Tips: Making Kids’ Board Games Work {better} for You

We are all about throwing down on a few board games here at CampClem. CandyLand, Chutes & Ladders, Sorry, Uno, Memory, GoFish, Chess, Stratego… We loves us a good game night! [...Or a game morning... Or a game afternoon.] I just treasure us all being gathered around together, laughing and playing and being silly. I’ve got to confess: we’re not very competitive. We’re more about being together than winning. We have a “hey you!” laugh when someone uses a Sorry card on us… We especially get a giggle out of skipping and reversing and draw-twoing and draw-four-wilding Daddy in Uno… And we celebrate–HOORAY! YOU WIN!–when someone does well… And when Li’l Bro beats me to the CandyLand castle, he comes back to get me and says, “Come on friend, you can come with me!”

Here are a few ways we’ve made our games work better for us:

1. Accessibility

If they’re not easy to get out and put away, those games just won’t get used as much as they could and should. We keep all our games in one central spot that everyone can get to, the front foyer closet. The games and puzzles are stacked down low, where even our four-year-old can easily get the one he’s looking for without help. He can also put the game away by himself, a big plus in this mamma’s book. I also rotate the games occasionally so the same few don’t get all the love.

And we use travel soap holders for cards because it’s tough to get the cards back in the boxes, and rubber bands break too easily.

How can you make your kids’ games easier to get out? …And to clean up?!

2. Functionality

Now granted, I can’t remember the last time our eight-year-old asked to play Memory, but there was a season when both he and his four-years-younger brother were simultaneously into it. The problem was that Big Bro was much better at it, naturally, so I divided the cards into three different play levels. I also included a visual difficulty “bar code” so even though Li’l Bro is not reading yet, he can still grab an “easy” or “medium” level bag.

What simple modifications can you make to make your games age appropriate ready?

3. Whimsy

Okay, the games are already fun for kids… But you can weave love and memories into game playing too, I think, by adding a little whimsy. So a lot of times when we play CandyLand or Chutes and Ladders, everyone gets to choose his own play piece action figure. I’m always amazing at how much funnier and more wonderful a game seems with this simple tweak!

Please do come back and tell me this one: How did your kids respond when you let them choose a whimsical game piece?!

So, anyone else there have tips and tricks to make your games work better for your family? Do tell!

I love to read your comments... Do tell!

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