Snowed In? Great Games to Pass the Time

board game piece

Jennifer Kardish writes for Scrabble Pages where you can find Q words and words with Z in them. You can also learn how to play Scrabble and find tips and tricks.

If you find that the winter weather of January has you trapped indoors, the whole family might be starting to get a little stir crazy on the weekends.  But instead of staring mindlessly at the tube or letting the kids text their friends day and night, why not declare a moratorium on electronics and plan for some family fun that will give you the quality time you crave – with a game night?  You may be thinking about your dusty, musty game closet and wondering what you could possibly pull out that would interest everyone.  If that’s the case, simply hop on down to your local toy store and pick up a couple of newbies that are sure to delight everyone.  Here are a few to get you started and keep your spirits bright even through the darkest days of winter.

1.     Pictureka. If you’re looking for a game that everyone can play, Pictureka is just as fun for adults as it is for kids.  Once you lay the doodled tiles down, you’ll have a limited amount of time to find the type of picture listed on your card (be it birds, insects, legs, or a specific scribble).  You may have to bid against other players to find the most items, or you could be scrambling solo to track down the pirate before the timer runs out.  Either way, this fun and fast memory game will have you spotting certain items between rounds (at least until you flip the cards).

2.     Forbidden Island. This cooperative game is not like others you’ve played.  You have to work together to capture four sacred treasure before the island sinks, and the water could rise with every round!  Only if everyone succeeds will the game be won, so the cutthroat style of play that dominates many other board games won’t work here.  This is a good one for teaching kids to get on the same page and work for the good of the whole crew.

3.     Bananagrams. You may have seen your kids playing this updated version of Scrabble on Facebook (complete with island rhythms), so why not bring it into the real world?  The tiles come in a banana-shaped bag and players simply keep pulling letters until they’re all gone (the one with no remaining tiles at the end wins).

4.     Apples to Apples. In this game of matching wits (and words) players are given a number of cards featuring people, places, events, etc. to match to a descriptive “green” card in play.  Then it’s up to the player holding the green card to choose the best match.  But beware: they may not be inclined to take the most literal match!  Both a study of language and of interpersonal politics, this game makes everyone analyze not only their cards, but also their opponents.  Available in a junior version with references kids will understand.

5.     Totally Gross. Get your kids interested in science with the game that engages them in the grosser aspects of biology, chemistry, and so on.  With a host of factual information combined with fun activities, your kids will get on board with learning about everything that makes us tick (as long as it’s potentially gross).

6.     Once Upon a Time. Get creative with the game that demands the players tell the story.  Using people, place, and thing cards, cut in the middle of anyone’s narrative to move the story in the direction of your own ending.  Get rid of all your story cards first and announce your “Happily Ever After” to win the game!