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Our Favourite Family Friendly Games

It's that time of the year again when the days get shorter, the wintery weather moves in and the outdoor excursions don't happen as often as they did in the summer. So how do you keep the kids entertained when it's wet and miserable outside?

 

Our favourite way to keep them entertained is playing games, either as a family or getting them started and kicking back with a book while they spend hours buying and selling properties! (You know what game we're talking about!)

The board games of old are not always the first choice among children, although this is often because they haven't been exposed to them. Some children would rather spend time in front of the television or playing video games, but not only are these activities anti-social, there is also a lot of research highlighting the detrimental effects of them on the developing brain.

Dr Aric Sigman says that children from the ages of four to seven should be spending a maximum of an hour and a half in front of a screen per day. Setting limits on the amount of TV a child watches is easier said than done, but if you have a list of alternative things to do, you'll be a step closer - especially if you get involved and give a positive impression of games night!

Fun games to play with the kids during the winter

There are all sorts of different games out there but below you'll find some of our favourites. We'd love to hear some of yours... share your favourites on our Facebook page.

Card games

Card games are an old faithful and once you own the deck of cards can provide hours of variations and amusement. Depending on the age of your children, you may be up for a simple game of snap or a more trying game of Crazy 8's.

As time goes by the rules of some of the games tend to adapt and mutate, so we've found a great source of rules and instructions.

Our all-time favourite card game here is UNO. While it requires a special deck, many a day has been spent changing directions and saving the pickup 4 cards for the right moment. With the aim of the game to simply get rid of all your cards before everyone else, this is a game that can bridge generations and include everyone.

Classic games

How many of you have spent a rainy afternoon playing a drawn out and sometimes vicious game of Monopoly? We all have strategies and properties we feel are very valuable, and we've probably all lost to a sibling or a cousin and spent the rest of the day swearing they cheated (aka stole from the bank). Regardless of the outcome, this game can be played as individuals or teams and can take hours! Our advice - don't set it up on the kitchen table as you may need to pause for sustenance!

Children too small to enjoy monopoly? How about Snakes and Ladders? The best afternoon I spent playing this game was with a nine year old who decided she was going to make up new rules every time! We went round in circles, up snakes, down ladders, jumped forward and back and she was excited about how creative she could be!

The most popular classic game in our office involved a stable hand and nerves of steel... Operation. In this game, each player takes their turn as the doctor and must remove organs and bones form patient's body. The player who doesn't cause the buzzer to sound wins. The small pieces associated with the game make it a bit of a hazard for small children but under a watchful eye you'll hear squeals of delight and surprise throughout.

Strategy games

Looking for a way to challenge each other? If you have small children, get them started with Connect 4, a game designed for two, where your aim is to get a line of four tokens without your opponent blocking you. If they like strategy games, Chess is a great way to spend quality time together and it teaches children some important life skills such as basic problem solving skills, patience, as well as thinking before they act.

We also really like Battleships, a classic strategy game that can be played on paper or shop. Easier to get the hang of than chess, this game come with enthusiastic shouts of "You sunk my Battleship!". If you don't have the game board, draw two 10x10 grids, use coloured markers to place your ships and mark off hits and misses. The player who sinks all 5 of their opponents ships first wins.

Number and word games

You are never too old for a good old game of Scrabble. As children start having spelling words, Scrabble is a great game to help practice and build their vocabulary. Children also get a massive sense of pride when they win a game that they assume you should be able to beat them at!

There are some games that don't require you to go out and spend any money such as Bingo. Bingo can be altered to suit a child of any age and can focus on any different skill. For example, we've tried maths Bingo where your child writes down 10 numbers between one and thirty and we've reads out some sums. If the child has the answer to the sum read out they cross it off their list, and the first child to get all the numbers crossed off their list wins. You can make Bingo as simple or as difficult as you like and you can change the game every time you play!

 
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