There’s nothing like spending time playing a great board game over vacation. Puzzles are not really my thing, but the rest of my family gets into them. Set me up with a good board game and I’ll sit for hours. With the holidays rapidly approaching and a long vacation in the not to distant future, I’m predicting hours of entertainment will be needed.
Here are a few of our favorite board games
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There’s no doubt a good board game makes a great holiday gift for the entire family. And an added bonus: they’re guaranteed to keep your kids away from their screens for a while.
For many years we played Monopoly Junior and now we’ve finally graduated to the real deal: Monopoly. This board game provides hours of entertainment. And I mean hours. There are many versions out there, but I’m a classic monopoly fan.
HedBanz is a pretty hilarious game for all ages, although the 8-12 age group seem to really love it. Everyone wears a headband with a card on it facing out. Ask “yes” or “no” questions to figure out if the cartoon on your head is an animal, food or man-made object. Be the first player to guess what you are and win.
COMOTION: The Competitive Game of Simultaneous Charades
CoMotion is a great game for the entire family. Think charades with some added twists. Players throw the dice, pick a card and act out a word or phrase. It’s a race against the clock and you could end up acting out words at the same time as the other team.
We’ve been playing this one for a few years and it never gets old. As each player adds a piece to the board each new piece must touch at least one other piece of the same color, but only at the corners. Play with up to 4 players.
THE SETTLERS OF CATAN
The Settlers of Catan board game is a popular choice with my three boys. I have to admit that I’ve never played. Players try to be the dominant force on the island of Catan by building settlements, cities, and roads. It’s a trading and building game with a fairytale theme. Players have to gather resources to build settlements and cities.
Quoridor was a big hit on the beach last summer. Quoridor is a fast-moving strategy game that is similar to chess insofar as players move pawn-shaped pieces across the board. The difference is that there are wooden fences one erects to block the progress of and force a different route upon an opponent.
If you like the game “telephone” you’ll love Telestrations. Telestrations has players draw what they see then guess what they saw. You can only imagine where this ends up. Hilarious fun!
SORT IT OUT
Sort It Out is on my list to try this year. Players are asked to arrange lists of measurements, events, weights, and stages into the correct sequence. Everyone plays on every turn so there’s no sitting around and waiting. It just won the “Game of the Year” award at the TOTY Awards.
WITS & WAGERS
Wits & Wagers takes Trivial Pursuit to the next level. It’s a trivia game that lets you bet on anyone’s answer. It allows you to guess the answer you think is the closest to the choices you are given. This board game can accomodate anywhere from 4 to 20 people.
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Growing up in the Midwest we had one school vacation week in December and a second school vacation in March. It always felt like the perfect amount of time between vacations.
Here in New England I’ve learned over the years that they like to vacation. And frequently. Schools have a vacation week over the holidays in December, another school vacation week in February and a THIRD vacation week in April. We also have an extended weekend over Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday weekend. I’m sure in the end we are all getting the same amount of days in school, but the school vacations come fast and furiously here. I’m not complaining, just observing.
We are about to launch into our February school vacation week and I’m hearing a lot of discussion about how to keep your kids entertained without succumbing to screen time all the time.
In the spirit of keeping our sanity over the next week I thought I would share with you some of the activities that have provided hours of entertainment in our house. I’m hoping you’ll do the same and share what works in your home.
The Monopoly marathon is finally over. We now have 4 different versions of the game, which I’m hoping make their way out of the game closet again in the near future. We have since moved on to puzzles, board games and Ga-ga (not Lady Gaga-the ball game ga-ga).
The puzzle obsession has always been an underlying theme in our house. When the kids were really little we worked on wooden puzzles and gradually worked our way up to 24 piece puzzles. Our puzzle interest comes in waves. We can go for months without any and then boom the floor is covered with multiple puzzles at once.
Our most recent puzzle mania kicked off with a few really cool recycled puzzles given to us by a friend. There was no turning back. Out came box after box of puzzles. Thanks to the kind folks at Buffalo Games my kids have quite a few puzzles to keep them occupied over the school vacation week. We started off with 300 piece puzzles and are gradually working our way up to the 1,00 piece puzzles. Buffalo Games puzzles are made from extremely thick graphic board and quality paper. The pieces are sturdy and strong and can withstand three young boys and a dog messing with the pieces! That says a lot. The graphics are interesting and there are so many to choose from.
Monopoly has run its course for the moment, but board games still rule. Checkers and chess have made a comeback and are now in first place with Last Word running a close second.
This game is for the 14 and up age group, however I did play with my 12, 11 and 9 year old. It was perfect for the 12 and 11 year old and a bit over the 9 year old’s head. It’s a fun, fast paced game perfect for a family with older children. I personally had a blast and was laughing uncontrollably throughout.
The directions were easy to follow for everyone. The game reminded me of a game we used to play on long car rides which involved finding something on the road that starts with every letter of the alphabet.
Our basement now has it’s very own ga-ga pit. This is a ball game that’s been around a while. I used to play it at summer camp and it can provide hours of entertainment. Depending upon the space, it’s most fun with 5-8 kids.
Section off an area to play. One person drops the ball in the center and as it bounces three times, players say ‘ga-ga’ aloud as a group. This signals the beginning of play.
Use a soft ball. A soft kick-ball works well.
After play has started, players can move within the boundaries.
Players use their hands to hit the ball towards other players. The goal is to hit other players with the ball from the knee down. If a player is hit with the ball from the knee down, they are out. When they are out, they go to the boundary line and help keep the ball in the play area by acting as a wall or a cushion.
You can only hit the ball with an open hand. No catching, throwing, or holding the ball.
You can only touch the ball one time in a row. The ball needs to hit either a boundary or another person before you can touch it again.
The game ends when there is only one player left.
Do your kids have school vacation this coming week? Any ideas to share for keeping kids entertained over vacation week?
Disclosure: I received puzzles and games from the kind folks at Buffalo Games for review. The opinions expressed are my very own.
It’s official. We have a Monopoly obsession. It began about a month ago and I can’t remember what triggered it. Our game closet in the basement is packed with board games and has been for years. Most of the games only see the light of day on a rare occasion. Finally Monopoly is getting some use.
Now my three boys can’t get enough Monopoly. I’m not complaining. Have you played Monopoly? The game goes on and on for days on end. I’ve joined in a few times, but for the most part they are on autopilot without me.
They’ve even made their own money and cards to add a new twist to the game.
How long do you think this will last? No begging for electronics, not much fighting-it feels surreal.
Yesterday we branched out into checkers.
They pleaded for chess, but that didn’t happen since I’m a novice at best.
Whatever triggered this preoccupation with Monopoly I owe you a big thank you.
On Saturday, March 28, 2015, take the time to turn off your lights at 8:30 pm (in your local time zone) for Earth Hour. Earth Hour is a worldwide collective display of commitment to protect something that unites us all - the planet.
Who participates in Earth Hour?
Hopefully you do! Earth Hour was spearheaded in 2007 by WWF (World Wildlife Fund) in Sydney, Australia. The movement has grown exponentially and now includes the Empire State Building, Times Square, the Golden Gate Bridge and other iconic buildings and landmarks throughout the world.
Here are a few ideas for honoring Earth Hour:
Have a candle light dinner
Check out the stars
Play a board game by candle light
Talk and tell stories
Take the dog for a walk
Have a romantic, early evening
How will you be spending Earth Hour?
I challenge you to go beyond the hour and continue on a daily basis to take action to make our world a better place.
Where will you be this Saturday night at 8:30 pm? Can you commit to turning off your lights?
With Earth Hour almost upon us, I join in with the creators of Earth Hour by sending my thoughts and prayers to the people of Japan during this incredibly challenging and sad time for their country.