I couldn’t be more excited to have my kids home with me for the next 5 days! With Calgary’s teachers going to Convention today and tomorrow, and Family Day on Monday – we get some well-needed (and hopefully lazy) family time. We have declared it an official stay-cation (especially since Hailey has friends travelling to places like Edmonton… and Hawaii… sigh, someday…) and we are determined to do fun things we don’t get to do as often as we’d like.
This includes – board games! I am a board game fanatic. Along with children’s books I don’t know if you can ever have too many board games! I always have a board game under the tree at Christmas and even manage to throw a few into the kids Christmas stockings.
I thought it would be fitting to narrow a list down to our top 10 favourite games right now, in this moment. Zach is 5 and Hailey is 7, and these are all games we can play together as a family (usually locking the babies in their “cage” as the big kids call it, their time will come!).
1. Rory’s Story Cubes
We have the original cubes, but these dice come in all different theme packs and even different sizes! This is a great one to help you realize how creative your kids can be (and to re-ignite your own creative side!) Guaranteed to end in laughter, everyone takes turns rolling the “cubes” and creating a story out of the pictures that turn up. It’s nice too because if the babies decide they no longer accept their “cage”, the big kids can carry on playing without me – either with each other or by themselves.
2. Go Ape
Go Ape is basically the game, “Go Fish”, only more fun! To ask another player for a card, you need to act out/copy the monkey’s position on the card. We’ve been playing this one since Zach was probably 3 – he always gave the most accurate depictions of these apes, which made it totally hilarious for us! Game is fairly quick, can probably play a round in 20 minutes on a good day, just enough time to keep the twins occupied in their “cage”.
3. Busy, Busy Airport Game
A Richard Scarry game that anyone can play! There’s no reading involved, which makes it easy. Set up your airport and your four destinations, the nice thing about this one is you can spread them out all over the house if you want – giving your airplane farther to travel, and your children some time to be active indoors! Roll a dice, load up some passengers, drop them off at their destination of choice and pick up a souvenir on your way back! The souvenirs and passengers are pretty small, so could be easily lost – but the airplanes are a ton of fun – with slots to fill with passengers and a slot to keep your souvenirs safe. Game play within 20 minutes – if you can get away with only playing once!
We were gifted Headbanz – the Disney Edition from some amazing people, and it has been a HIT ever since! Disney was great to start out with because my kids are movie fanatics and know (mostly) all the characters! There were a couple of movies we needed to watch though! We’ve since added the original “Headbanz for Kids” to our collection – so instead of a Disney character you could be a food, household object or animal. Great game to get your kids thinking and asking questions! We don’t really play by the rules – we use the timer as we’re supposed to to time our guesses, but we never keep score, and just keep playing as long as we want to!
5. Traffic Jam Jr.
This is more or less a one-player game, but that doesn’t make it any less fun to engage and play along! Basically, you have a deck full of logic puzzles – ranging in level of difficulty – and the goal is always to move the cars around to let the taxi out! Zach’s very math-minded and could spend hours on these! It’s a huge confidence booster when he gets it right and he’s never afraid to challenge himself.
6. Smart Games Day and Night
Another one-player logic game (man, I must really like these… or they just really work to get me that sought after quiet alone time!). In this game, you need to arrange the blocks as they are shown on the page (each page with a different puzzle arranged in order of difficulty). Ready for a challenge? On the opposite side of the page the same puzzle is shown, “in the dark”, where you can only see the outline of the shapes. We loved this game so much that I went out and bought a similar one by the same brand (just a step up in difficulty) – I can’t find the second one we have online anywhere!
7. Cat in the Hat’s: I Can Do That
This is a great group game to get everyone moving and active! With a bunch of familiar items/objects from the story of the Cat in the Hat, turn over cards to reveal a “challenge” for you to complete. Complete the challenge and keep the cards. A quick game they’ll want to play over and over! A little bit of reading/understanding is needed for the cards – but easy enough to figure out if they did decide to play this one on their own.
I know what you’re thinking, finally – a classic! This one requires a little more adult involvement and guidance – but the kids absolutely LOVE the game of Life! They love choosing jobs, getting married, having kids (especially twins) and buying a house! It can get a little on the confusing side and sometimes take FAR TOO LONG – more like a twin-sized-nap-time rather than a sitting-on-the-side-in-the-“cage” kinda game.
9. Guess Who
Only for two-players, I guess this really isn’t a family game. Although, play is pretty quick you could easily have a “winner plays next person” type of scenario/tournament going. We have the travel sized version – buuuut I’m dying for this new version that isn’t just a mystery person… you’re a mystery CHARACTER – making it so much easier for the kids to ask questions / notice details… instead of accidentally flipping down the guy with the moustache you were supposed to keep up!
10. Draw Something
Similar to Pictionary (from what I can remember) – we take turns drawing something while everyone else has to guess what it is! The board is super fun – it only lights up for a certain amount of time, and its clear so that wherever someone is sitting they can see what you’re drawing. Once time runs out the light will turn off and you can no longer see the picture! This game has become a lot more fun since Zach’s drawing skills have vastly improved just this year! It does come with a set of cards to tell you what to draw, which Hailey happily reads – but most often we have no problem deciding what we would like to draw on our own!
So that’s our top 10 (at THIS moment in time) – there are so many other games that I would love to have on our shelf!
I do need to give a shout out to GameWright for their “Little Hands Card Holder” – if you’re going to be playing any kind of card game with a little one – these are a MUST! And fit in a stocking so nicely!!
The next games on my radar – Swish Jr. and Sorry!
Swish Jr. was a stocking stuffer this Christmas and still haven’t had the opportunity to check it out and play it! Maybe this weekend is the weekend? And Sorry! – CLASSIC. Zach got to check it out at his last sleepover with his Aunt and Uncle… and boy, did he love it!
Have a great Family Day Weekend everyone – and if your not traveling – maybe a family trip to the store to pick out a new board game is in order?!