The juvenile stage of human growth known as childhood is a brief and fleeting one. Parents, guardians, teachers, and people who support children are overwhelmed with a rush of options on what to do with the children they share their lives with. To make your life easier, I present my top 5 picks that I have observed being an uncle to four wonderful children in no particular order.
Go Fish and other classic card games like Crazy Eights and Memory are great teaching tools for children. They are quick to play, cheap to buy as most dollar stores have cards now, and teach things such as memory, sportsmanship, strategy, and the importance of weighing risks.
What’s more it can also teach the importance of rules and how to look them up. For example, think about getting yourself a Hoyle’s Rules of Games from your local bookstore. Beyond having hundreds of games to play, you can teach good reading and comprehension. Win-win!
Yes, it’s another card game, but it uses a specialized deck so I’m keeping it off the list as Go Fish, et al.
Skipbo is game that involves counting, sequences, and chance. The rules are simple to pick up as it largely just involves counting. For additional challenges, try throwing in different languages you want to teach and are interested in.
I’ve done my best to try and keep away from branded games here, but Catan is just a classic resource management game to teach children that it is worth looking into.
It functions very much like regular Catan where you build resources to try and earn victory points, but the game play is a lot more simple and streamlined. Think of it like Catan Light!
For more information on the rules and playing, I highly recommend checking out Geek & Sundry’s Tabletop.
Another classic game that can be played with minimal cost effective pieces is checkers. Checkers involves strategic moving of pieces with a simple mechanic: you move diagonally.
Easy and quick to play. This is definitely worth a play with the young children in your life, especially if you want to start leading them into chess.
One of my favourite games growing up was Monopoly Jr. It inspired me to want to become a landlord when I was younger, and taught me hard lessons in my teenage years about the roll of capitalism in the land markets.
What this game teaches is the importance of wise decision making, the scarcity of resources (like money and time), and how to lose gracefully. After all, the game is about bankrupting your fellow players and putting them into difficult financial situations. This game is all about conflict and how to handle it (along with your money) which is why I put this often hated game into my top 5.
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