Old Board Game by Milton Bradley: The Three Little Kittens
I’m sure many of us remember the rhyme about the Three Little Kittens who lost their mittens. In the early 1900’s, Milton Bradley produced a game featuring this childhood verse and brought the adventure of ‘finding mittens’ to the game table. The object of this simple type race game is to see which ‘little kitten’ can find his mittens first.
The rhyme, attributed to Eliza Lee Cabot Follen (1787-1860) is now part of the loved Mother Goose collection and often told in various ways. Below is one version of the famous rhyme:
“Three little kittens, they have lost their mittens, And they began to cry. “Oh mother dear, we sadly fear, our mittens we have lost.”
“What! lost your mittens, you naughty kittens! Then you should have no pie. Mee-ow, mee,ow, mee-ow, now you should have no pie.”
The three little kittens they found their mittens And they began to cry. “Oh mother dear, see here, see here, our mittens we have found.”
“Put on your mittens, you silly kittens And you shall have some pie. Purr, purr, purr, oh let us have some pie.”
The three little kittens put on their mittens, And soon ate up the pie. “Oh mother dear, we greatly fear, our mittens we have soiled.”
“What! Soiled your mittens, you naughty kittens!” Then they began to sigh, mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow, They began to sigh.
The three little kittens they washed their mittens, And hung them out to dry. “Oh mother dear, do you not hear, our mittens we have washed.”
“What! Washed your mittens, then you are good kittens. But I smell a rat close by. Mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow, we smell a rat close by.”
The old board game by Milton Bradley is an adorable, but simple game. The cover of the box features a mother cat sitting in a chair with three tearful kittens behind her. The title, The Three Little Kittens, is displayed above them.
Upon opening the box, the game board (with directions printed across the base) is simply realized to be a printed sheet glued to the bottom of the inside of box. There is also a spinner and four colored pieces for ‘kittens’ of two to four players resting on top.
To play, each player chooses a color and places his piece on ‘start’. From here, players must first spin a 4, and then move accordingly onto and across the board to consequent spins. Once on path there are only a few obstacles for players to overcome.
These obstacles are the blue numbered spaces on paths and the white spaces in the corners. Players who land on any numbered spaces by exact spin, must move back to previous numbered space. Players who land on any white space by exact spin must remain there and lose two turns.
That is all.
The winner of the game is the first player to reach the Black Space (of either path) (Players choose which identical path to follow at start).
Although a simple race game and pure chance to play, it is a wonderful and collectible old board game to have on display. It is a timeless reminder of childhood joys. I love it.
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