Best Family Board Games 2011 – 2012

Playing board games is a great way to bond as a family. You’ll find that your kids learn how to be patient as they wait for their turn, how to help other family members and how to play by the rules. With the right kinds of games, your kids can learn other valuable skills such as spelling, reading, counting, addition and subtraction, and strategy. Make it a point to have a family game night once a week. Pop some popcorn or make a pan of brownies and settle in around the kitchen table for a few hours of laughter, fun and games.

Best Rated Board Games for Families

Hi Ho Cherry-O by Hasbro – For Families with Young Children

You may have played this game when when you were a child, and it still has the same appeal today for kids as young as three. You don’t need reading skills for this game, so the youngest member of the family is able to be competitive. Hi Ho Cherry-O comes with 40 tiny plastic cherries (ages three and up, because the cherries pose a choking hazard for younger children). You’ll fill up the spaces on your tree with cherries, and then spin the spinner to be able to “pick” a cherry or two. Sometimes a dog or bird will “eat” some cherries, and you’ll have to take them out of your basket and put them back on the tree. The first player to have 10 cherries in his basket wins! You’ll need at least two players to play; the maximum is four players.

Wordplay for Kids! by Game Development Group – For Kids in Grade School

Want to work on vocabulary, spelling and concentration skills? This Teacher’s Choice Award winner might be just the ticket. Kids as young as six can play, as long as they have some basic reading and spelling skills. Everyone grabs a pencil and game pad and someone spins the spinner to get two letters that must be used to make a word. Another player can roll the die to get a category. Then, flip over the timer and use your noggin to come up with a great word. Every player gets to move his token farther along the board as long as he makes a viable word, but those who make longer words get to move even more spaces. This is a fun game for up to six players. If you’ve got kids in a wide age range, form teams or maybe give younger players some extra points each turn to even the playing field.

Kids on Stage by University Games – For Active Kids

Kids on Stage is for kids as young as three won a National Parenting Publications award and it’s easy to see why. Basically a version of charades, this game will turn your kids into little actors and actresses and have the whole family laughing. No reading is required; the cards have pictures on them that even the youngest game players can understand. Preschoolers can work on number and color skills as they spin the spinner and them move their game piece to a colored square. They’ll choose a card of the same color, get up “on stage” and act out the picture. Parents or siblings can help, or team up for collaborative fun. Play strictly by the rules and act out silently, or allow some noises for even more hilarity. This game makes a nice transition to play dates as well, since adult help really isn’t needed to play.

Rory’s Story Cubes by Gamewright – For Creative Children

Rory’s Story Cubes is an inexpensive game that is a family favorite, and easy to take on trips to Grandma’s house or on family vacations. It increases writing skills and creativity and can be funny, tragic, thoughtful or even poetic, depending on the writer. Roll the nine cubes, then spend the next fifteen minutes writing a story that incorporates all the ideas represented on the cubes. This game can be played many ways. Each player may make up his or her own story, then read it aloud at the end. Or, the family can collaborate on a story together, with one designated writer. The game maker specifies players of eight years or older, but younger children could certainly be included in collaborative games. Mix things up by only use a few cubes, or give everyone a couple cubes and have them make up a unique story. This game can even be played by one player for individual skill-building.

Apples to Apples Party Box – The Game of Hilarious Comparisons by Mattel  – For Everyone

Apples to Apples just keeps winning award after award, and you’ll quickly see why. It’s a great game for families with older children and teenagers; the manufacturer specifies ages twelve and up, which is pretty accurate. If you find it hard to get your teen talking, this might be the perfect game. Game play is very simple and straightforward. You’ll appoint a judge, then each player gets a set of red colored cards with a noun printed on the reverse side. The judge draws a green card with an adjective on it and places it face-up on the table. Players then choose a card from their hand that is best described by the adjective. Comparisons get funny fast as players attempt to convince the judge why their words are good comparisons. The judge chooses a winner for each round, then another judge oversees the next round. You’ll get stories out of your kids that you would never have imagined. There are more than one thousand cards in this game, so you’ll never run out of creative, funny combinations. Designed for play with four to ten people, but you can certainly play with more.

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