My children are so into board games at the moment – Connect 4; Frustration; Kerplunk; Drafts; Guess Who?: Pop To The Shops and countless more. It’s a lovely way to spend a lazy weekend afternoon or winter’s evening. With Christmas on the horizon I’ve been asking my fellow parent bloggers for recommendations for their favourite family board games. I hope it provides some inspiration.
Ant & Dec Saturday Night Takeaway Board Game (Ant & Dec’s)
As recommended by Maria, mum of one age 4, from Essex. She blogs at Happy Mummy.
“We love the Ant & Dec Saturday Night Takeaway Board Game. It says from age 8+ and was given to us as a joint Christmas present for Mike and I but Lily absolutely loves it even though she is only four. She loves doing the singing challenges and loves it when we have to do a challenge too – good old fashioned family fun.”
Bingo (Global Gizmos)
As recommended by Sarah mum of three children age 11, 7 and 2 lives in Norfolk. She blogs at Boo Roo and Tigger Too
“You can’t beat a game of bingo for family games night. Younger ones can get involved with number recognition as well as pattern forming. Whilst the older ones and adults become very competitive. The one that we use is by Global Gizmos and has a mixing cage and bingo balls.
Bugs in the Kitchen (Ravensburger)
As recommended by Helen mum of three children ages 3 8 and 10 from the Vale of Glamorgan. She blogs at Welsh Cakes and Wellies.
“We love Bugs in the Kitchen, it’s such a laugh and pretty addictive It’s suitable for ages 6+ according to the box, but my 3 year old joins in too. You have a jittery Hex Bug in the kitchen which you need to catch and trap. You do this by changing the path, which is a little like a maze. You can only change its course of direction on your roll of the dice so you have to move very quickly. We love it because it makes us giggle. We are all super competitive and try and move as fast as we can to get the bug which in itself creates a lot of excited panic and fun. It’s just such a different game from anything else we’ve played.”
Bus Stop (Orchard Toys)
As recommended by Sally, grandmother of two age 4 and 1, from Cardiff. She blogs at Teddy Bears and Cardigans
“Bus Stop is great for counting and learning numbers and so easy to play. Everyone has a bus, then you roll a dice and move around a board. People then get on or off the bus and whoever has the most at the end, wins. My grandson is four but we’ve played a version of it (just putting people on and off) since he was two.”
Cheeky Monkeys (Orchard Toys)
As recommended by Cath, mum of one age 4, from Tredegar but now living in Portugal. She blogs at Passports and Adventures
“Our family favourite is Cheeky Monkeys by Orchard Toys. Our son is 4 and it’s aimed at ages 4-8. The aim of the game is to get monkeys with bananas on your side of the tree and the winner is the one with the most bananas. There’s even a chance to steal from your opponents. We’ve taken to shouting ‘bananas’ like Minions whenever someone gets a monkey with bananas which our son loves.”
Connect 4 (Hasbro)
As recommended by Kaz mum of four ages 22 18 16 and 6 from Saundersfoot. She blogs at Pembrokeshire Mum
“We love the classic Connect 4. Some games are too complicated, especially for my six year old son, but Connect 4 is easy to understand, but also brings out the competitiveness in my older children (and the adults!) It’s loads of fun. You simply have to drop either red or yellow discs into the plastic grid to make four in a row. But it is not as easy as it sounds. It’s aimed at children age 6+”
As recommended by Emma mum of one age 3 from Warwick. She blogs at Happy Family.
“Our favourite is a card game called Dobble. It’s a really easy picture matching game that can be played by family members of all ages. Cheating is impossible so this keeps the game competitive, clean and most of all fun.”
Emojito (Tactic Games)
As recommended by mum of one Clare. She blogs at Freddie’s Mummy
“One of our favourites is Emojito which is suitable for ages 7+. There are 100 cards with very colourful animals pulling the most ridiculous faces. You have to either sing or pull a facial expression so your opponents guess which card out of seven was the card you were re-enacting. We have never laughed so much playing this game. You can read Clare’s full review of the game here.
As recommended by Jemma mum of two age 5 and 3 from Penarth near Cardiff. She blogs at Have Kids Will Travel .
“Frustration by Hasbro has been a favourite of mine since I was a child and it’s great my children can now play it too. We’ve got the Frozen version which makes it more appealing to them and even though the recommended age is six, with a little guidance they play along happily. The board has a popper in the middle with a dice which keeps them entertained. You have to move four counters round the board to their home, dodging other players who can take you right back to the start.”
Guess Who? (Hasbro)
As recommended by Hayley mum of two age 5 and 4 from near Llanelli. She blogs at Winging It With Two Boys
“My mum has just bought my boys Guess Who? for Christmas – they are five and four. I loved Guess Who? when I was younger, and I suggested that mum bought it for the boys as I thought they’d love it to – so I’m a little excited to play it with them. We thought it would be a perfect game for them as they’d have to describe hair colours, gender, whether they are wearing glasses and then be able to spot which people do or don’t have those things.”
Headbanz (Spinmaster Games)
As recommended by Josie mum of two age 6 and 8 from Essex. She blogs at Me The Man and The Others
“We recently discovered Headbanz by Spinmaster Games. Each player has a card on their head band and has to ask questions of the other players to guess what it is. Our children are six and eight and the game works really well for us as a family. I liked it because once she’d got the hang of the type of questions she needed to ask, the six-year-old had as much chance of winning as everyone else. I struggled with games until recently as everything they could play was really dull but this game gives me hope that we’ll be able to enjoy games nights in the future.”
Hotel Tycoon (MB Games)
As recommended by Lynne mum of two age 4 and 9 from Omagh Northern Ireland. She blogs at Around The World in 18 Years.
“Our favourite game has to be Hotel Tycoon from MB which is no surprise as we are travel bloggers. You buy luxury hotels around the world and players pay you for staying in your hotel. I first played it when I got it one Christmas nearly 30 years ago. We have two s aged 4 and 9 so the little one learns from Mummy. The game is for 8+.”
As recommended by Han-Son dad of one age 4 from London. He blogs at Daddi Life www.daddilife.com
“I play Kerplunk at least once a week with my four year old. Technically it’s designed for 5+ but I think kids from 3+ can get involved. Kerplunk involves two phases. The first is setting the thing up. You need to thread many a thin stick across an orb to construct enough of a base to then fill the orb with marbles. Then each player takes a turn to remove a stick. Whoever has the least marbles in their ‘pot’ is the winner. This is HUGE family favourite right now as it’s a great way to get my family together over a relatively quick game, but one where a toddler actually enjoys the set up as much as the game itself. It never fails to provide a laugh or two each time.”
As recommended by Frances mum of two age 5 and 3 from Kent. She blogs at Whinge Whinge Wine
“We really like Kersplatt. Although my kids are a bit young really, they do love playing a squooshing the little Plasticine men. It doesn’t go on too long either; just about right. The aim of the game is to race two of your four Play Doh pawns around the board and home before anyone else, and before they are Kersplatted by your opponent(s).” You can read Frances’ full review of Kersplatt here.
Karuba Junior (Habaits)
As recommended by Gemma, mum of two age 4 and 6 months, from Newport. Gemma runs the newly-opened Under Hive Games store in Newport, selling board games suitable for all ages as well as organising game-themed events. Visit the website here
“A game we love, love, love is Karuba Junior by Habaits. It’s for ages 4-8 years but I enjoy playing it with my son and so does my husband. Cooperatively you must lead the adventurers to the three treasure chests before the pirates reach the beach, the tigers block your path or you run out of pathways. It’s a really fun game. Very pretty and easy enough for little ones to grasp. We also like the fact that you either all win together or you all lose together.”
Ludo (available from various manufacturers)
As recommended by Nadia mum of one aged 3.5 living in London. She blogs at Scandi Mummy
“Ludo used to be one of my favourite board games as a child. It was huge in Denmark where I’m from but the game originates in India. It’s a strategy game played by 2-4 players. I used to play with my granddad and we always had great fun. My son is 3.5 so still slightly too young but I cannot wait to introduce him.”
As recommended by Becky, mum of two ages 11 and 14, from Nottingham. She blogs at A Beautiful Space
“Oh, how we love playing Monopoly. It takes forever but we love hanging out together all that time trying to build our empire – sometimes we even leave it until the next day and it becomes an epic battle. It’s lovely to play over a long weekend and fab for all ages.”
Mouse Trap (Hasbro)
As recommended by Karina, mum of one aged 7, from Manchester. She blogs at Mums The Nerd
“We love a good family board games night. One of our favourites is the classic game of Mouse Trap by Hasbro Games. It’s quite the nostalgic game – both me and the Mr remember playing with our parents when we were younger. The game is for ages 6+ and for up to 4 players. The aim of the game is to make your way around the board first without getting caught in a Mouse Trap.”
Shopping List (Orchard Games)
As recommended by Alice, mum of three age 12, 9 and 3. She blogs at Living With a Jude
“My son has severe learning disabilities and often retreats away from things he doesn’t understand. My daughters love board games so I wanted to find something we could all enjoy together. Orchard Toys games are suited to children as young as two or three and even though my son is 12, cognitively he isn’t anywhere near this. His absolute favourite game that even my nine year old daughter will entertain is Shopping List. We have two versions just in case we lose a piece. It’s a great game and means my 12, nine and three year old can all enjoy some time together. It’s a game for up to four people. You each have a shopping basket or a trolley and a shopping list. All the food item cards and face down and you take it in turns to choose one and see if it’s on your list. That’s basically it but being such foodies, my kids love it! Saying that…they all have a favourite list within the game and my three year old in particular will freak out if she doesn’t get the right one. My 9 year old is a staunch animal lover and refuses to collect the meat cards. In fact, we altered one version to suit our family and replaced the meat bits with tofu/beans and lentils!”
Snakes and Ladders (Big Jigs)
As recommended by Emily, mum of twins age 6, from Cardiff. She blogs at Twin Mummy and Daddy
“We have a wooden BigJigs board game of Snakes and Ladders. My twins are six and love it. It’s suitable from age three, and even if at that age children don’t quite get the concept of the game, it’s good practise for turn taking etc. My girls can get frustrated at having to go down a snake, but they think it’s hilarious when their daddy or I have to, and the smiles when they get to go up a ladder is brilliant. We love playing this game as it’s just simple family fun. We absolutely adore this game! The fact that the board is wooden as well is something I love.”
Ticket To Ride (Days of Wonder)
As recommended by Jenny, mum of two age 6 and 8, from London. She blogs at The Gingerbread House
“We love Ticket to Ride. We have the American and Europe versions, we even play it on the iPad! It’s the perfect family game, my six and eight year old love it. It’s a cross-country train adventure where players collect cards of various types of train cars that enable them to claim railway routes connecting cities. It’s a game which the whole family can play, which isn’t too complicated yet challenges all ages, and everyone enjoys.” You can Jenny’s full review of Ticket to Ride here.
Time’s Up! (Asmodee)
As recommended by Rim, mum of two age 4 and 6, from London. She blogs at Curious and Geeks
“Time’s Up! is our family favourite. We have a kids’ version that is suitable for kids from four years old – which is perfect as my children are four and six. The objective of the game is to make the others guess what you have on your card using sentences, then a single word, then mimics. The cards have a drawing of an animal, a character or an item. The game also comes with a timer and the winner is the team that manages to correctly guess the biggest amount of cards, before the end of the timer. We love it because my daughter always come up with some weird and funny ways to make us guess the word.” Read Rim’s top nine family board games here.
As recommended by Fariba, mum of three age 7, 5 and 3, from Canada but now living in London. She blogs at Mixed Race Family.
“Uno is my children’s favourite. It’s easy to carry around with you and helps pass the time if you’re ever out with friends at a restaurant and the kids are waiting for their food. Suitable for ages 4-12 it’s easy for all ages to understand and is a game that involves both strategy and luck. With children aged 7, 5 and 3, we have a real age gap when it comes to games but mine all love this one. Just remember to shout Uno when you’re down to the last card!”