5 Strategies for Success: The Best Kids Games your Children can Play Together

Sisters playing The LadyBug Game

Now that you have all of your kids at home, you are most likely looking for games that they can play together.  Sometimes in free-play situations, siblings tend to get irritated by their brothers and sisters.

But in a game situation, where the procedures and rules are well defined, your children can co-operate to enjoy the activity.  You can start this type of activity with very young children. And kids games playing is an excellent boredom relief for older siblings as well. 

Strategies for Success

Family playing kids games to explain the rules and set procedures to ensure fair play for when kids play independently.
Family playing Pictionary.

1 Play the Game with your Kids First

For the first few rounds, you will need to play the game with your kids to make sure they understand the method of play and all of the rules. Depending on the complexity of play, you may need to do this several times with younger children. Soon you will be able to step back from the kids games and just be available for consultation to confirm the rules or to interpret the situations.

Young boy with an eager smile. He is ready to learn kids games.

Photo by Terricks Noah on Unsplash

2 Involve only those of Your Troop who Want to Play

While you might prefer to involve everyone in the gameplay, it is a wiser decision to let those who want to play to be involved, while the other kids do something else. Eventually, your kids will be drawn into the play as they hear the peals of laughter from their siblings. If you have a very young child, it might be wise to have them team up with a sibling for the first few times to get a feel for the game.

3 Provide Choice

Kids always appreciate it when they have more control over the situation. So, if you want to involve your family in kids games, it is wise to have several from which to choose. You may decide to have one that appeals to the younger set and one that is more suited for your older kids. Be prepared to be surprised by their choices. Often what appeals to adults will not appeal to your kids.

Mom and Dad drop by a session of kids games to see that everything is going smoothly.
Learning how to play Monopoly

4 Drop-In

While your kids are playing, it is advisable to drop in to see how the game is progressing. If you see any signs of disinterest,  perhaps it is time to offer a snack break or a physical activity so that when the game is started again, there will be renewed interest. Your children most likely have different concentration spans, and some will need a break. 

You can use this time to support one of your children with play. Ask if you can sit in with them, and then provide some helpful hints using language like this. “How about …..?”, “Did you see this move over here?”, “Have you looked at the bottom of the board, too?”  Give them a nudge but let the decision to make a particular move be their own.

Sometimes kids squabble during kids games. It is important to involve the kids in the solution so you have a buy in.

5 Handle Squabbles

From time to time, there may be squabbles about the kids game play. You need to expect this outcome and prepare yourself for dealing with it. Take the time to hear everyone’s side about the incident. And then turn the issue back to your kids to solve. “So, what do you want to do about . . . .?”  They may decide to quit and play again another day. They may choose to give the player another chance. Or they may decide to make a rule about the problem so that it will be clear about what happens if the same issue is encountered again. 

And before you leave the situation, repeat the decision that was made so that everyone is clear on h decision that has been made.

Take a look at these kids games to see if they match what you need.

Bring on the Games!

Young Child’s Games   

Sequence

Age Range: 3 to 6 years old

Number of players: 2 to 4

Description: This is a young child’s “Connect 4” type of game, but the playing area is a board game. The images are delightfully comical.

What you will like: There is no reading needed to play the game, so everyone can be included.

The LadyBug Game

Age: 3 and older

Number of Players: 2 to 4

Description: Move along the simplified game board to the end to win.

What you will like: No one loses in this game as all players are required to get to the end of the board to complete the game. The board is very simple, making this game suitable for young children. It builds on number recognition and counting. This game has won many awards.

Jumping Jack

Age: 5 and older

Number of Players: 2 to 4 players

Description: Catch the rabbit if you can! You start by collecting carrots. As you pull your carrot out of the ground, be careful as the bunny can jump at any moment. If he does, you are required to catch him.

What you will like: The built-in surprise of the jumping bunny will captivate the game players. It is a fast-paced game so there will be multiple winners in a short amount of time. Each game is only a few minutes long. Your kids will want to try to catch the bunny over and over again.

Other Games for Young Kids

If you have young kids who do not read yet, see this blog for first games with no words.

Beginning Readers

Game of Life (Simplified Version)

Age: 5 and older

Number of Players: 2 to 4

Description: Move along this more complicated game board. In the process, you will be required to perform many different tasks to earn stars or money. These include such tasks as finishing a song, acting, or telling a story.

What You Will Like: This game appeals to a range of age groups so you can include younger siblings with older kids as long as support for reading the cards can be given. There is no strategy in the game so anyone can win, even the youngest player if they are lucky.

Taco vs Burrito

Age: 7 or older

Number of Players: 2 to 4

Description: This is a card game very similar to Uno in play. But be prepared to be surprised. Some of the cards can be used to remove points from players or save them. It all depends on the mood of the players and the strategy for winning. Amazingly, it was created by a 7-year-old child. While the game is full of fun, some parents may object to some off-color cards which suggest such things as eyeballs for ingredients.

What you will like: The game lasts from 15 minutes to 45 minutes, depending on the players’ choices. The absurd ingredients and fast turn arounds will delight your kids as they play the game. Make sure that the players can be noisy since as the game advances, they will be astounded by the actions of their so-called friends.

The Floor is Lava

Age: 5 years and older

Number of Players: 2 to 6

Description: Set out the safe spots around the room. With each spin you need to move over your the area on your color. At different points in the game you will be meet a physical challenge.

What you will like: This game helps you child learn how to follow directions while getting some exercise as well. You can be the spinner during the first round to set the rules of the game, but from that point you can set your older children to run the game. Depending on the number of players, the game runs from 15 minutes to 45 minutes.

Race to the Treasure

Age: 5 years old and older

Number of Players: 2 to 4

Description: You work together to try and beat the ogres to the treasure by creating a path along the way. On your journey you also need to collect 3 keys.

What you will like: This is a co-operative game where all of the players work together to defeat the ogres. So everyone is trying their best to cooperate. There are many more cooperative games from Peaceable Kingdom from which to choose.

More Games For Cultivating Reading and Mathematical Skills

You may favor games that build academic skills, as well as being fun to play. These games have been selected for enhancing reading and mathematical concepts at many different levels. READING GAMES and   MATHEMATICAL ACTIVITIES.

Games for Older Kids

As your kids gain more maturity, it is wise to give them more choice in acquiring the games they would like to play. Here are some suggestions to start with but ultimately they will only play games that appeal to them.

5 Second Rule

Age: 7 years and older

Number of Players: 2 to 6

Description: You read a short question and then you have 5 seconds to give 3 plausible answers. A timer is set to pace your answers. If 5 seconds is too short a time for the younger set you can lengthen the amount of time or not use the timer at all.

What you will like: All ages can play. The game board is short so the playtime is not long before you have a winner. It is easy to start over and continue playing to give everyone a fair chance.

Gravity Maze

Age: 8 years and older

Number of Players: 1 to 4

Description: Toy of the Year Award winner in 2017 – Engineers in the making will love this game. There are 60 challenges in total that range from easy to very difficult. Select a card and solve the problem.

What you will like: If you have kids who love to build things, it is likely they will love this game too. It is also a magnet for any adult who is intrigued by technical concepts, puzzles or logic conundrums.

XCOM

Age: 13 to 15 years old

Number of players: up to 4

Description: In this game, all of the players must work together to repel an alien invasion. The players assume the roles of commander, chief scientist, central officer, and squad leader. Each position has strengths and weaknesses. To play the game you need to download a free app. The app has a tutorial and sample game to clarify the objectives and the rules. The app also serves as a timer for gameplay.

Why you will like it: Your kids can watch the app to learn how to play the game and therefore will independently learn the rules. It is a co-operative game. All 4 players are needed to repel the alien enemy.

Table Tennis to GO

Age: 8 years and older

Number of Players: 2

Description: Play a game of table tennis anywhere you are as long as you have a table.

What you will like: Table tennis is a very active sport that only requires a table and room to play. Set it up and have a rotating tournament for your kids.

Unstable Unicorns

Age:14 years and older

Number of Players: 2 to 8

Description: 2019 People’s Choice Award for Toy of the Year – Your task is to collect 7 unicorns. While you are on your mission, the other players are there to create roadblocks as they manage their quest for 7 unicorns. The full rules are on the Internet. Here is a place to start. Be warned that with 2 players you need to remove some cards before you start.

What you will like: This game of strategy will engage your teens as they play the game to win. The cards provide unique twists and turns in the game.

So, acquire some games to keep your brood occupied.

Related Articles

First Games – no reading : You can start game play at a young age. There are many benefits to this type of activity.  

Reading Games   Are you trying to think of activities for the kids you have at home during the coronavirus? Here are some games to promote reading skills. 

Mathematical Games:    Here are some suggestions to make academic time FUN. Instead of mathematics assignments,  try games.       

Cool Math Games   

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