Games We Play: Board Games

This is part 2 of a series (you can find the first here).  In this post I share our favorite board games and how we have adapted these games to be more educational or more suited to different ages, not to mention some games we would love to get a hold of.

First, the games.  I linked to them on so you can see what I am talking about.  There are lots more that we have and even more great games available that we don’t happen to have.

Now I will get into how we have adapted each one for different ages.  KEep in mind our kids are 2 years apart each so they have spent most of their lives at slightly different stages but close enough in age that they all wanted to play.  We have had other junior games  like Hi-ho Cherrio but these are ones that we have had for ages and have played since they were small.

  • Scrabble: When they were learning their letters we would get this out and play letter recognition–you can use it for go fish style games as well as making words and copying words.  Later we played so that the younger kids got points for making small words or even just attempting to sound it out, even if it was wrong.  Now we play for real though we seldom keep score.
  • Boggle: The same goes for this one.  Those letter dice are awesome for new readers.  Usually when I play with the kids I switch all the letters so they are facing the youngest and play upside down.  The new reader is allowed to make 2 and 3 letter words and gets extra points for spelling correctly.  I only make 4 letter words and up or take half the points for each.
  • Number Rings: This game is AWESOME for the math challenged.  My 7 year old figured out how to do multiplication because of it.  With younger kids I allow them to figure out whichever number instead of having to attach the numbers to the previous ones.  We also fudge a bit on being allowed to put rings on other players numbers and removing them.  The rules on this are very adaptable, and even come with multiple ways to play.
  • Uno: This one is easy for even young players to get and is great for learning numbers and colors as well as right and left.
  • Monopoly:Okay, I HATE monopoly, always have, but my kids love it.  They did have monopoly junior but moved quickly to the regular version.  We usually cut this one short, and give the younger ones help with money.
  • Blokus: LOVE this one.  This one has tons of adaptions in the rules and can be played in groups as well.  My son was able to play this game easily from the start and occasionally even beat his older sisters.  It can also be played individually, which makes it a nice whenever game that works on visual perception.  It can also be used for learning colors.
  • Scategories: This one is good to play with those who can already write and read but we have often played it in pairs so that the non readers can play as well.
  • Perpetual Notion: Another that requires reading.  This one gets the imagination moving.
  • Stare: A fun game our neighbor got the kids.  I believe she bought them the junior edition so I have not tried the grown up version.  Great for visual memory and can easily be adapted (the grownup can adapt the question to the child’s age level.)
  • Blink: Haven’t tried it yet but the kids have been playing and love it–another memory type game.
  • Whiz Kids:  I couldn’t find a link to this but we LOVE this game.  You can also play it without cards.  Someone names a type of thing and then the others try to come up with as many of that type as possible–simila rto scttergories but no writing so good for the car.
  • Trivia games: any will do.  We love playing well worded trivia games, especially in the car.  (I HATE poorly worded ones–ones wher ethe answer isn’t necessarily the only answer to the question.)  We have several that someone will read while we are in the car and someone else will try to answer.
  • Dice: Dice are awesome!  You can use them for all sorts of games.  Sometimes we take a pile , role them, and see who can come up with the highest number by adding subtracting, multiplying, dividing.  Other times we just do one sort of math with them.  Still other times we do a story telling kind of game, like D&D and use the dice to figure out the results of various situations.  When my son was younger he would play with them and tell me the numbers.  You can also use dice to figure out which passage to read or which workbook page to do.  Very fun way of making things random.  We have also used blank dice and used them to make other games.