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We definitely have a bit of a board game geekery going in our house. Mr B bought me Carcassonne the Christmas before E was born and we sat and played it when I was in early labour!
Board games are brilliant for learning. Young children gain so much from them – basic number recognition, counting, turn taking, probability, strategy just off the top of my head. If you are looking for something for younger children – orchard games are a great place to start. Spotty Dogs is a lovely simple one and great for talking about basic number concepts without your child realising they’re learning. If You See A Crocodile was much loved by E – although drives you nuts after a while!
Lets face it though, even with quality games they can be mind numbingly dull for the adults. Over the past year and a half or so E. has become much more able to play games that are interesting for us too. Games that require a bit of strategy and forward planning rather than simple luck. These are our current top 6
(At the time of writing E. is almost 8)
Games marketed at children
This is a simple card game with various different modes of game play. It’s really easy to pick up It comes in a little tin so is great to pop in your bag and play on the train or when waiting for an appointment. It’s a short game and can easily be played without an adult.
This has been a firm favourite since we got it just before E. turned 7. He likes the fantasy characters and treasure collecting element. The game play is really unusual – you move the board around to change the labyrinth and collect your treasure – it’s easy to understand but takes a bit of forward thinking to play.
This is a bit like scrabble with shapes. E finds this a bit tricky at the moment so we do end up giving him a lot of advice. I really like the chunky solid tiles and the bright colours. (and the fact there’s no spelling involved!) I can also see us being able to adapt the play for little sister once she gets a bit bigger.
We had to watch this video to figure out how to do this! The game play is actually fairly simple once you get the hang of it and involves basic probability along with a bit of trying to figure out what your opponent is thinking. There’s a bit of an Indiana Jones feeling about it which E. likes. The game play is pretty short.
Games aimed at adults that children can play.
These games are both officially mine which automatically makes them appealing to E!! Both games take a fair bit longer than the previous 4 games and have more complicated rules. They’re labeled as 8 plus but we’ve played them many times with just adults which we probably wouldn’t do with any of the others.
With both of them we played them non-competitively from when he was 4 or 5 and have gradually introduced the rules until we are pretty much able to play them properly now.
This was great for spacial awareness before he could play it properly. We used to simply take turns to lay the tiles and see who could build the biggest castle. We gradually introduced the ways to score points and now play the full rules.
E really resisted playing this as an actual game rather than just making train-lines – basically you’re supposed to make lines between given destinations. He can now play it properly, although we have to show him where his destinations are (which has the bonus that we can’t accidentally block his route)
For other ideas I liked this post from Morgan Price (and there’s obviously some overlap)
We’re always looking out for new ones so we’d love to hear your recommendations