image by Dawn + 2 girls

One of the largest toy makers in the world, Hasbro, has introduced a set of new games to help teach preschoolers manners. The NOODLEBORO games "let you nurture kids’ social skills naturally through multi-sensory play". Each game comes with a storybook and an audio CD so kids can see, hear, play and then live each NOODLEBORO life lesson.

In the first game, the children try to have a picnic but pesky ants keep getting in the way. They must have good manners and say 'please' and 'thank you' to get rid of them. In the second game, the kids run a pizza shop but must learn to listen and pay attention in case the customers order such things as stinky socks as a topping. The third game centres around a carnival and the social skill being taught is sharing. The children must collect as many sharing stars as they can before the park closes. The players are not rewarded for a particular dice roll but rather for listening carefully, sharing tokens with friends and saying "please" and "thank you."

These are all important skills that young children must learn. I'm not sure if learning them through this type of game is a 'natural' way to learn, but perhaps it will give parents some confidence in teaching these skills if they can put it in a context that the children understand and have fun with. The important thing is to reinforce these qualities at home from day to day. There is no point playing games where the child is encouraged to be polite and think of others if there is no reinforcement outside the game, book or the CD.