Now that we are moving into rainy-er days and cooler weather, here’s some ideas to keep the kids entertained indoors with the bonus of no screen time. Board games are such a winner for the whole family, they’re fun and constructive. Kids’ brains are kept busy, and parents can have some tricks up their sleeves to keep winter fun. Whether you like to make your own or have a stock on hand, there’s plenty of options.
Cakes ‘n Ladders (pictured above)
Where? 173 Symonds Street, Auckland
Cakes ‘n Ladders is Auckland’s top-notch board gaming café catering for lifelong gamers, to families, to kids just starting out. The gaming library inside is full of card games and board games, especially traditional family board games for kids of all ages to join in on. Café goers who give gaming a shot pay $2.50 per person an hour for premium access. Everyone will love this groovy little getaway, open Wednesday to Friday from 1pm to 10pm, and weekends from 10am to 10pm.
Snakes and Ladders Park
Where? 38a Bramley Drive, Farm Cove
This epic park is also a giant snakes and ladders board, where kids act as the counters, ladders grow like bridges out of the ground, and there are even slide-like snakes to glide down! If parents want to sit and watch the show, Snakes and Ladders Park has picnic tables nearby. Or you can take a stroll through the trees, bask in the shade, play on the field, have a swing, or meander the family down to the waterfront. The playground is attached to the 5km rotary walkway loop track, perfect for bringing along buggies and even the dog.
King of Cards
Where? Queens Arcade, 34 Queen Street, Basement Level (Customs Street Entrance)
At King of Cards, there’s a whole world of card games and board games waiting to be played. This gaming library is open 7 days a week, and is entirely free (that’s what we like to hear!). Experience the fun of family boardgaming, and maybe nab the family favourite for King of Cards is a classic bricks and mortar retailer. Next time you’re out and about in the central city, make sure to show the kids this wonderful gaming haven where you can try before you buy.
Board Games By The Bay
New Zealand’s favourite gaming occasion is back in Auckland; grab your pen and diary, because there are two events coming up this year (one very soon). This jam-packed weekend is full of mind-boggling gaming events where communities can learn and play from a library of board games in an exciting family-friendly environment (you can bring your favourite board game along too). There are opportunities for everyone to play, from the most experienced gamers to novices with friendly volunteers on hand to teach the games. Kids under 12 are completely free to the event, and there are spot prizes to be won throughout the weekend. The first weekend is on the 19th and the 20th of May, and the second weekend is on the 17th and the 18th of November.
Easy at-home options:
Make Your Own Monster
This at-home game is simple to put together, and reaps the funniest results. All you need is a dice, some coloured pens or pencils, paper and these rules:
1. If you roll a one, add one eye to your monster.
2. If you roll a two, add one mouth to your monster.
3. If you roll a three, add one wing to your monster.
4. If you roll a four, add a horn to your monster.
5. If you roll a five, add a leg to your monster.
6. If you roll a six, add one arm to your monster.
Have fun monster creating!
Rainbow Board Game
If you enjoy a little bit of DIY, you’ll love this make-it-yourself board game. This remake of snakes and ladders – now rainbows and rainclouds - is easy to put together (all you need is some sellotape, a printer, and some glue) and kids will love playing it. Because it’s printed on paper, wear and tear is not too problematic as you can always print it again next time – just make sure kids recycle the paper.
For those of you on a budget, we suggest you mosey on down to your local op-shop and scratch around in the kids’ section. There are always some gems there, from jigsaw puzzles to board games to card games. You could even give your kids a few dollars and see what they come up with!