Fun and Games at Parent Talk’s Spring Sale

“Family games” by Matthew Hurst

With my twins’ birthday coming up, I asked my Facebook friends to recommend board games that would make good gifts.  The wealth of ideas shared was incredible.  Not only did I end up getting some great gifts (Monopoly Junior and Sequence Letters), but I now have an extensive list to keep an eye out for while I shop at Parent Talk’s Used Clothing, Toy, and Equipment Sale, coming up this Saturday, May 7th.

Because there are more than enough games to go around at Parent Talk’s biannual Sale, I’m sharing my list with you, too!  Below are the best games, separated into categories of the Classics, Newer Names, and Special Focus games.  

There’s a reason that games are listed below as Classics.  They are the ones that are tried and true, and great options for the gamers in your life.   
“Little girl playing a board game” by simpleinsomia
Take a look under Newer Names if you are looking for some more options that you might not have played with when you were a kid.  Lots of great games have popped onto the scene since we were young.  I can’t wait to look for them at the Sale and bring them home to the kids.  The eeBoo company makes wonderful games for toddlers and preschoolers.  You really can’t wrong with any of them.  We have a matching game and a set of story cards from eeBoo, and the kids still play with them at ages 5 and 9.  
Special Focus games are those that have special appeal to a given age group.  For example,  Peaceable Kingdom makes some wonderful cooperative games for the preschool set.

TODDLERS AND PRESCHOOLERS

At this age, my kids were happiest playing games that focused on pictures, color recognition and simple counting.  Busytown Eye Found It! is a favorite at our house. 
Classics
Candy Land
Chutes & Ladders
Cooties 
Don’t Break the Ice
Don’t Spill The Beans
Hungry Hungry Hippos
Newer Names
Think Fun’s Roll & Play
Snail’s Pace Race 
Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel!
Special Focus:  Cooperation
Busytown Eye Found It!
Race for the Treasure
Hoot Owl Hoot
Count Your Chickens 

PRE-KINDERGARTENERS

With new logic, math, problem solving, language and reading skills just around the corner, there are so many great board games to pick from for this age group.  There are also a number of card games that are great for this age, including Go Fish, Crazy Eights and Old Maid.  My kids have a set of these old favorites made by Melissa & Doug which has long been a crowd-pleaser.
“Sorry” by frankieleon
Classics
Monopoly Junior
Sorry!
Othello
Guess Who? 
Trouble 
Go Fish
Crazy Eights
Old Maid
Newer Names
Camp
Qwirkle
Blokus or Blokus Junior
Family Charades
Zingo!
Spot It!
Sequence
Spot It! is a compact card game that is easy to bring along to restaurants.  We also have Sequence Lettersand it’s been great as the twins start to practice their letter recognition and pre-reading skills.
Special Focus: Logic and Problem Solving
Rush Hour
Camelot Jr.
Castle Logix 
Gobblet
KINDERGARTEN AND EARLY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (FROM GRADES K THROUGH 2) 

Kids at this age are becoming readers, mastering their math skills and refining their fine motor skills.  This independence also means many more options for board and table games.   At this age, we discovered the GameWright company which makes a number of card based games that are just so fun.  Current favorites in our house include Sleeping Queens, Rat-a-Tat Cat and Chomp
“Queens” by Tedx NJLibraries
  
Classics
Jenga
Uno
Connect 4
Apples to Apples or Apples to Apples Junior
Newer Names
Pickles to Penguins
Skip-Bo
Very Silly Sentences
Suspend
Scavenger Hunt
Special Focus: Modified Versions of Games for Older Ages
Sleeping Queens
Rat-a-Tat Cat
Chomp
These games are often based on the card games we played growing up, which make them fun for both kids and adults.  While these games are geared for older kids, we have found that it’s easy enough to make small modifications to the game so that the little kids can play, too.
(ALMOST) ALL AGES
Finally, I’m always on the hunt for games that can be played by my kids independently.  Now that they are aged 5, 5, and 9, there are a lot more options that fit this bill.  Our all-time favorites for independent play include Monopoly Junior and Hullabaloo.

“Alec – Mr. Money Bags” by aisletwentytwo
Monopoly Junior is a simplified version of the classic game, Monopoly.  It uses simple monetary denominations and all properties on a given side of the board are worth the same amount.  Our 9-year-old can easily explain the game and the younger ones picked it up after playing with guidance from us, along with their older brother.  Now, all three kids often choose to play it together. 
Cranium Hullabaloo is a take on another Hasbro game, Twister.  It comes with a talking console that calls out each of the “steps” in the game.  While the twins are the ones most likely to play this game on their own, their brother will often join in.  One of the twins, my daughter, will often play on her own, too.

About the Author
Wendy Todd lives in Needham with her husband, Aaron, and three kids aged 9, 5 and 5.  She previously served on the Parent Talk Board of Directors as both Playspace Chair and President.  She started volunteering for PT’s biannual Sale in 2008 and has been a returning member on the Sale Committee for several years, now.  She plans to stay on the Sale Committee until her very last bargain is found! 

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