Board Games? Really? It is 2016.
Yes really. And I understand your feelings. But the best board games in 2016 are some really good, fun, and educational board games out there. I am not a person who plays games – in life or with my child. The only thing worse than playing a board game is playing a BAD board game, which is painful and time-consuming. I remember playing board games with my parents with fondness and it we had fun. So sometimes we play board games and you should as well.
We hear all the time about how important it is to allow our children less screen time and more family time and I know that is true. I also know how much easier it is to turn on the TV and let them watch cartoons (I have a 3.5-year-old and a husband.) But let’s pretend that we aren’t exhausted and we do want to play a game with the people with whom we should be spending the best part of our day. So, turn off the TV, turn off your cell phone, break out the board games, and pour a glass of wine because you deserve it (you might need the bottle for some of these).
Is playing really that important? Does it affect me in life?
As if I needed more guilt or stress in my life the answer is yes. Dr. Stuart Brown is a researcher of murderers and he found that most killers didn’t play much in childhood. He’s also found a strong relationship between success and playful activity. There is also the adage “use it or lose it” and that means that developing and nurturing meaningful relationships with your loved ones is good for you and your brain. There are also studies that suggest that playing board games helps lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s or a related dementia by up to 15%. So yes, it’s important and yes you should do it.
Here are some of the best board games in 2016:
The Memory Palace Cooperative Game for Kids – remember “I found in my grandmother’s attic” that you would play on long road trips? This is that game for 2016 in a board game format. Designed for ages 5+ and 2-4 players, in this game players make-up stories based on fictional characters and rooms and then recall the stories of the other players. Of course, there is the option to challenge the memories of other players.
What’s cool about it in my opinion:
- No reading required so it would work for the young ones that can’t read yet;
- Builds memory and imagination;
- Builds vocabulary and requires the little ones to pay attention to others when they are talking as well as take command when it is time for them to tell their stories; and
- Allow the littles to challenge you in a fun way.
Monopoly – Does it get better than Monopoly? No. It doesn’t. I played it when I was little and my father would make me be the banker so I learned math and how to count money. I have heard rumors that it comes with a credit card machine now instead of money which, to me, takes the fun out of it. Also, did you know that there is more Monopoly money printed daily than U.S. currency? Now you do.
What’s cool about it still:
- Nostalgic – you had some great times playing Monopoly and it’s good to remember them;
- Time-consuming – remember when you would fall asleep in the middle of a game to finish it the next day? You still can. Every once in awhile there would be an epic Monopoly game. It can still happen;
- Same cool characters – The top hat? The train? Still there. They haven’t changed it because you don’t fix what isn’t broken;
- Made using safe materials – not that I cared then but now it’s good to know that it doesn’t have lead paint on the top hat; and
- It’s Monopoly.
Catan 5th Edition – it’s the Oregon Trail meets Risk. You have to tame the island and find all of its secrets.
What’s cool about it:
- New graphics, board, and cards;
- Accommodates 3-4 players;
- Won “Game of the Century;”
- One hour of playing time; and
- Can be replayed over and over.
Read the full review here.
Memory Yoga – I know, you hate yoga. I get it. But here’s why it’s cool:
- Helps improve balance, flexibility, and coordination;
- Uses memory matching skills;
- You get to laugh at someone for how ridiculous they look; and
- Two levels of play for kids 3 and up.
Spontuneous – a word is given and you must sing a song with the word in it. The goal being to stump the other players/team but if they can’t come up with a song then you have to have one ready, so no words like “rhinoceros.”
Awards Spontuneous has won:
- Music Teacher Approved;
- Mom’s Choice Gold Award;
- Toy’s Best Vacation Product;
- Parent Tested Parent Approved Seal of Approval;
- The National Parenting Center Seal of Approval;
- Mom’s Best Hot Product Award;
- Creative Child Magazine Game of the Year; and
- Play Advances Language Award.
Why it’s cool:
- Requires you to use your memory of songs;
- Good for kids;
- Reminds you where you were when you heard the song; and
- Fun to laugh at people who can’t sing.
Cards Against Humanity – I’ll be honest and tell you that I’ve never played this game, but I have friends who love it. I know that some of the questions are a little risqué but sometimes that is good. Probably not a family-friendly game and that’s good every now and then also.
Read the full review here.
Jenga – the game where you stack wooden blocks and then have to pull them out from the bottom without letting the tower fall.
Why it’s still cool:
- Made of genuine hardwood;
- Requires logic and problem-solving;
- Teaches spatial relationships; and
- Can be played alone or with up to 4 people.
XTRONAUT: The Game of Solar System Exploration – a board game that allows you to develop space missions, build rocket systems, and explore the solar system. Designed for 7 and up and 2-4 players.
Why it’s cool:
- It won the Good Housekeeping Award Winning Exciting Space STEM Game;
- Designed by a rocket scientist – or a “Professor leading major NASA OSIRIS-REx Space Mission to Asteroid;”
- STEM Education Workbook and Rule Book come with it; and
- It teaches about the solar system (I wonder how Pluto is doing now that it has been demoted).
Games are good for your brain and they are fun. Sadly, in today’s world, we don’t do it enough – for us or for our children. But we should. We should set aside time to spend with those that we love and do nothing but play and enjoy their company. Try at least one of these games and, if you can’t afford it right now, make up a game. Spend time with your people and try to enjoy the time you spend with them.