Let’s be real, parents. This is a judgment-free zone. How many times have your kids begged you to play a game with them and your immediate reaction is pure dread? It’s not that you don’t want to play with the little boogers. You just don’t want to play what they want to play—because most of their games suck.
It’s the same idea as when they pick a crappy Disney character book to read. I love reading to my kids (my Bookworms series is proof of that). I just don’t love reading crappy books. So I decided to take what I did with children’s books and do it with kid’s games: I put together a list of kids games that adults won’t hate playing.
Keep this list in your pocket for your kids, for birthday parties, nieces and nephews, whatever. Just know that any and all parents involved will love you for it. Hi-Ho! Cherry-O (ages 3+)
We recently just rediscovered this game in our house. It was a favorite of Samantha’s when she was little and it has been a great introduction to games for Ellie. The premise is really simple. There are trees on the board that you fill with fruit. Each time you spin, you either get to pick some fruit off of your tree or you have to put pieces back in your tree. While playing, the little guys learn to count as well as to add and subtract.
This game is not never ending—and it’s pretty easy to cheat a little to move the game along. You know, if you’re into that kind of thing. Not that I would know anything at all about that. 😉
Zingo! (ages 4+)
This game is a lot of fun. It’s basically a fast-paced game of Bingo. It comes with cards (which have two sides for beginner and advanced players), tiles and a Zinger. You pull the Zinger forward and it releases two tiles. The players race to see who can call out the tile that matches an image on their board first. When your card is full you yell out “Zingo!”
Samantha loves this game and I think I’m going to try it with Ellie (who turns three next month) this week. She wouldn’t be able to do it in a fast-paced match with her sister, but if I played it with her, she would enjoy making matches and filling her card.
Too Many Monkeys (ages 6+)
Like Hi-Ho! Cherry-O, this is another counting game. This one is just a bit more advanced in that you flip and swap your cards until they’re in sequential order (with some skip a turn and wild cards thrown in for fun).
We always have fun playing this game. My one gripe is that it can sometimes go on forever (and you can’t cheat with this one). That said, it’s still one of our favorites.
Guess Who? (ages 6+)
If you don’t remember this game from childhood, I don’t think we can be friends. It was one of my favorites. It’s gotten a little bit of makeover (there are animals now too!) but it’s just as fun. Each player gets a character and it’s your job to ask yes or no questions to figure out the other person’s player.
We’re also fans of Guess Who Mix ‘n Mash (ages 8+) if your kids are ready to make it a little tougher. With this one, each player picks a mouth, eyes, and head and you have to figure out which combination your opponent has.
HedBanz (ages 7+)
You know that drinking game you played in college where you stick a word to your forehead and you have to figure out what that word is? Well this is that game for kids (just maybe substitute in chocolate milk shots). If your kids like solving mysteries they’ll absolutely love this (and Guess Who?). It’s a favorite in our house.
Ok. I told you our favorite kids games. Now what are yours?
Side note: The ages listed here are what are listed on the boxes, but they’re more of a guide than a rule. Some kids will be fine with these games earlier on (Sam was playing Guess Who Mix ‘n Mash at 6). Others will need more time. Just consider the kid in question before ruling anything out!