1] Noughts & Crosses
Who doesn’t love a game of Noughts & Crosses? I’m sure we’ve all got a piece of paper and a pencil so it doesn’t cost a penny. It’s super quick to play and encourages step-by-step logical thinking. If you have outside space play it in the garden – use sticks to draw in the soil or sandpit, or chalk to draw a giant grid. Everyone can play.
2] Shopping List
Orchard Toys make fantastic range of educational games and puzzles for little ones. But Shopping List, a matching and memory game, has to be my favourite. I’m not the only one who thinks so, it’s their number one bestseller. Suitable from age 3, available from most toy stores and online.
Laurence King started making beautifully illustrated bingo games with their amazing Bug Bingo, and have since made many others. The one that catches my eye is Ocean Bingo, but there is also Dog, Cat, Monkey to name a few. They have also made three fun kids editions; Scary Bingo, Jungle Bingo, and Dinosaur Bingo.
4] Hoot Owl Hoot!
The object of the game is to move all the owls from start to the nest before the sun rises. Players take turns, but work together. A fun board game to help with problem solving, taking turns and cooperation.
5] Pairs in Pears
Build words, match patterns, have fun… And learn! The aim of the game is to make interlocking pairs of words before anyone else can. Great for learning vowels, consonants and word building. The tiles come in a super cute pear-shaped pouch so will be perfect for holidays (when we can go!).
6] Guess Who?
A classic guessing game, where the two players try to guess each other’s mystery character. The pictures may have changed from when I played it as a child but the game is the same. Always fun.
I don’t know many people who didn’t play this in their youth and it brings out the kid in us all. Tiddlywinks is a game dating back to the late 1800s and is played on a flat felt mat with sets of small discs called “winks”, a pot (which is the target) and a collection of squidgers, which are also discs but bigger. It’s quite a skill to get the wink to jump into the pot!
Another favourite in our house, Dobble is an easy to play card game where players have to find the matching image as quickly as they can. A game of speed, observation and reflexes rather than knowledge or strategy, this is definitely one for all the family. There are various versions available – Harry Potter, Disney Princess etc – but you can’t go wrong with the original.
9] Go Fish
This is a great card game for two or more players. It’s loads of fun and excellent for learning about numbers, patterns and pairs. If you’re unsure of the rules, they are easy to learn, have a look at this ‘how to play‘ guide on WikiHow.
This is a brilliant game that you can easily play together with extended family over platforms such as Zoom. All you need is dice. Lots and lots of dice. In fact you need ten dice for each person playing. It’s fast, it’s fun and it gets extremely noisy. Everyone rolls their ten dice simultaneously and the first one to have all 10 dice matching shouts “Tenzi” and you that win that round! It’s that simple.
Although you can buy this as a game set where you fit the plastic parts together, you can play Beetle with pen, paper and a dice. It’s entirely based on random dice rolls, with no skill involved. Be the first to build a beetle. Roll the dice to know which part to add, but you must start with the body before you draw anything else.
10 Great Games for Young Children