I am starting to prepare for a big road trip in the trailer. This means I am going through all of the cupboards and storage bins and “pantries” and nooks and crannies and cleaning and restocking and reorganizing. I am sure this is crazy making for some people, but for me, it is relaxing and enjoyable and makes for a much nicer journey later on.
I have a bin in one cupboard full of games. Having a bin helps keep things tidy and also gives the lad a little independence since he can access them himself. I will be doing the same thing with sports gear and art supplies which I will highlight in the next couple of blogs.
Let’s start with our game box!
We carry lots of games with us because this is what we really like to do in our down time. We carry games that are educational and fun and keep people of all ages occupied. Most are played quickly, because after a full day of activities and making dinner and getting folks ready for bed, mom is exhausted! Here is what our selection is looking like at the moment (although I have a couple of others that will go in as well).
Rat-a-tat Cat by Gamewright is a game the Lad loves! The idea is to get rid of the rats and collect the cats. It is a memory game that helps teach strategy, awareness, and skill. There are rules for younger kids to help them learn the game and you can make it harder playing the regular way. This one gets played a lot on the road! They say it is good for players 6 and up. We started the lad at 5 and he did pretty well using the “young kids” version of the game. I would say they are spot on for age.
Animal Rummy by eEboo is recommended for kids 5 and up. The beautifully illustrated cards are fun for kids and adults. You need to be the first person to create “books” or “sets” with your cards, matching animals and symbols, just as you would in a game of rummy. The games go quickly, so active kids don’t get board. This is a good introduction to Rummy games for sure!
Magnetic Checkers by GoPlay has been a bit of a challenge for us. Learning strategy with this game his been pretty frustrating for the Lad, especially when he sees his players disappear. We have put it up for a bit, but might retry this summer. They say ages 6 and up, and that is probably about right. The magnets hold really well and I love how sleek the game is and how easily it packs. It is a great travel checkers…we just need to work on a great checkers player!
Sidewalk Games by eEboo was something I wasn’t sure I wanted to buy, but really liked the idea of outdoor games where you move around. We love hopscotch at the playground and this came with a few other games, the chalk and a special tossing coin. The coin has gone missing, we could have found most of the games (and more) online, and the chalk is the same that we usually use. I would save your money here, but I will carry this until the chalk is gone and then I will take the box out. We now use a plastic shark that we picked up on one of our trips to toss.
All of the fruit games by the people who brought us Bananagrams (except Zip It) are in our box. I have just ordered Fruitonimoes as well. I love these games and even though I have an early reader, we are making up our own games with letters, or just playing with them to spell words. Bananagrams and Appletters are more advanced, they say 7 and up for those games, and we haven’t tried with the Lad but have played with friends. Pairs in Pears and Fruitonimoes are listed for kids 5 and up and have been a lot of fun to play (well, we haven’t gotten Fruitonimoes yet, but I am just guessing it will be fun!). Most games are letters based, which helps build sounds and letter recognition. We will have to write a seperate review once we get Fruitonimoes to let you know how we like it. We love a game of dominoes and this should be a fun addition. The other thing I love about these games is their cases. Everything cleans up easily.
Ruckus by Imagination Games has become a fast favorite in our house. The characters are super fun in this matching and stealing game. We really like this game for several reasons: 1) it is a quick action game, 2) we use it as practice for speech with the Lad (he is working on perfecting a few sounds), 3) it requires math (mainly adding and subtracting) for scoring which the lad really likes doing (he says he LOVES math). The game is rated 8 and up, but we have had no problem playing with our 6 year old.
Standard card games are the best. Everyone loves Old Maid and Go Fish, and kids can start really early on these matching games. We have loved Uno for years, and even though it says 7 and up, the lad started playing a basic version around 4 years old. We make sure to have our kids card holder for this too. It really helps them organize their cards so they can see them and makes the game more enjoyable for everyone by giving the kiddos some independence.
The Wolf Dice Game by Kaplow Games was one we picked up at Yellowstone last year as a reward for completing a big hike. We have played this a few times and it was fun. They have rated it 3 and up, but you can make it more challenging by having the kids do their own math. It is a game of luck though, so I actually stand a fighting chance to win!
Lastly, we carry a game of Mancala with us. I like this folding wood version from Pressman Toys. We picked up a smaller one from REI first, but the stones were so small they got caught in the hinges and were difficult to pick up. We ended up returning it. The Pressman version is twice the size as the one from REI, but fits nicely in our cupboard and is easy to play. Adults and kids enjoy this and it is a good game for math skills and strategy.
What are your favorite travel games? Let us know!
A few games you see above I have reviewed before. Click on their names below to see the write up.