My all-time favourite children’s board games (that I like to play)

Hands up all those parents that try and influence the choice of board game. My hand went straight up. There are games I like, and games I would rather eat than sit playing. This is the list of those I like. You might get some ideas from it; the games I don’t like will be a whole other, and probably much longer blog post.


Destination Animation. There is a whole blog post dedicated to this game. It’s simple, short and easy to play. The magic lantern and carousel at the end blows me away every time. Available at Amazon if you fancy giving it a go.

Deal or no Deal. Sounds a strange choice of game to play with two under 7. It is. They love it. Now I couldn’t stand the TV show, but I love pressing buttons and you get to press all the buttons on the telephone and it speaks too. There is no more fun in life than a talking telephone surely? My kids love it. I don’t love it quite so much when they muck around with the telephone so it re-sets; cue a tantrum because the game is wrecked. I’m justifying it by a tenuous link to maths education…. If you want to try it yourself you can find it here.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. Yes, there is a board game for this glorious book. It uses all the main points from the story and is a short game, so perfect for little minds with a shorter attention span. Well, it’s short unless you get stuck behind a volley of red don’t move cards! The board game is currently £7.99 at Amazon. I love the fact it features the lovely illustrations from the book. My 4 year old is obsessed with this game (and the book).

Stratego. I remember this game from my childhood in the 1980’s. We have a Star Wars version. I play it a lot with my 7 year old. I’m more logical than him, he has a better memory than me, so we’re pretty closely matched. It follows the same format but you need to try and capture the light sabre. This is hard to find new at a sensible price, it is worth looking at the selling sites like Gumtree and EBay.

Guess Who. Now we have two versions of this game. The politically incorrect 1980’s version and Star Wars. I don’t really like the Star Wars version because short of “is yours holding a light sabre?” it is too hard thinking of questions. I love the original version. The kids do too. I still don’t know what to do with the bald people with some hair at the sides. Are they bald or do you keep them because they have some hair? The newer version is available from Amazon here.

Junior Scrabble. Another vintage throwback from my childhood but you can get this game in toy shops. My version has a two sided board. An easier version where they put letters on words on the board, or a blank board where they need to think of their own words. We’re still using the easy board. My three year old is starting to recognise some letters by watching this game being played. Try Scrabble Junior for yourself and tailor the game to what your child can do, they can grow into it, and it’s more fun than flash cards.

Hullabaloo. I don’t think this game is being manufactured anymore, it is made by the makers of Cranium. I bought ours from eBay. It is a great game for pre-schoolers. It involves a lot of jumping around onto different coloured stepping stones. I love this game for a rainy afternoon. There are some reasonably priced second hand versions at the Amazon Marketplace. “Winner do a funky dance” has got to be the best line from any game.

Twister. I like watching my children play this game and being umpire. I’m not so keen on playing it anymore. I am no longer a flexible twenty something, my knees ache afterwards. Twister is great fun on a rainy afternoon or a sunny afternoon in the garden. 

Balloon Lagoon. Another game from the Cranium family. I have never seen this in the shops. It is another superb game for pre-school children, with lots of challenges and balloons to collect. It is probably the most popular game in our house. If you see it on eBay, it is worth a bid on, or it is available second hand at Amazon Marketplace.

Mr Pop. Another oldie but a goodie. We all love Mr Pop, even the youngest who is yet to finish her first face before he pops. The idea is simple, and timeless, can you make the face before you run out of time? It now goes by the name Mr Funny Face instead so don’t google Mr Pop!

So they are my favourite go-to rainy day or lazy evening games. I’m sure in six months as my children are a little bit older, this list will change, and will be another blog post. Thanks for reading. If you have any family favourites, send me a comment I’m always on the look out for new ideas to play.

Links are to Amazon UK as part of their affiliate scheme.

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