Monday, November 17, 2008

Mow-gLee Tells Our Top 10 Family Games the Whole Gang Can Play!

Need some ideas on what to give your favorite family for Christmas? Here’s what I think are our top 10 family games. I may have missed a good one or two. All these games can be adapted for tiny people to teens to grown-ups.

{A note on babies—sometimes ya gotta just try to keep them out of the game all together while pacifying them with something fun between two of the players. Occasionally you will get an older baby or toddler that will enjoy sitting in your lap and throwing the dice on your turn. It is surprising what they can be taught as they watch. You can try explaining some things to them, or give them a specific task. Don’t exclude them totally from family fun, but don’t expect them to miraculously do exactly what you want them to either! The more they are allowed to be around while the older people play, the sooner they will catch on to the concept of games. Thinking of ways to occupy babies can be part of the fun and definitely a great challenge to add spice to your game playing!}

If you look at the parentheses, you may think I am swearing at you, but really, it is just a secret code. Here’s the formula for the code.

Quickness of play—
* = Play for 5 minutes or 105 minutes. You can stop at any time
** = Takes about a half an hour
*** = Plan on more than half an hour

Ease of incorporating everyone—
+ = No problem to include all with guidance
++ = Little people need some help
+++ = Little people play a minor role

Giggle factor—
# = Crack a smile or two
## = LOL
### = Snorting, giggling, laughing, and wheezing can happen

Boggle— (*++#) Great game for the whole family. Little tykes can practice writing the letters they see. Beginning readers can go for the two letter words. When playing with varying age groups, simply handicap the older people by assigning fewer points per word! This is very fun and educational. You can practice your spelling, vocabulary, handwriting(little kids), and reading.

Card Games—(**+++##) Card games can include Go Fish, Old Maid, Joker, Cribbage, Spoons, Crazy Eights, Progression, Wanna Be a Ten and more. I like card games because they can help you learn math concepts, and the versatility of card games makes it so your family can be entertained in many different ways by one piece of “equipment”. With younger kids, it can be helpful to have them hide their hand behind a book, Lego construction or some other blocking device until they are old enough to have mastered holding the cards in their hands and being able to view them at the same time! The other thing they can do is to place their hand face down on the table and then sneak peeks when it is their turn to play.

Charades—(*++###) Trying to guess what in the world your family members are acting out runs a fine line between confusing and hilarious. To help little ones with this game, one person can help them by whispering into the child’s ear what they are supposed to do. They catch on pretty quickly how to do the motion for “movie” or “sounds like”. It is surprising how many clever ways they think of on their own as to how to act something out. Occasionally, the young ones are the ones that guess part of the phrase first! I couldn’t find a Charades game on Amazon that I liked, but you can easily get Charades phrases for free online, as well as the rules.

Jenga—(**+++#) This game is simple,yet fun. Just try to pull out a wooden piece without knocking over the tower. One thing I like about this game is that it doesn't take long to play. You can interrupt your daily task list to play with the kids for a few minutes!
Mad Libs—(*+###) Think up the most outrageous words possible to have the most fun with this silly game. I love playing this with younger kids involved because they come up with some of the absolute best nouns and adjectives and just need a little coaching. To make it easy, if you are asking for a “verb, past tense”, just ask them for something they can do. When they let you know, simply put it in past tense yourself. We have loads of fun with this game. We have enough Mad Libs pads that everyone can have their own and randomly shout out, “Noun, Dad” or “Name of Person in Room, Mom”. Dad and Mom have to holler back a word while continuing to work on their own sheet. This method gets a little crazy because sometimes you get asked several things all at once. But it is totally fun. Start off slowly with this game by just having one person ask for words and everyone else giving the answers. Then, read back the story for silly entertainment. Hee, hee, hee.

Memory—(**++#) This game is most enjoyable for young whipper-snappers. I get a kick out of watching the kids play. The younger ones are so intent on studying to make sure they know where all the cards are and can get a match on their next turn. I on the other hand tend to pay just enough attention to the game to get an occasional match. This way everyone thinks I am playing and am just not very good at it when I am actually “throwing” the game a bit. It is just so fun to watch the 4 (or 5 or 6) year old who is sitting by me, get a match. I just can’t help myself. Oops, now I just revealed my secret and some of my children read my blog for some strange reason! Maybe I should blog that they should go clean up their bedroom now. Maybe that would be an effective way to communicate with them.

Storyoni—(*+###) Storyoni is a game I made up and have tweaked over the years to come up with several templates to choose from. When we get started playing this game, the kids never want to stop. “Please, just one more?!” Often, I want to say the same. J We always have tons of laughter and rolling in the aisles with this game. It never gets dull and it is always a new game every time we play!
Taboo Jr. —(***+++##) We recently tried out this game and had fun. Basically, you have two teams and you have to try and guess the word without saying the taboo words. It is harder than you think at first. The game comes with a little squeaky thing that you are supposed to squeeze when the other team says a taboo word. For us, it made a good baby toy more than anything. Watch out that the younger ones realize when they are supposed to guess and when they are only supposed to listen. You can help little people on this game by whispering to them a few words that they can say to help their team guess.
Uno—(***+++##) In learning this game, it is helpful to have the little people pair up and be a “partner” to an older player. They can toss down the proper card for you, help find the right color, snicker when they play a card that sets someone back, and of course drawing cards is always fun. When you have all mastered Uno, then try Uno Attack where cards are literally spewed forth at you if you need to draw!
Yahtzee—(***+++##) Yahtzee is another great little people “partner” game. Even two year olds like to throw the dice and get praise for doing such a great roll. There isn’t a ton of skill involved in Yahtzee, but it is fun. It is always suspenseful to see if you can produce the needed number of sixes to qualify for a bonus, or can you get that two you need to finish your large straight?? If you are up for a little bit more of a challenge, try Triple Yahtzee. Triple Yahtzee takes longer, but you have to strategize a bit to get the most points.

You can buy most of these games through Amazon and YouPublish online by clicking on the one you want over on my sidebar on the right. This saves having to make a trip to the store and it just might make a good game to play after your Thanksgiving feast, or to give for Christmas or birthday gifts. There are some very reasonably priced items! Some qualify for super saver shipping too! (I tried to locate the best Amazon price for you to save searching.) {Oh, and FYI, I do make a teeny tiny bit of commission if you purchase the Amazon items clicked on here--I think 4%}

I put three other games over there on the sidebar too. Bang is a western themed, very unique game that my kids were introduced to by their cousins. Will you get to be the Sheriff this time, or perhaps you are an outlaw or a renegade? Will you have the protection you need? Will you have the right gun and ammunition? Find out! {For some reason I am only finding the expansion pack for this game on Amazon right now. I’ll keep checking back to see if I can find it and upgrade links for you! :)} Update: Thanks to Momof5boys for directing me here to purchase Bang.

Pass the Pigs is a simple game where you roll the pigs like dice and earn points based on what position the pigs end up in. Silly,yet fun.

Phase 10 comes in two styles—the card game and the dice game. Each game shows you 10 phases you must complete in order to gain points and become the winner. It is quite a rush to complete the phases first. :)

What are your favorites??

{See other product reviews here.}


Mom of 5 Boys said...

We bought Bang! at a specialty games website called Funagain.

Charades Cards said...

You can use to generate printable pdfs full of words for playing Charades with. Takes a lot of the hassle out of organising a game

CompleteLee Blogger said...

Thanks for the helpful tips, folks!

Stacy said...

We have several of those games. I love to play games!

Laurie said...

Blokus is my absolute favorite right now!! Adults can use strategy, but kids love it just as much. My 4 year old can play it (correctly!), and she AND my 2 year old LOVE to make designs with all the pieces.

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Hi This is a great list...thanks! I have a 6 year old grandson, and he is at a perfect age for games such as this!