Playing to grow: Cherries on the run

The Playing to grow series: Cherries on the run

Quick, decorate the cake and collect the candles!

Throw the dice, figure out what you have to do and then quickly… put the cherries on the cake.  Who can be the fastest baker of all?

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CHERRIES ON THE RUN is a game from the «Playing to grow» series, created by Gianluca Daffi, an expert in child psychology and university professor.

Each game focuses on specific executive functions or cognitive processes with the goal of aiding their development through play.

CHERRIES ON THE RUN, in particular, develops skills of attention and emotional self-control.

Find out more »


Game objective
The objective of the game is to quickly place the cherries on the cake based on the indications of the dice, in order to earn more candle cards than your opponents.

Game set-up

The game is composed of: 1 “cake” game board divided into 4 concentric circles; 15 little cherry balls (5 yellow, 5 red, and 5 blue); 18 elastic bands (6 yellow, 6 red, and 6 blue); 10 candle cards; three dice. 

To begin, insert the “cake” game board into the box andplace it in the centre of the table. Place the little balls and the elastic bands in the lid of thebox. Prepare the materials in the box based on the number of players as indicated in the following“gameplay chart”.

Things to know before starting the game

The meaning of the dice:

The colour of the elastic to loop around your thumb

The colour of the cherry ball to take

The colour of the hole in which to place the cherry ball

The blue and red cherry balls and the blue and red elastic bands are represented on the dice by their respective colours, while the yellow cherry balls and the yellow elastic bands are indicated by blank dice faces. The player, looking at the three dice, must remember the missing colour, yellow, and deduce which element that colour refers to.

Starting the game!

The youngest players throws the dice. At this point all players must complete the following actions in this order:

  • loop the colour of elastic indicated by the dice around their thumb 
  • pick up a cherry ball of the same colour as indicated by the dice
  • place the cherry ball in the correct coloured hole as indicated by the dice

Players who do not succeed in taking correct coloured elastic or cherry ball, or those who do not place the cherry ball in the correct coloured hole in the correct ring on the cake are eliminated.  After each round, play passes to the next ring of the cake, working inwards, reducing the number of elements in play.

Who wins?

The last player remaining in the game earns a candle card.  At this point, the game starts again from the beginning with all players.  The winner of the games is the player who collects the number of candle cards established at the beginning of the game.   


What are executive functions?

Executive functions are the set of mental processes which monitor our thoughts and behaviours. They incorporate various neurological operations which are needed to control and coordinate our actions.
Put more plainly they are like a series of little gnomes who all work together in our brain, helping us execute any kind of task we might face in our daily lives.

FLEXIBILITY – In other words the ability to adapt to new situations and handle contingencies appropriately
PLANNING – In other words the ability to see yourself reaching an objective and understanding the steps to be taken to achieve it 
FOCUSED ATTENTION – in other words the ability to concentrate on certain elements, selecting what is useful by “filtering” it from all the other information available 
WORKING MEMORY – In other words the ability to remember information connected to the execution of an activity and the time needed to conclude said activity
RESPONSE INHIBITION – In other words the ability not to implement the first response we impulsively tend to produce, whether it is opportune or not
EMOTIONAL SELF-REGULATION – In other words the ability to handle your emotions and keep your feelings under control so they do not prevent you from reaching your goals