Working Together: Cooperative Board Games

"Competition brings out the best in products and the worst in people."

--David Sarnoff, founder of

In any family, a little competition can be a good thing. My kids seem to turn everything in to a race: who will get to the car fastest, who will get in the house fastest, who can count the highest, and so on and so on. And while a little competiton may be a good way to get them both to work a little harder, some times the better thing is just finding a way to help them work together. That's why I love cooperative games that let them play and enjoy each other's company without trying to destroy each other in the process. Here are a few of my favorites:

Funny Face: A children's charades game, Funny Face let's children move along a circular path on the gameboard while acting out various scenarios: "Be Popcorn," "Be a Snake," "Look Sneaky." There are 100 different fun scenarios in this "no loser" game. Funny Face is great for little ones becuase it's really straightforward, doesn't involve a lot of strategy or reading, and it lasts just 10-15 minutes...perfect for those with short attention spans who just want to laugh!

Sleeping Grump: Kids that like a little action and suspense will love playing the Sleeping Grump. The object of the game is to climb up the vine and work together to get back all of the treasures that the grump has stolen from the town. The only catch is that you can't wake up the "grump" in the process! It's a lot of laughs and great for kids of all ages.

Family Matters: This game bills itself as the get-to-know-your-family-better board game that puts the fun back into family time by inviting players to share stories, discover family trivia, do funny things and creatively explore "Fake Family Crises" from totally new perspectives. To play, family members (you dont have to be related to play!) each take a "seat" in the family car while taking turns driving it through the town, responding to a host of funny, thought-provoking card and Playbook-based questions. Once everybody has driven, the car races toward the finish line to see who's "weekend wish" will soon come true.

Princess: If your kids love knights, dragons, and princesses, they will lvoe this game in which players work together to help the Princess (who is under a spell and locked in a castle) before nightfall! Things both "Magical" and "Practical" must be used to free her. Perfect for the 4-7 year old crowd.