Our playroom is stocked with a variety of board games and other fun games for kids. I have even more in the garage as I rotate toys in and out to keep interest high. Why do we have so many games for kids at our house? Well, in addition to being fun, kids learn so much by playing games with adults and each other. Let’s explore what makes games for kids so great.
We have been playing games with our kids since they were two years old. This may sound young, but a game of Memory is something even a young child can enjoy. Playing board games might not seem like a learning activity, but believe me there is a ton of learning that takes place.
Games teach kids:
- Social skills - Kids learn to take turns and wait patiently. They learn to compromise “okay this time you can have the red piece, but next time I will.”
- Being a good sport - How to be supportive of other players and accept losses graciously.
- Verbal skills - it’s hard to play a game without talking and interacting with others. One of my daughters is very shy and has anxiety, yet when she plays a game with other kids she is very talkative and relaxed.
- Math skills - Counting how many spaces to move forward.
- Reading - Some games have words that kids must read.
- Fine and gross motor skills - Games have small pieces that kids must manipulate. Some games like Hungry, Hungry, Hippos encourage kids to use larger muscles as they open and close the hippo’s mouth.
- Listening skills - to be able to follow the rules, kids need to listen when they are explained.
Since I know my kids best, I don’t always follow the age recommendations on games for kids. My children do not put things in their mouths, so I don’t have to worry about them around small pieces. I also know what they are capable of, so even if a game is recommended for older kids, I might still try it with my kids.
The game Trouble is recommended for ages five and up but my three and four year olds enjoy playing it. Their favorite part is pushing the popomatic bubble to shake up the die. My four year olds like the counting and strategy also as they make their way around the game board.
I love playing games with kids since it is a great opportunity to bond with them and set an example of behavior you want them to emulate. I cheer when someone else has a good roll and say “oh well” when things don’t go my way.
A great place to purchase games is at a yard sale or consignment sale. I get most of mine this way. For just a few dollars you came get a like-new game. Just be sure that all the pieces are in the box before you purchase them. I recently bought Don’t Spill the Beans at a local consignment sale.
Don’t Spill the Beans is a fun game where kids practice gently placing small beans on a pot without toppling it. If your child still puts objects in their mouth you should hold off on buying this game.
My older two kids are readers and enjoy playing word games like Boggle Jr. What I love about this game is that you can play it at various levels depending on where your kid is at.
As my twins have gotten older, I have noticed that they can play games by themselves when I am cooking or cleaning. Simple games with no words like Chutes and Ladders and Candyland are perfect for kids to play without an adult. Boggle Jr allows kids to check their work so this works well for more independent play as well.
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So what are some of our favorite games for kids? Here’s a top 10 list.
- Chutes and Ladders
- Don’t Break the Ice
- Silly Faces Game
- Boggle Jr.
- Connect Four
- Don’t Spill the Beans
- Hungry, Hungry Hippos