Product review: Green Eggs and Ham: Speedy Diner! game
Rating: 5/5 stars (or 5 giant platters of green eggs and ham, please!)
Copyright© 2011 ThingsThatWedo.com. All Rights Reserved.
I’ve never been a big fan of board games, even as a child. But, as a parent, I realize how beneficial board games can be for children. Playing board games is a time to bond as a family, your child gets to practice turn taking, learns how to self-regulate (e.g. to wait patiently for her turn despite the urge to go right NOW), as well as a host of other skills.
Objective of the game: What are you doing Sam-I-Am?
This is why the Green Eggs and Ham: Speedy Diner! game gets top marks in my book. The premise of the game is simple: Sam-I-am has opened up a new diner/restaurant. Customers order food from the menu and the faster you deliver the food, the more coins you’ll get in the end.
Children’s game product review: What happens at your diner, Sam-I-Am?
There are a lot of game pieces: a big chef hat, small and sturdy game coins, double sided food shapes, a large plastic menu (battery operated requires 3 AA), a bunch of circle menu cards, 3 customers ready at their individual tables, and a coin sheet to keep track of all the coins you’ve earned.
Before the game starts, choose one circle food ordering card and insert it into the menu. Do it carefully though, or it will jam. Here’s where the fun begins. The chef holds the battery operated musical menu. Once on, fast music plays to encourage the chef to read quickly and get those orders out! Push the side bar to advance to the next food order but be careful because if you push too many times, you’ll go miss your food order! (aha, this teaches precise and calculated movements for your children while going quickly!)
Now, who are serving? There are 3 customers: fox, goat, and mouse sitting at their own tables. They can be placed anywhere on the floor. Decide where you want them to sit because, the farther away they are, the more running you’ll have to do if you want to serve the food fast to earn more coins!
What is tricky though is that sometimes, your customers will want to switch meals with each other or they will want you to remove certain shapes or colours from their tables. You also need really good eyes because the food cards are double sided so you may have to flip them to find the right foods.
Occasionally, as you’re playing, the musical menu will yell out ‘bug bonus, bug bonus!’ and when you hear that, you’ll need to take a close look at what foods your customers have. If there are any bugs, you get extra coins!
The musical menu will let you know when you’re done serving all the customers. And how will you know if you did it all correctly? Aha! Answers are revealed once you flip over the hidden flap. Depending on how fast you were, the musical menu will either tell you to get 1 coin, 2 or 3 coins for each correct final answer (e.g. Goat has only a yellow cracker, fox has a red sandwich, and mouse has pink tea).
Sam-I-Am, will I come back to your diner?
As you can see from my game review on Green Eggs and Ham: Speedy Diner! that this game has a lot of potential. In the beginning, it may be hard for your child to comprehend all the different instructions so you can start small (e.g. just following the food orders and not worrying about the coins). When my daughter and I first started playing this game, we put the customers close together, focused on getting the food to the right customer, and sadly, we didn’t even notice the hidden answer flap until weeks later so we had to guess if we were right or wrong!
Oh, there is much to learn from your diner game, Sam-I-Am!
Over time though, your child really gets to use his/her working memory (ie. holding and juggling a lot of information in his/her brain) especially when the menu tells them to switch meals or that a certain customer no longer wants a certain shaped food item (e.g. Fox doesn’t want anything round).
As they get better at this game, you can also up the challenge by putting the customers farther away or in awkward locations. They also have to remember to flip cards over if they can’t find the food item they’re looking for! During this game, they get to practice their colours, pre-reading skills, exerting confidence in projecting food orders, team building skills since chef and waiters have to work together to win the coins, and of course, basic math skills when they have to count out how many coins they’ve earned.
I also like that this game is open enough that it can be played in different ways. Players can take turns calling out food orders, it doesn’t have to be just the chef that does it.
My one and only critique about this game is that the pink and purple are too similar in shade to be helpful to a child just learning their colours. Both are quite faded (very pastel) making it hard to distinguish them easily. I would have preferred more obvious colours. Also, the circle menu cards aren’t easy to insert into the musical menu. Any preschooler trying to stick the card in by themselves may quickly get frustrated or they may end up jamming the card in while also being frustrated. Thus, best to let an adult facilitate with this until the child has mastered the technique of inserting the card ‘just so’.
All in all, Green and Eggs: Speedy Diner! is a great game with longevity that involves not only your big brain but all those other big body muscles (since your brain is a muscle too!). Green and Eggs: Speedy Diner! is a great party game for your child or as a birthday gift for any young child but do note there are small pieces so watch for choking hazards if you have a wee one!