Zingo and Other Great First Games for Kids


We’ve reached a milestone. My family can now play games together. Games that Mommy and Daddy actually enjoy a bit, too. It started with the gift of ThinkFun Zingo for Son’s fifth birthday. As the mother of the gift giver said, “Oh, you’ll love it. My little one can play it, too.”

And she was right. Two year old Daughter talks trash about how she’ll win and the rest of us will lose when she nails all the chips on her card. Son is very proud of winning and this game is both a concentration and confidence booster. I think the enjoyment lies somewhere between permission to yell loudly as you call out the image on your chip (T-Rex! Ghost!) and the tactile fun of handling the plastic chips (adults get some pokeresque satisfaction).

On our recent trip to Florida, I opted not to bring the game, fearing the chips would end up mingled with crumbs on the floor of the airplane. When we arrived at the gate, a bunch of kids were circled on the floor playing…Zingo. They invited us to join in and it was a great way to pass the time (Advice: Gate use recommended, airplane use still a risk.) I then purchased a second game at the Target near Grandma’s and soon the whole extended family was playing together. Daughter even grabbed the game and corralled Grandma’s visiting 73-year old friend to play with her.

Success at Zingo also led us to play Go Fish. Daughter doesn’t quite get the concept of hiding her cards but Son is all over it and begs to play morning and night. Yesterday’s cold rainy day consisted of several games of Zingo and Go Fish, a full house hide and seek (to stretch our legs a bit), then a movie (break needed).

For kids ages 2 and 3, fun early games we enjoyed were:
Cranium Cariboo – Helps learn shapes, colors, and letters while collecting balls to open the fun treasure chest.

Cranium Hullabaloo – Fun, movement game with music that also helps learn shapes and colors


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