How many times have you sat down and played a non-virtual game with your kids?
Time Out Doha staff
January 24, 2012 7:32 AM
Chess Start playing: 5+ Up to three players The ultimate game of strategy, children can learn the basics of chess from around five years of age. A ‘thinking game’ that teaches children to analyse, studies show that kids who play chess regularly develop better mathematical skills than those who don’t. The best way to start them off is with a small and inexpensive magnetic travel set, which can be picked up from most stores for just a few dirhams. That way it doesn’t matter if pieces get lost or broken. Start by just showing your child how the chess pieces are arranged on the board, and explain their different names. Once they’ve mastered the set-up (it will take them a few attempts to get it right) you’d be amazed at how fast they’ll have your rusty tactics in check mate! To ‘up the stakes’ why not play two against one? An older child can play on-side with the new learner, taking tactical moves in turns against mum or dad. Available at all major toy stores.
Snakes and ladders Start playing: 3+ Up to four players Originally a game developed in India in the second century, Snakes and Ladders is used by teachers to help children grasp the basic principles of counting. The very simple rules make it the perfect first board game for younger children, and while they might not finish the game at first (it can be hard when you keep landing on those cursed snakes) counting the dots on the dice, and then counting the right squares on the board and moving the counters accordingly, all help to improve their motor planning and sequencing skills, which will be required when they start at big school. Plus, it’s a game that can fit up to four players, so the whole family can get involved in the fun. Available at all major toy stores
Connect Four Start playing: 3+ Two players Another simple number and strategy game, Connect Four is an exercise in teaching kids how to take turns, and to predict certain simple, logical outcomes. While smaller versions might not be a great idea if you have really little ones around (the counters are easily swallowed) the bigger sets are perfect for young fingers to handle. Better still, treat yourselves and get a giant set so that you can all take turns and play it in the garden. The best thing about Connect Four is that each game is fairly short, so a young child could still play ‘best of three’ without losing interest. Available at all major toy stores.
Monopoly Start playing: 8+ Up to six players If you want to teach your kids about real estate, banking, saving and investing wisely (or even why property booms suddenly go bust) Monopoly is a great place to start. And it’s not the fusty-looking old board it used to be either (though if you’re a purist, those versions still exist). Today you can get all sorts of variations on the theme, including Pixar’s Cars, where you can invest in good old Radiator Springs, or the Disney version, with Woody, Buzz and Tinkerbell. And there’s a Simpsons version too – which is more up mum and dad’s street, where you can buy up all the best plots in Springfield. This Hello Kitty version is our personal favourite! QR179 from Toys R Us.
Trivial Pursuit Start playing: 8+ Minimum of four players We love this Disney general knowledge version of the more advanced adult game. This is a great way to introduce children to the rules and regulations of Trivial Pursuit. There are lots of cartoon trivia questions to uncover, like naming the superpowers of the Incredibles family, or which Disney character would you most trust with a secret? But we love the fact that young children can get involved based on their knowledge of their favourite Disney movies. Ok, it’s not as educational as the original version – but it is a lot of fun and a great stepping stone to more advanced versions. Once they’ve mastered this, they’ll be ready to move onto the harder questions. We think mums and dads might actually find this more challenging than they think! QR191 from Amazon.com.