It’s a good thing I’m the queen of quick games, because on Friday night when my six-year-old daughter decreed that Saturday would be Family Game Day, I knew I’d be able to honor her wishes while still accomplishing the laundry and everything else I needed to get done.
If you’re as busy, backed up and tired as I am, the words “Mom, come play with me,” can sometimes strike fear into your heart. I’m not an imaginary play person, so I want to run in the other direction if I hear, “Let’s pretend.” Since I’ve mastered the art of finding and stockpiling quick games, on the other hand, I’m always up for a round of games with the kids.
Here are my requirements for mom-approved quick games:
* The game can be played in 15 minutes or less.
* The game is equally enjoyed by both of my kids, who are four-and-a-half years apart in age.
* It comes in a relatively small box for easy storage, and has few pieces, which means less for me to clean up.
* The game costs around $10.
As you might imagine, Monopoly does not meet my requirements. Here are seven great quick games that do, most of which we played throughout the day on Saturday:
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I Spy Memory Game 1 of 7Any type of small, boxed memory game or bingo game is a great way to play a quick game with the kids, especially younger ones. We must have played this I Spy Memory Game - Travel Edition a billion times. The game uses images so you don't have to be able to read yet to play. I Spy Memory Game costs around $10.
Feed the Kitty 2 of 7Feed the Kitty has been a playtime staple in our house for years, and even as the kids get older they still like it. Just roll the dice on your turn to see whether you have to feed your mice to the cat food bowl, take a catnap or give your mice to your neighbor. Whoever still has mice when everyone else runs out wins. It takes maybe 10 minutes to play this game, and we usually play it more than once. You can get this game for less than $10.
Suspend 3 of 7I got this game, a new offering from Melissa & Doug, for my kids for Christmas and we've played it many times since. They say Suspend is for ages 8+, but my 6-year-old loves it and has no trouble playing. The goal is to hang and balance the individual game rods on the frame without causing the structure to collapse. This game only takes about 10 minutes to play and costs around $15.
Spot It 4 of 7I love it when a game comes in a tiny package, because it makes me think it won't take long to play. Spot It requires fast thinking and an eagle eye as you look at two cards to find the matching image on each and shout it out. The manufacturer says the game is for 7-11 year olds, but I've been playing it with my daughter since she was 5 -- I just waited a little longer to look at the cards without her knowing so she'd have a head start on me. It's so popular that now there are many different versions of Spot It as well. This game, which usually costs around $11, doesn't take more than 10 minutes to play.
Reverse Charades 5 of 7A team acts out clues for one person to guess. You're supposed to use the hourglass timer and guess as many clues as possible in 60 seconds, but we haven't graduated to that yet. We find enough amusement just trying to act out the clues. And if you're tired, there's nothing better than lying on the couch watching your kids silently act out "corn dog." Reverse Charades Jr., for ages 6+, costs around $16.
Pick Up Sticks 6 of 7A classic. Just dump the pile of sticks on the floor and then take turns trying to remove them one by one without disturbing the pile. When my daughter was younger and having trouble with her fine motor skills, this game was great practice for her. Plus, you can usually get a box of these for 5 or 6 bucks.
Tell Tale 7 of 7With Tell Tale, you use images on the cards as prompts to make up a story, and each person takes a turn adding to it. You can make this game as long or as short as you like, depending upon how many cards you use. We've come up with some pretty zany tales playing Tell Tale together. Tell Tale costs around $11 and is good for all ages.
What are your favorite family games that can be played fairly quickly? Any suggestions? I need to add more to my repertoire!
Photo credit: Katherine Stone
Katherine Stone writes here at Babble as well as at her own blog on postpartum depression, called Postpartum Progress. You can also follow her on Twitter as she tweets inane things about her day, or learn more about her here.