5 ‘quality time’ toys and games for Christmas

gerry christmasThere’s really no such thing as a ‘perfect Christmas’ but a Christmas where your family takes a bit of time-out to strengthen bonds and renew connections must be pretty close. Well that sounded sickly sweet, apologies, but I’ll stand by the idea that if you don’t feel connected to your family (or those you regard as family) at Christmas it’s going to feel pretty lousy. I could apologise here for mentioning the word ‘Christmas’ but to be honest I don’t think an apology is necessary, November is here, Halloween has passed and so I feel comfortable mentioning the ‘C word’.

OK so here are my top 5:

  • gibsons spot the sillies crazy chirstmas 100 piece 5 years and up25. Puzzles: At the bottom of my list but nonetheless still a great one to make you feel Christmassy are puzzles, preferably one with a Christmas scene. It can take a while and I’d recommend getting started long before Christmas day, but a wee bit of time each night searching for parts of snow topped roofs and Santa boots is a great way to get some quality time and get right into the spirit of the thing. I should point out that this option isn’t going to work for everyone (hence popping it at number 5) as it’s more likely to be a stress-inducer for those with younger your kids. Even then there are plenty of puzzles out there that smaller kids can enjoy too so I’d still go for it and see how you get on. You can see some of our selection of Christmas puzzles by clicking on this link.
  • 4. Christmas crafts: Just like Christmas puzzles this activity probably works best if you start before Christmas. There are a host of different things you could work on together, from Christmas cards for family, to decorations, and my personal favourite food (though I’m not sure if food officially counts as craft I’m popping it in here). If your creations turn out particularly good you can always pop them in as wee extras with gifts. I’m currently adding Christmas craft stock to the web site so bear with me, here’s the link to our Christmas section.
  • wpid-Laser-maze-thinkfun-solitaire-single-player-puzzle.jpeg3. Logic puzzles: Yes, logic puzzles can be frustrating, aggravating and down right anger-inducing but solving them can leave you feeling like the next Einstein. I’ve talked at length about the mixture of feelings you get from these kinds of puzzle but when you have a bunch of people all trying their hand at it it can all get more intense. Failing to solve it (or being the slowest) irks you more, and being the fastest can give you an even more inflated ego. It’s definitely worth a go to test the brain power. Logic games are also a great leveller as logic is a skill that seems well formed even in kids as young as 8, so prepare to be beaten by someone who was born after ‘Friends’ came off the air. You can find a selection of logic puzzles over here.
  • story cubes2. Winner-less games: Sometimes you need to tone things down and keep everyone happy, sometimes you just need a level playing field so that younger people feel included. Whatever the reason there’s definitely something to be said for games which feature no clear winner. In terms of games of this ilk we only really stock one over at Fun Junction but it’s so good it makes up for that. ‘Rory’s story cubes’ are so simple that play can start straight away but there’s enough variety that you’ll never get the same story twice. Test your story telling skills by rolling nine pictured dice and telling a story using all nine pictures. Though there’s no winner, it’s still a test of skill and can be genuinely entertaining. There is now a variety of different types Rory’s Story cubes and you should be able to find them all over on our web site.
  • 1. Quiz/Board games: Whilst no winners can be a good thing, being the winners can be awesome. Up at the top of my list are those games we love to hate/hate to love (I don’t know, we have some kind of love/hate relationship with them). Incorporating elements of almost every other nomination in this list it’s not hard to see how these games come out on top. There are quiz games that test your wits (always more fun in teams, that way you can blame the other person if you get a question wrong). Then there are more active games like charades and Pictionary-type games which get you out of your shell and get people talking. Finally there are, of course, the classic styled board-games with dice etc. that can produce the most intense emotional reactions you could ever expect from the movements of a small piece of plastic. You simply can’t go wrong with a board game to get a group of people talking, laughing and perhaps crying (OK hopefully not the last one). We have a growing list of family board games over on our web site, click here to pop along for a look.

That’s my list of games, puzzles etc. that can contribute to some quality time at Christmas. I’ll have a closer look at each of these in more detail over the coming weeks. So what do you think, have I missed anything out? Would you have placed any of these differently? Let me know in the comments. As always thanks for reading, Cheers, John

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