Welcome to the delightful guide of the best board games for the whole family. Christmas is coming, and it is high time to think about cool stocking stuffers. What if this time it will be a non-toy gift?
If you are upset with the toy gifts, your kids will play with them just once and throw them away, the marvelous idea is to gift engaging and developmental games.
You might think it is a boring idea, but it is not true. Surely, you own some classic board games like Candy Land or Monopoly, but we would offer you to add new educational games to your family collection. Perhaps, the games we are presenting to you will become classic as well in a couple of years.
Anyway, they are funny, engaging, and, most importantly, educational. They are designed for children of different ages. And we are going to start with toddlers and preschoolers. So, here it goes!
I. The First Games for your toddlers and preschoolers
At first sight, these activities may seem too simple. However, all of them are specially designed for toddlers and preschoolers. The target of these games is developmental – to teach your kids through playing.
That is the best and easiest way to teach your little one some basic knowledge. We all know that 1 – to 3-year old kids are not those who will sit quietly and play.
They need games that involve physical activity and motion. Such activities always bring positive emotions (which is equal to less crying! Woohoo!).
- Monkey Around.
The rules for the game are quite simple, but the game itself is really engaging. It will be a great pastime for 2+-year-old kids.
It has a pile of cards. Each card gives you some instructions on what movement to perform. For example, to jump on one leg, to balance a banana on your head, to give a high five.
Some of the movements are solo, and some of them require the participation of at least two players. When you complete the card, take the next one and follow the instructions on it. Take turns and play with your child together.
- First Orchard
This game is for 1-4 players. It is engaging and interesting for 2-year-old children. The idea of the game is very easy to catch up.
The player’s task is to cooperate together as one team and try to pick up as many fruits from the trees as possible before the raven gets there first.
The game is also developmental. It teaches how to take turns and wait for their turn; some basic knowledge of colors and numbers.
As practice shows, kids understand the rules easily and follow them during the game. It takes up to 10 minutes to finish it but, usually, kids like playing it several times in a row.
- Bingo Game
This one is so bright with many illustrations. It is a great game for toddlers and preschoolers already. The game trains matching skills and memory.
Each player receives a lotto board. The lotto boards are devoted to a particular theme like fruits, animals, vehicles, etc. There is a pile of cards with the same pictures that are on all lotto boards.
One by one, you pick a card and check if the card matches a picture on your lotto board. If it does not, you put it on the table. Other players must be attentive and take the card from the table if it matches the picture on their lotto board.
The winner is the one who collects cards with all the pictures on their lotto board and says, “Bingo.”
- The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel
It is a delightful game that children will ask to play again and again. The game is for 3+ age range and for 2-4 players. The game does not require any readings, which is great for younger siblings.
And it is very easy to understand the rules. The goal of the game is to fill the log with acorns as fast as possible. The winner is the one whose log is filled first.
Here what the rules are:
The player spins the spinner and completes the task they land on. The tasks are various: pick up an acorn of a specific color, drop your turn, pick up any acorn, give away all collected acorns, etc.
The players are supposed to move acorns with special Squirrel Squeezers. That makes the game even funnier, and children really love it. At the same time, it trains eye coordination and fine motor skills.
Children also learn decision making as they are supposed to pick up specific acorns; and good sportsmanship as they have to take turns, to make moves, to lose their turn, to lose the collected acorns.
Seriously, it is a marvelous game with a lot of advantages for your kids. You should try it.
II. Quiet Time Playing
If you have a baby and an older sibling, quiet time games are so important and necessary. Well, it is not a problem anymore.
You should check the following list of incredible games that will make your kid quiet and fully engaged in playing. These games are designed for playing solo (one more plus).
- Wooden Cognitive Skill-Building Puzzle Games
Check these two delightful ones: Castle Logix and Camelot. These wooden puzzles will make the kid arrange blocks in such a way as shown in the picture (castles and paths). Each game has around 40 puzzles to use to construct a specific building.
The games are fun and educational at the same time. Kids develop their logic by thinking about which puzzle to put next. There are some prompts provided at the back of each puzzle.
If the child is confused about where to put a certain puzzle, they can always peek, but still, it does not prevent them from thinking logically.
So, if you need to involve your little one and have some peace, these games are perfect. You will kill two birds with one stone: the child will stay quiet for at least 30 minutes, and they will develop their skills.
- Three Little Piggies
This one is designed for 3-6-year-old children. It includes the game board, three houses, three little piggies, and one wolf. There are also 43 challenges in the game.
The task is to set-up a story about three piggies and a wolf. First, you need to choose the challenge and place piggies as it is shown in the picture (sometimes, you do not need to use all of the piggies). Place the houses in such a way that piggies are playing outside.
The next challenge will be with the wolf. The wolf should be placed on the board game as indicated. The child has to place the puzzle pieces in such a way that piggies are protected from the wolf.
If the child is confused about how to do that, there is the answer in the booklet, so they can peek.
A wonderful addition is the illustrated book with a fairy tale about the piggies and the wolf. Truly, it is an amazing early logic game for kids, which makes learning easy, fun, and interesting.
- Kanoodle Game
It is an educational brain fun for your little genius. Kanoodle includes 60 colorful brain-boosting puzzles and six puzzle pieces, and a 72-puzzle-picture book. It is designed for 4-7-year-old kids.
Your kid chooses any puzzle card and puts it under the game board. Then they attempt to match six puzzle pieces on the game board and make sure that their colors match. Step by step, the kid moves to the next level, where there are fewer prompts on the cards.
So, if you need to go somewhere, this game is portable and travel-friendly as it is an all-in-one-carry case. The kanoodle game will give your little one several hours of free-from-gadgets brain-teasing fun.
- Laser Maze
Laser Maze is a delightful beam-bending logic game with clear instructions. It is a single-player activity and perfect for kids under 8. Adults can have some fun playing Lazer Maze too.
Here is how to play.
Laser Maze has 60 challenging cards to level up from junior to expert. Choose the challenging card and put the tokens on the game board, which are indicated on your card. Your goal is to put the specified tokens and movable mirrors in such a way that the laser beam heats the target.
But be careful! You can lack some information on the challenging card. So you need to turn on your logic skills to figure out the missing information.
If you are too confused, the answers are at the back of each card for you to peek a little bit.
For younger children, there is a specially designed Laser Maze Jr. Here, kids can turn the tokens into rocks and rockets.
- Gravity Maze
The principle of this game is similar to Laser Maze one. Gravity Maze is designed for children under 8 to develop their logic. The goal of the game is to build the paths through the towers in such a way that the marble gets to its target.
First, you need to choose the challenging card and set the target piece as indicated on your card, and get the necessary towers (they are also indicated on the card). Then arrange the towers so that the marble gets to the target.
The game is very tricky, and kids have to figure out how to place the tower to avoid mismatches between them as each tower has its own ramps and ridges.
The game has 60 levels, from beginner to expert. It is awesome to learn problem-solving through constant trial and error to reach the target and win. Planning skills will also be involved.
- Rush Hour
Rush Hour is adored by children and adults. It is a cool portable game-go that you can take anywhere. There is also a variant for younger children (5+).
The goal of the game is to develop logical skills. It includes 60 cards for junior to senior players. Here is how to play.
First, choose the card of a certain level and place cars and trucks, including the red escape car, as it is shown on your card. Your task is to arrange the traffic jam by moving vehicles in such a way that the red car gets to the exit.
It takes around 30 minutes or more to complete the card. So, if you need your little one to stay quiet for long, this activity is the best. By the way, Rush Hour is the most popular game in the world and most frequently sold.
- IQ Twist
IQ Twist is a perfect game for children of 5-8 age range. This smart puzzle is quite engaging and fun.
Kids get the rules easily and spend hours playing and completing challenging cards.
Except for the challenging cards and puzzle pieces, you will find colored pegs. Each card shows where they must be placed on the game board.
The goal is to set up the puzzle pieces so that they fit the game board neatly. Also, make sure that puzzle pieces match the colors of the pegs.
As usual, if you are confused, there is always a clue at the back of each card. So, if your kids are fond of puzzles, IQ Twist is the best portable one.
III. Games for 2 Players
The games of the list below are designed for at least two players of a similar age-range. They will work great to play with siblings or neighbors, or other peers in the kindergarten or at school.
Having such games is a real rescue if you have more than one kid in the house. They will get involved in playing together and will gain some social skills.
- Last Mouse Lost
It is a perfect game for kids of 2 age range. The game is very amusing, and kids get the rules easily.
The only item of the game is the game board, which has no other items that can be parted. This feature makes the game safe for your little ones.
Let’s see how to play. Kids take turns and press down as many mice as they want (but not that many).
The player who pushes the last mouse loses the round. They should have an odd number of rounds to determine a winner of the game, usually 3 or 5.
Kids adore the Last Mouse Lost game for its board and often play with it as with a toy. It is so funny just to press down the buttons. Kids become totally fascinated by watching how the bubbles are popping in and out.
- Gobblet Gobblers
Goblet Gobblers is a very tricky game for kids under 5. The game is perfect for training logic and strategic skills. And it challenges your memory.
The goal is simple: you need to be the first to line up three pieces in a row. But watch out! They are of different sizes, and bigger pieces can gobble up smaller ones.
So, if you think that you are close to victory, bigger gobblers can destroy your plans. Of course, you can start by playing with pieces of the same size and add bigger gobblers later on to complicate the game.
Kids become so engaged in this game and build different chains of strategies to win. To be honest, you will try a few rounds too.
Cathedral looks like an ancient game for kings and queens. Its pieces are wooden and massive. Cathedral has restrained colors that make it look likely for adults rather than kids.
However, children get even more excited as it seems to be designed for parents, but kids are also allowed to play it. They feel grown up, and they like it so much.
The game includes the game board, light and dark towers. Here two players are necessary. They choose the color of towers they would like to be theirs.
And the game starts. They take turns and arrange their towers in order to block their opponent and conquer the territory. When it comes to an end, and there are no more moves to take, the winner is the player who has the least number of left pieces.
In fact, this game is designed for kids under 8. Though, as practice shows, younger children catch up the rules easily and can play Cathedral as well. The game is also educational as players have to build strategies in their heads and predict where the opponent’s tower can be placed to avoid blocking their own pieces.
Well, did you set sights on one of the Christmas non-toy gifts for your little ones? We bet you did! These fabulous games will keep your kid busy for hours.
They will hurry home to play the game to challenge the next level. These games are good competitors of gadgets. Children become super involved in the games.
So, add this page to your bookmarks to check it again when your kids grow up, as here you will find cool games which will keep your kids engaged until they graduate from middle school or even high school.
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