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Fun Board Games: Good Games for Kids

Updated on February 27, 2013

I may not have kids of my own, but I do have a young niece and nephew who are very vocal about what they like to play. So I listened, and lo and behold, the majority of the games were made for adults. Hey, whatever works. And if there's a game I can play with them that holds my attention too, everyone wins!

This hub focuses on four fun games for kids aged five to ten that could even be classified as (shh!) "educational". Enjoy!

Blokus encourages spatial thinking.
Blokus encourages spatial thinking. | Source

Blokus

Blokus is an interesting game because it forces the player to think differently. Players place unusually shaped game pieces (think Tetris, but with 21 shapes) on the gridded board, but they can only touch at the corner, never alongside another piece of the same color.

Gameplay ends when a player is blocked completely and can no longer add to the board. Unblocked players continue until no one can place any more pieces.

Supposedly this game is for people aged 5+, but I played this with my dad and he just didn't get it. He kept trying to match up long lines instead of playing pieces on the corner. My eight-year-old niece, on the other hand, had no trouble.

I think this appeals to children because:

  • the game pieces are brightly colored and fun to touch
  • it encourages spatial thinking
  • it doesn't take a long time to set up or put away.

Dominion is a good game to help teach strategy to youngsters.
Dominion is a good game to help teach strategy to youngsters. | Source

Dominion

You, a feudal lord (or lady) are trying to increase your land holdings while protecting your assets from other merciless lords and ladies. What are we playing? It's Dominion!

In short, Dominion is a deck-building game. In order to win, you will have developed a deck that holds the most victory points of any player. Dominion is also customizable, with numerous expansions that make the replay-ability of the game very high.

Although recommended for 13+ on the box, I think this is a good game for youngsters for the following reasons:

  • it helps teach strategy
  • the kids can imagine themselves in different situations
  • it's fairly short (about 45 minutes to one hour).

For an in-depth game review, please check out Brainy Bunny's hub on how to play Dominion.

Scattergories will help teach proper spelling.
Scattergories will help teach proper spelling. | Source

Scattergories

It may specify "adult" players on the box (they mean 12+), but this game is definitely playable with younger kids, especially if you play in pairs.

The object of the game is to name items in 12 categories that all begin with the same letter. The trick is to not match another player's answer. Each round lasts three minutes, and then players share their answers.

Kids and parents will all like this game because:

  • it moves along quickly -- three rounds can be played in about 15 minutes
  • it encourages players to think uniquely
  • it helps practice spelling
  • it assists in developing a sense of humor
  • the cymbal sound at the end of each round will remind kids of a toilet flushing and cause them to giggle incessantly. Adults will laugh, too.

Apples to Apples will generate lots and lots of laughs.
Apples to Apples will generate lots and lots of laughs. | Source

Apples to Apples

This is another game that can be played in pairs with one adult and little one, or with savvy eight-year-olds.

All you do in this game is compare one thing to other things, and choose the best one. For example, which is the most Magical? Choose from: A Tree House, Albert Einstein, Babies, Jupiter, or Baked Beans. I know which my nephew would choose... what about your young buddy?

The only thing I would suggest if kids will be playing with you is to perhaps remove several of the cards (i.e. Hitler, Stalin, anything war-related) unless you want to have to explain it to them at their tender ages. Apples to Apples also comes in a Junior style game (I assume there are no war-related cards in that version!) Also, children may not be familiar with a lot of the responses involving pop culture.

Even still, party games like these are fun because:

  • everyone can be included
  • humor is valued
  • no skills are required.

Which of these games does your family enjoy most?

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    • theclevercat profile image
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      Rachel Vega 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi, Teaches! I'm glad other people and families have found these games as educational and fun as my family has. Thanks for stopping by! :-)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I have heard from parents of elementary students that apples to apples is highly favored and enjoyable. Scattergories is another popular one among families. Great reviews and wonderful family games that are fun and encourage creative thinking.

    • theclevercat profile image
      Author

      Rachel Vega 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hey, Susan! I guess great minds think alike, huh? :-) I hope you enjoy Dominion and Scattergories too (I think you will!)

      Thanks for the vote and of course the thoughtful comment!

    • theclevercat profile image
      Author

      Rachel Vega 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hey, MM! Blokus is one of my favorites and I hope you enjoy it too. :-) Thanks for the votes, etc.!

    • profile image

      susanm23b 5 years ago

      I think it's great that you are introducing these "out of the mainstream" games! We own Blokus and Apples to Apples. My children love them and so do I. They are fun and educational (in a unique way). They hold my attention as well as my kids. I'm off to check out the other two. Thanks for this great info :) Voted up!

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      My family love board games and I haven't heard of any of these, I especially like the sound of Blokus and will check them out!

      Thank you, voting up and shared

    • theclevercat profile image
      Author

      Rachel Vega 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi, Kelley!

      Yup, Blokus is terrific. It's definitely unlike other games and the first time you play, you might bomb out (I know I did!) But then you understand the strategy and it's all fun. :^)

    • profile image

      kelleyward 5 years ago

      I have not heard of some of these games. Blokus sounds really fun. Voted up and useful. Take care, Kelley

    • theclevercat profile image
      Author

      Rachel Vega 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks, barbergirl28! I hope you all enjoy Scattergories together -- house rules are the way to go (i.e. my family does allow answers that begin with adjectives).

      And Blokus has all those varieties, too -- the triangular one, etc.

      Thanks for writing!

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      We love playing board games... my 10 year old recently go the Disney version of Apples to Apples. In addition, they have the travel version of Blokus (I really want to get the other version so we can all play together) I have never thought about doing scattegories though for the kids. That might be a great idea for helping my older kids with spelling. Thanks for the tip!

    • theclevercat profile image
      Author

      Rachel Vega 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks, Butterfly! Blokus is a really fun game, and it's good for the entire family. :-) Thanks for stopping by, and for the votes.

    • Shesabutterfly profile image

      Cholee Clay 5 years ago from Wisconsin

      I have not heard of Blokus, but the box is very intriguing. I might just have to check it out. My family is always looking for new fun games to play. Great hub! Voted up.

    • theclevercat profile image
      Author

      Rachel Vega 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      It cracks me up, too. :-)

    • Brainy Bunny profile image

      Brainy Bunny 5 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      Oh, that toilet-flushing noise will get them every time. Ha!

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