With half-term coming up, you may be off on holiday or planning some outings where you want something to keep the kids occupied at the table (or on the sofa, on the floor, anywhere!).
As readers of my earlier blog on classic board games know, we love games in our family, but not all games are practical to pop in your bag. These are our favourite which I slip into my handbag, beach bag or rucksack.
A friend recommended this to me and it’s a great one for prompting conversations. Each of you takes it in turns to read out a multiple choice question about themselves from a card (such as “what would be my favourite type of holiday?” A: Beach;. B: City; C: Mountains) and the others have to guess how that person will answer, scoring points for each one they predict correctly. Great fun and much indignation follows when you think the person hasn’t answered how you really thought they would! It’s the size of a large pack of cards and just needs a pencil or pen each, so easy to pop in your bag and also adaptable if you just want to take out a couple of the question cards to start a fun family conversation rather than playing the full game.
Who Am I?
Who doesn’t love a bit of “name on the head”? Easily recreated with post it notes of course, but we love the “Bite Size Game Who Am I” version in a tin especially for kids and take great delight in making “Mr Lou” be Barbie. The version we have is produced as part of a range by Cheatwell Games and can be bought on ebay – they make great stocking fillers!
I’m sure many of you will have already discovered the delights of Dobble. As it’s light and practical, we also love taking Beach Dobble on holiday with us. The waterproof cards come in a net and the pictures are all holiday themed.
Shuffle Card Games
We’ve got a few from this range. Each card game also has its own app which is a fun way of adding a new dimension to the games. The Game of Life version involves building sets or runs (a bit like a cross between Rummy and Rummikub if you know either of those), whilst the Star Wars game is more akin to Top Trumps with some very cool sounds effects created when using the app! The Guess Who version is cleverly done too. With all of these, you need a bit more table or floor space, so probably not ones to try at a fancy restaurant!
If you’re at home or somewhere so noisy no one else can hear you and don’t mind being ruthless with each other…!
Quirk involves making silly noises to ask your opponents for particular cards (think Happy Families but with animals, pirates etc). As well as character cards, there are also tactic cards which can be used to steal sets from other players, defend your own cards and make others miss a turn. Warning: needs a sense of humour and not to be taken personally as can get nasty when stealing others’ cards!
We also love the classics – Uno (my sister-in-law recently bought us a great beach/pool waterproof edition of Uno) and Happy Families (“sorry, not at home!”) are ones we return to again and again as well as games with a traditional pack of cards (if you want a reminder or to learn some new games, my oldest has really enjoyed working through the games in this book. In fact, I think if you put it together with a nice pack of cards, it would be make a great present!).
Lou’s top tip: if you have a little one with small hands who struggles to hold their cards, you can get some great card holders like this one.
We’re always on the look out for new family games to try, so hit us with your recommendations!