Knock, knock! Who’s there I hear you ask? Well it is Small Fries Games, a small independent game publisher with their first game: Knock, Knock! First Words. The game could be your baby’s first game too, as this is the first card game I know of that is aimed for ages 0 up.
Now how could I possibly resist peppering this review with some corny jokes? It’s a rhetorical question, this is me, of course I can’t resist…
Knock, Knock? Who’s There? Ken. Ken who? Ken you open the door and get on with the review!
Included in the box are seven different ways to play. These vary in difficulty to allow the card game to grow with your child. All encourage learning in a fun and engaging way. These range from using them as flash cards to a simple set collection game, or a pairs memory game.
Knock, Knock? Who’s There? Will. Will who? Will you open the door and tell us what it’s actually like!
What it’s like
Obviously there is nothing complex here as it is intended for infants. Playing games with babies and toddlers is a delight. It is amazing how much they can understand. While you may only get a happy gurgle when very small, this is still recognition and learning. Knock Knock! First Words acts as a brilliant stimulus for this.
I remember as a new Dad I found it a bit tricky to engage with my first new-born son. I had always found babies a bit boring. I didn’t think they did much. Fatherhood changed that opinion and I enjoyed interacting with all three of my boys from an early age. However, I can imagine this card game being a brilliant framework to start that early interaction for those, like me, who were blissfully unprepared for the stork delivery (and who thought babies don’t do much!)
Despite playing up to four, I think this game is best in a one-on-one environment. I like how siblings could be involved too. As the child grows, the cards can also work as a solo player matching game.
Knock, Knock? Who’s There? Ben. Ben who? Ben knocking and waiting for you to tell us about the components!
This is a really nicely produced game. Made and packed in the UK and with all sorts of symbols on the back of the box that state it is safe for children and not impactful on the environment. You will not see any single use shrink wrap on this one, the box is sealed by a cute little sticker. Kudos to the designers for that!
The whole game is adorned with artwork by Parker Jacobs. The style will be instantly recognisable for some, as Parker was the art director on the television series Yo Gabba Gabba. You might also recognise the name as a member of The Aquabats. Anyway, the artwork is bold and characterful.
The oversized cards are thick and robust. Which is lucky because little ones aren’t known for their tender care of objects! These are wipe clean and will survive a suck, a throw and probably more!
The box is a sliding tray design and the cards and instructions fit inside nicely. The instructions are well written and each of the gameplays have little suggestions on how to further engage with your child during play. At last I have found a game my wife can read the rules for and actually understand!
Knock, Knock? Who’s There? Alex. Alex who? Alex the questions round here thank you very much!
What my son Max thought
Max (6): I like the cards a lot as they are fun and colourful. They are really big too! I also really enjoy making up my own games with the cards, that’s really cool.
What Instagram parents think
While Max really enjoys playing and making up his own games using the cards, my family are a getting a little too old for Knock, Knock! First Words. So, to give a rounded opinion I messaged some of my Instagram friends with babies and toddlers who had played the game. Here is what they said:
“Knock Knock! First Words is a fantastic and fun secret learning experience. Beautifully illustrated and engaging for young players/learners.” – @may.as.well.play
“Me and my girls love Knock Knock, the cards are very sturdy and thick and can take a lot of play. I love how colourful and playful the cards are. I have been able to come up with a lot more ways to play with the cards than the great included games as the cards are so versatile. They are very easy to take along anywhere – I take them in my bag whenever I know the girls may need to be entertained” – @fun_with_jandv
“The art is adorable! I’ve sent a copy to our friends with the new baby and my little niece has a copy too. She is just learning to talk so it’s perfect for her” – @board.game.family.uk
“Our son is probably at the upper level of how you would use it but we are using it for memory games. The quality is really good, the cards are lovely and thick AND wipe clean” – @boardgamingwithmyfamily
“Knock Knock! First Words has been an invaluable way to inject fun back into the process of teaching our late talker to speak.
Gamifying the learning process is a neat trick for all ages but perhaps never more important than in those early years. Not only has it motivated him to use speech in an organic way but it’s relieved a lot of the pressure and stress of the teaching process for us. With its different play modes for different age groups it even means our 6 year old can enjoy playing the memory game while the 2 year old sits with her and practices his words. Knock Knock! First Words is becoming indispensable in our house!” – @movinmeeples
Final thoughts on Knock Knock! First Words
The bold and colourful artwork by Parker Jacobs is a real lure to this game. The adorable illustrations really make the game and attract the interest and attention of little ones.
The quality production throughout makes this a lovely option for a gift for a newborn baby. It would also be a really great and different type of present for a religious ceremony celebrating the birth of a child, such as a Christening, Brit Milah or Aqiqah gift. I have already purchased several copies to use as gifts for friends myself, as it feels like an original present. I also like to encourage board gaming from a young age so I have more people to read my reviews in later years!
I cannot think of any other game that fits the bill for this age group better than Knock Knock! First Words. I’m not even sure there is any! That coupled with the awesome art, variety of gameplay and an environmental approach to production secures this game’s place in the Hall of Fame. I can’t wait to see some of the other games for infants from Small Fries Games, including “Uh Oh!” which sounds like it might be fun!
Number of players: 1 to 4
Board Game Review Recommended Age: 0-6
Publisher’s Recommended Age: 0-3+
Playing Time: 5 minutes
Setting Up and Take Down Time: 1 minute
Designer: Nat Marco
Publisher: Small Fries Games
I may not be the target market for Knock Knock! First Words as my boys are pretty much too old for it. However, I am thoroughly impressed by the production and wish that it was around when my boys were a little younger. Seeing my youngest niece enjoy the game, makes me realise how valuable it would’ve been.
Artwork and Components
Value for Money
- Brilliant artwork by Parker Jacobs
- Different gameplays grow with your child
- Learn with play
- Perfect gift for a 0-3 year old
- No single use plastic
- You will be sad when your child outgrows it!
Need more games?
If you already own Knock Knock! First Words and enjoy it, or are looking for other inspiration, you might also like these similar games:
- The Rocket Ship Game
- Disney Eye Found It!
- Gruffalo Dominoes
- Let’s Go Lotto
Buy Knock Knock! First Words
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