Friday , July 19 2024
Criss-Cross Applesauce

Learning Game Review: ‘Criss-Cross Applesauce’ from University Games’ Briarpatch

Criss-Cross Applesauce from the Briarpatch brand of University Games is part of the Play & Learn System dedicated to prepare children to enter preschool. The system features five skill areas: social skills, literacy, imagination, coordination, and mathematics. Social skills, imagination, and coordination are of course lifelong skills, and having a head start on symbol recognition and counting is a great asset to a young school-goer. Criss-Cross Applesauce is a great introductory game for young kids with its organized play, making learning fun.

Straightforward Rules

Criss-Cross Applesauce takes only seconds to learn to play. All players sit in a circle with their legs crossed, hence the name. Players take turns drawing Activity Cards from a facedown pile in the middle of the circle. A card bear an image of a challenge that player should seek to do. With three categories, each card is a new adventure, leading to silly fun as players think how to portray their cards.

The Activity Card may be an “Action” such as jumping like a kangaroo or giving a thumbs-up. Or, it could be a “Pretend” where players make sounds or act out animals, hooting like an owl or baaing like a sheep. Or the card could even be a “Trace It” card where the player must trace out a letter of the alphabet with the Talking Stick. This last mode of play may be more difficult for very young players, but the cards help out by featuring a diagram on how to trace the letter.

The active player in Criss-Cross Applesauce continues until someone guesses their Activity. Everyone sits down again, and the player places their card face down in front of them. The next player draws a new Activity Card and must act it out as well as the previous Activities that have already been played. As the activities add up, the game becomes more challenging with more to do. Play continues until the used Action cards become too muddled to continue.

Learning to Learn and Work Together

Criss-Cross Applesauce shines as a game to learn social interaction. The rules are easy to explain, and a reminder or two will help for anyone who may need a few tries to get into the rhythm. With a cooperative goal to collect as many Activities in a row as possible, everyone can chip in to have a great time. Stringing together the Activities and needing to reproduce them helps practice memory for individuals as well as in a team where players can help each other out.

Great for Young Players

Criss-Cross Applesauce is a cooperative action game for two or more players aged three and up. With more players, it is easier to remember which action comes next thanks to being able to match it to that player, as well as having a bigger audience of guessers to name the roaring action to be a lion. Older kids might like to join in, too, since the Activities are straightforward and an individual challenge while the overall game is teamwork.

About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.

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