We’d decorate Christmas cookies, visit out-of-town family and friends, and spend days at home in our pajamas.
Unfortunately, only one of those things— the pajamas— actually happened, and not because of intentional laziness; it’s because we were sick. Really sick. My family and I subsisted on chicken soup and cough drops, and 2 weeks later my house still smells of Vick’s Vapo Rub.
Even though my holiday fantasy wasn’t filled with much hustle or bustle, we managed to have a good time (between bouts of fever and body aches). What was the secret? Board games.
Board games are a relatively new family pastime in my house. Since my oldest is almost 10 and my youngest is 3, there haven’t been many games that my children could all play together. We’ve recently turned that corner, though, since my daughter is finally a bit more mature developmentally.
Winter break has come and gone, but not a day goes by that at least one child asks me to get a game out. Since we’ve exhausted the ones we have, I’m on the lookout for others that are appropriate for a wide range of ages.
I’ve rounded up 8 games for kids of all ages. Some are ones we already have and others have been recommended by teachers and friends.
What’s your family’s favorite board game?
Greedy Gator 1 of 8This is a great 2-player game that easy enough for my 3 year old. Her older brother loves it too! The point is to get your animals (either monkeys or parrots) to the other side of the bridge before your opponent. But beware: that greedy gator loves knocking you off!
Get it at the Mattel Shop, $14.99
Connect 4 Launchers 2 of 8We love this high-flying game in our house. With multiple ways to play for different skill levels, this is a great one for all kids 4 and up.
Get it at Amazon, $23.99
Qwirkle 3 of 8Qwirkle is the perfect game for a wide range of kids' ages, and it can be played with up to four players. It's described as "Scrabble meets Dominoes" and it's so much fun.
Get it at Target, $17.49
Hi Ho Cherry-O 4 of 8I remember playing this game as a child and it's just as much fun today. My kids love it too!
Get it at Amazon, $11.25
Rivers, Roads, and Rails 5 of 8Take turns drawing cards that depict transportation scenes. Match up rivers, roads and rails for interactive and educational fun!
Get it at Amazon, $14.85
Zingo 6 of 8My daughter received this game for her 3rd birthday and I'll be honest: I wasn't sure if she'd be able to play. To my surprise she loved it, and soon her older brothers did too. It's like Bingo except that it uses pictures, and it's fast-paced and so much fun.
Get it at Target, $18.19
Slamwich 7 of 8This game was recommended by a friend whose kids love it. Up to 6 players take turns "slamming" parts of the sandwich onto a center pile, but look out for the "thief" who wants to run off with the goods!
Get it at Amazon, $10.99
Don’t Break the Ice 8 of 8Don't Break the Ice is a classic. My kids love the anticipation that build with every block of ice that's removed from the pond.
Get it at Amazon, $10.95
More by Mary Lauren: