Board Games For Kids: You Know, For When They’re ‘Bored’

by farrah on April 30, 2014 · 6 comments

It has been a very rainy, not fun start to our spring break. Thankfully, Grandpa arrives tomorrow to give the boys some much-needed distraction. In the meantime though- yesterday we went down to the center and into the toy store to check out board games. I remembered one that I saw at B’s school and thought it was pretty fun.

We bought some sidewalk chalk (really brilliant for rainy weather, ahem) and also Dokter Bibber. But more about that later. The game we should have bought was Pisa and I think we’ll go back today to get it since it is on sale. My plan is to take them with us to Normandy next week.


Clearly I’m biased since I’ve been to Pisa and it reminds me of being there. But also- I played this game at B’s school one day and think it’s really cute. Perfect for 5 year olds- it’s an exercise in balance and strategy, and heck- throws a little travel inspiration in there too. The blue ‘hikers’ need to balance on the different rings of the tower. A player rolls dice to see where he has to place his player. Eventually, Pisa tips and the hikers all fall off. Game over. Simple and sweet.

Pisa game for kids

Not sure if you can get this in the US, but it’s a super cute game and not too big to ask someone to bring back for you should they head to Europe this summer. It’s on sale for €14 and usually priced around €20 at Intertoys.

Operation aka Dokter Bibber (Doctor Tremble)

The Dutch version (Dokter Bibber) looks exactly like the US version of Operation. I haven’t played the game in 30 years (woah) but the first thing I noticed was how much quieter it was. Before we did a practice zap- I prepared the boys and told them how loud the thing was going to be.  I learned quickly that it’s not very loud anymore and the boys looked at me like I was crazy. According to my mom’s group- it’s also much easier. One of my friends pointed out how the body parts have mostly been replaced with technology (the video game controller, headphones and cell phone) which is also kind of disappointing.

Overall, it’s easy enough for my 3 year olds to play, but B says that it’s too easy for him. It really is- he became bored with it after just a few rounds. At €27 it was also a bit on the expensive side. It’s a classic game, but meh. Look for a used one at a garage sale.

What moms say

I can’t make a move it seems without consulting my mom’s group. I told them about the awesomeness that is Pisa– and asked them: What games do you play with your kids? These were some of their responses- and the games named received additional votes. Their older kids are all B’s age (5 or in that neighborhood) and many have younger siblings around 2-3.

L: Hungry Hungry Hippos is a winner here, but that’s loud even without batteries. (We LOVE HHH. My dear friend K sent us one for B’s birthday since I couldn’t find it here). Only issue with this is that the marbles roll… well, everywhere. And yeah. It’s LOUD. 

A: Candyland and HiHo Cherry-o are still big too. 

K: Rush Hour Jr

M: We played UNO for the first time yesterday, that was a hit. I swear to you, Monopoly jr is worth it. We also enjoy a matching game and Old Maid

N: Connect 4, Bingo and Old Maid are big hits around here. 


Knibbel Knabbel Knuisje


Knibbel Knabbel Knuisje is by far and away one of the most bizarre games I have ever seen. It’s Dutch, and basically the story of Hansel and Gretel meet the witch. Kids try to get the candy off of the house without the witch getting them. I will admit, the heckling, cackling witch that pops out of the house is definitely a bit disconcerting! All of the kids in B’s class knew how to play it, so I think I need to find it myself. My twins played it at another friends’ house, and loved it- so maybe another one worth checking out.

 What games do your kids love? Please include their ages!

All photos mine except Knibbel Knabbel. Taken from Speelgoed Tips.


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Erica April 30, 2014 at 8:21 am

We (mom, dad and a 4 year old) love Candyland, chutes and ladders, uno, memory, dominoes and a game I found from a UK website called Gone Shopping. It’s basically a memory game with a twist. The Easter bunny brought Go Fish and Crazy 8 but those haven’t caught on yet with Addison. I need to check out the Pisa game,..sounds fun!

Let’s all sing “rain rain go away” and perhaps we can all enjoy this week. Thankfully Addison was on spring break the week before and immediately after Easter and the weather was gorgeous. But since the Germans love their holidays, guess what?! Tomorrow and Friday are MORE holidays for school…..aaaaggggghhhhhh!!!


2 farrah April 30, 2014 at 9:30 am

I really think B would get Uno, but not L & C. It’s hard because I need to find games that all of us can play. Go Fish is a good one for that.

I have to laugh at the whole Old Maid popularity because the basis for the game is so funny. And sexist. Ha!


3 Ellen April 30, 2014 at 11:07 am

My son liked Castle Logic and Camelot (both from smart games) at that age. But that are not really boardgames and you play them alone. Maybe memory (choose wisely, we had the ‘cars’ one, I couldn’t play it! Didn’t see the difference between all those cars) ganzenbord, domino, lotto. But playing games with 3/4 year old’s is difficult!
groet, Ellen


4 farrah April 30, 2014 at 12:58 pm

Ellen, I had to giggle at you and Cars memory 🙂 And yes- def. playing games with the 3s isn’t easy. We have a dominos game, I need to try to get that going again. And thanks for the suggestions!


5 Chamisa May 2, 2014 at 5:16 pm

I’ll have to see if we can get Pisa here – that sounds totally up our alley. And randomly I discovered that Operation is also called Dr. Bibber here. Bummer about the changes in the new version (but thumbs up to the lower volume!). Good to know it was a little too easy – we’ll look for it at a flea market. Thanks for this list!


6 Julia May 13, 2014 at 2:37 pm

Pisa looks really cute. I loved Candy Land as a kid but I got it for Jack and they took the cards out of it and replaced them with a spinner and the board looks different, I was so disappointed.


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