The Games We Play and Why

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Sarah and I are play-therapists so we, well, we play for a living. While to people observing us it may seem like we are “just playing”, everything we do has a purpose.

The Games We Play and Why

 

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Board games are often part of our sessions. There are many reasons why we choose to play board games: the kids enjoy them, they foster reciprocal play, taking turns, referencing and learning how to be a good sport when you lose. Beyond that, there are many wonderful games that foster learning and skill building.

Tips for getting the most out of playing board games with the kids:

  • Get on the child’s level. If you are on the floor then you may want to lay down to make eye contact. Orientate your bodies to face each other.
  • Be expressive. Model the appropriate reactions for the game play.
  • Chit chat, talk while you play. That builds language skills.
  • Change the rules, be silly, have fun!

Board Games for Ages 3-6

Peaceable Kingdom Hoot Owl Hoot! Award Winning Cooperative Game for Kids

  • Players work together to help the owls fly back to their nest before the sun comes up; if they are successful everyone wins!
  • Children learn simple strategy and social development skills with no reading required

 

Cranium Hullabaloo – Cranium Hullabaloo

  • Encourages listening, problem-solving and friendly competition
  • Kids play alone or with friends -giggling guaranteed

 

 

Ravensburger Rivers, Roads And Rails – Children’s Game

  • The objective is to be the first player to use up all your cards making a continuous network of paths.
  • Children have to think ahead to use up all their cards.
  • A clever family board game where planning, good visual alertness, and light strategy will lead to winning.

 

 

Educational Insights The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game

  • Color matching game for all ages
  • Designed to teach matching, sorting, counting, and simple math skills
  • Great first board game for a child

 

 

 

Spot It Junior Animals

  • Symbol Recognition
  • Brain – eye association

 

 

 

Peaceable Kingdom Sunny Day Pond Award Winning Cooperative Game for Kids

  • Players work together to complete the three animal puzzles before the rain comes
  • Children learn color matching, fine motor skills, and social development skills with no reading required

Peaceable Kingdom Willy’s Wiggly Web Award-Winning Preschool Skills Builder Game

  • Players work together to cut all the bugs free before Willy the Spider falls from the wiggly web
  • Children learn motor skills, hand-eye coordination, counting and social development skills with no reading required

 

 

Board Games Ages 7-11

5 Second Rule – Just Spit it Out!

  • Categories
  • Builds Quick Response Time
  • With only 5 seconds to name 3 things that fit the topic, it doesn’t seem so easy, but the kids love it!

 

 

10 Days in Africa Game

  • Geography
  • Scanning
  • Critical Thinking Skills

 

10 Days In The Usa Game

  • Geography
  • Scanning
  • Critical Thinking Skills

 

 

Cauldron Quest Cooperative Game

  • Involves potions and magic, which the kids love.
  • It is a cooperative game, which we love.
  • The players need to work together to collect the ingredients needed to make a potion to stop the evil wizard.
  • This is a good game for children of different ages.

Apples to Apples Junior – The Game of Crazy Combinations!

  • Vocabulary
  • Relationships/Critical Thinking

 

 

 

Bananagrams

  • Players race against each other to build crossword grids
  • Build vocabulary skills while exercising the eyes and learning to respond quickly.
  • Great for travel

 

Ravensburger Labyrinth

  • Builds visual skills and critical thinking skills
  • Learn cause and effect, planning, association, recognition, and taking turns

 

 

Pictureka

  • Exciting games of visual hide and seek
  • Builds Visual Scanning and Visual Figure Ground Skills

 

 

 

 

Quiddler

  • Challenging for both beginners and wordsmiths alike
  • Build vocabulary and word building skills

 

 

ThinkFun River Crossing

  • Builds visual scanning and visual attention skills
  • Teaches critical thinking, problem-solving, and strategy development

 

 

Scrambled States of America Game Card Game

  • Builds faster response time
  • Teaches about United States Geography

 

 

Settlers of Catan 5th Edition

  • Teaches critical thinking, problem-solving, and strategy development

 

 

 


Spot It:

  • Develops focus, visual perception skills, speech-language skills, and fine motor skills.

 

 

 

The Ungame

  • Communication game
  • Strengthens social skills
  • A great ice-breaker or a serious exchange of thoughts, feelings and ideas

 

 

 

Exploding Kittens

  • The illustrations on the cards really appeal to a certain sense of humor.
  • Encourages strategic thinking and good sportsmanship. I usually play this game as a reward.
  • We have had some fun making our own cards to add to the game.
  • There is also Imploding Kittens: The First Expansion of Exploding Kittens which adds another level of complexity to the game.

More ways to educate through play. Kids laugh while they learn:

The Best Educational Gifts for Kids Ages 2-12
The Best Educational Gifts for Kids Ages 2-12
Educational Toys That Make Great Gifts
Educational Toys That Make Great Gifts
Books that Celebrate Winter Holidays Around the World
Books that Celebrate Winter Holidays Around the World
Learn With Play: 150+ Ideas for Year-round Fun & Learning
Learn With Play: 150+ Ideas for Year-round Fun & Learning

 

 

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The Games We Play and Why

9 Comments




  1. Indeed, every game and activity with kids has it’s own purpose. Thanks for sharing the ideas of board games, they are so nice and attractive. I would play them meself 🙂

    Reply

  2. Some of my favorites!! We are HUGE on game night at our house. A real sense of family and appreciation for each others time.

    Reply

  3. Oh these look like some really great games! We always bring board games down to the shore with us and play together. I’m looking for a few for the younger kids. I think they will love the sneaky squirrel game and the owl game. We really love Settlers of Catan! My cousin also just created his own card game too (Business Cards). It’s fun!

    Reply

  4. Willy’s Wiggly Web, that looks so cute! I think my daughter would love that!

    Reply

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