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The best board games to play with grandchildren

10th December 2020


Celebrations like Christmas and birthdays are the perfect time for the whole family to gather around a board game and let their competitive edge run wild. This year more than ever, many of us are looking forward to getting together with our loved ones and enjoy playing a few board games after a day of celebrations. For those who rely on stairlift solutions, board games are a wonderful way to connect with their grandchildren and enable them to have a little fun without having to move a great deal.

Karen from the blog The 3am Diary spoke about how her daughter Lily loves to play board games with her grandparents at Christmas: “With Christmas approaching, we're looking forward to spending those 5 days together with Lily’s grandparents. Aside from winter walks, board games will definitely play a part in our time in London - her ‘Gaga and Pawpaw’, as she likes to call them, will be able to make those memories with her and be a part of her life, which isn't easy over a video call. It really helps them be able to do something together, laugh together and play together when we've not had that chance this year. It also means a great deal to my mum, as they are still in the family home that we grew up in, so it brings back memories for her of when my brother and I were young too, playing the same games in the same house.”

Snakes and Ladders


A classic board game that almost everyone knows how to play is snakes and ladders. Who doesn’t love a competitive game with the whole family? Roll the dice and move along the board, trying to avoid the snakes that will take you back down the board and try and reach the ladders that will propel you up the board, first to the end is the winner!

Helen from Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee explains how Snakes and Ladders is one of her children’s favourite board games, among a few: “My parents absolutely love playing board games with my boys and nephews. There are five grandsons altogether ranging from 3-year-old twins to a 10-year-old, so there's always something age-appropriate at their house for all of them. My three are the youngest so it's usually Snakes and Ladders, or Ludo. My five-year-old gets really into it, and obviously always wants to win. The best bit is Granny and Grandad like to follow the rules so they never let him, unless he's done it by himself properly. Other favourites are Orchard Toys games or Baffled.”

Jennie from Rice Cakes and Raisins also loves a classic game of Snakes and Ladders with her family: “You just can't beat a game of Snakes and Ladders! It's the perfect game for grandparents to play with their grandchildren as not only will it bring back memories for grandparents of times when they enjoyed the game as a child, but it is also an easy and straightforward board game for even the youngest of children to enjoy. Children will squeal with delight when they get to climb their counter up the ladders and will also love sliding it down the wiggly snakes. What fun!”



A game of murder mystery and secrecy, Cluedo is all about trying to find out ‘who did it’. The object of the game is to find out who murdered the victim by moving around a selection of rooms, collecting clues and finding out what weapons have been used.

Helen from Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee also loves Cluedo and Monopoly as a game to play at Christmas: “My older nephews are just getting into Monopoly and Cluedo. It's a great way for them to all sit down together and engage in something as a family. Granny and Grandad can teach them the skills of waiting your turn, following instructions and keeping an eye on what is going on, but in a fun way.”

Cluedo is a great game for those who love to get competitive and is easy for both older and younger players to understand easily.



A game many people love and a board game that has been around for hundreds of years. Chess may not be the first board game you think of when you think of festive fun but it is a great game for grandparents and grandchildren to connect. The older relatives can teach the younger ones how to play, what moves to make and how to win.

“We love to play Chess with the grandparents when they visit,” Josie from Business For Mums explains. “It’s a special game because my father in law taught both me and the kids how to play it as I’d somehow managed to miss learning as a child. We started off playing in teams to make it easier for the children but now that they have got the hang of it they can play by themselves. Board games are a big part of Christmas for us. They are a lovely way for us to interact as a family where everyone is present and in the moment rather than looking at screens.”

The aim of chess is to take hostage all of your opponent’s pieces by a selection of direct and indirect moves. All of the pieces have different rules, great for teaching younger players patience and concentration.



Another great family board game is Articulate. Played in teams, the board is played by one member of the team describing a word whilst the others have to guess by actions and gestures, but you cannot say the word else you’re out.

Ultra Board Games describes the play in a little more detail: “Play begins when the timer is upended. The describers take a card from the front of the pack and describe the entry corresponding to the segment on which the team's playing piece sits. As the start position is on the object segment each team starts with this category. When a team member shouts out the correct answer the describers quickly take another card and repeat the process, using the same category.”

Articulate is all about speed and is the perfect option for larger groups or family members who are great at games like Pictionary or charades.

Educational games


Craig from the blog Rambling Dad mentioned a few educational board games that are not only fun for the whole family but allow the younger members of the family to learn whilst playing.

“Board games can connect generations, provide important learning opportunities to the younger ones around winning and losing graciously and bring some much needed wholesome tech-free time for all. For us with children aged 7 and 4, who have grandparents in their early 60s, the key to a good board game is a quick set up, a short learning curve, and a fast pace of play. There are a few games we go back to again and again.” Some of the recommendations he makes are Game of Life Junior, I Saw It First Jungle and Rapidough.

“These include Game of Life Junior, I Saw It First Jungle and Rapidough. They are interactive, the instructions are quick and simple to grasp, and game length can be managed to shorten or prolong depending on the kids’ attention spans. They are fun and interesting for adults and kids alike. A key requisite for repeated play.”

Other games


Of course, board games are a staple for grandparents to play with their grandchildren, but there are a few new games that aren’t necessarily played on a board that just can’t be missed out. Games that involve a lot of interaction are great for families and are often suitable for grandparents and grandchildren alike.


Dobble is a relatively new game that is a quick-fire challenge that involves the player matching their card to the image that is placed on the table. Codie from the blog CodieKinz recommended this one:

“One game that I think is perfect for the whole family, is Dobble. It's a super quick-fire game that involves your observation and matching skills and is just as suitable for a 6-year-old as a 66-year-old. It's just good fun, requires very little setup and the tin is so small it can easily be packed in a car, or taken along for Christmas. I've always been a huge fan of board games and remember one year when all I wanted was for the whole family to play games together - although Monopoly got a little more heated than I would have hoped! I think if you choose the right game it can be a real equaliser and get the adults acting like giddy children, and even too-cool teenagers wanting to be a little silly too.”

Pass The Pud

Another popular choice and one that Terri from The Strawberry Fountain recommends is Pass The Pud: “Pass the Pud is a brilliant game for the whole family, including grandparents of all ages. It is a fast-paced game where you have to name an item associated with a word written on a card, for example, vegetable - sprout. Once you have named your item you then pass the pud to the next player and the aim is to do this before the pudding burps. This game is hilarious.”

Pass the Pud is an interactive game that requires concentration and imagination all wrapped into one. Think of a word that relates to the word written on the card and pass the pud onto the next player before it burps. The person who is holding the pud when it burps is the loser.

“Despite the fact that it is, in theory, easy, it is very comical to watch as people struggle to recall even the obvious of items when they have all eyes on them and are playing against the clock. For me this is great for the whole family as you don't need to be able to read or worry about wearing your glasses, there aren't lots of complicated rules to remember, it is only a short game but of course, you can play multiple rounds if you wish and you don't need to be able to move or jump around at all. It is a brilliant, tabletop game for the whole family.”


Dominos is another simple game that can be played by the whole family, all that is required is a flat surface to play on, Sophie from the blog Along Came Rosie recommended the game.

“When I think of playing board games with my grandparents, I automatically think of all of the times that we played Dominos. The greatest thing about them is that they are just so simple. There are no difficult rules to fall out over and every member of the family can get involved. So much so that my mum has been teaching my two-year-old daughter to play and we continued being able to play with my Granny whilst she had Alzheimer’s.

“In a world where we are becoming more and more reliant on social media and technology, I for one will be taking part in a digital detox on Christmas Day, spending the time with my loved ones - a glass of Prosecco in one hand and a domino tile in the other. Fingers crossed for double sixes.”

Are card games more your thing? Read this article all about the best card games for older adults.

Board games are the perfect way to get the whole family together and interacting with one another. After a tough year, there is no better way to spend your time with your loved ones than with some of these board games. If you’re thinking of investing in a new game for Christmas, take some of these recommendations into consideration.

READ ALSO: Tips and advice for grandparents


This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only and are up to date as of the time of publishing