Do you remember Gator Golf? The preschool hole-in-one game originally rolled into the toy scene in the mid-1990s, and I'm so excited to tell you that it is making a major comeback. Goliath Games, purveyor of all things fun, is re-releasing everyone's favorite hungry alligator this fall. Gator Golf has served as many children's first introduction to the joy of golfing (or certainly to mini-golf), and I must admit I love the idea of "vintage" games coming back into popular culture. Why yes, I am still in possession of my childhood favorite board games, Candy Land and Girl Talk. I mean, everyone has their thing, right?
So, in case you're not familiar, here's why Gator Golf rocks. In the game, which is for two to four players ages 3 and up, children take turns using a flamingo-shaped golf club, perfectly sized for their little hands, and knock it into the mouth of the motorized alligator figure. When the friendly gator gobbles up the ball, he returns it with a happy swish of his tail, creating a new challenge for the next player. Little birds sitting on the alligator's back help keep score. Three points wins the game, and no batteries are required. Truly, are there any sweeter four words to parents than "no batteries are required"?
Now, other than the obvious fun of the activity and introducing your child to the game of golf, playing Gator Golf is also helpful for little ones still perfecting their fine motor skills. According to VeryWell Family, fine motor skill activities involve manual dexterity and often require coordinating movements of the hands and fingers with the eyes, which is called, you guessed it, hand-eye coordination. Fine motor skill components include being able to grip and manipulate objects, use both hands for a task, and use just the thumb and one finger to pick something up, instead of the whole hand. As your child's fine motor skills are perfected, important tasks like feeding themselves, grasping toys, buttoning and zipping clothes, writing, drawing (and more!) will only improve. Your child's ability to complete self-care and every day tasks will go a long way in building their self esteem and confidence in what they can achieve. There are few things more satisfying than seeing how proud your preschooler can be of completing a task that may have been too difficult just a few months before.
Based on the above, Gator Golf seems like a perfect fit for little ones working on honing those fine motor skills while having fun at the same time. And who knows, perhaps your child will be asking for golf lessons after a few hole-in-ones with a goofy gator? According to Active Kids, learning the sport of golf has major benefits. The game requires patience and persistence, and we all know those are two skills that take time for kids to learn, but are vitally important for succeeding in life. Golf also teaches etiquette and good sportsmanship. I love this line in particular from Active Kids: "Your opponent isn't the person you're playing against; it's the course you're playing on." Additionally, golf promotes a love of the outdoors and is all-inclusive. Both men and women play the sport, and it doesn't require a certain body type or physique. Here's to all shapes and sizes on the green, am I right?
For those interested in golf for their kids, check out First Tee, an international youth development organization introducing the game of golf and its inherent values to kids and teens. Through after-school and in-school programs, First Tee helps shape the lives of young people from all walks of life by reinforcing values like integrity, respect, and perseverance. In the meantime, there's Gator Golf, whose commercial tag line from the '90s was "Gator Golf - what could be greater than playing a game of golf with a gator?" I have to agree. And who knows, perhaps you'll have the next Tiger Woods on your hands (professionally-speaking, of course).