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Top 10 Board games

My top 10 board games – Christmas gift ideas

With Christmas around the corner. I thought I would tell you about my favourite board games. I sometimes think I had kids, so I had someone to play board games and go on adventures with.

Having purchased my share of crap board games, I don’t want you to waste your money. I can be completely absorbed in a good board game. The games I list below generally make my brain sing and run smoothly. I don’t text, look at a device or watch a movie while playing a board game. Mainly because I have to be actively involved as war could erupt at any moment “He cheated, it’s not fair” … I am sure you are familiar with the lines. Board games are one way to have fun with my kids that does not involve a screen, sugar, or playdates. They are also a way I can have my childhood all over again.

What makes a good board game?

· Can a five-year-old explain the essence of the game? I have three children and I want everyone to join in. Sometimes I have five children around (three plus two stepchildren).

· There shouldn’t be too many rules

· Any rules need to be easy to understand

· I have to enjoy it as well as my children

Why play board games with kids

I can spend hours on domestic admin – replying to school excursions, paying bills, making lists, ticking off the jobs on lists – and that’s before the domestic chores of running a home (washing, cooking, cleaning, putting away). So, a board game allows time to just play and have fun. It is generally cleaner, less stressful and cheaper than baking with kids.

It is also a good way to find out who your kids are. What makes them tick? Are they competitive? They develop skills in strategy, dexterity, teamwork, memory, number recognition, sequencing, counting and probability. Plus, they have fun. It gives them empathy. They get used to winning and losing. They learn to deal with disappointment and victory – graciously.

Why play games with teenagers

Because they don’t have to talk to you. They can play with you instead. Sometimes in life you don’t need to have another conversation about hanging clothes on a hanger in a wardrobe, the unmade bed, the lack of homework (please fill in the blank). Board games break down barriers.

Board games are a one-off cost and then hours of fun at home. Although we take some games out with us to pass the time when we know there will be waiting.

Games are great on a rainy day and keep tired children out of the hot sun.

Family members/ extended families/ blended families

Playing board games is a great thing to do with a child in your care.

Playing a board game puts you both on a level playing field and avoids all conversation that may suggest you are taking over the role of parent. In my experience, anything that implies you are usurping a parent’s authority is best avoided.

Step parenting is a whole other blog.

Here are my top ten games.

Sequence for kids – can play this with a four-year-old, suitable for anyone from four years of age. No reading required and the rules are simple. Make sure you get the kids’, rather than the adult, version. The kids’ version is endured by teenagers.

Rat a tat cat – best for kids four-10. We are on our third set of this game as we wore the other two boxes out. You want the rats not the cats. It’s a quick and good game for addition skills and anyone can win. Take this one to a restaurant – it is small and doesn’t need a lot of room.

Outfoxed – you can play this from four-eight years of age. My 10-year-old rarely plays this game. It is a cooperative game. So it’s good for avoiding family arguments. All the players work together to beat the fox (a plastic figure).

Too many monkeys – best for kids four-eight years of age. The monkey needs a good night’s sleep. Can you help? This game is fast, and victory can come to any aged player. I would not take this to a restaurant as it takes up a lot of room on the table for each player.

Sardines – you think this looks easy. Works well for four and up to ??? adult/s. It is a memory game. Suitable for ages four-99.

Perfection – Suitable for aged four-99. I have seen adults after a couple of wines trying to beat the clock. It is a single-player game, so good for an only child. Or a child who would like some time out from their siblings. It’s really good at improving dexterity as you manipulate pieces into a board against the timer.

Enchanted Forest – Suitable for ages four and up. My 10-year-old will still play this and I really enjoy this game. It is based around fairy tales. You have to memorise what is underneath the tree and collect three cards to win. This is not a fast game and not a game I would take to a restaurant. It would make a great gift.

Labyrinth –. This game is suitable and enjoyed by young children (from four years old), teenagers and adults. Don’t buy the kids’ version, just get the adult version and help the youngest child. I love this game, is about working with an ever-changing maze and determining how you are going to get to your destination. This is not a fast game and not a game I would take to a restaurant. This is another one for the gift list.

Sleeping Queens – Four and up. By eight years old, my kids were getting sick of playing this game. You have to collect the queens and accumulate points. It gets everyone working on strategy and addition. I take this game to restaurants and I buy it as a gift, for preps and years one and two kids.

Love Letters – Six years plus. I love this game. It is small and portable and easy to understand because the instructions are simple. I take this one to a restaurant. Each card has a function, so it’s good for working on strategy with kids. This game is suitable for with small kids, teenagers and adults.

If you are in Noosa, try Toyworld at the Homemaker Centre. Or the toyshop in the junction. Both have online stores.

Email me if need other ideas on how to keep the calm these holidays.


I am a coach, mother and wife, living in the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. I grew up in South London, in an immigrant family in the suburbs. But I had good fortune with my parents: Dad was born in Calcutta, India, and my Mum came from communist Poland. In the 1970s I got to leave Croydon, and travel with my family through India, and behind the Iron Curtain. I saw parts of the world that my classmates could not comprehend. It sparked my wanderlust and gave me a great respect for how big and diverse our world is. And I gained an ability to move between different cultures, assimilating into them.

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