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  • Writer's pictureDr Laura Hutchison

The GAMES we PLAY ... and WHY? (Part 2)

Previously I posted a list of great “starter” games for kids  … Classic “Board” Games to Play with Three-Year-Olds … and WHY.  Here’s some more for when the other games are mastered!  I would recommend them for children 4 and older (of course, depending on the child and their individual abilities!).  My 5 year-old and I play them all frequently … plus, I use them as a play therapist REGULARLY!

Tip It – It’s the art of balancing.  Pieces balance on each other in several ways … and then players spin to see what color of disc they have to use a “fork” to get off the structure.  If a player gets 3 discs of the same color, they win.  If the structure falls, the player whose turn it is loses the game. Great for teaching kids about physical balance, as well as a discussion topic of creating balance in one’s life.  Also, a great game for frustration tolerance, managing anxiety, and increasing body awareness, attention, and focus.

Monopoly Junior – Just like the original version, only shorter and slanted more for luck then skill (chance cards regularly even out the odds).  This is a great way to introduce kids to games that use money … as well as great for learning basic math skills with money!

Guess Who? – Fun elimination game where based on yes-and-no questions opponents eliminate the characters until they can … guess who!  Great game to increase verbal skills, attention to details, and focus.  Newer versions come with different boards to switch out characters … and you can download more from the company.  I have also seen a personalized version that I have been SO wanting to make.

Connect Four – The classic game … great for kids who have already mastered tic-tac-toe!  Great to learn strategy, frustration tolerance, and increase attention & focus skills.

Blokus –  One of my personal favorites to play.  Players try to place ALL of their different shaped pieces (make up of squares) and the board before the other players and can block their opponents.  It can be a pretty easy game with just two players each only using one color each … the games gets more tricky when you play with 4 colors and/or 4 players.  It’s good for increasing spatial relationship and strategy skills.

Scrabble Junior –  Somewhat like the original game.  It actually has 2 games built into one; one on each side of the board.  The simple version just has players match the letter tiles to the ones on the board and when a word is complete the player that completed it gets one point.  This is great for beginning readers and/or continued work on letter/sound recognition.  The other side of the board is played more like the original Scrabble, but without all the tricky scoring.  This version is great for kids who can already spell and read … and helps increase those skills.

Sorry! – A classic game that every kid should know how to play.  It does require reading (unless the child has played it enough to memorize the rules for each number card).  It’s a great basic game to teach kids taking turns, weighing out options (what’s the best choice?), and coping with frustration (SORRY!).

Payday – This game was actually MY childhood favorite.  Players move through the board which is organized like a calendar … sometimes you have to pay money, sometimes you collect it.  It’s a great basic math skill learning opportunity, as well as teaches about budgeting money.

What are some of YOUR favorite games to play with kids?

This article was originally posted on my blog PlayDrMom

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