Board games and puzzles for the family at Christmas

November 8, 2016 Published by

 

Christmas is a time for family. Usually as adults, we either have some time off work, or time to put the chores on hold and enjoy time together with close and often extended family members.

This is a novelty for all involved, but as we are often unused to having extended periods together, it’s a good idea to have some props on hand to keep everyone entertained and avoid those dreaded ‘I’m bored’ comments by Boxing Day afternoon.

So why not get some games and puzzles in, which can be enjoyed by the whole family? Family play is really beneficial for both children and parents, so we’ve rounded up the best from those tested by the Good Toy Guide. Each of the below has been recommended in the guide and the options cover a wide range of ages.

Sussed Wonderlands recommended by the good toy guide

Sussed? Wonderlands

Recommended by the Good Toy Guide

Age: 7-10

RRP: £9.95

 

Wonderlands is the latest Sussed conversational card game. Players are tested on their imagination and how well they know each other. Explore what you’d do as a superhero, or what you’d find in your dream waterpark... Wonderlands gets everyone listening and talking: because no matter how well you think you know someone, you’ve never got them totally sussed. The gameplay is the same as previous editions with everyone answering one question on each topic: Adventure, Fantasy, Science-Fiction and Superheroes. This is a lovely twist on the original game –the fantasy style inspires imaginations. The game gets children to develop their speaking and listening skills, building confidence and self-awareness. Younger children can also practise reading and build vocabulary too.


 

 

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Big Number Jigsaw by Orchard Toys

Recommended by the Good Toy Guide

Age: 3-5 

RRP: £9.75

 

This jigsaw set is suitable to play on a table or as a floor puzzle. The set is full of entertaining characters and objects for children to count with and discuss. It comes with 20 large pieces that piece together easily, plus a poster/sheet which can be used as a guide. Puzzles like this are great for encouraging children to develop logic skills by working out which pieces slot together. This puzzle can also help children learn numbers up to 20 – shown as digits and objects, allowing children to practice the different ways numbers can be shown.

 


 

 

Good-Toy-Guide-Wordstacker

Wordstacker by Ingenium Games

Recommended by the Good Toy Guide

Age: 10+ 

RRP: £14.99

 

WordStacker is a card game of stacking, stretching, and mixing up words to score points to win. It’s for between two and six players and takes 15-30 minutes to play. Create new words every time you play, win points and stack your way to victory. Anyone can win this game of strategy and wordplay. Children will experiment with new words and challenge themselves to be creative with letters. The strategy element helped children who were not confident spellers use their tactics to out play more linguistically able opponents. An educational toy  that puts fun first.

 


 

 Good-Toy-Guide-Dinkee-R

 

 

Dinkee

Recommended by the Good Toy Guide

Age: 7 - 10 

RRP: £15

 

Dinkee is the kid’s version of Linkee. It plays the same way, with four questions and one big link. The game was hugely popular with our testers, who were all desperate to win. This is a good way to teach children about competition with about the right amount of challenge for children to be able to enjoy the game, without losing confidence in their abilities. Children really think hard about the link between the answers, which is great for logical thinking. The trivia is also a great way to teach children new facts, build vocabulary, and test their general knowledge.

 


 

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Stoopido by Drumond Park

Recommended by the Good Toy Guide

Age: 7-9 

RRP: £18

 

The point of Stoopido is the opposite of what you think – the winner is the only player left without a face covered with quirky mis-matched elements. Players race to pick up face pieces and add them to the glasses of the other players. Children find the faces very funny and this was a great way to get children playing and laughing together. The racing element was really exciting and helps improve attention and reaction times. Games like Stoopido are ideal for developing social skills, communication and an understanding of friendly competition and perfect for playing together with family and friends.

 


 

Rhino-Hero

Rhino Hero by HABA

Recommended by the Good Toy Guide

Age: 7-9 

RRP: £18

 

The aim of Rhino Hero is to build a skyscraper for Rhino to climb that is as tall and solid as can be. Children will get very excited and nervous when playing. Building the tower requires a lot of patience and also gets children thinking about how to build a solid construction. They will discuss their strategy while playing the game which is great for developing social skills. Board games like Rhino Hero help children learn about friendly competition.

 


 

 

articulate-for-kids-Drumond-Park

Articulate for Kids by Drumond Park

Recommended by the Good Toy Guide

Age: 8-10 

RRP: £20.00

 

The Articulate for Kids board game features 300 cards in the same six categories as the original Articulate - Object, Nature, Person, Action, World and Random. Players are either describers or guessers. Describers take it in turns to describe as many card entries as possible in 30-seconds. Each team moves around the board, based on the number of words correctly guessed. Our testers thoroughly enjoyed Articulate for Kids! We loved that you could act out and mime the descriptions too as this got the kids moving about. The game helps expand vocabulary and develop speaking and listening skills. It also encourages children to think about how to communicate a description and be aware of how other people might interpret this.


 

 

my-first-bananagrams-word-game

My First Bananagrams by Bananagrams

Recommended by the Good Toy Guide

Age: 5-7 

RRP: £14.99

 

My First Bananagrams is a new version of the game, aimed at younger children. The bag contains colourful lower-case letters and double-letter tiles, to make it easier for little ones. Players race to build crossword grids and use all their letter tiles. There’s no turn-taking – it is a race to the finish. 10 curriculum-based games are included to help improve vocabulary. This junior version was just as popular as the original, but the new tiles were more appealing to our younger testers. This set is more tailored towards teaching English skills – the vowels are all the same colour and letter pairs encourage children to practise common graphemes. Playing with others also helps develop social skills.

 


 

 

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Three Little Piggies by Smart Games

Recommended by the Good Toy Guide

Age: 3-5 

RRP: £24.99

 

Three Little Piggies is a brainteaser for young children. The award-winning game features three big puzzle pieces and the piggies fit inside the houses, look through the windows, and then escape the wolf. This is a logical thinking game for younger children, and the three little pigs theme got them interested in playing. They loved the challenge and it’s great that there’s loads of different puzzles, to keep children engaged and offer increasing difficulty. This means children can play the easier levels to become familiar with the game, and progress logical thinking and problem solving as they work through the puzzles.

 


 

 

This list is intended as a guide but remember that every child is unique, so it is important to think about the likes and dislikes of the child you are buying for. Be sure to visit the Good Toy Guide for more great gift ideas.

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This post was written by Anna Taylor

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