The philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer once stated that the enemies of human happiness are boredom and pain. Well, boredom is certainly a pain when you can't find anything fun to do. Luckily, games can come to the rescue for people of all ages!
Board Games for Bored Kids
Parents often hear the dreaded words, "I'm bored." The temptation is high to give your kids some awful chore so they'll never complain about being bored again. Next time, try playing one of these games with them instead.
It can be especially tough to deal with bored toddlers because they have limited vocabularies and can be more easily disinterested in activities than older kids. Do not fear, though. These games are terrific options.
- First Orchard - Haba offers My Very First Games - First Orchard, a fun game for ages two and up. First Orchard kicks boredom to the curb with a race to fill up a shopping basket with colorful fruit pieces. The fun of the movement and objective of filling up the basket with fruit can inspire kids to play it repeatedly, and it provides the perfect opportunity to talk to young kids about shapes, colors, and food. The game pieces can also double as a standalone play set.
- Goodnight Moon Game - The Goodnight Moon Game from Briar Patch is a terrific game for kids between the ages of two and six. The four double-sided playing boards are colorful and captivating for young eyes, and it's a learning game that's sure to inspire joy for one to four players. The engaging gameplay helps banish boredom, and there are several variations for beginners and more advanced players. The youngest players will love matching identical cards, while older players get more involved options.
- Elefun and Friends - Elefun and Friends by Hasbro captures the imagination of toddlers because of how adorable the elephant is, and that's just the beginning of its charm. Ideal for kids between the ages of three to six, it both prevents boredom and helps kids get moving as the elephant blows out little glow-in-the-dark fireflies, while kids run around to catch them in mesh nets. They'll love the interactive fun as the elephant seems to come to life by blowing air from its four-foot trunk.
Children who are between the ages of 7 to 11 are typically considered "school-age" kids. These games should delight children who are used to lots of stimulation from school and fun times with friends.
- Guesstures - Created by Hasbro, Guesstures is recommended for kids who are at least eight years old. It's a fast-moving and hilarious game that is sure to help kids quickly forget they were bored in the first place. Kids put four cards into an Action Timer and set it to start the action. Classic charade techniques are then employed to guess what's on the cards. Cards are available in easy, medium, and hard levels.
- Chrono Bomb - Boredom will be a distant memory when kids immerse themselves into the world of being a spy! Chrono Bomb is for one or more players who are between seven to eleven years of age. Children can practice their skills solo, then enjoy group play. Players go on a super secret spy mission, making their way through a "laser" field before it's too late. Extend the life of the game with the free app for extended gameplay.
- Qwirkle - Qwirkle is ideal for two or four players who are at least six years old. This game beats boredom by allowing kids to unleash their creativity and strategic gameplaying skills. Players use tactical maneuvers as they build rows and columns with the colorful game pieces. Things get really interesting as players compete for the smartest and most unexpected moves that lead to a win.
Tweens and teens aren't immune to the struggles of boredom. Help them beat it with these games.
- Mystery of the Abbey - This game for three to six players allows them to travel to peaceful Templars' Abbey, which appears to be a tranquil haven for weary travelers. Mystery of the Abbey quickly gets rid of boredom by allowing players to engage their minds as they try to solve the mystery of who is behind the sudden disappearance of a novice from the Abbey. Tweens and teens will especially enjoy this complex game that plays a little bit like Clue.
- Dixit - Dixit by Asmodee can be enjoyed by three to six players and features lovely illustrations and creative gameplay. This humorous, entertaining game is recommended for kids who are at least eight years of age. Players use cards to tell stories, then challenge the others to match their own cards to the themes of the stories that are told. Guesswork is a crucial part of the game, but kids will never guess that they are learning from the storytelling fun, too.
- The Gallerist - The Gallerist is suitable for one to four players who are at least 10 years old. It captures the imagination by allowing players to step into the role of the gallerist, who manages artists and their art while also curating exhibits at the museum. Players win by making a splash in the art world with a lucrative gallery. It usually takes around an hour and a half to play the game, so boredom should be kept at bay for a nice, long while.
Great Games for Grownups
If it's the adults who are looking for games to alleviate boredom, these titles make great choices.
- Battle of the Sexes - When you want to liven up any gathering of mixed company, pit men against women with Battle of the Sexes. Spin Master Games created this board game for players who are at least 12 years of age or older, but it's best used as an adults-only party game for four or more players. Answer questions and accept challenges based on the opposite sex, all of which are guaranteed to induce laughter. The first person or team who can get all of their pawns across the board will be the winner.
- Split Decision - Touted as "the hilarious game of improbable pairings," Split Decision is unlike any other trivia games you may have tried. Suitable for players who are at least 12 years old, this fast-paced game was designed for two to eight players. Split Decision forces players to think fast as they choose between two very different answers to highly unusual questions. The questions themselves will become great conversation pieces.
- Settlers of Catan - If you're not into trivia or traditional board games, Settlers of Catan is a fantastic option. It's based on building a civilization as players try to get a stronghold on the fictional island of Catan. When players can build up a thriving civilization they are well on their way to victory, but they may face unexpected challenges along the way. This strategy game is for two or more players, and all players should be at least twelve years old. Expansion sets and add-ons are available to make the game even more fun.
Play Creative Games at Home
Simple games with what you have around the house may end up providing the most fun! Let your imagination run wild, look around the room, and think of things that you could use to create your own game right there on the spot. These games are appropriate for people of all ages.
Start a Dancing Chain
Dance your way out of boredom! This game is easy and works best with at least four players.
- Everyone stands up in a circle.
- The first player goes into the middle of the circle and starts doing any simple dance move, like waving one's arms, swaying one's hips, or doing a quick jig.
- Everyone imitates this move twice, then that player goes back to the circle and the next player goes into the center.
- The new player repeats the previous dance movement, then adds one to it. The others then have to repeat the movements. Continue swapping center players and adding moves until the person in the center can't remember all of the dance moves.
Don't Walk This Way
Try to get around the house without your feet ever touching the ground. This game is best played with sensible adults and supervised kids. You can even play this game by yourself, but the more players, the merrier. This will help you beat boredom by requiring total focus and some ingenuity, too.
- Don't allow your feet to touch the ground at any time. If you know how, you can walk on your hands for a short distance if need be!
- Consider using throw pillows, books, or even magazines as stepping stones. You may also crawl along a sofa or chair.
- Get creative, then get moving. You can go from room to room playing this game and trying different methods.
Put those cans of soup, vegetables, and pasta sauces to good use. Make a game out of the creation of mini towers from the cans in your cabinets and cupboards. You can change the objectives of the tower game to liven things up as you go. You only need a couple of players to enjoy this game, but you may have as many as you want.
- The first objective may be that the person who can make the tower the highest wins. (If you do that, just make sure it doesn't get so high that the crashing cans could hurt little builders.)
- Challenge participants to make towers into a certain shape, or use a specific number of cans to make the most unusual structure.
- Try seeing who can make the tower of cans reach a certain height the fastest.
Try These Free Online Games
When you're bored, there's the whole world at your fingertips through the portal of the Internet! Try these online games that you can play on your own or with others.
- Dominion - Dominion is a card game with a popular online version that is available for Mac or PC, as well as an app that you can download to your tablet or smart phone. Build your kingdom and prepare to battle and conquer as you play alone or with up to four other people from around the world. It's suitable for people who are ten years of age or older.
- Plants vs. Zombies - How can one be bored when there are flying buttercups and shooting peas ready to attack rogue zombies dressed in everything from football gear to traffic cones? Plants vs. Zombies is a unique tower defense game by PopCap, fit for players who are at least 10 years of age. It has cartoony, farcical violence, but young kids may find it scary. Adults will enjoy this one as much as kids and teens. This is a game that you play solo: it's you versus the zombies!
- Pacman - Throw it way back to the popular, beloved Namco game from the 1980's. If you grew up going to an arcade or playing an Atari game system, you likely played Pacman to alleviate boredom on many afternoons and weekends. There are a couple of ways to access free versions of this time-tested, beloved arcade game online. You can try the interactive Google doodle from the 30th anniversary of the game using the arrow keys on your laptop or PC to play. Learn4Good also has a basic version of Pacman to play for free. Like the original Pacman, this is a game that you can play solo against the "ghost" characters, and it's appropriate for ages four and up.
While you may play a succession of different games until you find the right one that everyone in your group can enjoy, make no mistake that games are often the antidote to boredom. Whether you prefer video games, card games, or creative improvisations, playing a game can help you kick that boredom to the curb.