- Hi Ho! Cherry-O (Ages 3 - up) This is a super simple counting game. We have actually outgrown this one but he refuses to get rid of it.
- Memory (any version) (Ages 3 - up) Simple matching game that comes in many different varieties, also easily made!
- Chutes and Ladders (Ages 3-6) I like to play this game on a day when he has spent a lot of time in trouble. It really CLEARLY shows kids the power of their choices. If you choose to misbehave you "fall down", if you are kind etc... good things happen.
- Cranium Cariboo (Ages 3 and up) Simple game of matching letters, numbers, shapes and colors. I really appreciate that many ages/levels can play by choosing different things to match. It also comes with a second version of cards to use for advanced players.
- Boggle Jr (Ages 3-6) Another great game for varying degrees of difficulty! You can just have the child match the letters to the card, using the picture to identify the word. Or, you can cover the picture and have the child read the word. Finally, cover the word and have the child spell it using the picture.
Lesser Known Games
- Buggo by Ravensburger (Ages 5 and up) Adaptable game of counting. We play it as an addition game but could easily be played as a simple memory or counting game. Josh actually shrieks with laughter every time we play this.
- Globe game by Leapfrog (Ages 3 - up) Could not find a link...Strange! We just love this geography game that even comes with a blow up globe.
- Great State Junior (4-7) Another fun geography game. Believe me...we can use all the practice we can get! This is a great one to help with U.S. Geography.
- Tell A Story by Ravensburger (4-8) We really could not believe how much fun we had with this game. You pick a set of cards and then put them in a rational sequence and tell a story about them. There is a bit more to it than that but you get the idea. It was super fun and it was amazing to hear the stories everyone came up with!
- Rivers Roads and Rails by Ravensburger (5 and up) This game is probably our all time favorite. You could easily play this with anyone 4 and up. So fun! It is very similar to a domino style game but you are matching 3 different transportation modes. Your piece may have a river, road, and/or rail on it or any combination and you need to find a match.
- Hulk Smash (6 and up) I was totally against getting this game! I knew who would be stuck playing it with Josh and I was not going for it. However, for Josh's Birthday he got a gift card and insisted this was all he wanted. UGH!!! Well anyway, we gave in(after 3 mind numbing hours in Toys r us, "JUST PICK SOMETHING!")...even though the age is way too old, and it involved playdough, and mild violence. BUT friends, I tell you, this game is fun and EDUCATIONAL! Pretty much all you do is roll the number dice and ADD UP the 2 numbers. Move that many places, either with one or more playdough vehicles(more math!). Then you might be able to smash a playdough vehicle with a green hammer like fist. And really...who does not love a bit of playdough smashing?
Most of these games we bought at thrift stores and yard sales. I am always amazed at the good deals you can find if you are willing to look. A word of advise, COUNT the pieces before you buy it if at all possible! And, if you cannot make sure it is worth the price...as in you could do something else with the pieces.