5 super-fun board games to get your kids off electronic devices

Oct 15, 2018

Parents have a growing concern over how much time their children spend on electronics. Whether it is a mobile phone or tablet, there is no doubt that kids nowadays are addicted. More and more evidence points to prolonged use of the electronics, including computers, as not being healthy for a child.

Encouraging kids to spend time outdoors is important, and another possible alternative to getting children off electronics is a good ol’ fashion board game. Not only are board games entertaining, it’s a great way for parents to bond with their children while having some fun.

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While playing, parents can chat with their kids about daily life or throw in some banter to liven up the competition. Nothing beats the interaction family and friends can have together—and it is this quality time that counts the most.

Check out these board games you can play with your kids.

Monopoly Gamer

Over the years, Hasbro has done an excellent job of creating different Monopoly editions. By far, one of the best is Monopoly Gamer—a merger of basic Monopoly and the popular attributes of Nintendo.

The rules and design of this game ensures that it’s over within eight “Go” passes. And instead of money, you have coins just like the Nintendo game, which is a nice touch.

The Nintendo characters featured in Monopoly Gamer each have unique powers that can be used when you land on a “star” space. There’s also the power-up die that every player roles to activate special abilities, which you can inflict on other players to lose coins—a power young kids will enjoy wielding against their parents!

Don’t worry about property value either. Monopoly Gamer follows the same property value rules as Monopoly Junior, making it easy for young kids to play.

Every time one passes Go, there’s a chance to take on the “Boss.” Beat the boss to earn extra points. At the end, add up all the points, and whoever has the most points wins.

If you have a big family, have no fret, because Monopoly Gamer Power Packs are available. You can buy additional character tokens like Luigi, Toad, Boo, Wario, Diddy Kong, Rosalina, Fire Mario, and Tanooki Mario.

There are a couple of drawbacks about the game though, and one is the durability of the coins. The cardboard coins can get damaged from gameplay. So if you’re looking for something that lasts longer, you may want to consider the collector’s edition of the game, where the coins are made of plastic.

The rules also take some time getting used to, but once you do, it’s pure fun.

 

Speak Out

Who knew that a dental intraoral cheek-and-lip retractor could be so much fun to play with? Apparently, Joseph Santagato did when he video-recorded himself and his siblings wearing the mouthpiece and playing a game. After the “Watch Ya’ Mouth” video went viral, toy maker Hasbro was quick to team up with Santagato to create Speak Out.

The premise of the game is so simple and fun to play, it’s surprising no one thought of it before.

Divide into two teams with one player wearing the mouthpiece and reading the phrase on the card out loud while other team members try to decipher what is being said.

Team members must say the exact phrase on the card to earn the point. Answer as many as you can within the allotted time, and at the end, whichever team has the most cards wins.

It sounds easy, but with the mouthpiece in place, that’s where the hilarity and challenge happens. Even before your teammate utters a word, just looking at them wear the mouthpiece may crack you up already.

Ten mouthpieces come with the game, but they are all adult size. Luckily, Hasbro released a version for young kids to play as well called Speak Out Kids vs Parents Game, which comes with six kid-size mouthpieces and four adult-size ones.

 

Sequence

Doug Reuter had a dream one night in the mid-1970s about a card game. When he woke up, he quickly wrote down what he could remember, and from that day on, he worked to perfect it. Fast-forward to 1982 when Jax Games launched Reuter’s board-and-card game called Sequence.

If you have never played it before, now is the time to give it a try. Don’t let the simple board appearance of cards fool you. This strategy game is filled with endless gameplay that is easy for young kids to understand yet challenging enough for adults.

The object of the game is to form a row of five chips on the board either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. Each player takes one card from their hand and places a chip corresponding to that card on the board. Each card is pictured twice on the gameboard, so pick your space carefully.

One card you won’t see on the board is the “jack,” which in this game is highly coveted by players. Two-eyed jacks are wild, allowing a player to place a chip anywhere on the board, and one-eyed jacks can be used to remove another player’s chip.

Play either as a single player (two- or three-player mode) or as a team if there are more than three people.

There are games that follow the trends, but not many can be considered perennial like Monopoly, Clue, or Scrabble. Sequence happens to be one, and after playing it you’ll understand why too.

 

Exploding Kittens

There is one game in the market today that touts $8.7 million raised in Kickstarter funds for it, and that is Exploding Kittens. The box describes the game perfectly: “A card game for people who are into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats.”

This card game is played between 2 to 5 people and features illustrations by cartoonist Matthew Inman, also known as the Oatmeal.

Players take turns drawing from a pile; whoever draws the exploding kitten card is out of the game unless they have a diffuse card. The deck also contains action cards you can use against other players.

This is a fast and easy game for children to learn, and the colorful drawings and quirky characters help make it much more engaging for the young ones.

Exploding Kittens does have one drawback that many customers have complained about, and that is related to the quality of the cards. Despite the recurring criticism of how flimsy the cards are made, it still receives rave reviews for how fun the game is.

Fans of Exploding Kittens can also buy the expansion pack that expands the core deck to accommodate six players, and it also includes a human-sized “Cone of Shame” for one lucky to player to wear.

 

Blokus

This award-winning strategy game can be played between two to four people. Although it may look complex, it is quite the opposite.

The object of the game is to try and place all your different geometric-shaped pieces on the board while actively blocking your opponents from placing their pieces too.

Order of the play is blue, yellow, red, and green. You start out by placing a piece at one of the four corners on the board. Each player then takes a turn to put one piece down. Your pieces must touch at the corners only, edges cannot touch. But it is okay if your piece is placed adjacent to another player’s piece, touching edge-to-edge. A player can pass when they cannot put a piece down.

The game ends when no further pieces can be put down by any player. Add up the tile points to see who earned the most.

What makes Blokus an enjoyable game is that there is no set way to win. Each game is different depending on your strategy.

Don’t underestimate children playing this too, as they pick up on it very quickly. It is an excellent game to stimulate the brain and challenge them. For players that have a competitive nature, this is up your alley.

Photo credit: Amazon.com

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