Shipley Family Top 5 Favorite Games
High Ho Cherry-O
Clifford Fetch a Bone
Memory (and kind)
**I kind of analyze most if not all the games from a preschool standpoint, so scroll down and look at the pictures and then see what you want to know about if you don't want to read it all. I don't want to make a Top 5 for preschoolers, because it depends on what kind of child you have: quiet and creative, analytical, or active***
We LOVE games in this house. Okay, well, the kids and I. Daddy is ruthless when it comes to games, so we don't always invite him to play along.
So, when my friend asked me for recommendations for her three year old, I started typing like crazy. And, then I realized I needed to add pictures. And, then, I thought other moms and dads might like to hear what kids (at least mine) think of certain games.
First, I think you know my kids are aged 4 & 9. That is a HUGE span when it comes to board games, but there are still a few they can and like to play together. Plus, I saved all of the games that I bought for Gracie, and I got a new perspective when Thomas was old enough to play.
Another point for you. Gracie is a quiet imaginative and creative child, while Thomas is an active straight forward child. So there are many differences in the games they like and are willing to sit and play.
Let me start with Fisher-Price. I would totally work for those people! I love their products, and always favor them when I purchase things for the kids. You know I mostly by from thrift stores and second hand stores and I seek out anything with the FP logo. Their quality in toys does not waver in games.
We love the Fisher Price games. I have many!
Fishing Game (in the purple box)
All of these games are liked by both kids. They have several different ways for play listed in the instructions, they are extremely sturdy and hold up very well. The Fishing game is probably Thomas' favorite, and the Oreo cookie game was Gracie's favorite as a child. You can NOT go wrong with a Fisher Price game. We also have a matching game and a bingo game with Fisher Price Little People. When I bought them used they were not in these awesome containers, so I put them in ziplock baggies for easy access and storage.
Chutes & Ladders
High Ho Cherry-O
You can't go wrong with a Memory game. As you can see we have several. Kids learn a lot by trying to remember where matches are. And you don't have to lay them all out from the box. Count out 10 matches and mix them up to start and then slowly add more cards as you child gets better, otherwise they will get frustrated. Both kids like Memory, but Thomas does not have the patience to play more than 10 matches (20) cards. Gracie's mind latched on to the idea and she didn't take long to beat me every time. By age 6-7 she wanted all the cards out on the floor.
Classic Games. Of the classics (Candy land, Chutes, high-Ho) my kids can play all of them together even with their age difference, which is wonderful for a family game night. Thomas gets confused and Chutes and Ladders is more complicated for his level. We still play, but it is not his favorite, and many times he walks away after a few turns. High-Ho Cherry-O on the other hand, he would play over and over again. Both kids love the fast paced game of picking fruit. They aren't discouraged by the tipped over baskets or bird and/or dog either. Tons of laughs with this one. But, the small pieces are a danger for under 3.
The Garanimals game Thomas got last year, and it is very cute. You travel around the zoo and you have to make animal sounds. It follows a lot like Candyland, but takes less time.
Gotta love Barrel of Monkeys. It is just fun to play. And, the Super Why Bingo game is a great one as they learn letters and I have used it for letter sounds instead of letter recognition now that he is older. It is a shorter game of Bingo as there are less squares on your board. the Goodnight Construction site is a Memory game too, and I love memory, plus it is modeled after the sweet book and Thomas loves vehicles.
We got more!
What's in the pink tote? Bags of games! Since I often find games at thrift stores, their boxes aren't in the greatest condition, or I would toss the box since didn't have a lot of room.
Fisher Price Bingo
Fisher Price Memory
Little Einstein Dominoes
Lily & The Purple Plastic Purse
You already know I love Fisher Price, so I won't go on and on about those games, but notice I have the Fisher Price card games as well. I actually found those at the Dollar Store, and they are great for teaching kids simple card games like Go Fish and Old Maid.
Little Einstein dominoes are a plastic version of the classic game, and I think Thomas found that easier to hold and to understand. He is over that game now, but invest in a colorful dominoes game, it is good for sequence making practice.
I LOVE Lily. The Kevin Henkies character was always a hit with Gracie, and I loved her just as much. Her Purple Plastic purse game is great for creative minds as you make your own story with cards. There are various ways to play with these cards and Gracie and I had hours of fun.
There is also another Lily card game. It was three games in one, and we enjoyed it, but not as much as the Purple Plastic Purse game.
Counting Bears is a great matching/math game.And it is a LOT of games in one. Great for numbers colors and much more. This is a newer game that Thomas got a few Christmases ago.
Mickey UNO. A HUGE hit with both kids. It is a great starter UNO. It makes things simpler and easier to understand. Thomas still doesn't get it, but he likes to try. Gracie took to it immediately and now is an UNO champ with the regular game. Definitely get a beginning UNO game for your child, because the full version is just too hard to explain.
And still more!
These were under the futon in the play room.
More board games:
Barbie Prom Queen
Melissa & Doug Sandwich Game
Obviously the Barbie game is Gracie's, and let me tell you she and I have hours of fun with this vintage game. You probably won't be able to find it in a store--but we love, love, love this one!!
You aren't going to find the Aurthur game either, but it is in our top 5 of games that we own! We love this guessing/matching game. It is made so sturdy and fun. If you thrift shop and find one--buy it--your pre-K-1st grade kids will love it. Although, Gracie is in 4th grade and still picks this one to play!
Headbandz was cute, but since Thomas doesn't know hardly any of the Disney movies like Gracie does, it fizzled in the house. I would suggest the original game as I would think the cards would be more recognizable. However, if your child has seen tons of Disney movies, it is great. But if they are limited to maybe 4-5 movies, it might not be worth your money. I haven't counted, but I think it covered closer to 10-15 movies.
Connect 4 is a classic, and while Thomas doesn't quite get the concept yet--he loves to play with the colored chips. He will play just so he can make the clanking sound and then pull the lever to watch them all fall out.
I wanted the Franklin game. I love the character Franklin. Gracie humored me, and played this precious game with me a few times. I was hoping Thomas would like Franklin too. Here's hoping. I can't get rid of it--yet.
The Sandwich game is our newest favorite! Its an active, yet thinking game that both kids can play together--and they love it. There are tons of different ways to play with the sandwich bread and toppings including games for younger kids and older kids. It is pricey at $35, but well worth it for us!
Junior Monopoly is great at teaching the classic game to kids. There are fewer spaces, easier to understand directions, and more limitations which keeps from blowing your kids mind. Gracie loves it. However--let me warn you, just like the adult version--it takes FOREVER to finish!
Angry Birds is like the ap--seriously! You know how you have to channel high school physics and math and trajectory to play the online game? Well, you better get your game on for this "board" game. Unless your child is one of those who enjoys challenges and thinking up ways to solve a problem--you will have a frustrated kid, and have a game rarely played. I think Thomas will really enjoy it when he gets older and has better control of his body. I think he is going to be an analytical thinker like his daddy. Gracie left the game in tears.
The bowls on top? That is an awesome game called Flip Flop Faces. I am not sure if you can buy it any more, but it is always a hit when little friends come over to play. You use beanbags to flip the bowl and see the face. It take concentration and is active, and Thomas loves it!
The last of it.
I am sure you know what a Lite Brite is, and they are such fun for older kids. Thomas likes it, but gets bored easily as it is too creative for him. Gracie will spend tons of time making masterpeices.
Clifford's Fetch a Bone game is among the Top 5 in our house too. It is an old game, but if you can find it--your kids will love it. The doghouse barks, but isn't obnoxious. The kids have to count the barks and move spaces and match colors.
And the Clifford Bingo game is great! It comes with TONS of cards, enough for a whole preschool class to play. It is class BINGO, just with Clifford colors and bone logo chips.
So, as you can see we have a ton of games. And these are what I have kept. I can't tell you how many we played and then gave away.
If you see any that you would like to know more about in better detail, leave a comment and your email (if I don't already have it) and I would be happy to share what the kids do and don't like about it.
And, you would think we were tired of games--but nope! The same friend wanted a list of what the kids might like to add to their collection, so I added a few for a "Wish List."
Maisy Game Thomas loves Masiy, and I know this says 1-4 years old, but he LOVES the characters and I think he would play over and over again.
Pinkalicious Scabble--Gracie LOVES Scrabble, and we have a massive (and very nice) board with all of the letters and such, but can never finish a game in a night, and it is too big to leave out to finish another time. She has Pinkalicious UNO and we love it. I think she would enjoy this game as well.
Life this is a classic game that we don't have. I remember having fun playing it as a kid.
Busytown Game--I am reading a LOT of great reviews for this one.
Melissa & Doug Puppy Pursuit
Melissa & Doug Funny Frogs Game
Playing games as a family is a great way to spend time together, and kids learn so much in game play. I don't mean to be cheesy, but schedule a game night this week and keep it up. This post has challenged me to do the same. We used to before Thomas, and we got out of the habit. We must return!
Again, I will be happy to answer any questions you might have about the games we own, or some I have to put on the dud-list. That doesn't mean your child may not like it, but there is a list of games we had, played, and didn't keep.
Happy Game Night!
The Dud List:
- Hungry Hungry Hippos--awesome for the first 10 times you play it, then kids are beyond bored
- Buckaroo--very tricky, and also a one trick-pony
- Dr. Suess games. I had several, I LOVE all things Suess, but each of the 3-4 games we had were so ridiculously complicated. The kids coudn't keep up and niether could I. Apparently it wasn't just one game
- Very Hungry Caterpillar---AWESOME book, not so awesome game :(
- Elefun-- Gracie loved it for several months. But it makes a lot of noise, you can easily lose pieces and it eats batteries.
- MouseTrap--complicated, tricky, so many pieces, didn't fit back in the box.