Thankfully our kids love sitting around and playing games as a family. The problem is the age gap .. we have a 9 year old, 4 year old, and 2 year old. The younger two often complain that they "can't play" some of the games - as games like Monopoly and Battleship we keep out of their reach. Even games like Chutes & Ladders and CandyLand have too many rules for them to understand.
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In trying to build on their love of "matching" games and their basic concept watching my son playing Uno, we had put Uno Moo on the birthday wishlist for my 4 year old daughter - and her grandparents picked it up for her! They were able to find it at right around $15.00, which I felt was fine for this type of game. We didn't really know all that the game was going to involve, though we had watched commercials about it, and knew it was leveled to the age of preschool children.
Uno Moo is based on the concept of the card game Uno. This, in part, relies on children's ability to understand the concept of matching .. and in this preschool version the ability to match colors and pictures. Uno Moo does not come as a game of cards. Uno Moo looks more like a toddler toy, and the idea of a game appears secondary .. but don't be fooled!
Uno Moo comes as a rectangular, red plastic barn. Cute and decorative it looks like something sold similarly to Little People sets. The barn appears to have an opening or "ledge" for things to rest on. The roof of the barn hinges open and inside are a number of "chunky" barn people and animals - cows, sheep, farms, and even a skunk. The chunky pieces are round but easy to hold. They have flat bottoms so they won't roll around. They have stickered on faces depicting what barn thing they are and the pieces are in a variety of primary colors.
The directions are vital, as there's no way to figure out how to play without them. The brief rules were easy for the adults and my 9 year old to learn and follow. My 4 year old understands most of this game, and my 2 year old a little less than that.
Basically, the premise is to pull out pieces for each player. The pieces (since they are short) are hidden behind these cardboard "haystacks" that come with the game. These haystacks look sort of like a small visor and allows each player to "hide" their characters behind it. Then, from the remaining pieces inside the barn, a piece at random is placed on the barn ledge. Then the first player goes and tries to make a color or picture match. The barn spins around from player to player with each taking their turn. To take a turn the player pushes the figure standing on the ledge and it falls into the barn inside. The new figure takes its place on the ledge.
Similar to the card game Uno, Uno Moo have 2 special characters - the farmer and the skunk. The farmers are all white and they serve as the Wild piece. (meaning it can allow the player to change to any color) The skunk serves as the Draw 2 - meaning the next player has to take 2 pieces out of the barn.
My girls understand the basic framework of Uno Moo. The 2 year old gets a huge thrill out of knocking the piece on the ledge and into the barn. She is proud to have her character take its place! She is learning turn taking but often gets frustrated when there are more than 2 players. My 4 year old completely understands the game, except for the farmer and skunk pieces.
Uno Moo certainly is cute to look at. The plastic "barn" serves as the storage and carrying case. The girls love that and actually have played with the toy alongside their Little People - so beyond the game playing this toy has served as a family "barn" for the kids.
We often can play this game quickly, which works well for the children's short attention span. The familiar colors and animals and their ability to quickly match seems like a natural match to this game. It's been a struggle though to teach them all of the rules associated with this game, and often times we use the farmer and skunk like regular pieces.
We usually have an adult be the "leader" of the game - passing out the haystacks, the pieces, and spinning the barn. There's a lot of verbal direction needed in this game in order to play by the rules - and when we've let the children try and play solo it turns into their version of "let's knock the pieces into the barn as quickly as we can!" ...
The kids don't really get the part about "hiding" the pieces behind the haystack, and often they are haphazardly behind the thing, so much so that all of us older players can see their colors. Still, the younger ones don't seem to notice or care. Thankfully the 9 year old doesn't call them out on it.
Overall this is a cute gift, and they do ask to play it weekly. The games go quickly and its nice to have a game we can use with all of the children together - and start a family game night. I think Uno Moo is one of the few games that really has tried to think of preschoolers, and adapt an already familiar game to many of us. Overall we enjoy the game and we are glad to have it in our collection.
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Amount Paid (US$): gift - 15
Type of Toy: Educational
Age Range of Child: Kids to Teens