Best Board Games for Bored Kids

by , posted on June 17th, 2013 in Games & Creative Play, The Reading Nook

best board games for bored kids

Summertime means vacations, whether it’s for a weekend or a week or two. Camping or cottaging. Or just a staycation at home. It’s family time and for us that means putting away the screens and the PDA’s and bringing out the boardgames.

We spend time at the cottage every summer and have test driven MANY many games. It’s an art to create a game that is easy to understand yet challenging enough to keep you and your kids engaged.

Here are my favorite games for kids and families, the ones we play again and again.

one banana two banana game

One Banana, Two Banana

For ages 4+, this game is one that you will enjoy playing almost as much as your kids. It’s my favorite early board game.

Not only will they practice their adding and subtracting skills as they move around the board (finger counting allowed!), it’s an introduction to strategy and risk-taking. Will you keep the bananas that you have or will you risk losing them by drawing one more card?

(You may have to order it from the UK)

4 up

4 up!

The great thing about card games is that they are portable. On a ferry? Pull out the cards. Waiting for a plane? Pull out the cards. Stuck in the tent in the rain? Yes, pull out those cards.

4 up! is the next card game after your kids master Go Fish. For ages 4+ and 2 players, the different versions of the game grow along with your kids and their math skills.

rat a tat cat

Rat-a-Tat Cat

Winner of the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Best Toy Award and the 1996 Mensa Best New Game, Rat-a-Tat Cat is for your older kids (8+). They’ll develop their poker face as they use strategy to get rid of their high cards and go for the low cards.



It’s rated for 6+ but my husband and I play it late into the evening after the girl has gone to bed. Probably the oldest game in the world, it’s ALL about staying two steps ahead of your opponent.



What do you get when you cross dominos and spelling? Appletters. Instead of connecting the dots you connect the letters. Appletters helps early readers develop spelling, strategy and cooperation skills.

rory story cubes actions

Rory Story Cubes Actions

You probably already have heard of Rory Story Cubes, right? Did you know that they come in different versions? Being a kinesthetic learner my daughter loves acting out the actions while linking them together in a story. For all ages.

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6 Responses to “Best Board Games for Bored Kids”

  1. julia-lifeonchurchill Says:

    June 17th, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Thanks for sharing games with a range of ages. Our kids love games and we’re taking a trip next month..going to look a few of these up!

    Sandra Reply:

    I love games that satisfy different ages. We’ll be off to a cottage this summer and I pack a suitcase with games and craft supplies.

    It’s an antidote to everyone in the same room behind their own screen.

  2. Laura C Says:

    June 17th, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    Thanks for this list. Very timely.

    Sandra Reply:

    We don’t have a games night yet as the girl goes to bed too early to have much time after supper. But we DO play board and card games here and there on the weekends. A great rainy day activity.

    And the girl (now 7) and her friends love to play board games too.

  3. Hana Says:

    June 17th, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    Oooh we love board games in our family and I’ll have to check out some of these! We have a couple of favourites… Zingo which is kind of like a basic Bingo game with a little bit of a twist. I love this one, because all 3 of my girls (2, 4 and 5) are all able to participate and enjoy it equally. The other two games I discovered at our local book store are both based on the Richard Scarry Busytown Characters… there is one which I think is just called Busytown and another called Busy,Busy Airport. The Airport one is a particular favourite – so much so that I have bought it for every single birthday party we’ve been to this year!

    Sandra Reply:

    I remember Zingo! And I think you’ll be able to order One Banana Two Banana down under. It’ll work for all three girls once your youngest is about a year older. My parents even loved playing it with my daughter.

    I’ll check out Busy, Busy Airport. Always great to have a range of games around for younger visitors.

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