Many of the games you loved as a kid are still being made today. Your kids will enjoy them just as much as you did, and you’ll have fun playing them together.
Barrel of Monkeys
The colors of the barrel have been changed up a bit, but the monkeys are still the same — red, swinging-arm monkeys that are tossed out of the barrel and onto the table or floor, in a tangle. The object of the game is to make an arm-in-arm monkey chain that is longer than anyone else’s. You can only hold one end of the chain, so the longer the chain gets, the harder it gets to hook more monkeys (Amazon, $8).
Don’t Break the Ice
Part of the appeal of retro games is the fact that so many of them require dexterity and the use of logistics. Don’t Break the Ice requires both, as each child uses a little mallet to try to knock out a chunk of ice without breaking the whole slab. Tensions rise, and when the ice breaks, peals of laughter fill the room (Amazon, $14).
All of the fun in Trouble comes from the pop-o-matic die roller — and the reason why it’s so much fun can only be experienced as children play the game and enjoy popping the die to take their turn. It’s as simple as moving the pegs to win, but everybody wants the chance to pop the die (Amazon, $16).
Hungry Hungry Hippos
It’s such a simple concept: Four colorful hippos are permanently attached to a game board, and each player pulls a lever to open her hippo’s mouth to catch marbles. Who would imagine that something so easy would be so much fun? The player whose hippo eats the most marbles wins (Amazon, $22).
There are many different brands of jacks available for purchase, but they all come with similar pieces: either regular or jumbo-size jacks, balls and a container to pack them in. The container can be made of cloth, tin or cardboard. Sometimes, comparing your type of ball and case with those of friends is part of the fun. Children sweep their hands across the table or floor to pick up different numbers of jacks (onesies, twosies etc.) or to execute special plays like Crack the Egg or Scrubs (Amazon, $10).
Simon is the game that begs players to follow its lead by first playing a short burst of sound and color and then upping the ante as players successfully match the pattern. How long of a pattern of light and sound can the best player follow before losing track? It will be fun to see if using computers has improved kids’ manual dexterity since the ’80s (Amazon, $27).