Just wanted to share this little gem of a game – In the Country. We got it for my daughter for her 4th birthday (total approximation) and although it does not get brought out very often any longer, it is still a household favorite. The basic premise of the game is to make meals. The puzzle-piece board is a farm landscape and, after placing all the items on the board, you proceed to gather and process your harvest into ingredients for the kitchen. Harvested grains are turned into flour for bread. Hay is fed to cows who produce milk for processing into cheese. And so on…
When we first got the game, she would take it out near dinner time and spend quite a bit of time immersed in open-ended play with all the figures – girl and boy farmers, loaves of bread, carrots, apples and eggs. But now, we’ve amped up the game play to cooperative meal-making with an additional step added to the process – fertilization. Ha! We’ll “make” cheese sandwiches with fresh fruit and carrots and serve up an apple pie as dessert.
This particular version of the game has been discontinued but a little Haba research will help you find some of the other great food/harvest games that they have – Orchard and On the Farm. The latter appears to be a shorter-play version of In the Country for the preschool set.
For those of you looking in Austin, you might try Terra Toys or the store at the Austin Waldorf School which carried lots of Haba products last time I was there.