16 November 2013

Game Night Jr.

We had some friends of Chris' over for a game night and it made me realize how many great board games we have. I have blogged about board games before, but this list I features the ones we play with the kids. Since holidays are coming up, I figured this list might be helpful if you have kids on your list that are ready to break out from Candy Land and Monopoly Junior. Each game has a link, a description and I will note in parenthesis which kids play this independently. For reference Charlie (C) is 6.5 and a fluent reader while Liz (L) is freshly 4 and only knows a few sight words and her numbers to roughly 100.

  • Ticket to Ride - both my kids love "the train game." Rules are simple, play is straightforward, but there is enough opportunity for strategy that adults will find plenty of play value too. We play a bit modified in that we place markers at route ends for the kids and let Liz play open faced if she needs help. (C,L)*
  • Catan Junior- while my kids can play regular Settler of Catan, this version is streamlined and full of adorable pieces and figurines. Even though it is a simplified variant, I really enjoy the game. This game is played with all your items out in sight, so it is easy to help kids as needed. (C,L)
  • Frog Juice - a card game of making spells and collecting ingredients. This game relies mostly on math facts, with some reading for a handful of cards. Liz can get by by matching pictures and using basic math facts, though some cards do require us to read them to her, but they are ones you play on the table anyway, so it doesn't impact the gameplay. (C,L)
  • Eleminis- another card game with adorable pictures and easy rules. All the cards explain what to do with pictures. Technically a kids game, but I have played with groups of adults and it is good times. All cards are flipped face up and played publicly, so while the kids rarely need guidance beyond what the card shows, it is easy to assist as needed. (C,L)
  • Kingsburg- dice rolling, math facts, decision making and strategy. This game is marketed to adults, and can be a challenge for adults, but game play is easy enough that kids can make do. Charlie does well with this as a good reader, math fact knower and understanding basic strategy, this one is a bit beyond Liz as of yet. (C)
  • Zombie Dice- great game, only requires dice and comes in its own handy carrying can. All done with picturesque and only requires that you can count to 13. Played out on the table with all the group seeing the action, kids get as much input as adults so there is not o difference needed in gameplay. (C,L)*

If anyone else is out there is raising the next generation of game geeks, or just wants some fun ways to teach kids math, reading and problem solving, check these out. I highly recommend Geek & Sundry's web series Table Top for demos of games, and Board Game Geek as a great hub for all manner of games.


* These games also offer apps for iPhone and/or iPad so if you want something relatively interesting and educational for car ride bribery and whatnot, these are good to have around.