Who doesn't love a good game? The fact is games make great gifts for kids, and whether it's a birthday, a holiday, or family game night, we've got you covered with this year's best games for families. From number sense to cognitive thinking to electoral politics, these perfectly giftable games will build your child's brain in the midst of all that fun. Here are our picks for the year's hottest games for family fun:
Go Ape Two classic games, Charades and Go Fish, come together with hilarious results in this simply fantastic little card game. The game play is loads of fun, but it's not just monkey business: modeling and identifying expressions is a key skill for kindergarteners meeting lots of new friends this year. An affordable game for silly monkeys everywhere. (Patch)
Order's Up! Flapjacks, OJ and a cherry pie! This fun food game will have the whole family laughing and playing together as you race to see who can fill their guest check first. Roll the die and race to ring the bell first so you can choose a treat to fill your order. Colorful graphics and fast-paced play make this game perfect for parties, rainy days in, or any ol' time. Plus everyone will love ringing that bell! (Gamewright)
Spot It! Sometimes the simplest activities are the most fun, and that definitely holds true for Spot It!, a fast-paced, high energy game that requires little more than a sharp eye and quick tongue to play. Players race to find the matching symbol between the card in their hands and the card in the middle ... first one to call it out wins the round! This quick draw game is not only a blast to play, it also sharpens cognitive skills like concentration and mental processing. (Blue Orange Games)
Dweebies It's time to get dweebie! This unique card game has simple rules that translate to complex strategy, and a fun concept that will have kids coming back again and again. But the biggest draw is the dweebies themselves: each card displays a cute and crazy creature that's sure to delight kids (and adults too!). Just line up cards vertically or horizontally to collect a line of dweebies for your stash: the player with the most dweebies by the end wins! (Gamewright)
Pocket Yam Slam Proof that big things sometimes come in small packages, this petite game has all the play value of the original, but it's small enough to fit in a Christmas stocking. Players roll the five dice a maximum of three times per turn, aiming for a flush, a straight, a full house, or another combination, each of which is worth a different level of points. It's a race to gather limited chips and line up bonuses before your opponents beat you to it. But any way you slice it, Yam Slam is a grand slam! (Blue Orange Games)
Race to the White House Electoral excitement comes but once in a while, but with Race for the White House, you can experience the nail-biting election process anytime! You don't have to be a political junkie to enjoy this game, but you do have to learn a bit about the electoral process to get ahead. Red states, blue states, swing states ... what does it take to get the farm and union votes? Sneak some civics into game night with this fun and exciting election game, and you'll have the whole family sweating to see the results roll in! (Aristoplay)
Scotland Yard There's a crook on the loose in this classic, catch-a-thief board game! The interlocking systems of the London transit system set the stage for this game, which challenges players to navigate by taxi, bus, and underground to close in on the invisible Mr. X, whose location is kept hidden for most of the game. Can the cops find the crook before it's too late? An intensely fun game that will stand the test of time. (Ravensburger)
Civilization V Ever wanted to rule the world? Build the greatest civilization known to man and become Ruler of the World in this long-awaited installment in the Civilization universe! Players begin at the dawn of man and progress through time, building a successful society by cultivating culture, waging war, developing technologies, and employing diplomacy to expand their reach. Perfect for teens who want to control their destinies, Civilization V also allows players to explore history and geography as they meet history's greatest leaders and traverse the globe to determining the path of history. And with all new graphics and game play, Civilization V is sure to get kids (and their parents) going on the path to greatness, world domination style! (Take-Two Interactive)
Konexi Put the classic games of Scrabble and Jenga together and you get...Konexi: a three-dimensional word-building game that will have your teen defying gravity as he plays the wordsmith. Make a word up, down, or sideways without knocking down the tower, and add points to your score. This is a simple, yet innovative game that's a blast of a challenge, in addition to being great spelling and vocabulary practice. These attractive playing pieces can also double as decor for a desk or bookcase. (ZimZala Games)
No matter what the occasion, a great game is the perfect way for families to have a blast together. And if you're looking for a home-run last-minute gift, these games are just what the doctor ordered. Get gaming!
See our full list of great gifts on our 2010 Gift Guide.