I grew up playing board games with my family. We were not huge Gamers- but we played Clue, Monopoly, Life, pretty much all the classics, and we loved it. Now that my children are old enough (minus our six year old who still sometimes climbs over and through the board games, wrecking havoc and causing chaos in her wake) to play board games together. With all the electronic and social media games and addictions today, I am a huge proponent of bringing back vintage fun. Below are my recommendations for fun board/card games for children, teens, and parents with a desire to interact with their kids. Isn’t that everyone? Yes!
The Farming Game
A monopoly-esq game that allows players to own a farm and buy, harvest, and sell crops. The game board represents a calendar year, with seasons designated to different aspects of farming. In the winter, you buy everything you need for the upcoming year. Spring allows you to plant and harvest early crops, followed by harvests of fruit, hay, wheat, cattle processing (we don’t dwell on that), and corn. Buying farm equipment like tractors and harvesters allows you to make more money and not owe money by renting it. This game is geared more towards teens and adults, but tweens and younger children can easily play with a little help from an adult. After a few times playing, they will be expert players and not need constant help, if at all. I love the math skills that this game requires, as well as the financial skills that it teaches. Interest on loans is a common occurrence, as players pay back bank loans. Calculating profits, minus operating expenses,occurs at every harvest and requires basic math skills like addition and subtraction. This is a game that takes a long time to play, but can be played over the course of a few days. My family does this on a regular basis, when we pause and come back a later time, picking up where we left off.
Ticket to Ride
A mission based game, allowing players to connect their train lines to various cities. This game teaches basic geography, math, and strategy. We play the European version, and I love that our kids can learn more geography than just the United States. After living in Germany and hearing many European friends laugh at how few Americans understand global geography, I like to encourage our family to know more about the world, even if it’s only where in the world it is located. Once again, this game is geared towards older players, but we play in teams-an adult paired with a small child.
Each circle has a dozen or so tiny pictures. Every card has at least one common picture with every other card. Each player is dealt one card and the deck is placed in the center. After uncovering the top card, each players searches their card and the deck card to find the same picture. When you “spot it,” then you yell out the common picture and keep both cards. This game is hilarious and fun. Young children can play with a bit of assistance and it can even be challenging for adults. Spot it is a family favorite.
A bit like Scrabble, but with shapes of assorted colors. Try to line up all seven shapes of the same color or the same shape in different colors. So many possibilities and very easy to learn. Once again, this game is easy for small children to learn or act as a team with another family member. Qwirkle is a staple on New Years’s Eve or other family parties. It is my eight year old’s favorite game and if we add Cheetos into the experience, everyone happily plays. Although, then your tile bag will turn into an orange tie-dyed mess. But, maybe you like orange? Anyway. Qwirkle is fun and doesn’t last forever, a full game can be played in under an hour.