As the boys are getting older we have started game nights, where we spend time as a family play games. We’ve found playing games as a family encourages turn taking and sharing, so I thought I would share a few of our favourites with you just in time for Christmas.
Post Box Game (age 2+)
The idea behind the game is quite simple, you post the coloured letters into their matching post boxes.
To set the game up you have to slot the post boxes into their stands, which is really good for developing hand – eye coordination. The concept behind the game itself is a great way of introducing colours to younger children and having the letters addressed to various different animals such as ‘Helen Hedgehog’ or ‘Martha Mouse’, also opens up the opportunity to talk about different animals.
Post box game is a really great ‘first game’ for children, we first bought this game for Bear when he first turned two and it is still always being pulled out of the cupboard on our game nights, although as it is made from cardboard it is beginning to look slightly tatty now. We tend to just take it in turns to match up and post the letters, because we didn’t think Bear would understand the concept of only posting certain colours at this age and felt it was more important to teach turn taking at this point.
BigJigs fishing game (age 3+)
BigJigs fishing game is another game where you have to slot pieces together to set it up, which again encourages hand – eye coordination. The concept of the game is again very simple, the sea animals each have a piece of metal attached to them, whereas the fishing rods have a magnet. You simply set up the four sides of the box, place the sea animals inside and then fish them back out until there are none left, the person with the most sea animals at the end of game wins.
I bought this game as part of our seas and oceans themed week in summer, but it has been such a huge hit that it is still played with nearly every day. Now that Monkey is getting a bit older he has recently started to play too, so the boys now sit and play this after dinner. They both aim to catch the whale (for some reason that is their favourite), but obviously only one can catch it first, so while this fishing game is a great tool for encouraging bonding, it has also been a good way to teach them both about losing, as well as not always getting their own way.
Chasin Cheeky (age 3+)
This is such a great little game to encourage younger children to get active while playing. The concept to this game is quite simple, you scatter the green and yellow rings on the floor and turn on Cheeky, who then moves around the floor. This is a game for two players, each player chooses which colour ring that want to play and the aim of the game is to then get all of your colour rings onto Cheeky’s tail before the other player.
Bear was about 18 months when we first bought this game, so we made it a bit simpler by just running around and putting the rings onto Cheeky’s tail. Now he is getting older we now try to encourage just choosing one colour each and then racing to get all of our colour on first. Monkey only recently turned one, so when he plays we tend to revert back to just putting the rings on the Cheeky’s tale. This is a really fun game and good fun on a rainy day. As the boys put a lot of effort into the game, I exaggerate my running around, which means this game is a bit of a workout for me too.
Pups in Training (age 3+)
Bear is completely Paw Patrol mad and over time more and more Paw Patrol products are making their way into the house. This is a very similar concept to Hungry Hippos, except instead of making your hippo catch small balls in a pit, you are making your pup knock off the treats and shields from a spinning disk. This game works on a points system, the shields are harder to knock off than the treats, so are worth more points. The main idea is to finish with the most points, the person with the most points wins.
This game is run on a motor which is activated using a dial, unfortunately we have already had to get a replacement because the motorised function stopped working after a small number of games, however our second product is still working, so fingers crossed it stays that way. Bear loves this game, so if you are going for the fun factor this is definitely one to put under the tree this Christmas. However, that said we’ve found that two out of three of the pups are more successful at actually knocking the goodies off the spinning disk, so I’m not entirely sure this is a fair game for all. We tend to just count all the treats at the end, instead of using a points system, but for older children who get the concept a bit more may be a bit disappointed if their pup falls a bit short every game.
** Splashy the Whale (age 4+) **
Like the other games, the concept for Splashy the Whale is quite simple, fish the items from the whale’s mouth using the fishing rod. This is another game that works on a points system with some items being worth more than others. You have to be careful while you fish though, because if you knock the whales tongue he sprays you with water.
This is aimed for children slightly older than my two, but Bear (who isn’t 3 until April loved it!) He understood the idea of fishing the items from the whale’s mouth and after being sprayed tried his hardest not to knock the whales tongue. Myself, Bear and Mr. C had a great time playing this game and found ourselves in hysterics every time one of us got sprayed. This is another game that is great for encouraging turn taking, but this game in particular also teaches patience as sometimes it can take longer to try and fish an item out of the whale’s mouth. The only problem I have with this game is a case of storing it once it is full of water, the stopper to the water tank is very secure, but as with any water toy, I’m quite conscious not to leave water in it too long.
Pop Up Pirate (age 4+)
This is a classic game and one that me and cousins used to play all the time. The idea of the game is to select a colour, take all the swords of your colour and then get rid of all of them by pushing them into the barrel without making the pirate pop up. Each time a player makes the pirate pop up, that player is eliminated.
As with a lot of the other games, we altered the rules a bit to better suit the boys. We decided not to designate certain colours and to keep slotting the swords into the barrel with the aim of making the pirate pop up. Every time the pirate popped the boys found it hilarious. Monkey wanted to play this game too, so as the swords are quite small, one of us helped him and made sure he didn’t try to eat them. This is another game that is great for teaching children about colours in a fun way and is also a great way to encourage turn taking. The only bad thing about this game is that the swords can be a bit tricky to push in properly and sometimes get caught, so a couple of times we found there were no swords left and the pirate hadn’t popped because one of the sword was slightly sticking out.
*Note: Splashy the whale was sent to us for the purposes of being included in this post in return for an honest review.