2020 has brought many surprises for us and many of our exciting summer plans have been canceled or changed. Don’t let the change of plans ruin your summertime fun. Beating summer boredom doesn’t have to be expensive. You don’t even need to leave the house to create fun summer memories with your family!
If you are anything like me, you are itching for some new activities. I have watched everything worth watching on Netflix and walked every square inch of my neighborhood. A new game is a great way to inject your day with some family fun! Instead of focusing on all the things we can’t do, I want to remember the summer of 2020 as the summer I played more, laughed more, and made more forever memories with my family. A new game is the perfect way to start. I still love all our bestselling games like Tenzi, Spot It, Uno and Pass the Pigs but if you are looking for something new and different, keep scrolling! The Toy Professionals at Whiz Kids have compiled a list of our favorite games that may not be as well-known but will still give you a big bang for your buck. Learning rules and strategies for a new game is a great way to keep your brain active during the school break. But learning a new game doesn’t have to be a drag. Break out one of these games from Whiz Kids for a family night in (or even on your next campout) and you will be playing, laughing, and having fun before you know it.
- AVOCADO SMASH - $12.99
Age: 6 to adult
Number of Players: 2 or more (although I think it’s most fun for 3 and more players)
Play time: ~10 minutes
Who will like it: Fans of fast playing games like Spot It and Speed.
Why we love it: Avocado Smash is so fast to learn that you will be playing before you can say ‘guacamole’! Its cute life-sized avocado packaging fits easily into purses and bags so you can play a quick round whenever you need to waste a few minutes. I also love that all the players are always playing. No waiting bored while other players choose a move, so stay alert!
How to play: Winning sounds easy, just be the first one to get rid of your cards! But watch out, it’s harder than it looks. Quickly take turns flipping cards into the center and counting to 15. If the number you say matches the number on the card, SMASH the pile! The last player to smash is stuck with the avocados. Keep your reflexes sharp and be careful of guacamole and you might just win!
- TUMBLE TREE - $13.99
Age: 5 – 10 years old
Number of Players: 2- 4 players
Play Time: ~ 10 minutes
Who will like it: Fans of games of balance and fine motor skills like Jenga and Operation.
Why we love it: Tumble Tree is so different than any other game I have played! The youngest player has just as good a chance (if not better) of sweeping the competition because it there is no reading required, just some great throwing skills and a little luck!
How to play: Stack the leaves cards on top of the tree trunk and don’t let them fall! Each card has an animal or plant pictured that tells players how the card must be added to the growing stack on the trunk. Snakes slither, bats drop, and toucans fly into the pile. Don’t hit the bee or you will get penalty points. The player with the least penalties at the end of the game wins!
- HELLO MY NAME IS - $9.99
Number of players: 3 or more
Play Time: ~ 20 -30 minutes
Who will like it: Fans of games like Apples to Apples that require your creativity or any history or movie buffs!
Why we love it: You don’t need a table to play. You can play this game just as easily cooking in the kitchen or driving in the car as you can sitting in your living room. I have even played it over zoom with my friends! It is so much fun to play intergenerationally (we know such different celebrities!) and in teams.
How to play: Each player starts with three cards and picks on to discard to the middle. The active player takes the discarded cards and sorts them by color. Search your mind for a personal (real or fictional!) who fits the traits of one of the stacks. The first person to win 14 traits cards wins! Will you go for an easy pile with only one or two traits or go for a big pile and big win? Will you name a celebrity or someone sitting at the table right now? The choice is your but act fast, you only have thirty seconds before someone else can steal!
- NO LLAMAS -$12.99
Age: 8 to adult
Number of Players: 2 – 5 players
Play time: ~20 minutes
Who will like it: Llama fans or people who enjoy classic card games like Crazy Eights.
Why we love it: First, this might be the very cutest game on the list. Cards stow inside a sweet and cuddly Llama plush. And the art is just as cute! This game is so silly and funny that you can’t help but smile and laugh.
How to play: Win by being the first to collect 3 llama coins! There are three ways to earn them: Be the first to lose your llamas, the last player who can make a move, or herd 4 llamas together. Start by flipping over a numbered llama and take turns matching or topping with llamas from your hand. The bigger the herd, the higher the points. Watch out for wild llamas like the flaming llama and rainbow llama!
- COBRA PAW - $9.99
Age: 6 to adult
Number of Players: 2 – 6 players
Play time: ~20 minutes
Who will like it: Fans of games like Set who like visual games of speed
Why we love it: I fell in love with this game at Toyfest West. It is so tactile, with good quality, heavy pieces, I just wanted to go back and keep playing. I love that is highly adaptable; you can make it easier for younger players and more challenging for older and you can play with just 2 players or the whole family!
How to play: The goal- be the first to win 6 tiles. May the best ninja win! 21 tiles each have a different combination of symbols shown. Throw the two large dice and race to find the tile with the same images. Each tile has a dent in the middle; be the first to get your ‘paw’ on the dent and the tile is all yours. But be careful! Another ninja might sneak it back.
- MERMAID ISLAND - $16.99
Age: 5 to 8 years old
Number of players: 2- 6 players
Play time: ~ 15 minutes
Who will like it: Kids who like games like Candy Land and Snakes and Ladders and are learning how to play strategy games.
Why we love it: It is a cooperative game (that means you win or lose together as a team) so no competitive sibling fights! Also, the rules are simple enough for children to play on their own while parents are busy (no reading required)!
How to play: Work together to get the mermaids safely to Mermaid Island! On your turn, spin the spinner and pick one of the three mermaids to move forward. All 3 mermaids have to get safely to Mermaid Island before the Sea Witch gets there! Pick wisely and you may be able to use a short cut or pick up a magic wand to help push the sea witch back.
- ANOMIA - $16.99
Age: 10 to adult
Number of Players: 3 to 6 players
Play time: ~ 30 minutes
Who will like it: Party people or anyone who likes quick thinking games like Taboo or Charades.
Why we love it: I have never played this game with a new group of friends without someone asking me where I got it! Anomia is a hilarious game that leaves you confused why it’s easier to come up with a fashion model than a color.
How to play: How well does your brain work under pressure. Take turns flipping the cards from a center pile onto a stack in front of you. Does the symbol on your card match any other players? If so, the race is on! Quickly shout out an example of the category on your opponents before they give an example of what’s written on your card. If you win, you collect the cards. At the end of the game, the person with the most collected cards, wins!
- HAPPY SALMON - $15.99
Age: 6 to adult
Number of players: 4 – 6 players
Play time: ~ 10 minutes (but trust me, one game is never enough!)
Who will like it: Fans of improv games and ice breakers like Zip Zap Zop.
Why we love it: So many reasons! it is easy to take everywhere! The cards come in a durable fish-shaped case that is perfect for parties, sleepovers, and campouts. Everyone is playing at the same time so you all stay engaged and active. And it’s hilariously hectic! Everyone is hollering, running around, and laughing so hard. No wonder Happy Salmon has won so many awards.
How to play: Grab a colored deck and start flipping. Call out the action (high five, pound it, switcheroo, and happy salmon) on your card and find another player with the same action. Once you find a match, celebrate by performing the action. Then discard and turn over your next card. It’s a race to get rid of all your action cards, so move fast!
- BANDIDO - $12.99
Age: 6 to adult
Number of Players: 1 – 4
Play time: ~ 20 minutes
Who will like it: Fans of tile games that require strategy and luck to win like Dominos!
Why we love it: There are not enough games in the world that are just as much fun to play alone as they are to play together; Bandido nails it! When played with friends, Bandido is cooperative (which is always a plus to me!). It’s easy to play but HARD to win and the luck of the draw means your strategy will have to change every games!
How to play: Give yourself (and your team if you are playing with family and friends) plenty of room because we are playing in tunnels! At the center of the table place the bandit. He is trying to tunnel his way out of prison, and it is your mission (should you choose to accept it) to stop him! Each player always has three tunnel cards in their hands. On your turn select a card and line the tunnels up to the bandits existing tunnels. Try to close off all the tunnels before you are out of cards or the bandit will escape! You can discuss strategy with your team but only you know what’s in your hand. Can you keep Bandido trapped?
- BANAGRAMS PARTY - $14.99
Age: 10 to adult
Number of players: 2 - 8 players
Play time: ~ 30 minutes
Who will like it: Fans of the original Bananagrams game or any other spelling games like Scrabble!
Why we love it: All the spelling fun of Banagrams with new fun ways to mess with your opponents. That’s right, you heard me. New action tiles level the playing field as you can now bring chaos onto the player of your choice! Make them run a lap around the table or start their grid over from scratch. It’s totally bananas!
How to play: Take your starting tiles and shout Split! Each player starts at once, turning over their tiles and racing to arrange them in their own word grid. When you get every letter into your grid successfully, yell Peel and everyone must grab a tile and add it to their grid. If you are stuck, yell Dump to get new tiles or use an action tile to slow down your opponents. When there are no more tiles to grab, be the first player to finish their grid and yell Bananas to win!
I strongly believe that there is a game for every family; even those who say “we don’t like games”. Some families need cooperative game while others prefer competitive. Some families prefer strategy games and other families use games as fun ways to learn new ways to communicate. The Toy Professionals at Whiz Kids have tested all the games on our shelves and are ready to help you find the perfect new game to bring into your house this summer. We specialize in games that are unique, engaging, and highly replayable. Call us at (805) 547 – 1733 and we will help you find the best fit for your family this summer or shop online here.
Be safe. Be kind. Play more!