5 Great Board Games

Promote family time, play, and skills in just 10 minutes.

5 Great Board Games

Image(s) licensed by Ingram Publishing


We know that both ‘family togetherness’ and ‘play’ are essential in a child’s development. Play helps kids develop physical, social, emotional and cognitive skills and family togetherness promotes security and confidence. So it only makes sense to combine the two. Family playtime allows kids to express their natural curiosity and gives parents the chance to fully engage with them.

If you find that day-to-day activities get in the way of family playtime, there is an easy solution: board games. Many take only 10 minutes to play, so they are easy to slot into the day. Board games are a great way to create meaningful and fun experiences with your kids, while promoting their developmental skills and capacities.

Here are five “10 minute” board games that are fun for the whole family and rich in learning opportunities. Each game can be easily adapted to preschoolers or school-age kids

1. Chickyboom: The Rocking Rolling Roost!

Parents (or older kids) can set up the chickens, hay bales and wagons on the colourful wooden perch. Kids strategically remove pieces, causing the perch to teeter and eventually topple. Each piece has a different weight and a different point value, which are added up to determine the winner. This game is sure to generate lots of laughs, especially when it goes CHICKYBOOM! Blue Orange Games

Skills & Capacities: Fine motor (pincer grasp); sensory motor integration (using eye-hand coordination to remove pieces); social/emotional (turn taking, waiting, sustaining play with others); numeracy (counting, number/shape recognition, spatial sense); logical reasoning (exploring causes, identifying what precedes change)

2. Pengoloo: The Fun South Pole Eggspedition

This is a great twist on the classic game of memory. Children are especially drawn to the cute wooden penguin characters. In this game, coloured eggs are hidden under the penguins and players roll the dice to find their matching egg. The first person to collect six penguins is the winner. Blue Orange Games
Skills & Capacities: Numeracy (number recognition, probability, problem solving); regulating attention (focusing attention, persisting when frustrated)

3. Sturdy Birdy Game: The Game of Perfect Balance

Children love it when their parents get a little silly. In this board game, players have to roll the dice, strike a pose and find the perfect balance. Twelve cards, with unique poses, are lined up for each player to master. The player who makes it through all poses is the winner.
Fat Brain Toys
Skills & Capacities: Gross motor (control movements, 
improve balance and coordination); social/emo-
tional (improve self-esteem and identify abilities); positive attitude (persevere and use strategies to improve performance)

4. Laundry Jumble: Mixed Up Matching Fun!

This is the kind of laundry that both parents and children will enjoy doing. Players help the animals on the cards get dressed by reaching inside the dryer to find their matching piece of clothing. No peeking allowed! Players must rely on their sense of touch to find the right article of clothing. Educational Insights
Skills & Capacities: Literacy (use descriptive language and build vocabulary); sensory exploration and discrimination (tactile exploration to identify and differentiate materials); social/emotional (turn taking, waiting, coping with challenges)

5. Castle Logix: Towering Blocks Blocking Towers

Fun for every little builder! This game contains seven wooden blocks and towers that can be arranged in different ways to construct a variety of castles. Players are given a series of challenges to complete, which become progressively more difficult as the game continues. Smart Games
Skills & Capacities: Fine-motor and visual discrimination (identify differences and manipulate the blocks and towers); numeracy (problem solving, understanding two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes); social-emotional (persistence, engagement, curiosity and a sense of mastery)

Author: Amy Holmes, OCT

Amy Holmes, OCT, is Program Resource Coordinator at Peterborough Family Resource Centre in Peterborough, ON; 705-748-9144.

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