This post is brought to you by HABA USA and written by guest blogger and Mom of 3, Kelsey Demers from The Tabletop Family.
In our family, board gaming is a well loved hobby. Both my husband and I grew up at the table playing games with our families and it’s a passion that has followed us to adulthood and that we now have the pleasure of sharing with our own children.
Board games offer a surprising amount of benefits to those who play them. Not only does it provide you a chance to unplug and spend some quality, screen free time in the company of others, but it also presents an opportunity to use and hone critical thinking skills, math skills, reading comprehension, and learn valuable social skills, just to name a few.
The best part is that you don’t have to play large, heavy, overly strategic games to get these benefits. Your kids can start enjoying the board gaming hobby from a young age long before they can read a rule book! And HABA has three of our most favorite games to play with our young children.
First Orchard was the very first board game we bought our daughter years ago and it is still our top choice for kids aged 2-4. This cooperative game works beautifully as your child’s first introduction to board games as you work together to harvest four types of colorful fruit off the trees in your orchard before the hungry raven reaches the garden gate and eats it all. If you harvest all the fruit in time, everybody wins!
With simple rules and bright, high quality wooden pieces this game is naturally inviting to younger toddlers as they are able to roll a die, pick up a fruit for their basket or move the raven all while also learning color recognition, counting, and improving motor skills. The game plays quickly for those short attention spans and allows you to keep everything fun and enjoyable. A perfect start to your child’s board game library and one they’ll want to revisit time and time again.
Just like in the game above, color recognition plays a big role in Monza, a car racing game where players will have to navigate their way around a color coded racing track. We love this game for the 5 year old + child as it provides them with a fantastic introduction to a more tactical style of game play as they must roll six color dice and use them to move their race car on the track. The more colors they are able to use from the thrown dice, the farther their car travels on their turn. The first car to cross the finish line wins.
Monza brings in a friendly competition feel for young gamers and encourages them to think ahead and analyze their available options. We love that this game still plays in about 5 to 10 minutes so no one gets tired and everyone still has a great time. There’s also a lot of chances for parents to teach and children to practice how to handle frustrations as some turns their race car may not be able to travel far because of a lack of available colors on the dice or an obstacle on the track. Don’t shy away from this; teaching these skills in the controlled, fun setting of a board game is a great way to provide your child with the life skills they need to handle many of the frustrations that they meet in their daily life.
Karuba is one of our favorite games for anyone, not just children. This tile based game builds upon the tactical skills learned in Monza and layers in a healthy dose of strategy as players race each other through the jungle in hunt for the treasure that lies in ancient temples.
On each turn a path tile is drawn and a player must make a decision: do I lay this tile on my grid to help make a path for my explorers to reach the temples, or do I discard this tile so I can move my explorer on the path. This game is great for older children starting around 7 or 8 as they must make multiple strategic, timed decisions. Our favorite benefit of this board game’s design is that every player has their own grid, so while everyone gets the same tile at the same time, the only player that effects your path is you, which allows this game to stay friendly and not cut-throat while still being competitive. Kids will get better at this game the more they play it. The game takes about 30-40 minutes to play and we always like to take a little bit of time at the end to break down what worked, what didn’t, and what we might try to do differently. If you have time, playing this game back to back with your child is a fantastic way to help them put what they learned from the first game into action in the second.
Playing board games is first and foremost a fun and engaging way for you to spend quality time with your children and family. These three games, and many more in the HABA library, provide a unique experience where you can not only have fun with your child, but also encourage learning through play as well.