by Nikki Bush, a self-confessed parenting adventurer and mum to two boys. She is also an inspirational speaker, best-selling author, game designer and toy judge.  

During the next few crazy weeks of 2010, make time to connect with your child through play. Whether it’s a quick 10 minute game or a 30 minute one, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you want to share the play space with your child for a while.  If you engage in this way playfully with your child on a regular basis, they will also be okay when you say, “Not now sweetie, because I have some work to do.”

Here is a short list of some of my top 20 game recommendations that would be great “bridge-builders” during the long Soccer World Cup holidays.  I have chosen them specifically because they:

  • are quick and easy to play (no three hour marathon sessions here!)
  • have no extra long and complex rules – the simpler the better
  • are both entertaining and educational
  • are games to play ‘together’ – with you and your child, or as a family – we are after a connection moment that builds your relationship, not just a few minutes of stimulation for your child.

For more information about the games listed below  click here.

2 – 4 YEARS

1. Mega Peg ‘n Play (R145.00)

A fabulous giant pegboard with large plastic shapes.  Great for matching, stacking adn first stage threading (threaders have a plastic needle on the end for easy use) – a must for all preschoolers.

2. No Spill Bubbles (R45.00)

3. Zingo (R150.00)

4. Bear Pairs (R75.00)

4 – 6 YEARS

1. Throw & Blow, a fun first boardgame for the 3 – 5 year olds that is versatile (can be played by 1-4 people) and is unique in that it is a speech game – you blow your way through the game! Players must blow their tokens around the board, picking up matching action cards and following the fun instructions such as:  “Lick your lips as if they are covered in sticky chocolate,” or “Meow like a cat.”   Throw & Blow is great fun for everyone. 15 – 20 minutes a game. **Special on this month, click here for details.

2. Flip to Win Memory Game (R150.00) Five to nine years.

3. Zingo (R150.00)

4. Hungry Caterpillar card game in a tin (R120.00)



6 – 10 YEARS

My First Brain Box (R150.00)

An outstanding visual memory game.  Take a look the picture side of the card until the timer runs out.  Throw the dice and answer the question with the corresponding number on the back of the card.  You have to remember what you saw in order to answer the question, eg. how many teddy bears were in the picture, or what colour was the ball?  10 – 15 minutes a game depending on the number of players.

Ducks in a Row (R140.00)

Question Mark Junior (R140.00)

Flip to Win Hangman (R150.00)

10 – Adult

Sketch-a-Story (R199.00) Eight years and up

Think, draw, tell, laugh like hell! One of the few games that really requires you to use your imagination by throwing stories or tales together in seconds.  This two-part boardgame is played in teams of two. One member of each team is the drawer and the other the storyteller (they alternate with each turn).  The storyteller has to come up with a wacky tale using the pictures drawn by his/her team mate.  For a long game move around the board according to the rules.  For a speedy game, times the number of correct words used by 2, 3 or 4 and move that many number of spaces.

Ducks in a Row (R140.00)

Brain Box World / Maths (R150.00)

Number Rings (R265.00)

Indahoo (R150.00)

Smart Ass in a tin (R120.00) Teen to adult (R120.00)

Smart Mouth (R150.00) Eight years and up

Bananagrams (R185.00)

Blokus Duo (R175.00) Seven years and up

Why not join me for one of my playful and insightful parenting workshops in July Beyond the Nappy Bag™, Parenting on the Run™ and Big Kid Fun™.

If you have ideas of great games to play with kids please share them with us.

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