As a teacher, I never realized I would be so excited about a snow day! Today, we are going to play games...all day! we have some games for the little kids, some for the big kids, and some for everyone. Hullabaloo is a great game for the kids to play on their own. It has small tiles the kids place on the floor then either a sound box or DVD (depending on the version) that give the kids instructions. Some of my other favorite games for preschoolers include The Ladybug Game, Elefun, and Connect 4. I also love giving them beads to string (larger beads work best for younger kids) or tiles that are different shapes with the boards so they can fill in pictures. Both beads and the shape puzzles can be found at stores such as Lakeshore Learning, Learning Palace, or a toy store.
For school aged kids, chess and checkers have become really big in our house. They are true classics, affordable, and fun. We have also gotten into Uno which now comes in all varieties. With a little help, our 5-year old can manage to play with us and our 3-year old will sit in our lap and be on our "team". Some other games we've been getting into lately are some of the strategy games. Carcassonne and Settlers of Catan (yes, I know, they are nerd games but I love them anyways!) are two that my son has really loved learning to play. Carcassonne is easier to learn with just the basic game. Once the basic game is learned then expansions can be added in without confusing game play and strategy too much. Another game that falls into strategy but is a card game is Beananza. This game has people plant bean fields, buy and sell beans, and donate. It loses a little bit of its strategy by helping younger players but it is still pretty fun and it helps the kids learn to think a step or two ahead.
All of these games are great but my all-time favorite is still a classic game of Hand and Foot. I've never played Canasta but most people say the two are very similar. It is a great game and can be played in teams or individually although teams is a faster and typically more fun game. Click here for a link to another site with rules.