Today's game suggestion comes to you straight from my kids' imaginations. My son made up this game over dinner one night, and it's called Bananas to Bananas. It's a variation on Apples to Apples but it doesn't require any cards or reading skills, and the competition is equally friendly.
Bananas to Bananas
How to Play
The rules are very simple and there are many winning moments. The first person says any word - let's take "Broccoli" for example. Everyone else says a word that they think goes with the first word, like Green, Delicious, Crunchy, and Yucky. Then the person chooses their favorite answer. Whoever's word they chose goes next. The fun is in trying to come up with words that the person will choose. So if your child doesn't like Broccoli, it may behoove you to say Yucky, against your better judgment.
Skills it Develops
In a weird way, this game teaches empathy, because it requires kids to think of a word that someone else would appreciate. On their turn, parents can easily let younger kids win, giving everyone a chance to be "it." It also helps kids practice patience, turn-taking, and in our house, inside voices.
Adapting for Age
The concept of this game might take a while for preschoolers to pick up. But they can still play if everyone in the family is on board with giving them a lot of room to make no sense. When my youngest started playing this game, he cracked us up by giving answers that were off-topic, and we gave him lots of praise for participation. But the older kids knew his turn didn't really count, and they went along with it. Then one day, something clicked, and he started playing like the rest of us...with one exception: We had to read his mind and choose the word he was thinking, otherwise, no winner. But the point is not to win. The point is to laugh and not be bored.
Click here for more ideas about how to set up a family culture of games and links to more games.