Updated: Jul 16, 2020
We have a big age gap in our family. We struggled with secondary infertility but when we finally got our tot, that did not make life easier. It is hard to do things together when the kiddo (12) is old enough to do adult things and the tot (3) is to young to do most things. We started the tot on board games when he was 2, with King of Tokyo. Now board games are the one thing we can all do together. Here are 10 games we play together as a family.
King of Tokyo
It's a dice game that is essentially a mix between Yahtzee and king of the hill. When we play with the tot, we remove the cards from play. We also came up with a plan for his roles. He is shooting for as many attack dice as possible. He will keep hearts if he needs them and numbers if he roles 3 on one roll. He loves rolling the dice and we always give him a couple of monsters to play with on our turns.
This is a dexterity game of dropping shaped pieces into a stand. He plays normally and makes the game very challenging for us since he is so random with his shape choices. He doesn't tend to get many points, but he doesn't play to win. He does get some fine motor skill practice though.
This animal card game is a favorite of both boys. We always play by weight with the tot because he is better at sizing them that way. We can play this game without any adjustments. It is simply making a line of animals sorted by size.
In this meeple drafting game, players are trying to put together an efficient dino zoo. We use little cups to make the hand off easier. The tot can pick a dino for each draft, but he puts the dinos wherever he wants. We don't take his board into account for scoring. Again, he doesn't play to win, he wins by getting to play with the little wooden dinosaurs.
This one is a bit of a controversy in our house. Players are trying to rapidly move the pieces in their puzzle to match cards. When you match, you take the card for points to win. Then the tot starts taking cards. The kiddo gets frustrated. It does add challenge to the game though and gives mom and dad a chance. The kiddo is very good at speed games and playing with the tot slows him down enough to be about equal with his parents.
This is a cooperative deduction game. The tot can help decide what cards to remove. Since it is cooperative, he doesn't need to be able to do it on his own. He loves all the fairy tale creatures in the game too.
New York Slice
We have one you split I choose game that has remained in our collection and this is it. The tot can split up the pizza (with help) and pick pizza slices. He likes to pretend to eat the pizza and match the different toppings. The kiddo loves this one. It is very thematic too.
This is the number one favorite of the tot. He had a hard time when he first got it. His clues where crazy. Now he gives actual clues and we can play a normal game. It taught him a lot about how to describe things. It is sometimes fascinating to see the characteristics of the animal that he picks up on.
It isn't often that we get an amazing thrift store find, but this was one of them. Players have cubes and an animal is revealed. Then they take turns placing cubes on the map or charts guessing where the animal lives and what size it is. The tot needs faster rounds, so we play with 1 cube and only use the map. He does fairly well because of so many episodes of Diego and Wild Kratts.
Each player gets a softball sized globe to put magnets on, need I say more? The magnets have terrain on them and what you have on your planet will help you gain animals. The tot places his anywhere while the rest of us have a chance to use some actual strategy. He still gains animals out of pure luck though!
Here are a couple of videos that include some of these games, for a closer look.