Friday, July 24, 2015

5 Fun Board Games for Kids & Families for School Holidays

Parenting has brought us many moments of pure joy;  a newborns arrival into the world, first words, first steps, sibling interaction, first day at kindergarten and much more. As a family, we try to expose our children to as many new experiences as possible in a family environment, thus stimulating their thoughts and lust for knowledge whilst being around to give reassurance and familiarity during these new experiences.

One thing we have learned during our journey is the importance of age-appropriate stimulation. Rattles, soft toys and repetitive ABC toys are excellent for toddlers as they develop motor skills , practice their alphabet and social skills.

Around the age of 4 although Baby D was still able to while away an hour or so with his beloved train set, as parents we sought out fun board games which could include all family members and be engaging enough to keep us all interested as well as bond together as a family.

Growing up, both Hubby and I had a large collection of games such as Connect 4, Cluedo, Checkers, Monopoly, Downfall, Battleships, Chess, Backgammon, Scrabble, just to name a few.

Here are 5 fun board games which you can introduce to your children from the age of 3. It will also be great for killing time during these school holidays or as an after-school activity.

1. Snakes and Ladders

The first board game we introduced our two children to was Snakes and Ladders. At first we bought a travel edition and after establishing it was appropriate for their level and fun to play as a family, we purchased a good quality wooden version from BHS at Christmas as one of their gifts.

What Kids Learn: Counting in a fun, competitive environment. Teaching them that it's ok to lose sometimes - play for the fun, not to win.

Suitable for: Ages 3 and above.

2. Reversi

Games of strategy are also good to observe how your young ones think and problem solve.  Once again, we opted for the travel edition size of Reversi and was astonished how quickly the rules were grasped and the joy of winning / tears of losing were displayed.  I believe through playing Reversi our youngest learned the concept of playing for joy and that both players in a two player game can enjoy a good game.

What Kids Learn: Strategy.

Suitable for: Ages 4 and above.

3. Chess

Chess is probably the most recognized board game around the world. We introduced chess to our kids early this year, and we were surprised at how quickly they grasped the game and enjoyed it; it has now become a favourite in our home. It was also through my kids that I learnt how to play chess and now we play together as a family on most evenings.

We even had a chess tournament between the four of us and I dare say there will be another tournament during the upcoming school holidays.  Each member of our family has managed to defeat all other members on several occasions; it's definitely not a foregone conclusion as to who is going to win.

We have a travel edition which is great for travelling, as we can play in restaurants while waiting for food, or when killing time in the airport.

What Kids Learn: Memorising position, names and moves that each piece can make. Strategy and patience.

Suitable for: Ages 4 and above.

4. Monopoly

Before we moved back to KL from the UK, we were gifted an Aberdeen Edition Monopoly set. A couple of years ago, we started utilising this board game as Monopoly encompasses all the necessary qualities of a good multiplayer board game such as competition, strategy, luck and interaction.

Monopoly also helps strengthen mathematics skills in order to count out money.  On the face of it Monopoly is a very fun game which always provokes laughter, conversation and drama each time we play, however subconsciously, Monopoly is teaching our children the concept of banking, property ownership, social skills and responsibilities.

Baby D always seem to emerge the winner, so he has been given the nickname "Small Tycoon" in our family.

What Kids Learn: Counting money, and property ownership.

Suitable for: Ages 4 and above.

5. Popper

Another favourite at Christmas time in the UK was "Popper". The version we have at home requires four coloured markers to be individually navigated around the board into their home.

Each player takes their turn to pop the dice located in the center of the board game. Getting a six results in an extra turn, despite this quite often two or more players end up in a pop off at the end of a 15 minute game, which results in much excitement, laughter and rivalry.  We all laugh and have an in joke nowadays as we recall how Baby D was never the loser despite coming 4th of 4.  "See who is the 2nd winner , see who's the 3rd winner, OK I'm the 4th winner he'd declare".

What kids learn: Unadulterated fun. Anyone can win this :)

Suitable for: Ages 3 and above.

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  1. I loved snakes & ladders when I was small!

  2. the first four games bring back good memories of my childhood too ... but the fifth one - i've never played popper before! :)

  3. HAHAHAHAHAH... 4th winner for D.. HAHAHAHAH he so funneehhh

  4. always a good idea to let out kids play our childhood games ;)

  5. OMG this was such a nice, nostalgic post for me because I played all of these games! I'm glad that they're still making them. I think my very favourite ones were Operation and Trivial Pursuit :)


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