Easter entertainment ideas for kids in lockdown: Nine of the best family games
Home-schooling tests parents' patience and tensions can rise among even the most even-tempered of families. Games are a great way of relieving lockdown stress and some even have educational value, if only in teaching how to take turns and be a good loser. Claire Spreadbury shares her top picks
1. Battleship, £20, Thetoyshop.com
A classic two-player game from the 80s (that's still just as popular now) – challenge the kids' problem solving skills as they try to sink their opponent's fleet of ships, by guessing where they are on the grid. It's quite a lengthy game, so will challenge concentration and – because of that – might not be suitable for younger children, but there aren't many people who don't enjoy a good game of this.
2. Twister, £14, Amazon.co.uk
When cabin fever destroys the fun in everyone, crack out Twister. Whoever thought placing limbs on coloured spots could be so much fun? As everyone in the family ends up getting in a tangle – and the more players, the better – collapsing into a giggling heap of people is likely to bring a much-needed laugh.
3. Monopoly Speed, £22, Thetoyshop.com
OK, so you do sort of have to be in the mood for Monopoly as an adult, but it always gets a big thumbs up from the kids. Learning valuable lessons about money is educational too, as each player travels around the board buying up property and paying their bills. And there are now loads of different versions of the classic game, including Monopoly Speed, for those short on time, Fortnite Edition for gaming fans, and Monopoly Junior for smaller folk.
4. Jenga, £15, Thetoyshop.com
Another classic that rarely gets turned down when you ask if anyone wants to play, Jenga simply involves extracting and placing wooden blocks from and onto a tower of more wooden blocks. Will it come crashing down on your turn? Who knows, but it's great fun seeing how high you can build it. Giant versions are also available for gardens, which are even better.
5. BuzzleBox, £49.99, Thedarkimp.com
This is an original and compelling board game and puzzle box for families. Different boxes have different themes, so you can either opt for Gardens and Chickens, or Doughnuts and Cakes (we can guess which one you're going to go for). Each box contains six games, plus a series of puzzles to get your head around.
6. Camel Up, £32.64, Board-game.co.uk (new stock coming soon)
Camel Up is a game for two to eight players, which revolves around a camel race. "Players bet on the outcome of various legs of the race," says board game designer Ellie Dix. "It's great, because when the camels land on the same space, which they do all the time, they jump onto each others' backs. When the one at the bottom moves, the ones on top go with it. It's tense and fantastically fun."
7. Bananagrams, £15, Johnlewis.com
"Playing games with the kids is a superb way of getting you all in the same space at the same time, to do exactly the same thing – no digital diversions, pure analogue fun," says Board Games Club co-founder and 'toyologist' Peter Jenkinson. "Bananagrams is great, because no-one has to wait on their turn."
8. The Mind, £12, Menkind.co.uk
Jenkinson also recommends collaborative games where everyone plays to beat the game, like The Mind. Suitable for anyone over the age of eight, and perfect for two to four players, you have to learn how to communicate with everyone else, without using any words at all.
9. Photosynthesis, £34.99, Zavvi.com
For those who like a little more strategic thinking, he also gives Photosynthesis a big thumbs up. The award-winning concept sees players sowing seeds in order to grow a woodland, and as the sun moves around the board each day, trees grow bigger, which may overshadow others in the forest. Points are won when your trees come to the end of their life cycle, but timing when to chop them down is a key decision of the game.