5 Board Games To Play With Your Kids That Don't Suck

Originally Published: 
Sara Farrell Baker

Playing games with your kids may sound fun at first, but it is often anything but. Some have ridiculous parts, and no one really knows how to play, so five minutes in, your kids are just throwing pieces at each other and you’re crossing your fingers that no one needs a trip to the ER for an eyepatch. Some are boring as hell and consist of rolling the dice and moving your piece, and your child flipping out that they aren’t rolling consecutive sixes.

Between the tantrums, the cheating, and quitting when they take too long, pretty much every game you play with your kids ends up feeling like Monopoly, and no one likes Monopoly.

Thankfully, we’ve come across a few board games you can play with your kids, even the really little ones, that don’t suck.

1. Animal Upon Animal

This game is a favorite in my house. You divvy up the wooden animals, then take turns rolling a special die to see how many animals you can stack and how you can place them, with everyone racing to get rid of their animals first. Trying to stack the animals without toppling them is great practice for fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

2. Spot It!

I love this game because we can play it anywhere. Sometimes, I toss it in my bag if I know we are going to be waiting somewhere, like a doctor’s office or restaurant. You try to get rid of your cards by being the fastest at recognizing a picture on the card from the deck on one of the cards in your hand. Every two cards has a picture in common, and I don’t know how the hell that works, but it does.

3. Bananagrams

If Scrabble had a fun older cousin, this would be it. You use the letter tiles to build crossword grids, racing against the other players to use your tiles up first. This is another game that’s great to travel with, and your kids will work on their spelling and vocabulary skills while you play.

4. Cranium Hullabaloo

Move your furniture out of the way for this one. This is best for young kids, and the games are short to keep them from losing interest. Colorful pads are placed on the floor, then you press a button on the speaker before it calls out instructions for which pads to stand on. Your kids will love jumping around the different pads, and the fast pace of the game encourages them to listen carefully.

5. SET Junior

There are two boards in this game, so it can grow with your kids. Match the tiles with the squares on the board, recognizing colors, shapes, and numbers to create sets. The first side of the board focuses on building these skills, while the second is a little more competitive and requires quick thinking as you race to find the sets.

Games can be awesome, and playing games with your kids when they’re young can help them develop cognitive skills as well as good sportsmanship. And believe me, next time a snowstorm hits or you’re stuck inside on a rainy day, you’ll be glad to have a few of these stashed away.

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