Fill the toy box with these kid-friendly board games and you'll be guaranteeing yourself hours of easy fun for everyone. And yes, maybe the odd tantrum.
Without wishing to sound like our own parents, parenting kids these days with all their ‘fandangled screens’ can be a bit of a minefield. We get it: kids love tech. But it’s up to us to not only teach them about internet safety, online etiquette and wax lyrical the possibility of square eyes (we totally believed that one for years when we were tots), but also to come up with fun alternatives that will make them WANT to ditch the screens. Board games, we’re talking about you. We’ve been asking around the office – cos actually we’re a bunch of big kids – for the creme de la creme of board game world. Here’s what the HoneyKids and Honeycombers’ teams think should be in every toy box in Singapore…
Settlers of Catan
It’s one of those friendship ending/relationship ruining board games that we just can’t stop playing! You’d think a game about wood, brick, wheat, wool and ore would be civil and sweet. But not Catan. You need more than luck, and strategy and the will to destroy your opponents will only get you so far… You’re also gonna need kickass negotiating skills (like IRL), tons of practice and some might say a cold, cold heart.
Aditi – Deputy Editor, Honeycombers
Parcheesi / Trouble
These are classic old school games with essentially the same premise – a mad dash around the board to get all of your colored pieces into the home-base first and declare victory! They require little skill beyond counting places and so are good for all ages (and can involve some smack-talking if age-appropriate). Trouble is slightly more fun as it has a dome in the centre of the game board with a die inside that you get to press with satisfying pop. All luck, no skill will determine your success but they are good fun for the whole family.
Kate – Senior Account Director
Gotta be Cluedo. I got this for Christmas and used to bring it to school with me: of course 10-year-old-kids should be spending their lunch breaks figuring out who killed Colonel Mustard with the revolver in the conservatory. The 80’s flick Clue based on the board game is still a fave – and yes, I held a Cluedo party as an adult where everyone had to come dressed in character.
Selina – Honeycombers Editor in Chief
I spent my teenage years playing this game with my family, I had two (much) younger siblings and they were still able to catch on. Roll the dice and you’ll land on a spot that requires you to do a certain task – sculpting with clay, acting out a scene from a movie, humming a song… it’s super random and super fun (especially for competitive families like mine).
Jana – Creative Services Writer
Game of Life
This is one I played for hours as a kid myself, so I love the fact that my own tribe are up for filling their colourful little cars with kids and deliberating hard about career choices. The aim of the game is to get round the board making as much money as possible before you end up in the retirement home. It really is the game of life.
Tracy – HoneyKids Editor
Snakes and Ladders
Who doesn’t love this classic? This game, apparently from ancient India, can be played by two or more people. You roll the dice to determine the number of steps you make. If you land on a ladder, you go up. But if you land on a snake, you get bitten and move back a couple of steps back. The first to reach the top wins. You’re never too old (or too young) for this timeless board game.
Lord – IT Executive and Web Developer
Everyone picks a colour and then has to move all their pieces from one end of the board to the other. You can move one step at a time or leap over another piece. There’s no words or numbers, just strategy, but even without it you can brute force your way to victory. Just make sure no one cheats.
Sheralyn – HoneyKids Content Writer
The huge garden version of Jenga is awesome if you have the room, but otherwise the usual Jenga provides plenty of fun (and the odd jump scare: you just can’t help it even though you KNOW the bricks are going to fall) for kids of all ages. The aim of the game is to remove bricks, one-by-one, from a tower, placing it back on the top and waiting for your opponents to topple it when they take out a brick too many.
Brynie – HoneyKids Events Manager
From the makers of the classic capitalist board game, this one is a faster but equally interesting card game. Forget everything you know about regular Monopoly – the rules are totally different. Except for the cards in your hand, all your property cards and bank money cards are left face up. Make three property sets and you win. Sounds easy right? Many a grown adult has stormed out, flipped tables and openly vowed to annihilate each other. Luck aside, strategy plays a major part in this too. But like most card games, even the most airtight plays can turn with a single move.
Aditi – Host extraordinaire of her own regular game nights
The kids got this for Xmas and it’s proved an instant family hit. It’s basically an abstract strategy board game for two to four players, and has even won some pretty cool awards including the Mensa Select Award and the 2004 Teacher’s Choice Award. Sounds dull as ditchwater, huh? It REALLY isn’t. It’s out-and-out war to get your pieces laid on the board before you get blocked or run out of space. It’s nowhere near as easy as it sounds and it’s perfect for getting the ol’ grey matter whirring.
Tracy – Mother of three board game playing kids
OTHER GAMES YOU NEED IN YOUR TOY BOX
The origins of this ever-popular family board game staple can be traced all the way back to 1903, when American anti-monopolist, Lizzie Magie, created a game that she hoped would explain the single tax theory. It was originally called The Landlord’s Game, and became Monopoly in 1932. Not only is this a game that can go on for hours – nay, days – but it can also lead to, uh hum, a bit of tension, so be prepared for tears and tantrums if things don’t go to plan. Yours, not the kids. Kids always seem to have a knack for wheeling and dealing their way to victory when it comes to Monopoly.
KerPlunk in all its plastic glory has been going strong since the 1960s, and still provides plenty of fun for the fam today. Basically it’s a tube, a load of plastic sticks and lots of marbles. Players take turns to remove a single straw from the tube while trying to avoid letting the marbles fall through the maze of straws and into their tray. The player with the least marbles at the end wins. To conclude: losing your marbles will win you the game.
Much like riding a bike and getting to grips with tying shoelaces, learning to play chess is a passage of childhood that every kid needs to take. We’ve recently been introducing our own kiddos to the joys of pawns, bishops, knights and rooks. Perfect for teaching your child the art of strategy.
This game is sooo simple and yet also a great deal of fun. Two players pop discs into a grid with the aim to get, yep, you’ve guessed it, four discs of the same colour in a row. The travel version is great for those long haul plane journeys with kids.
Battleship is a guessing game for two players, with the aim of the game being to sink your opponent’s ships. Before play begins, each player secretly arranges their ships on their own side of the grid, both horizontally and vertically. Then players need to guess where the enemy ships are. Warning: ships have been known to be thrown around in temper…
Scrabble continues to reign as one of the best word-based board games of all time. It can get pretty competitive with grown ups and older kids, but it’s also a great, fun way to help younger kiddos with their spelling and to build their vocab. You’ll probably need a dictionary on stand-by to out the cheaters.
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