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Top 10 Classic Games for Kids

Updated on December 9, 2010

I was born before video games were popular -- and just saying that makes me feel like a dinosaur. Atari and PacMan were the latest electronic crazes when I was a kid, and if you had a computer it was probably a Commodore 64. Nintendo didn't get popular until I was a 'tween, and things like Mortal Kombat were cutting edge technology when I was in High School. Obviously, the gaming world has a come a long way since then, and if you have a toddler today, he's probably better skilled at using your laptop or blackberry than you are. And he'd probably think those games I just mentioned were archaic. And they are, I suppose. Goodness... how did we children of the 70s and 80s manage without such technology? I'll tell you how: We played lots of games! Cool ones! I've played all of the games on this list, and frankly, I sometimes wish I still had them. They'd make great party games for adults who remember them, and they'd make great gifts for the kid who sprains his thumb on the joystick one too many times. And man, are they cheap!!

Note: You may also want to read Classic Board Games for Kids

Perfection

I haven't played this game for, I'd guess, 25 years? They say Perfection is for kids 5-9 years of age, but I'd like to try it again! I honestly don't think I ever beat the damned thing. It's got 25 pieces of varying shapes, and you have to correctly put them in the corresponding place before the timer goes off. If you don't, the tray pops out and the pieces fall out. I'd be curious to know if anyone's ever done it successfully as a kid!

Hungry Hippos

I never actually owned this one, but I always wanted it. Whenever I'd see the commercials for Hungry, Hungry Hippos, I'd ask my mom and she'd always say no. Although, I'd have needed more than just myself to play it with, and I didn't have any siblings living with me. My cousins had it, and every time I went to their house I'd dig it out and beg them to play it with me. It was fab! Whoever gets their hippo to eat the most marbles wins! Ages 4 and up.

Let's Go Fishin'

Another game I didn't have, but wanted really badly. I loved these little fish, they were so cool! It's musical (Row, Row, Row Your Boat) and you're supposed to catch as many fish as you can before the music stops. You use the little fishing rods, and try to catch the fish as they bob up and down while closing their mouths. You can play this with one player or 4. Ages 4 and up.

Connect Four

Ok, this was MY game when I was a kid. I was awesome at it! That pic you see above is the original box image -- the one on the right is the new PC version. Although I notice the boy is still winning. What's up with that?? The pieces are like checkers and you need to get 4 in a row to win. Ages 7 and up.

Operation

I wanted this game SOOO badly, and when I finally got it, it stressed me to the point I hardly ever played it. Not because it wasn't fun, but because I couldn't take the super-loud buzzing that happened every time you messed up. It used to give me palpitations, I swear! I'd like to try it again and see if I could pull something out without the buzzing! But this is one of the coolest games ever invented, and kids love it. Ages 6-12.

Notice the men play games while the women work in the kitchen!
Notice the men play games while the women work in the kitchen!

Memory

I always loved Memory, I loved the little cards. I never had it at home, but I used to play it at school every chance I got. I can't remember what the box looked like, but it didn't look like this. Everything is so new and fancy these days! The idea is to have all the cards face down and you turn 2 over at a time and try to get pairs by remembering your previous turn. It's cool! Ages 3-6.

Ker Plunk!

This one is a lot older than I am, and I used to play it at my grandparent's house, so I'd guess it was from the 60s when my aunts and uncles were kids. You start out by sliding the sticks into the slots and then dropping the marbles in. Then you take turns pulling the sticks out, whilst trying not to let the marbles fall through to the bottom.

Topple

Topple is kind of obvious, right? You choose the color you're going to be, and then when you roll the dice you have to put your piece on the corresponding number. You get points by stacking or getting a certain number across. If you topple the board, you lose! Ages 6 and up.

Battleship

I used to play this a lot as a kid. Back then it was a red box and blue box, and the part the ships sat on was just dull blue -- now it looks like the ocean, and the backdrop looks like a radar thingie! What a long way Battleship has come! So anyway, you stick your ships in the water and the other person has to guess the coordinates. Each time you sink a ship, you're closer to winning! Ages 7-14.

Uno

I honestly don't think a better card game for kids has ever been invented. I would love to have an Uno deck again, this was my favorite card game as a kid. The objective is to get rid of your cards and wind up with Uno! You can play this with 2 people or many -- it's really a fun game, even for adults. Ages 7 and up.

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