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Hot board and card games for the holidays

Check out this crop of games that help with critical thinking, strategy, and, of course, a heavy dose of fun to go along with all that learning.

By Valle Dwight

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Hoot Owl Hoot

Ages: 4 and up

It turns out that not every game has to result in winners and losers. In Hoot Owl Hoot kids work together to figure out how to get the owl back to its nest before the sun rises. Each player gets three cards and moves an owl token toward its nest based on the color on the card. If the player draws a sun card, the sun moves one step closer to sunrise. The goal is to get all of the owls (as many as six) back to the nest before the sun token hits full sunrise, so sometimes planning is involved — like deciding which owl will get closest to the nest with a particular card. Aside from building self-esteem and cooperative skills. Hoot Owl Hoot introduces kids to the idea of strategy, problem solving, and turn taking. No reading required, so even the youngest family members can join in.

Bottom line: A simple, fun game that uses team play to bring out the best in everyone.


Valle Dwight is a reporter, writer, and mother of two school-aged boys. She has written for many magazines, including FamilyFun, Wondertime, and Working Mother.

Comments from readers

"These are very interesting board games for starters and other wise. We were looking for them. Thanks for the information - great help. "
"LOVE this info! Thanks for bringing it together! We love to add a game or two to the family each Christmas and/or bday. "