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Favorite Children's Board Games

Fun for Grandparents to Play With Grandchildren

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Children's board games shouldn't take too long to play, and they should be adaptable for different ages. Most of all, they should be fun. Some of these games aren't technically board games, but they are all perfect for multi-generational play, and they will certainly create some laughter.

1. Uglydoll Card Game

The Uglydoll Card Game from Gamewright requires that players match the Uglydoll characters.
Photo © Gamewright

Uglydolls, the stuffed toys with a distinctive look, fascinate some of us and mystify others, but you don't have to be a fan to like the Uglydoll card game. A simple matching game, it's easy to learn and fun to play, so that it's relaxing and non-stressful for grandparents and for grandkids.

2. Bananagrams

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Bananagrams, the 2009 Game of the Year, comes in a cool banana-shaped container. The container holds 144 letter tiles, which players draw and arrange into a crossword-type grid, racing against the other players. It's a low-tech, high-energy word game that is not just for children. It's fun for all ages, but its simple rules and adaptability make it a perfect kids word game.

3. The Settlers of Catan

The Settlers of Catan Board Game is fun and educational for grandparents and grandchildren.
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If you're looking for a game of strategy to play with older grandchildren, look no further. The Settlers of Catan has delighted millions of gamers since its creation in 1995. It retains its charm through multiple uses, and players must draw upon logic and strategy to be successful. Besides, it's a building game, not a shooting game, and that counts for a lot with this grandmother.

4. Catch Phrase

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In Catch Phrase, players must get their team members to guess a word or phrase while a timer provides an audible, quickening tick. Instead of using pantomime, players use words, although they must avoid any forms of the word itself. When someone makes a correct guess, play is handed off quickly to the other team, and the team in play when the buzzer goes off loses a point. It's fast-paced, fun and good language practice.

5. Apples to Apples

Photo courtesy of PriceGrabber
Apples to Apples is a game that's hugely popular with tweens and teens. Players must choose nouns to fit a particular adjective, with ununusual and hilarious results. The process is simple. Players choose a noun card to match the adjective card that has been turned up. The player who is "it" judges which card is the best match. The winner of each round keeps the adjective card as a simple way of score-keeping, but fun, not winning, is the main objective.

6. Monopoly Junior

My grandchildren need games that don't last long to fit their abbreviated attention spans (and my own), and Monopoly Junior is a great choice. The game is over the first time someone runs out of money, which occurs quite quickly, usually within an hour. The game is also simplified and speeded up because players must purchase all property that is landed on. Children still get practice in several essential skills, primarily in counting money and making change.

7. Slamwich

Photo Courtesy of PriceGrabber
This fun variation of Slap Jack features a deck of cards shaped like slices of bread and containing pictures of sandwich ingredients. After the cards are dealt, players take turns discarding. If the same ingredient is discarded twice in a row, or with only one other card between them, it's time to slam the deck in order to win the whole pile. Cards with a picture of a thief require slapping the the deck while yelling, "Stop, thief!"

8. Dweebies

Dweebies by Gamewright is a family card game that will appeal to all ages.
Photo © Gamewright

Dweebies is "the card game with character," and each of the characters in the deck has "a profession or hobby that they're wildly passionate about," according to the game's creators. Representing jugglers, bagpipe players, surfers, weightlifters and the like, Dweebies are used in a game of matching that's somewhat like dominoes. It appears deceptively simple, and it can be played quickly, but playing Dweebies well actually requires a keen sense of strategy.

9. Don't Make Me Laugh Jr.

Don't Make Me Laugh Jr. is a board game that emphasizes fun over competition.
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If you're lookiing for a game that emphasizes fun over winning, Don't Make Me Laugh Jr. is just the ticket. As they race from the Little Chuckle to the Big Guffaw, players have to draw cards that require them to perform zany antics, sometimes alone and sometimes with the rest of the group. You may get to visit Lolo Land, and you may have to wear the clown nose. One thing is certain: You will laugh.

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