Group Games

Amy Rees
March 8, 2009

Let's play a game!  Here are our top five faves (of soooo many other wonderful ones) for games that bring your little one and her friends or siblings or peers (or parents) together!  Enjoy -- game on!


Candy Land -- Candy Land is truly the perfect first game. No reading or number recognition required, no strategy possible. It helps to know your colors, but you can always just match them if need be. And yet it is still fun for older sibs, and of course for older generations too. If you haven't seen the board for a couple of decades or more, you'll blanch when you see the (ahem) "updates" that Milton Bradley had included. No, we aren't fans of the new illustrations, but we are lifelong converts to the fun of Candy Land.

Life on Earth Memory Game -- You remember laying on the floor playing "Memory" as a kid, don't you? It's a fantastic brain waker-upper, masquerading as a great way to pass time. Rainy day, sunny day, Saturday morning, 15 more minutes until dinner -- it's an anytime game. And this one is especially lovely, made up of 24 sets of beautifully illustrated cards featuring plants, insects and animals. The pictures might lull your little one into a daydream about googly-eyed frogs and bright-hued peacocks. Or she might be concentrating so hard on where she saw the matching card that she barely has time to think about where that jolly kangaroo might like to hang out. Either way seems fine to us.

Classic Card Games (and Pick-Up Sticks) -- Okay, we admit it. We're all for Old Maid and Go Fish and War and Crazy Eights, but the real reason we love this particular set is for the Pick-Up Sticks. And yes, you could probably approximate them with a set of the leftover chopsticks from Chinese takeout in your top drawer, but it is so fun to have the official set. Oh, and the card games are great too, and particularly great on rainy afternoons! The cry of that sweet little voice telling you (correctly or not) to "Go Fish!" is alone worth the price of the set. But the Pick-Up Sticks - never before have fine motor skills and great fun fit so perfectly together!

Magnetic Slides and Ladders -- If your preschooler is getting pretty close to mastering numbers (or if you'd like to boost the current max from, say, 20 to 100), he will love Chutes and Ladders. This charmingly drawn eeBoo version is minimized and magnetized for travel, which only adds to its charms. Nothing modern and updated here; instead, the tortoise and the hare kick off the course of ups and downs. It is easy to learn and fun to count and climb and slide, and well, if your little one insists on climbing up the chutes instead of barreling down them, it will be the same move you are so used to seeing at the playground! The logic of childhood, borne out in a game!

Twister Scram -- A reinvention of a classic game that we love in both its original and new form! It's Simon Says and Musical Chairs and an outdoor version of Twister all rolled into one. Scatter red, yellow, blue and green mats around a lawn, spin the spinner, and dash for right colored dots. Last one's out! But the game can quickly be stared over, so everyone gets a chance to win.

From the Parents

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