My Top 5 Games to Play with the Kids This Summer
If you’re like me something kind of horrifying and exciting just happened, the kids got out of school for the summer. Well, if your kids are anything like mine the outside is a place of nightmares. A place where you can’t hide and read from a phone screen because the Sun’s never ending gaze washes it out. Because of this if my children go outside it is only for brief moments from which they hurry back inside.
I honestly don’t know if children have the same aptitude to entertain themselves that my brother and I had when we were young. We spent most of the day outside and were banned from coming inside until it was time for supper. It was during this time that we ran through the woods and did so much fishing that I no longer care for it.
On the occasional day that it rained and we were allowed to stay inside we played many a board game. Some of these would go on to become some of my favorite games till this day but often they can take to long to play. So with that in mind let me give you five of my favorite games to play with my children. Each of these games can be purchased for less than $20, and most important are easy to set up and put away. All of these games are classics in their own right and I would go on to say that no one is better than the other, it just depends on your mood.
Pente is a game that I came up upon about four or five years ago and I have honestly been stuck ever since. Pente is a derivative of the game GO, it can even be played with a GO board and pieces. While Pente comes down from GO it’s closest relative is a Japanese game called Renju. Where as GO is a territory capture game both Renju and Pente are connect five games. What this means is that first person to connect Five in a row on either side wins. Now there are some major differences between the two games but Pente is the easier of the two to learn and play. For instance in Pente a player can also win by capturing five pairs of their opponents pieces. This connect five aspect as well as the ability to capture another players pieces makes for a fast paced game. If you have never played Pente check it out, it takes less than five minutes to learn and perfect for young and old alike.
Backgammon may be the oldest game on this list and it a true classic. Backgammon also called Fifteen Men is a piece movement game where one player attempts to move all of their players off the board before their opponent. In doing this the player who has moved their pieces off of the board wins a point and the first person to reach a set number of points wins. Now Backgammon underwent a bit of a resurgence around 120 years ago and a doubling cube was added to speed up the game. The doubling cube can be used or not and is not necessary for play. When I play with my children we hardly ever use the doubling cube and play keeping score one game at a time until they want to do something else. You can purchase a Backgammon game relatively cheaply at any shopping center but I would recommend to check antique or thrift stores. You can often find much nicer sets there than anything that you can buy in stores today.
Othello or Reversi
Othello is a relatively new find for me say within the last two years. It exists as one of those games that I have always known about but only until recently have never played. Well, once I purchased a game and played it it quickly became a favorite. Othello is a trademark of Mattel and is identical to the game Reversi which was invented in England in 1833. Reversi is played on a grid board with white and black disks. The game is played with multi colored disks as they are white on one side and black on the other. The object of Reversi is to have the most pieces of your color showing when the last piece is played. You do this by book-ending your opponent’s pieces this allows you to “flip” the disks thereby making them your color. Othello like the other games on this list seems more complicated than it is. Don’t let this simplicity fool you though, once you dive into a game, one wrong move can turn the tide for or against you.
If you don’t know what Checkers is you have been living under a rock. Please leave your rock and go buy a set. Checkers the classic game of capture your opponent’s men. It’s easy to learn and play and remains a favorite all over the world. Word of advice though: if you decide to play with the kids, kick that flying king crap to the curb. Kings can move one space at a time.
Lastly, I will go with a deck of cards. Whether you play a simple game of Rummy or maybe even a few hands of Poker with or without chips you can’t go wrong with cards. I like to play Rummy with my youngest child as it really helps her to see the sets and match them quickly. This can go on for quite some time as we usually play seven card Rummy and the first one to 500 points wins. Believe me, if you are following the rules and not cheating this can go on for a couple of games before someone wins. My oldest child on the other hand likes to play Five or Seven-card Stud and we never play with any of that One Eyed Jacks wild crap. Five or Seven Card Stud strait. I often joke play it like a man but that may not be very PC today. LOL…
I hope this little list inspires you to get out their and pick up a new game. Like a said, many of these games can be had for little or no money and will bring you hours of enjoyment. The other thing that is great about playing with kids is it really helps them to grow and develop their social skills. Heck, if your not careful you may even get handed a loss from you children. At this point my youngest can regularly beat me in Othello if I am not paying attention. If you have a favorite game let me know in the comments I am always looking for a new game to play.