page contents Tis the season for fun and games | mummy rates it

No Christmas Day is complete without a squabble and a tantrum over a board game
(and that’s just the adults). So, last weekend, in the interest of research, Uncle, Aunt, Grandparents, parents and kids took part in a games bonanza to find the pick of the bunch. From Connect 4 and Stay Alive to Taboo! and Twister – here’s a run down of the great classics, all of which are suitable for primary-aged kids.

Connect 4

Upstairs in gaming lounge 1 (aka Noah’s room) Uncle John was trying to get to grips with Connect 4. Still a corker despite it being some thirty-odd years since it launched, Connect 4 manages to bring old and young together. A big selling point of this one is that it’s not only fun, but educational too. Whilst busy trying to beat their opponent kids are actually counting, forming patterns and staying focused. Noah, 5 (very nearly 6) can play it quite easily but judging by the groans coming from upstairs, Uncle John can not.

Age: Box says 6+ but I reckon 5+

Stay Alive

Stay Alive (feel free to break into a Bee Gee’s tune) involves placing marbles on top of a plastic board which the players move by pulling and pushing on slides. Each player tries to make his opponent’s marbles fall through holes and into the dark abyss. The loser is the one without any marbles left. Uncle John actually had to come down and ask for tips for this one (yes, in order to beat a five-year-old). Tsk.

Age range: Box says 7+ but I reckon more like 6+


I brought down Twister as a bit of a joke as I didn’t think any of the grown-ups would (or should) play. However, after some coaxing Pops put his left foot on yellow and his right foot on red shortly before being attacked (see pic). For grown-ups this is best played after a few mulled wines when people are more relaxed about listening to the creaking and clicking of knee joints. Kids, however, should be encouraged to play it from the moment they wake up. It’s exhausting and it’s also great to watch as they are soooo flexible! Also teaches them left and right and burns-off that extra portion of Christmas pud.

Age: Box says 6+ but I reckon more like 4+

Pass The Bomb

This game was played in the kitchen table, over a few too many glasses of wine. To play you must pick a letter card then roll a dice to determine where in the word these letters can be used. You then swich on the anxiety-provoking ticking bomb.

The first player shouts out a word which uses the letters on the card and then passes the bomb to the next player. They then start muttering, stammering and swearing. You use this time to save your own bacon, desperately trying to think of the next word you can use. If the bomb goes off on your watch you keep the card. The winner is the player with the least cards.

Age range: Box says 12+ but I reckon 10 or 11


Again, not advisable to be too sloshed with this one, but hey, it’s Christmas! First you split into teams and then the first player picks a card. Written on the card is a word you must describe for your team to guess but also a list of taboo words which you must not use. It sounds simple but it’s actually quite tricky.

My tip? When guessing the word just shout out anything – it makes it look like you’re trying and it’s also quite cathartic. Keep it clean though. And, strangely, for us the most difficult part was swapping seats and handing over the beeper and egg timer.

Age range: Again, box says 12+ but I reckon 10+


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(2) Readers Comments

  1. I suggest adding a “google+” button for the blog!

    • Hi Hellen
      Thanks for your suggestion. I’ve now added the button. Still trying to get to grips with this blogging lark! Thanks again. Michelle

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