One of the best things you can do with your family is enjoy a game night. Sitting together with the TV off and electronics put away, you can gather around an old-fashioned board game to laugh, learn, and build memories.
There are a plethora of games on the market now — one look at the game section at your local big box store will prove that — so it’s hard to figure out which games are good for your family.
Here are four games that my family loves for various reasons. Maybe they’ll become favorites in your house, too.
Sneaky Snacky Squirrel
Sneaky Snacky Squirrel is great for younger kids because it’s simple, it teaches fine motor skills, and it usually lasts about 10 minutes or so. In this game, a squirrel is trying to gather five acorns of different colors to fill his tree stump.
Each player spins a spinner to see if they get a particular color of acorn, multiple acorns, skip a turn, has their acorns blown away, or gets to “steal” an acorn from an opposing player. Using a grabber shaped like a squirrel, each player picks up a small acorn from the box and works hard to place it in the tree stump. This game is great fun for the kids — except when someone “steals” their acorn — and it teaches them to deal with the loss of their precious acorn. The ideal age range for this game is 3-5 years old.
Q’s Race to the Top
Q’s Race to the Top combines thoughts, feelings, and actions as it challenges children emotionally, physically, and mentally. In this game, Q is a monkey who has to navigate through a game board. Each space he lands on prompts a question or an activity for the player to answer. For instance, the “Do” cards ask the player to do a bear crawl across the floor or stand in a funny pose for a certain amount of time. Other cards ask a child what the right response is to a challenging scenario, like receiving a gift they don’t like or getting served food they don’t want to eat. Children also have to think about how they would react to certain situations, for instance if Q sees someone who isn’t being treated fairly. We love this game because it combines all these areas into one fun, quick-moving game and forces our young children to get in touch with their emotions and also be active physically.
Robot Turtles is a game that takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s designed to teach young children about computer programming. In this game, each player is a uniquely colored turtle and they have to get to the center of a game board to match up with their color.
However, there are obstacles placed in their way and the players have to create a path around the obstacles to accomplish their goal. At the end of the game, the player can see the string of choices they made to arrive at the center and that string is the code they created.
Engineering Ants is meant to give your young children an introduction to the world of engineering by tasking them with designing ways to overcome obstacles. For instance, a player on a game board encounters a fallen tree. The player has to choose from several options how to navigate around, through, or under that tree. It’s a fun game although the challenges can become routine after awhile and might be best suited for kids in the 4-6-year-old age range.