5 on Friday: Board games for families with young children

Board games, it seems, have always been a part of my life. One of my fondest childhood memories is spending weekend nights with my grandparents, playing board games. Monopoly, in particular. My grandfather had a strategy of buying every property he landed on, which diminished his cash flow temporarily but always profited him in the end. And my grandmother would exclaim with glee “Mine!” whenever someone else landed on one of the properties she owned.

It was there, in the family room of their home, that I learned to love board games. Through the years, playing board games together became part of our family holiday gatherings. Games like Outburst and Scattergories and Trivial Pursuit and Guesstures. When I moved into my own apartment, the board games continued as my friends and I would play Trivial Pursuit late into the night (and early morning) until one of us collected all the pieces.

We’re now–finally–to the age of parenting when we can play board games as a family. Our kids are 4 and almost-6, which we’re discovering is a great time for games. They’re close enough in age to be able to mostly play the same games.

kids gamesHere are five we’ve discovered as a family that are tons of fun.

1. Monopoly Junior Party. One denomination of money. You buy every space you land on. A good starter Monopoly. Doesn’t take too long, and even our 4-year-old can play mostly on his own.

2. What’s in the Cat’s Hat? A sort of reverse hide-and-seek/20 questions game. Imaginative.

3. Guess Who? A classic. Simple. Easy to play. And because it’s for two players only, I make the children play together. (Insert evil mom laugh here.)

4. Uno Moo. We’re almost ready to graduate to Uno, I think, but this one is so much fun with the animal shapes that I’ll be sad to let it go. Watch out for the stinky skunks!

5. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. Based on the books by Mo Willems. There’s some strategy involved in this one, if you want. Or you can just move your bus around the board to collect all the items and avoid the pigeon.

What are you favorite family board games?


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