| 17.2°C Belfast

Nine fun family games to ward off lockdown boredom

Claire Spreadbury gets her game face on to find the best products

Close

Quality time: playing board games can bring family members together

Quality time: playing board games can bring family members together

Quality time: playing board games can bring family members together

Homeschooling is the ultimate test of your patience. And while many of us adapt, buying flashy folders and making weekly timetables, the rest of us are pulling our hair out and crying into our glasses come wine o'clock.

Games, however, are a great way to teach your kids. Some provide maths and reasoning skills, others test their spelling, and they all offer up a host of life skills, like learning how to take turns and be a good loser.

Granted, not all games are fun for parents, but invest in the right ones, and you can while away hours, happily playing (and teaching) together.

"Board games bring families together," says Ellie Dix, board game designer, author of The Board Game Family and owner of The Dark Imp. "Playing together gives us shared experiences and sparks conversation that can last much longer than the game on the table. Board games are immersive, they demand all our focus. We can escape into the world of the game and put our other thoughts to the back of our mind, which is particularly important in these current frightening times."

Here are our top picks...

1. Battleship, £20, TheToyshop.com

Close

Battleship, £20, TheToyshop.com

Battleship, £20, TheToyshop.com

PA

Battleship, £20, TheToyshop.com

A classic two-player game from the Eighties (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

Close

Twister, £14, Amazon.co.uk

Twister, £14, Amazon.co.uk

PA

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

Close

Monopoly Speed, £22, TheToyShop.com

Monopoly Speed, £22, TheToyShop.com

PA

Monopoly Speed, £22, TheToyShop.com

Okay, 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

Close

Jenga, £15, TheToyShop.com

Jenga, £15, TheToyShop.com

PA

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

Close

BuzzleBox, £49.99, TheDarkImp.com

BuzzleBox, £49.99, TheDarkImp.com

PA

BuzzleBox, £49.99, TheDarkImp.com

Designed by Ellie Dix, 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)

Close

Camel Up, £32.64, Board-game.co.uk

Camel Up, £32.64, Board-game.co.uk

PA

Camel Up, £32.64, Board-game.co.uk

Recommended by Dix, this 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," she says. "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

Close

Bananagrams, £15, JohnLewis.com

Bananagrams, £15, JohnLewis.com

PA

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

Close

The Mind, £12, MenKind.co.uk

The Mind, £12, MenKind.co.uk

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

Close

Photosynthesis, £34.99, Zavvi.com

Photosynthesis, £34.99, Zavvi.com

PA

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.

Belfast Telegraph