By Kimberly Heitzmann

Summer is the time of year when families have more time to spend together. Kids are out of school, so evenings are homework free. Many after-school programs take a break for summer, which means less running around for everyone.

A great way to get the family together is with board games. Turn the TV off and put the cell phones away. You will find yourself laughing and sharing in no time!

Arizona Parenting Magazine readers have shared a few of their top fun and educational family games:

Allowance Game:
This fast-paced game is perfect for learning how to handle money, make change and more. Perfect for teaching kids to identify money values, add and subtract, and more! For ages 5-11.

This award-winning, family strategy game, Blokus, is perfect for the whole family to play, since even young kids can understand the simple rules. Place as many of your tiles on the board as you can. Whoever places all their tiles first or has the fewest left is the winner. For ages 5 and up.

Gobblet Gobblers:
Not your ordinary Tic-Tac-Toe, Gobblet Gobblers is the perfect first strategy game for kids. Like Tic-Tac-Toe, you have to line up your Gobblers, three in a row to win. The twist is that players can gobble up their opponent’s pieces to take their place. For ages 5-8. Ready for a new challenge? Graduate to original Gobblet at age 9.

Scrabble Jr.:
What a great way for kids to play America’s favorite word game! Kid-sized words and colorful pictures make it fun to match letter tiles to words on the grid. When all of the tiles have been placed on the board, the player with the most chips wins! Ages 5 and up. Graduate to original Scrabble at age 8 and up.

Sequence for Kids:
Younger children can enjoy playing this great strategy-building game, even if they can’t read yet. The Sequence Game for Kids is easy to play yet challenging and exciting. Just play a card from your hand, place a chip on a corresponding game board space, and when you have 4 in a row, it’s a “sequence,” and you win. For ages 4-7. Graduate to original Sequence at age 7 and up.

Shut the Box:
Test your math skills with this popular multi-player game! Roll the dice, and use arithmetic to figure out which numbers you can cover. This game is part math, part strategy and part luck. Ages 5 and up. For more of a challenge try Double Shutter Tin for ages 8 and up.

Qwirkle is as simple as matching colors and shapes, but this game also requires tactical maneuvers and well-planned strategy. Earn points by building rows and columns of blocks that share a common shape or color. The player with the most points wins! For ages 6 and up.

Classic Family Games:

Candy Land
Connect Four



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