Saturday, January 14, 2012

Board Games and Card Games for Winter Fun and Family Bonding

Connect With Kids With Board Games © Photo by Katrena
Many kids today are well versed in television and the Internet for entertainment, but some of my fondest memories from my younger years are playing board games and card games with family members and friends. During the cold winter months, it can be hard to find fun ways to pass the time, but board games can provide great educational experiences as well as fun times to enjoy together.

Teach Colors and Numbers with Board Games © Photo by Katrena
When we visited a children's museum recently, they had an entire room devoted to simple games like floor puzzles, Twister, dress-up, and the like and the kids seemed to enjoy those games as much or more than the elaborate modern displays.

Playing Board Games is Great Winter Activity © Photo by Katrena
My step-father recently began showing my oldest daughter some of the basics of how to play poker and black jack. It was great fun to watch him hand down skills while giving a little bit of advice on life in general. A friend in one of my exercise classes mentioned that she had all the grands over for New Year's Eve. She said they turned off the TV and computer games and simply played board games with the kids all evening. What fun for everyone!

Learn to Graph With Games © Photo by Katrena
I have such fond memories of playing Don't Spill the Beans, a game that was great for even smaller children as each player would add a bean until the pot would finally spill. Players could work on hand-eye coordination and a bit of strategy in placing the beans, and the game didn't last too long, so it would work well for kids with a short attention span. I remember using real beans back then and was surprised to see that the newer version has plastic beans instead!

Board Games Can be Unique and Fun for Winter Play © Photo by Katrena
Some games had something that was unusual and made it different from anything else out there. I always loved the plastic bubble on the Trouble game that would keep the dice from being lost. It was always great fun to pop the bubble to see which number would appear.

Candyland was another favorite of my early years as players would draw cards with colors and move the playing piece accordingly toward the top of the board. Even if all hope seemed lost in that game, a player might pull a card that would put his or her playing piece near the top with the possibility of winning while someone near the end might pull a card that would land them back near the beginning. Candyland was a great way to learn colors, counting, how to take turns, and how to win with dignity and lose with grace.

Teach Life Skills With Board Games © Photo by Katrena
Another favorite game of mine as a child was one that had a Guiness theme. Each time a player moved his piece, he or she would do some sort of task, like flipping round plastic pieces into a cup or placing pink plastic pieces end to end and lifting more and more of them until they dropped. Some were based on simple luck, like calling odds or evens at the roll of a die. As the youngest in the family, I often struggled with the challenges that involved skill and coordination but would love to try...and sometimes I actually did well in that game.

As I got older, Monopoly became another fun favorite board game. The playing pieces, such as a dog or shoe or iron or thimble, are still some of my favorites of any board game. That game encouraged math and investment skills as players would try to purchase pieces of property on which rent is charged in order to have the most money at the end.

Board Games Based on Famous Movies © Photo by Katrena
A game that I found a few years ago quickly hit the favorite list for my kids. It is based on the Wizard of Oz and is called The Yellow Brick Road Game. The game has four playing pieces: Dorothy, Scarecrow, Lion, and Tin Man. My kids all want to be Dorothy, but I love to play the Cowardly Lion and talk and act like I'm scared throughout the game. It can add a lot of intrigue to a game by getting into character!

Connect 4 Fun Game for Kids © Photo by Katrena
There are lots of others that come to mind, like Connect 4, Bingo, and Yahtzee. Many of these games have found new life with modern themes. I found a kids Yahtzee game with a Disney theme that my kids have loved to play, and I'm glad to see that they still have the cup. You can play Bingo in Dora the Explorer style or spin to see which Disney Princess will be called next.

Chess Set at Old Salem NC © Photo by Katrena
Checkers and chess were also some favorites of mine, and the variations on those today are quite colorful and interesting. I remember going to a nutrition site for seniors when I was a kid and watching as many of the folks there teamed up at tables to play dominoes. When I went to Greece to visit my sister, I also saw people playing dominoes in a similar fashion.

Card Games for Winter Fun With Children © Photo by Katrena
Card games can be quite simple to pretty complex. I remember playing rook with the neighbors across the street when I was growing up. My kids have enjoyed matching cards, and Old Maid has been a staple around our house. Crazy 8s and solitare has also made their way into our list of fun ways to pass the time as well. It has been quite fun to watch the little one go from wanting to have the Old Maid card every time to avoiding it with a passion!

Indoor Activities with the Kids © Photo by Katrena
Many games of years gone by are still available today. Go to any consignment shop, Salvation Army, or GoodWill, and you might find an original game from the past. Our local Smart Start has a toy library in which parents of preschoolers can check out themed boxes, many of which have fun board games.

Tic Tac Toe With a Princess Theme © Photo by Katrena
Some games are being sold today with very few changes after many years while others have changed a bit with the times. What I remember most about board games of my youth is the time spent together with others. It was a great way to connect and enjoy one another's company...a time of bonding and making fun memories and a way for the older generations to pass on life skills to the younger ones in a fun way.

Who knows...maybe my oldest will teach me some of those poker tips that she learned the other day.


  1. A good idea is shared here children must be encouraged to do such kind of activities. So they can be more creative.

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  2. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my article and comment. Board games can help kids to be more creative and it's a great way for people to connect!


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