** REGULAR VS JUNIOR **
What is the difference between Apples to Apples the regular version and this Apples to Apples Junior? It appears that the main difference is in the types of proper names & pop culture. The words in Apples to Apples Junior are not super simple, they have a very wide variety of vocabulary words, but they don't have as many references to politicians or movie stars - the types of things younger kids would not be aware of. There are still proper names, but they are more kid friendly, like Spiderman or The Statue of Liberty.
** HOW IT WORKS **
Apples to Apples is a party game, it really is for 4 or more people, and in this case it is better with more. There are two types of cards, red and green. The green cards contain adjectives (e.g. calm, bold, silly). The red cards contain nouns or actions (e.g. glass, hamsters, Superman). One person acts as the judge, they flip over a green card and reveal the adjective. Everyone else has red cards in their hand, from those cards they have to pick the card they think best fits the trait listed on the green card. They all place their cards face down and the judge mixes them up then turns them over. The judge then gets to decide which word best fits the adjective. The person whose card that is wins the green card. You play until one person reaches a certain number of cards. The person who won the card then acts as the judge the next time.
** WHY ITS FUN **
What makes this game so much fun is that you have a limited number of choices of cards in your hands, so you often don't quite have the best match, so sometimes the matches are really silly. The judge is under no obligation to pick the card based on the definition - sometimes the funniest combo wins. It's also fun to try to subtly (or not so subtly for kids) influence the judge to pick your own card without giving it away.
** EDUCATIONAL VALUE **
Each adjective card has several synonyms listed on it. So if the child isn't familiar with the word they can figure it out from the synonyms listed. It's great for building vocabulary. The red cards have little sayings related to the words as well. My kids like to read out each card as they turn it over.
** AGE RANGE **
The rules are very simple to understand, but the cards do not have any pictures or anything to indicate what the card is to a child who can't read. My son is a very early reader and we got frustrated playing with him because he had to have the cards read to him constantly and since the cards are supposed to be a secret (so the judge doesn't know) this makes it very difficult. So I would say this is definitely a game for a child who can read at least somewhere around those step 3 readers. However, as long as everyone can read, this is a great game to play with kids and adults, since as I said above the only difference with the adult version is the references to proper nouns.
** RECOMMENDATION **
We've had a great time playing this game, both with the kids and the regular game with groups of adults. A lot of laughs always results and I feel like its reinforcing good vocabulary in the kids as well.