One of the great things about being a granny is playing games with your grandchildren. I love board games, card games and word games, and it’s lovely to have the young ‘uns to play with. It’s interesting to see their skills and logical thinking develop. They’ve got better at accepting  losing too. And it gets harder for me to win!

One of the first games we played was Rhyme Robbers. (Orchard toys)If you have a card that rhymes with one on the table you can say the words (there are pictures too) and collect the cards. But if your card rhymes with the top card on someone elses pile, you can “rob” all their pile. It’s good for learning rhyme, but tough to accept your collection being stolen from under you. Which in itself is a lesson, and great fun when you can steal it back.

Lotto/matching picture games and shopping collection games worked well but could be a little too long.

Simple card games with pictures to begin with – snap, old maid, happy families are old favourites. Then with standard playing cards, Donkey, Beat your neighbour and Fish were next. We had a memory pairing game which for some reason in my childhood home was called Pelmanism.  There seems to be a sudden leap in development, between having no memory of where a card might be, to total recall. And as the kids get better, I hope mine remains keen enough to keep up with them.

Update – I now have a pelmanism “app” on my tablet. Different size grids can be chosen so great for all levels. Isn’t the digital age wonderful?

Other card games we have progressed to is Sevens. This is the younger one’s current favourite, though he still needs to learn some logic skills. The older one loves Pontoon/21s but it’s not my cup of tea. I quite like 15 card brag though.

We have a drawing game called Telestrations. This is a hilarious game of Draw/pass it on and write  down what it is and pass it on, Draw and pass… etc. Even Grandad joins in this one, although young one can’t read his writing, which creates even more fun and chaos!

They both like Charades, but need ideas of what to mime. At Christmas I got a game for all ages which has mime, sound, action, and forfeits. It’s called What a Performance  by Orchard toys.  It has a board game structure, a dice, a spinner and card denoting whether you mime, without speaking, or make a sound, without any actions, or perform an action. The reverse of the card has a hidden code with a forfeit instruction if the task is not done or guessed correctly. The code is revealed with a magic coloured lens. An amazing amount of play value in one box for all ages. I hope our younger ones will enjoy this one too, when we see them.

Some games have a structure, and rules, and create the best way to play. You would think this would be true of snakes and ladders. Go up the ladders and down the snakes. But with imaginative minds this game can be turned on it’s head. What happens if you go down ladders and up snakes? What if you start at the top and try to win by sliding down the snakes to get to square one? See how this alters the pace of the game.

On a recent visit to my brother, I was introduced to the game of Rummikub. This is a great strategic number game and I have been amazed at how quickly my  grandson aged 10 has learned the game. The 8 yr old joined our most recent game, and although he struggled with the rules and structuring to start with, he swiftly caught up with the idea and was able to play along very nicely. They would both love to play scrabble – one of my all time favourites. But I find the speed (lack of) and length of (lack of)  words that they use a little tiring. We have the childrens version but thats a bit repetitive. I will have to give them a chance at the proper game again soon. Hopefully they will have progressed beyond Poo and Bum soon.


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