Our closet is filled with board games and card games and puzzles. I like to buy games that even our youngest child can play, and that us parents enjoy. The games listed below are educational and/or challenging to the mind and are our top choices for family fun. They can be played with two to four (sometimes more) people. Sometimes, even Grandma joins in.
Slamwich, for ages 6 and up, is a well-worn card game in our house. Make sure your fingernails are smooth as you have be the first to slap the deck to win cards. It is available in specialty toy shops and online through Gamewright and Amazon.
Rat-a-tat Cat, an award-winning card game for ages 6 and up, works your memory and tests your strategy as you try to collect low-number cards after looking at only half the cards you were dealt. It can also only be found at educational toy shops or online.
Yahtzee, for the beginning poker player, is a simple game where kids can practice addition skills. Young kids can play with parental help on strategy and adding.
Pass the Pigs is a fun, interesting game of rolling pigs, adding, and taking risks. Comes in a little carrying case you can fit in your purse. You should be able to find this at your neighborhood Target or Toys-R-Us.
Labyrinth, by Ravensburger, is one of our favorites and is also only at educational toy shops or online. Ours came from Discovery Toys. Even my husband enjoys this game of shifting “maze cards” to create pathways so you can reach treasures shown on your cards. This game is for ages 8 and up. There is a Junior Labyrinth for ages 5-10.
Life, an oldy but goody, is now available as “Sponge-Bob Life” – a version my child has on her Christmas list. This game has taught our youngest to count big money and to make change. It introduces concepts like insurance and the cost of paying for daycare. I’m not sure what concepts Sponge-Bob Life introduces … or whether there will be any boy children my daughter will insist on sticking under the car.
I Spy is a card-matching memory game based on the I Spy books, which my kids (and I) enjoy. This is the one that sharpens my own scatter-brained memory and that we like to get Grandma to play since it is good brain exercise to help combat her short-term memory problems.
Of these games, Rat-a-tat Cat and Pass the Pigs are shorter games for busy parents with time limits. Hope you’ve found some ideas for the kids’ Christmas presents. Have fun!