We can't bring the kids out on all weekends. Sometimes we're just too tired or we just don't have the strength to deal with the mood swings of Singapore's weather. For those who want a cozy yet fulfilling day in with the family, we've got just the thing.
‘BEN 10’ is running on television. You ask your kids, “what’s next on TV?” They rattle off a list of television shows playing for the next 5 hours. You are amazed that they know all the television shows by heart.
You think to yourself, “if only they could remember their multiplication tables this well”, but at the same time you wish they would watch less television.
You know the kids are going to raise hell when you turn off the TV, but you pick up the remote control and switch it off anyway. As you predicted, all hell breaks loose.
“Maybe I should bring them out?” you ask yourself.
The thought of bringing your kids out is then accompanied by palpitations as your palms start to sweat, you feel your heart racing at the thought of getting them dressed, rushing through the weekend crowds and keeping an eye on them all at the same time.
You change your mind and decide to stay at home. But what are you going to do with them? How will you entertain them without television?
New-age board games come as a beacon of light in such situations. You get to stay within the comforts of your home and have everyone entertained at the same time as well. Not all board games work the same magic though. You don’t want to be getting board games, which will result in a mass snooze fest at home. You need a game that’s going to put your family on perma-smile every time you play it.
In the spirit of experiment and fun, theAsianparent team tested a few board games so you get your money’s worth.
UNO Moo – Suitable for ages 3 and above, S$40.90
Mattel has revamped the card game, UNO, so that it can be enjoyed by little tikes as well. Your kid’s observation and matching skills are brought to a whole new level as they round the figures up by matching colors and animals. A child learns best through play. Hence, when looking for an animal in their haystack to match with the animal on the barn, they learn about similar colors and figures.
We like that UNO Moo comes with a little barn, which looks like a lunch-box.
However, your child may have trouble hiding their animal figures behind the cardboard haystacks provided, as they are flimsy and kept falling over, revealing the animals that your kid has to hide from the other participants. We got around it by sticking blue-tack under the haystack to keep it from falling over, but we did not feel it was value for money.
Tumblin Monkeys – Suitable for ages 5 and above, S$29.90
This is a strategic game that teaches your children to ‘pause’ and think before they act. The set comes with a tree, which you can easily put together. After which, you insert all the sticks into the tiny holes in the tree. You then drop the monkeys into the treetop. Roll the colored die to see which color sticks you can pull out and let the rest of the web of sticks catch the monkeys.
The objective is to figure out how to catch the monkeys with the other sticks so that the monkeys do not fall to the bottom of the tree. The person, who dropped the least monkeys, wins the game.
We like that Tumblin Monkeys entertains both the young and the old. And at the price of $29.90, it certainly is value for money.
Expect some frustrations from your child initially as the monkeys keep falling off the tree. But once they get the hang of strategizing and plotting their next “hang-out” branch, endless hours of fun will follow.
Monopoly Junior – Suitable for ages 5 to 8, S$29.90
Monopoly Junior doubles up as entertainment and a money management lesson for your kids. Your child will learn more with the practical and realistic design of this game as Hasbro has provided dollar notes that come up to a maximum of 5 dollars, which mimic a child’s pocket money
We like the tiny amendments made to the game, such as changing “Go to Jail” to “Go to Café”, as well as the mini ‘Chance’ cards that offer your kids free rides and ticket booths.
It would be great if there were pictures coinciding with the content in the board game to aid a child’s imagination.
Pictureka!– Suitable for ages 6 and above, S$39.90
Pictureka! is a picture-hunt that teases the mind with its design. It trains your your kids to be alert, observant, think quickly and react fast. The pictures are positioned and intertwined in such a way the even the simplest image would be a challenge to locate.
The objective is to pick out a mission card and to perform the mission stated on it. Sample missions include ‘find something with wheels on your picture tile’ or ‘find five big grins in 30 seconds’.
The only drawback is that when your child becomes so familiar with the missions and know where to locate the answers, the novelty of the search will be lost. But if mom or dad is creative, the game can provide endless possibilities for the family.
Monopoly U-Build – Suitable for ages 8 and above, S$29.90
Monopoly U-Build is right up the alley for fathers who has financial interests and a penchant for building. It is an ideal tool for them to teach their sons or daughters about the institution of financial prowess, the pitfalls and the value of developing sound judgement and patience.
In this game, Hasbro gives you the power to choose how long you want a session to last. You have 3 tracks to choose from, a starter track that lasts 30-minutes, a classic track that provides 60-minutes of bonding time with your child or a pro track that gives you 90-minutes of fun time.
Do expect some initial confusion as Monopoly U-Build can be a little complicated for an 8 year-old. But as with all new games, a little guidance goes a long way and your kid may surprise you with some financial pow-wow.