I’m a board game geek, let’s get that out of the way before we begin. I’m hot for Balderdash, Settlers of Catan, Articulate, Trivial Pursuit… I prefer sitting at the table with my kids than vying with them on a Wii console (we don’t have one, not that there’s anything wrong with it). I’m a tactile wench so the feel of cardboard beneath plastic counters makes me happy. Old-school. 70s throwback with a touch of modernity.
Here are my picks of 5 kick-arse board games for kids*:
- Cathedral (7+). A cross between Tetris and Settlers of Catan, it teaches strategy without the intensity of chess. Each player tries to monopolise the most regions on a 3D checkboard around the cathedral, by shutting out other players. Scout (8 y.o) is an absolute gun at Cathedral. At the end of the game, the board looks like a kingdom in the opening credits of Game of Slu…. ahem, Game of Thrones. Inky’s too young to play Cathedral, but she does love tinkering with the pieces to make them fit on the board.
- Children’s Charades [Crown and Andrews version] (4+). Even 3 y.o Inky can play this, with some reading help from mum and dad. It develops a child’s dramatic streak—which actually doesn’t need much developing in this house—and their self-confidence in front of an “audience”.
- Monopoly. There is a junior version for younger kids, but Scout will happily play the grown-up version suitable for kids 7+ (Inky is probably still at junior level). As we are raising mini moguls, Monopoly is where it’s at. There are dozens of varieties of Monopoly now available, including the Monopoly: Dr. Who Edition and Monopoly: Lord of the Rings Collectors Edition. We are totally old school and have the original British version.
- Waterworks (4+). For the budding plumber (or plumbette) in your life, this game teaches practical strategy by each player endeavouring to make an entire pipeline whilst having to make repairs, detours and springing leaks on other players’ pipelines. This is more of a card game than a board game—husbando and I played this every other day on our getaways in Japan as it was immensely portable. The perfect holiday game.
- Scrabble (7+). Initiate your kids into the wonderful world of Word Nerd-dom. You’ll have them using “antidisestablishmentarianism” in correct context before you know it.
* Some of these are affiliate links to Fishpond.com.au, an Australia-based online book and game store. These are all games I LOVE, and have been playing for years.
Do you have a favourite board game that you play with your kids?