Playing games together with your kids can be a fun way to spend quality time together, but with that being said, I do find it a challenge to ignore all the things I see that "need" to get done, and actually sit down to play. I tend to find any excuse not to play certain games, (like Monopoly) because they can take forever to finish. ( I know, I'm not proud of that).
We've found a few games that we do really enjoy as a family, and ones that are so much easier for me to quickly agree to play. These are all games I've purchased myself, and that I play together with my children and extended family. 🙂
Jenga only takes around 10-15 minutes, and your child gets to practice coordination. You just pull out the pieces one by one, while trying to keep the structure standing.
My children like to use them as falling dominoes too and make patterns and watch them fall down successively. Not for children under 3 because small parts can be a choking hazard.
- Blokus involves a little strategy but not so much that it's frustrating. It's for ages 7 and older. Not for children under 3 because small parts can be a choking hazard.
- I remember being so excited when all my children were finally at an age that we could play a game together as a family, and that first game was UNO. It's been around a while, but it's still a fun fast paced family game. The recommended age is 7 and up, but I would say even a 5 year old could probably play this game, depending on their ability.
- This Sequence for Kids game is one of our all time favorites. We started playing the older version years ago, but it was just a bit too hard for our younger ones, and so I was excited to find a kids version of the game! You have to get four in a row, and you win. The recommended age is 4-7 years old. Not for children under 3 because small parts can be a choking hazard.
- Here is the older kids and adults version of Sequence, for ages 7 and up. Not for children under 3 because small parts can be a choking hazard.
- Apples to Apples Junior is my youngest son's favorite game, and even though we have the regular version, I much prefer this Junior version because the cards contain items that everyone would know, instead of harder trivia. The recommended age is 9 and up, but I think even a year or two younger might be able to grasp it.
- Phase 10 could easily be considered our official "vacation" game, since we've played it for years whenever we go to West Virginia to visit my parents. It's for 2-6 players, and the recommended age is 7-11 years old, but all the adults in my extended family enjoy it as well!
- Dominoes is a game I didn't think I would like until I tried playing it with my mom and dad, and then I was hooked! There are lots of different ways to play it too, so it's not just one game. The recommended age is 8 and up, but even adults can really enjoy Dominoes as well. Not for children under 3 because small parts can be a choking hazard.
A tip for small hands trying to hold a handful of cards: I found this solution a while ago, and it works great. All you need is two recycled plastic lids (from butter tubs, cool whip, larger size yogurt....). Staple them together in the lower middle with the lips facing in, and you have a card holder.
This truly makes it easier for young ones to hold, and adequately see all their cards, and it's so simple too!
- On vacation this year, we stayed at a rental house where a number of games were provided for our enjoyment. One that I had never heard of before was called Bananagrams and my kids had so much fun with it. It's similar to scrabble, but faster moving, which helps the excitement.
If you team up a grown with a younger child, the adult can help them with their spelling skills too.
On this same vacation, at a novelty store, I found a game that will help my kids with their states, capitals and geography.
- This Melissa & Doug License Plate Game lets two play at the same time, by flipping the squares which are attached to the board, when you see a state's license plate. They can also practice learning each state's capital, which are included, at the same time.
- We have also ordered these Live Butterfly Gardens a bunch of times now, and the whole family enjoys watching the transformation of the larvae to butterflies, and then letting them go outside.
- We are trying a new kit this year, a Grow a Frog Kit.
When you buy these kits, the larvae or tadpoles do not immediately come with them. A coupon is included in the box to send away for your live creature. Apparently these frogs can live for years and years. Will keep you posted...
I will be the first to admit that my children love their Nintendo DS's way too much, but I have found a game that I believe truly helped my youngest with reading and spelling, starting when he was 4-5 years old.
- It's called Super Scribblenauts, and it works by creating whatever your child can spell, and it gives them options if they spell it incorrectly. I do admit, if your child is a very beginner reader, you will be helping them a lot at first, but it's worth it, because it really did speed up and reinforce my son's reading and spelling skills.
It's always nice when learning and fun can be combined!
Hope this gives you some ideas, and I would love to hear about any of your fun and educational ideas