Are you looking for great gift ideas for kids? Are you looking to buy presents on a budget? Are you looking for presents that don’t require batteries and get kids to unplug for a bit? Well, look no further because I have compiled a list of awesome games tried and tested on my own children! What’s more – they all have an RRP of £20 or less on Zatu!
3-5 Year Olds – Greedy Gorilla
For this age group, I have no hesitation in recommending the majority of games published by Orchard Toys. They have steadily released games to teach preschool and primary school children the basics of board gaming.
One of my children's favourites is Greedy Gorilla. This is a matching/memory game for 2-4 players. Each player is given a menu of healthy foods. This is a list of food and drinks to find in the face-down tiles that are laid out in front of you. Turning over these tiles, you start to memorise where things are. If you need the item turned over, it goes on your game board. Some of the tiles are unhealthy food (with a different colour background) and these get fed to the Greedy Gorilla who burps when he is fed - much to the hilarity of the children! The first one to fill their board wins.
This is not a complicated game for obvious reasons but I have enjoyed playing it with all my children when they were young. You can argue it is slightly educational too, teaching good diets from a young age. It is perfect for 3-5-year-olds. A 6 or 7-year-old sibling will play too quite happily. At under £10, it is also great value.
5-7 Year Olds – Top Trumps Match
For this age group, I recommend the two-player game Top Trumps Match. I was responsible for the Zatu review where I gave it a very good 77%. One of the great features of this game is that it is simple to learn and has an easy concept to understand how to win. You can apply some tactics for the slightly older child/adult too.
Another brilliant feature of Top Trump Match is that it is available in various different themes, all with an RRP around £15.99. Fortunately, at the time of writing, the Star Wars, Harry Potter, Toy Story 4, Batman, and Dinosaurs versions are all on offer! It really is a great game and therefore, a great gift!
7-10 Year Olds - Kingdomino
Kingdomino has an RRP of £19.99. This is excellent value, particularly as adults that don’t mind playing a slightly lighter game will get plenty of fun playing it too!
Kingdomino is a very clever little game of choosing and placing tiles. Ultimately you are building a mini-land around your castle. This is a very easy game to learn, with a quick set-up and playtime. I particularly like the ‘who goes first mechanic’. It looks good and is really fun to play. The only drawback is some minor adding up and multiplication to do at the end of the game. This is not something that should put you off. You can encourage your child/children to undertake basic math with a purpose. Kingdomino is a must-have classic game for me. I love it and regularly play whilst eating dinner with my wife, both romantic and rock n roll I’m sure you will agree!
10-12 Year Olds – Forbidden Island
At this point, I throw into the mix a cooperative board game from the creator of Pandemic. Forbidden Island feels like a scaled-down version of it. Despite it being a little vanilla it is still fun. From a grown-up perspective, it is slightly less immersive and complicated than Pandemic. But that is also its plus point for younger players. The RRP is £19.99.
The aim of the game is for everyone to escape the island with four pieces of treasure between them. You have to do this before you, the island, or the treasure, sink. Being a co-op encourages talking through ideas, thinking logically, and working together as a team. These are great life skills too. Like any co-op game, you have to make sure any alpha-male type players are kept on a leash!
13+Year Olds – Obama Llama 2
With an RRP of £20 this party game from Big Potato Games is a hit. It allows teens to be coaxed out of their comfort zone of staring at a mobile phone and start interacting with other human beings - offline!
In Obama Llama two teams battle it out by either acting out, describing, or solving clues. The answers all rhyme. If you are old enough to remember Ant and Dec’s Wonky Donkey game on Saturday mornings you will know exactly what I mean. Each team takes it in turn and gets 30 seconds to correctly answer as many as they can. For every 3 correct answers, you get the chance to turn over cards in a memory game with rhyming pairs. The team with the most pairs at the end of the game wins. This is a really fun game, so much so there is a festive-themed Santa Banter too.
I hope this gives you some inspiration as to what games to consider buying for Christmas. I wrote this with Aunties, Uncles, and Grandparents particularly in mind looking for a Christmas gift idea. Be sure to read my features on great Christmas stocking fillers under £15 and Rory's Story Cubes for even more gift ideas.
Editors note: This blog was originally published on December 12th, 2019. Updated on November 17th, 2022 to improve the information available.