Geeky Parent Guide: Must-Have Introductory Games for Your Kiddos

Watching my kids laugh and have fun is a massively satisfying thing. So, when I decided to write an article on playing board games with them, I had a pretty good idea that silliness would ensue – whether from them or me.

Today on the Geeky Parent Guide, I’ll discuss three separate games that my kiddos played with me, my wife, or on their own. My kids, Marshall and Adelaide, are 4 and recently turned 6, so these games introduce, in some way, the idea of chance, strategy, and following directions to move further along the path to winning, regardless of how silly that instruction might be.

I’ll take you down a Candy Land-like path as we explore Outfoxed! ™ and Feed the Kitty ™ from Gamewright, along with another game, Silly Street, which will catapult your children’s confidence and bolster their willingness to think outside the box and be a “little” goofy.




Outfoxed! ™ (Gamewright®)
Ages: 5+
Players: 2-4
Time: 15 Minutes
Style: Cooperative

Think Clue, but without the solving a murder that your little kids might not be ready for. You also swap out a regular cast of human characters with some delightfully illustrated foxes, and one of those foxes has stolen a pie!

PLAYING THE GAME:

Outfoxed! ™ includes four multi-colored detective hats as player pieces and an orange fox miniature as the designated thief. All of the suspect cards are placed facedown around the board. You turn over two to start the game, but you have to roll the dice correctly if you want to turn over any others. Also, you can search for clues to remove any and all characters who are innocent of the crime, but again, you have to roll correctly to be able to search for clues.

Rolling the dice is the key, and it’s a great mechanic to the game! There are three die and each player has to announce prior to rolling to either “Search for Clues” or “Reveal Suspects.” In order to search for clues, reveal suspects, and ultimately find out “who done it,” you must have each of the die end up with the same matching faces. Each die has either paw prints or an eye, as in fox prints or private eye. You’ll have three rolls, with the ability to set aside each die that matches, but if you can’t make it after three attempts, the fox moves three spaces forward. If the fox reaches the fox hole on the other side of the board, game over, man!

KIDDOS’ RESPONSE:

My kids LOVE this game. They have come back to this game more than any of the other games, and that’s regardless of whether or not Meghan and I play with them. This game provides solid structure within its framework. Each player has to make a decision on every turn and it’s fascinating to see how their vantage point changes as the game progresses. My daughter (age 6) was able to decide on what to pick (search or reveal) as the game progressed, which means she could gauge what she thought was best for the team. My son (age 4) was very gung-ho with revealing suspects for a good portion of the game, which I think was a product of being able to turn over cards to see the additional characters. He would then go to search for clues once everyone else had left the original starting point for all players.

PARENT’S RESPONSE:

I am a huge fan of this game. I love the fact that our kids have already asked to play this game again and again more times than any other game. I love that Outfoxed! ™ is collaborative, and I appreciate how the creators of Gamewright® made this game with a simple structure, but allowed enough space for strategic thinking. In addition to having to decide on going for clues or suspects before rolling the dice, there is an added component of taking chances. If the fox is going to land on the fox hole after another failed roll of the dice, having the team lose, players can use the narrow list of suspects left on the board and make a choice on who they think the thief is. If you’re wrong, the fox wins. If you don’t guess, roll the dice in an attempt to find more clues or reveal more suspects, and you don’t roll three-of-a-kind, then you lose that way too.

Our family was in that same predicament and I was surprised how adamant Adelaide was at wanting me to roll the dice. I had been rolling poorly this particular game and thought a 50/50 shot at guessing was a decent chance, but she did not want that at all. It’s safe to say that I wanted the birthday girl to be able to call the shots in this case – and it worked out. I rolled correctly, and after my wife, Meghan, rolled the very next turn, we solved the case!

OVERALL ASSESSMENT:

This game rocks. Despite listing this game for ages 5 and up, Marshall (age 4) was able to follow along and play with his sister without any assistance. This game has amazing replay value, as each game might have a different thief. It’s also an important feature to learn to play together as a team, while also understanding that losing is a possibility.

Gamewright® sells me on their ability to make a quality game that is also fun for adults. I do not have any problems sitting down to play Outfoxed! ™ multiple times in a row. I definitely recommend it to any parent looking to have fun with their kids, especially since the game only takes a few minutes to breeze through the instructions.

For anyone looking for a collaborative game for older kids, Gamewright® also has the Forbidden series aimed at children 10 and up. I’ve yet to play Forbidden Island ™ or its sequels, but it has always been on my “to buy” list, and now that might become a reality. Not only do I want to play this game, I’m interested to see if my own kids would be able to understand the mechanics of a more challenging game after successfully tackling Outfoxed!

I’ll keep you posted with any future updates, but for now, Outfoxed! ™ is a stellar pick for the family and a must buy!




Feed the Kitty ™ (Gamewright®)
Ages: 4+
Players: 2-5
Time: 15 Minutes
Style: Single Winner

This game is easy to understand, increasing its replay value for the kiddos. When we sat down to play Feed the Kitty ™ for the first time, we replayed it many times and fast forward two hours before we moved on to another activity.

PLAYING THE GAME:

Feed the Kitty ™ comes with a bowl, little wooden mice to feed the kitty’s bowl, and two die with multiple faces. Each player will roll the dice and then act on whatever is listed on each of them. Players will either feed the kitty, take mice from the bowl, or pass mice to the left. The last person with mice left in their hand wins the game.

KIDDOS’ RESPONSE:

The kids were very enthusiastic about rolling dice, and this game gave them the opportunity to learn about what landing on different die meant. Their excitement early on sometimes led to them rushing to the dice before the previous player finished their turn, but it eventually turned into both Adelaide and Marshall being patient and waiting their turn.

Feed the Kitty ™ can definitely be a fast-paced game, since the roll and then act function provides repetition that’s easy to follow.

PARENT’S RESPONSE:

I enjoyed playing along, especially because my kids were having fun. I was surprised how much time passed after playing, as each game can end quickly, resulting in many games being played. This is a great option for any family looking to play a quick game.

If our kids ask to play a game before bedtime, and we know there won’t be a lot of time, this works perfectly for those instances. Now, we can say “YES” instead of “we’ll have to wait until tomorrow.” Feed the Kitty ™ is quite easy for kids to understand and they also notice it’s easy to go on winning streaks, because of the element of chance involved with rolling the dice.

After a while, six or seven games, the kiddos were actually cheering for me to FINALLY win a game. It was quite heartwarming to hear them talk in such a positive way, even if it meant they would lose.

OVERALL ASSESSMENT:

Feed the Kitty ™ is simple and lets chance determine the victor. Each roll of the dice will produce a set of options, which leads to a bit of anticipation for kids each turn. It can also highlight how younger kids might try to lightly drop the dice in the hopes of them landing on the side they want – without much success – and that’s a good teaching moment. Dice are meant to be rolled and we’re not intended to know the outcome until they stop.

Feed the Kitty ™ is definitely worth a look for any parent looking for an introductory game that will easily guide children to understand and follow basic rules, patience, and learning to accept defeat while also wanting to play again.


Silly Street (Buffalo Games)
Ages: 4+
Players: 2-5
Time: 15 Minutes
Style: Single Winner

Silly Street will entertain your kids by simply being a part of the game. This game is very easy to follow, but the interactive play is extraordinarily high. The creators of this game, Christine Peck and Meghan DeRoma, wanted to invent a game that would allow more play in everyone’s life. The theme of Silly Street is to build character – “Silly Street builds these Character Skills: Confidence, Creativity, Empathy, Adaptability, & Grit.”

PLAYING THE GAME:

Silly Street has a puzzle board to easily assemble each time out of the box, four round wooden player markers, a stack of cards, and an ample amount of imagination. The design of this game is simple: draw a card and then do what’s listed on the card, with enthusiasm!

All of the cards have varying point values, meaning you get to move the listed number of spaces for completing the card. Some cards have you searching the board for objects or animals, while others have you competing with other players.

KIDDOS’ RESPONSE:

I already thought my kids do a wonderful job at being expressive, but Silly Street launched their levels to outer space. They’ve mainly played with Meghan, or with a visiting aunt, and watching them is an absolute joy. I thought it was interesting to solely have the perspective of watching as they enjoy their time with Silly Street.

For some of the actions, whether it called for it or not, they would stand, make wild gestures, and scream their responses. They take Silly Street to the max and make our house even sillier than I would’ve thought possible. They LOVE this game – and watching their reactions to mommy getting up to participate was a wonderful sight to see. Their laughter, enthusiasm, and adventurous spirit lifts with each play and that is truly special.

PARENT’S RESPONSE:

I have never had more fun watching others play a game as I do with Silly Street. The creators of this game, who happen to be moms themselves, have struck gold with this character-building game. They have achieved what they were hoping to – “Silly Street is riddled with teaching moments. If you catch an opportunity, point out something AH-MAZING that a kiddo did. It’ll help Character Skills sink in.”

Our kids loved encouraging each other and sharing in each other’s cards – even when it’s not their turn. That type of joy is infectious and that’s why it’s easy to say with 100% certainty that any parent will enjoy their children’s reactions when playing Silly Street.

OVERALL ASSESSMENT:

Silly Street is an adventure. If your kids aren’t at a reading level yet, a parent can participate and that interaction is so meaningful. This game, more than any other, my kids have enjoyed playing with adults. I think they enjoy seeing Meghan and I be equally energetic and excited.

For a sneak preview, you can check out the Silly Street trailer from their successful Kickstarter campaign (2016) that will give you a clear view of how entertaining this game will be for the entire family.

Silly Street is an absolute win for me. As a kid, and adult, I have always had that introverted side and it’s really encouraging to see Adelaide and Marshall be different in that regard. With a game like Silly Street, I hope it helps them maintain and elevate that upbeat and outgoing attitude. If you are looking to bond with your kids, whether you or your kids are introverts, this game is perfect for any family looking to have a lot of fun and magnify a TON of silliness within each of us.





 
What are your favorite board games? Do your kids love the same ones you played growing up?  If you would like to see more board game coverage on the Geeky Parent Guide, make sure to Facebook like and 5-star rate this post below. You can also head over to our Facebook and Twitter pages to share your thoughts with us.

Until next time, happy parenting and happy geeking.



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