What Games Are Good for Girls?

Tim from Ohio writes…

Hello, Father Geek!

Just started coming to your site and love your format. It is so nice to read reviews about games that are great for kids. THANK YOU!

From your posts, it looks like you have all boys. I am the exact opposite. I have all girls. Four, in fact. Ages 10 to 2 1/2. Can you suggest any games that girls will like?

Thanks and keep up the great work! I’ll keep reading if you keep writing!

Tim

What an excellent question! Let’s pretend I’m an expert. Short answer is “no”; long answer follows.

From what I have seen and witnessed firsthand, there is no connection between what games children will or will not like based on their gender alone. However, it is perfectly likely a child will be naturally drawn towards or repelled from a particular game genre, theme, or narrative. The child does, after all, have interests and dislikes of their own.

As a parent or guardian responsible for the upbringing or welfare of a young Geek, it behooves you to know about the child’s likes and dislikes. In many cases, these will be exceedingly easy to recognize as there will be toys and books scattered about the room and posters on the walls. Take a moment to look at these and you’ll get a good idea of what they are interested in. For example:

  • Transformers – most likely interested in all things “robot”
  • Barbie – most likely interested in fashion, dress up, and “playing house”
  • Books on <insert topic here> – most likely interested in <insert topic here>
  • KISS poster – they like KISS

There’s a good amount of guessing here, admittedly. The point is, it is not hard to figure out at least a few of the child’s interests. Take a look, gather what you can visually, and then go right to the source.

Flat out ask the child what they are interested in. Bring up the things you saw so you don’t sound like you’re totally clueless. Odds are very good they will correct you if you are wrong in any of your assumptions based on your observations. This is a good thing as you want to get to the nitty-gritty of what peaks their interests. Once you feel like you have learned enough, it is time to go game shopping!

With your new found wisdom, finding a game should be fairly straight forward. Go to your friendly local game store or an online game store and search for or ask for games that are similar to your child’s interests. I’m a big proponent of learning anything and everything about a product before you buy it. If you have the time, research the game over at Geekdo.com (that is if I haven’t reviewed the game already).

In addition, take into account the child’s age and ability level. Do not, for example, get Star Wars Monopoly if your child loves Star Wars but doesn’t know how to do simple counting yet. Your goal is to straddle that thin line between easy and moderate difficulty as best you can. After all, you want to challenge the child, not frustrate them.

Got the game? Great! Time to read the rules. I would suggest you do this by yourself on your own time. No need to have the child sit there and watch you read in silence while you scratch your head about certain questionable game mechanics. Do your homework and know the rules. It will make it easier to teach and get to the fun.

Loooooong story short, be your little Geek a boy or girl, old or young, their interests are their own. Experiment with different games, learn from your experiences, and never stop playing and sharing. Enjoy the journey.

Wow, great question, Tim. I hope I have answered it in full, if not in a roundabout way. Best of luck to you and your “little ladies”.

Got a question? Concern? Comment? Sure you do. Why not send it to Father Geek or leave a comment on an article?

About Cyrus

Editor in Chief, Owner/Operator, Board Game Fanatic, Father of Three, and Nice Guy, Cyrus has always enjoyed board, card, miniature, role playing, and video games, but didn't get back into the hobby seriously until early 2000. Once he did, however, he was hooked. He now plays board games with anyone and everyone he can, but enjoys playing with his children and wife the most. Video games continue to be of real interest, but not as much as dice and little miniatures. As he carefully navigates the ins and outs of parenting, he does his very best to bestow what wisdom he has and help nurture his children's young minds. It is his hope and ambition to raise three strong, honorable men who will one day go on to do great things and buy their Mom and Dad a lobster dinner Cyrus goes by the handle fathergeek on Board Game Geek. You can also check him out on CyrusKirby.com. Yes, he has a URL that is his name. His ego knows no bounds, apparently....
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10 Responses to What Games Are Good for Girls?

  1. Rian says:

    I agree, it really depends on your kid’s likes. But it’s also worth considering what your child seems to enjoy in terms of gameplay. Our daughter (almost 7) likes puzzle/strategy games, while our son (4) likes physical games like marble-drop games, Jenga, and Mousetrap.

    We have a game by eeBoo called Tea Party, which features a little tablecloth, game pieces and a spinner. We played this when she was younger (it’s for ages 3+) You spin to collect a plate, tea cup, cream, dessert, fruit, and sandwich. A simple game, good for getting used to taking turns while also tying into pretend tea party play.

    As she got older, she enjoyed the challenge of puzzle games. At daycare she learned Mancala and some card games, and quickly showed a competitive streak- she’s a table-talker who enjoys letting you know when she’s beating you!

    She plays some chess and checkers , and she is always quick to play a pickup game of Mancala (I need to check out the variations FatherGeek mentioned!)

    Card games are another good avenue, whether a special deck like Uno, or standard decks for playing games like Rummy or Crazy 8’s.

    Other kids might prefer more creativity and collaborative play, something like the classic Cranium where you have to sing/hum and build things, or Pictionary or charades. If you can identify a style of play that appeals to your kids, you’ll have better luck narrowing the huge selection of games down to something they’ll enjoy.

    • The Father Geek says:

      Yes, exactly! You have expertly expressed in a very good summary that which I hope all children can experience through games and game play. Self-exploration. As they grow and experience life, their tastes in game play, styles, genres, and medium will change with them. Parents take note! The more you know and share with your children, the deeper the connection!

      Check here for some variations on the Mancala game!

  2. Great post! My boys and girl equally love the game Sorry! At 12, 10, and 7 years, it’s fun for the youngest and builds strategy skills in the oldest. Monopoly is still excrutiating to play with my youngest. The older two are finally grasping the concept of buying and selling property and collecting rent, but it’s a process. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your views. Visiting from Bass Giraffe. Happy Thursday! 🙂 Larri at Seams Inspired

    • The Father Geek says:

      Much thanks, Larri.

      If your little geeks like Sorry!, I recommend trying Sorry! Sliders. I’ll be posting a review of the game within the week.

      I’ll see you around the Blog-O-Sphere!

  3. Hanna says:

    Hi there. I am your newest follower from the Friday blog hop! Lovely blog!! You can find me at http://www.bouffeebambini.blogspot.com

  4. Pingback: Bridging the Sibling Generation Gap « Father Geek

  5. Peter S says:

    Our daughter (8) plays Dominion with us and wins often enough. She enjoys that. She plays Ticket to Ride, Quarriors, Small World, Perquackey (fun but old), and quite a few other games. Obviously some will be over her head, but she holds her own with quite a few of them. The only major reservation I’d have is with the length of the game. If it goes over an hour, it’s out at the moment. She doesn’t have the attention span. 30 minutes is probably a decent average. If it goes much over that, she starts dancing around the house and loses interest in the game. 🙂

    Sorry Sliders is a good game as well. We picked up the Cars 2 edition and were pleasantly surprised by it, though it tends to degenerate into just flicking the pawns around the track….

    • Cyrus says:

      Those are all excellent games and it sounds like your little geek daughter is well on her way to being the ruler of us all!

      My oldest has about a 30 minute time limit, too. Once we hit it, he starts to loose interest. I have found that a “break” from time to time helps makes the longer games more enjoyable. Thanks for your comment!

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