Board games and parlor games are synonymous with Christmas in our household, and I love this festive family tradition. Of course, board games can be played all year round, they’re the ideal activity for long, rainy afternoons in winter and perfect for family quiet time in the shade during the summer months. We need to try to play more games together, I think.
I’m not going to share a selection of board games today though. As many of you will be traveling home after spending Christmas with your families, I thought it would be a nice idea to pick a few of my favorite small games for kids; little sets that they can take in the car, on a plane, on a train, and share with cousins and new-found friends from afar.
Tried and tested classics or innovative and original finds, these games would make lovely presents at Christmas, and are worth bookmarking for trips and other special occasions throughout the year.
Car Bingo Game
available for $36 from Pilosale
I’m a big fan of Canadian designer Heather Shaw’s toys. My children have one of her original car bingo sets made from plain wood, which they love, but I think this newer, lighter version looks more practical. The magnetic fabric-covered boards come with a bag of magnets and are packaged in a cotton bag for easy storage.
Kids from ages three and upwards can either play as a team or separately, the idea being to try and spot all of the objects on the board or just one single row. Pilosale makes two different models, the town or the country, take your pick!
Tell Me A Story Activity Set
available for $35 from The Small Object
Sarah Neuburger’s shop is filled to the brim with wonderful products to spark your children’s imagination but I especially love her story activity sets. Designed to encourage storytelling and writing, this set comes with three natural wooden story starter dice, a 50-page match + write notepad and laminated index sheet. The dice are safely wrapped up in a drawstring muslin carrying bag.
This simple game can be played by children of all ages. Little ones may just wish to use the images on the dice as a prompt to invent a story, while older kids will be able to improve their spelling and vocabulary with the help of the index sheets. Small, fun and very good value for money, I’d say!
available for $23 from NanuGraphic
Made in Hungary, NanuGraphic’s wooden toys are a little different, I think. Their latest smaller puzzles would obviously be perfect for little ones at Christmas (2 – 3 yrs old). This special holiday set contains three wooden blocks featuring four of the artist’s illustrations: Santa, Snowman, Reindeer and Christmas Tree.
Toddlers will enjoy mixing and matching the Christmas characters and the beautiful packaging makes for easy storage and travel.
Rainbow Magnet Train
available for $25 from Happy Emotions
Gosh, I want to play with a rainbow magnet train, don’t you? I love this Latvian pocket playset made from pebbles found near the Baltic Sea. Simple, colorful and educational, I’m sure children will have fun building different trains, counting carriages and learning the colors of the rainbow. Pity the set doesn’t seem to come in a drawstring bag, however.
Make a Match Game
available for $21 from Mama May I
Wooden games are always a favorite! This Montessori and Waldorf-inspired Zoo matching memory game is small enough to fit in your purse, backpack, or even your pocket.
All 24 coins are made from natural wood, sanded to a smooth finish and decorated with 12 pairs of original, whimsical, black ink drawings. This is classic game, designed to be enjoyed by the whole family, comes in an easy-to-carry drawstring pouch.