. When your toddler is a bit older, you could introduce adding the bills together (e.g. instead of getting $3 through three $1 bills, you get one $1 bill and one $2 bill).
- When the above rules are familiar and your toddler is ready for it, you can introduce spending money to buy houses/hotels and place them either where the player is located, or anywhere on the board. From there, the rest of the actual Monopoly rules can gradually follow.
- Once the game is complete, the toddler can count and/or sort the piles of money from each of the players.