Board Games Are Cool For Kids
Board games, it seems, have become the new ‘cool’ as they are increasingly more popular with sales growing year on year, coffee shops being opening dedicated to game play, and many online websites like BoardGameGeek, and YouTube Channels like Table Top, now running with huge fanbases. My hubby and I have started playing board games fairly regularly in the evening rather than watching the tele, and we aren’t the only couple it seems; Golden Globe presenters, Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard, reportedly skipped the afterparties last weekend so that they could return home to play Settlers of Catan (pic, below left), and why not? Game play is exciting, inventive, and engaging, encouraging you to socialise with friends and partners. And it’s not just something aimed at adults but for the entire family.
My children have been brought up playing games from a young age and it always astounds me how they can immediately pick up game rules and implement their own strategies to win, even against their parents! Some games are obviously made with families in mind. Several new ones to the market that look really interesting include Potion Explosion where you become students taking your final exams in potions class and have to brew your own potions (using marbles) in order to win the game, and also Ice Cool, a fast game of flicking wooden penguins through a maze to find and eat the most fish in order to win.
Other games like Dobble and Hive (pic below) are just fantastic, particularly as they are small and compact enough to be taken to restaurants and coffee shops to keep children entertained; one of our favourite things to do as a family on a weekend is to spend an hour or so in Costa or Nero’s playing games like this.
Several of the more popular teen/adult games now have junior versions available so that children too can access the fun; Catan Junior and Ticket to Ride: First Journey are just 2 fantastic examples aimed at 5yrs+ and highly recommended. The latter (Ticket to Ride: First Journey, see pic below) was purchased before Christmas and is a firm favourite with both my 6 and 8 year old sons who are more than capable of beating us in completing journeys, or ‘tickets’ across America.
However, don’t exclude children from older, more complicated games as you will find that they can become pretty adept at these too – I have often been beaten in these by my 8 year old. Several good ones to recommend are Forbidden Island – a game where you have to collect 4 artefacts before the island sinks, Splendour where you have to buy and sell gems in order to earn the 15 points required to win the game, Camel Up (main pic, top)- a game where you bet on and race wooden Camels which is so much fun and one of my favourites, and Machi Koro – a game of buying resources in order to build your city first.
The benefits and skills children develop by playing these games is enormous – strategy, numeracy, planning, discussion, explanation, consequence, geography – not to mention that it takes them away from screens and technologies and instead encourages fun and social time as a family – it’s a win/win.