One aspect I particularly like about kid board games is the social interaction they teach... a vital skill for success in today's world. I've also seen it takes my kids away from passively sitting in front of the television. Some time ago I learned my lesson when my four year old daughter, Clara was diagnosed with ADHD and I realized too late that she had watched enough television to know the characters of series like ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’.
Fortunately it was my daughter’s therapist who introduced us to the concept of various board games involving social interaction and fun learning. A list of great board games can probably never be complete. However, here are a few games we particularly liked -
Our daughter’s therapist gave us this game and said she found it great to calm the kids down and increase their concentration abilities. The game can be played by 2-4 players and does not require any reading expertise, which is what worked in our daughter's favor.
The game is simple and, amongst other things, helps to build counting abilities. There is a tree with several cherries on it and a board. The wheel is spun and the player has to add the number of cherries indicated on the board to his/her bucket. The player who is able to collect 10 cherries is the winner of the game. There are slots that have a dog, a bird or a spilled bucket which require one to put the cherries back onto the tree.
Right from the wheel to the size of the tree and the cherries and even the bucket, everything is built in accordance with the tiny fingers of toddlers. She got a lot of maths practice playing this game... and all of it with her sitting for over half an hour at one go, which is impossible if I am teaching her with a book and a pencil
Waiting her turn was another important lesson that we drove home with this kid board game. This skill helped us tremendously in her play school too.
Inspired by the success of the Hi Ho Cherry-O, we bought another game on similar lines designed for the same age group and played between 2-4 players.
The goal of the game is to reach the candy castle via the peppermint forest first. The cards are color coded and therefore require no reading skills. In fact, they help to develop color recognition.
The one thing that this kid board game did for my daughter, beyond all else, was teach her patience too, apart from just taking turns. She learnt that if she landed on a ‘bad box’, she would have to wait here till she drew a red colored card. For an ADHD child, it was a hard lesson to learn, but the excitement of the game helped.
The fact that the game was about luck and not expertise meant that, she had an equal chance of winning against her older siblings. She simply loves the game, though I must confess that the boys found the game too ‘girlie’ and would often avoid playing it.
The game requires strategy and Clara was unable to stick with the ‘four in a row’ rule. The game needs the players to play a card from the hand dealt to them and then place a corresponding chip on the board. Dragon cards allow you to move your opponent’s cards while unicorn card allows you to place your card anywhere on the board.
The boys loved and played the game often. On the other hand, Clara would get frustrated easily. It was only when my husband decided to play on her team and consistently beat the boys at the board game that she slowly began to get the hang of it.
Initially we would deal unicorns and dragons to her in order to keep her interested in the game. I found that the game helped to build on the mental capacities of the kids and teach them a lot about strategy building.
There are two levels of play and this works well to alternate the game between my older and younger ones. Since matching was a problem with Clara, we found the game very handy in driving the concept home. The older ones were able to build on their memory, concentration abilities and also vocabulary.
However, the social interaction that the game demands is worth mentioning and even though my daughter is not too quick at the game, she loves to operate the red colored tile machine and thereby participate in the game even when she is not playing.
Blokus is great for helping the older kids understand spatial relationships... and since a move cannot be reversed, it also taught them to plan carefully.
Two to four people can play the game. All of the 84 pieces are crucial to the game play... so don’t lose any. I suggest keeping them in a zip lock, since the pieces are small and are easy to misplace.
The motive of the game is to be the first to place all of your pieces on the board according to the rules of the game. The game is captivating and my husband and I have often enjoyed our evenings with Blokus and a glass of wine.
This one has been around for forty years now and still seems to be going strong. The game is for 2-4 players and brings in that zing of physical flexibility that is missing in other indoor games. It seems like almost everyone has played this game sometime.
The spinner decides where the player will place his/her hand or foot on the mat and a player who fails to follow the instruction is out of the game. Clara is a regular winner at twister in our house, since her size is a huge advantage. Also the girl is amazingly flexible and I am considering enrolling her for ballerina classes.
While this kid board game is often pulled out at parties, we have found it quite useful when the children seem to be getting restless.
This one came to us from my father-in-law. He was the one who sat with the kids playing the game for the entire weekend that he visited us. He seemed to enjoy playing with the kids much more than stepping out into what he called the ‘mad city crowds’.
The game has a simple aim - to get the red car to its destination within a given time frame. The car is supposed to be carrying ice-cream and it will melt if the time is exceeded.
I found Clara picking up on a lot of traffic rules, which was an added incentive of the game. The toy cars are quite well made and the storage pouch makes life much easier since the cumbersome box can be done away with. Definitely a game for lots of fun.
This board game comes with 60 challenges and 14 puzzle pieces that need to fit into a tray. I have used it on various occasions when I am on a cold war with my husband (he reverts to the newspaper of course).
Apart from developing a person’s conceptual thinking abilities and spatial relationship concepts, the game also works as a great mind soother. I find the game almost therapeutic and meditative.
The challenge of getting the puzzle right is overwhelming and one tends to lose all other worries in trying to solve this puzzle. I must confess, I use the game much more that the kids do. My younger son has not gotten too far with it, but the hints on the back of the cards do help him to stay on the right path.
While I initially bought the game to introduce our kids to the concept of money and how they can use it to buy things, it was not long before I realized that the kids were learning several other concepts like the Boardwalk, railroads and my older one actually read up a lot of literature on Atlantic City (the city on which the game is based).
The game is definitely an age old one, but still retains its charm. It is strange though that my younger one did not respond very well to the Junior Monopoly, but seemed to love this kid board game version.
Have you also read our Monopoly game page where we look at many more Monopoly game versions?
Although this one is not strictly a kid board game I still feel it necessary to be included here. This is another money concept game. In fact, almost everyone "money mind-set" - especially with respect to cash flow, will be changed after playing this game a few times.
I bought this game for my kids when they were in their teens to practise real world investing with play money. It gave my kids a practical, simulated experience on how cash flow actually works in real life situations. In fact, they went a bit further, applied the information and bought a rental property.
I feel this kid board game is suitable for anyone about 12 years and older (my daughter was about 12 when she first started playing with us).
Experience showed me that simply telling the kids to watch less television is not an answer. We have successfully been able to wean the kids off the television and video games by bringing in these kid board games.
However, in my opinion, simply buying them will not automatically yield success... you have to take part and play them with the kids so they develop an interest. Remember children learn more by what they see... so do what you preach and learn to enjoy your kids while they are still on your side
For more about the Cashflow board game, read this.
Another very popular board game I suggest you check out, is Masterpiece. Read what we had to say about this game by clicking here
Click here for more about what others rate as the best kid board games