On week nights, after work and daycare, everyone is tired. Still we need to spend time together. With kids aged 4 and 5 various board games have proven to be a great way to spend time together: they don’t require too much imagination of a tired mum (unfortunately we don’t get around to do as much crafts as we used to) and when kids are very tired familiar simple games like the Trap, the “rainbow Moomin game” or a Domino with shapes are great (The Domino is also great for waiting still at a restaurant. It fits my hand bag nicely.)
When kids can still focus well, the all time Finnish favourite Afrikan tähti – “the African Star” is great:
It was a while before my kids got the idea of the game (finding the diamond and heading back to Cairo or Tangier before anyone gets a horse show) but they loved playing it anyway:my son got inspired to learn how to count to six to be able to play and get play money (only 100, 500 and 1000 notes, great for simple maths) and my daughter loved finding the jewels. A funny side effect has been that they have also learned some African geography: when Bamse had a story about Egypt and the old pyramids, they knew exactly where that was.
Like the African star, I think all board games teach a number of skills such as taking turns, interacting, explaining, loosing, counting with the dice, fine motoric skills… even though learning is not our main reason to play games on week nights; There is early education going on all day long at daycare so in my opinion the evenings can be a time spent together just relaxing or doing something fun. Board games are a calm, entertaining and easy way to spend time together.
But, of course, we have more educational games as well, I suppose most families have? I’ve lost Memory for about the last three years to my daughter, the Junior Alias (on the left) is great in training vocabulary in our three languages (also great in the car), and Einertrainer, a game from my childhood, is great for basic maths, simple additions and subtractions, and the best part is that the game tells kids itself if they’ve got it right as the pieces then fit like in a puzzle. No harm done if kids learn while having fun but these games require a fair bit of more focus.
Of the highly educational but super simple games I’ve introduced a few before like dancing with letters, learning numbers with the most simple DIY dice game and Mosaic, building with geometrical shapes. An addition to this list is playing with our fridge magnets for writing and reading. Especially my son likes being able to hold them and has gotten quite good at writing if I give him the letters for simple words like “bus” or “car”.
Now I’ve just mentioned a few of my favourites but there are more. Shows how it really doesn’t have to be complicated to be fun but having the concept ready makes it easier for a tired brain. Do you play board games at home? What are your favourites?