Board games to play with kids with autism
I was reading a bunch of posts on this topic and was really disappointed in the suggested games see I use to run a childcare centre and in such an environment you find yourself working with a diverse group of kids and families.
One of my biggest passions during this time of my life was introducing kids to a diverse range of board games and I have a huge passion to show off some of the awesome modern board games that are available this day and age outside of the classic boardgames that everybody knows and have been played to death.
There are a bunch of board games that I had a huge range of success introducing to kids with autism in a group setting so I’d love to share these with you and hope that your kids love these games as much as we all do.
Now I understand that every child is different so I have put in a range of options that worked well for us in OSHC (Outside School Hours Care) but not every option worked well for every child so of course think will this game work for my child, that being said these are the games that had the most success across the board… get it Board!
I have found that Autism has such a range and the more I learnt the more I released I didn’t know anything so it would be very dependent on the child.
Here are my top 6 games to play with a child with autism that can be found at your local board game store and 2 groups that specialise in making games for kids.
Off the shelf Games
King of Tokyo
For this game we found success in the simple truth that theme is king when working with kids with autism, the game is simple and them is so awesome that every 5-13-year-old Boy will be Hooked before they open the box the game itself is quite simple as it involves players taking turns rolling dice and then applying the effects to the board.
This actually works in the game’s favour to help keep kids attention as something is always happing that effects the everybody playing this is critical in keeping your kids attention on the game and really is the core reason why this game is the first edition to this list.
In King of Tokyo, you play mutant monsters, gigantic robots, and strange aliens—all of whom are destroying Tokyo and whacking each other in order to become the one and only King of Tokyo.
At the start of each turn, you roll six dice, which show the following six symbols: 1, 2, or 3 Victory Points, Energy, Heal, and Attack. Over three successive throws, choose whether to keep or discard each die in order to win victory points, gain energy, restore health, or attack other players into understanding that Tokyo is YOUR territory.
The fiercest player will occupy Tokyo, and earn extra victory points, but that player can’t heal and must face all the other monsters alone!
Top this off with special cards purchased with energy that have a permanent or temporary effect, such as the growing of a second head which grants you an additional die, body armour, nova death ray, and more…. and it’s one of the most explosive games of the year!
In order to win the game, one must either destroy Tokyo by accumulating 20 victory points or be the only surviving monster once the fighting has ended.
Tsuro is tile-placement game that involves placing tiles on a board to create a path that players character tiles then follow that path. We found a lot of success with the fast-paced game due to the fact that it plays so fast and this tends to keep the kid’s attention.
From the publisher:
A beautiful and beautifully simple game of laying a tile before your own token to continue its path on each turn. The goal is to keep your token on the board longer than anyone else’s, but as the board fills up this becomes harder because there are fewer empty spaces left… and another player’s tile may also extend your own path in a direction you’d rather not go. Easy to introduce to new players, Tsuro lasts a mere 15 minutes and actually does work for any number from 2 to 8.
Tsuro has an Asian spiritual theme – the lines representing the “many roads that lead to divine wisdom”, and the game as a whole representing “the classic quest for enlightenment”.
This theme is very light and the game essentially plays as an abstract.
The game consists of tiles with twisting lines on them, a 6×6 grid on which to lay these tiles and a token for each player. Each player has a hand of tiles. On your turn you do two things: place a tile from your hand onto the board next to your token and move your token as far as it can go along the line it is currently on, until it is stopped by an empty space with no tile in (yet), the edge of the board or colliding with another player’s token.
If your token reaches the edge of the board or collides with another player’s token, you are out of the game. The aim of the game is to be the last player left with a token on the board. The strategy, therefore, consists of trying to drive your opponents either into each other or off the board whilst extending your own route in directions that will make it difficult for your opponents to do the same.
The theme combined with the fast pace play is great however we recommend removing the pudding cards and just playing one round at a time with the winner being established then rather than the three rounds.
In the super-fast sushi card game, Sushi Go!, you are eating at a sushi restaurant and trying to grab the best combination of sushi dishes as they whiz by. Score points for collecting the most sushi rolls or making a full set of sashimi. Dip your favourite nigiri in wasabi to triple its value! And once you’ve eaten it all, finish your meal with all the pudding you’ve got! But be careful which sushi you allow your friends to take; it might be just what they need to beat you!
Sushi Go! takes the card-drafting mechanism of Fairy Tale and 7 Wonders and distils it into a twenty-minute game that anyone can play. The dynamics of “draft and pass” are brought to the fore, while keeping the rules to a minimum. As you see the first few hands of cards, you must quickly assess the make-up of the round and decide which type of sushi you’ll go for. Then, each turn you’ll need to weigh which cards to keep and which to pass on. The different scoring combinations allow for some clever plays and nasty blocks. Round to round, you must also keep your eye on the goal of having the most pudding cards at the end of the game!
Battle sheep It’s relatively fast and intuitive for an abstract. You may have to help a little at first, then they will take off!
In Battle Sheep (first released as Splits), players start the game by constructing the board from identical four-hex tiles, then each player places his/her tall stack of discs on one of the border hexes.
Players take turns removing some number of discs from the top of one of their stacks, moving that new stack of discs as far away as it can go in a straight line. Players must leave at least one disc behind when moving, so the board gradually fills up and movement opportunities become more and more scarce. The player occupying the most spaces at the end of the game wins!
Roll for it
The tactile experience of throwing so many dice combined with the fast-paced nature of this game makes this game a winner.
Roll For It! is a casual, family-friendly dice and card game. Each player starts the game with six dice of a single colour, and three target cards are laid face-up on the table.
Players take turns doing the following: On a turn, a player rolls all of her dice not already on cards, then places any dice that match the targets on the corresponding cards. (Alternatively, before taking her turn, a player can first choose to reclaim all of her dice from all cards.)
If the player now fulfills the target with her dice – e.g., a pair of 3s, a quartet of 6s, or a specific combination of numbers – she claims the card, takes back her dice (and returns any other dice on the card to their owner), then places a new card on the table. Each card is worth a certain number of points. The first player to earn forty or more points wins!
The cooperative nature of this game gives you an experience you can play and win together will also being a lot faster then most cooperative games makes it great for playing with kids.
Forbidden Island is a visually stunning cooperative board game. Instead of winning by competing with other players like most games, everyone must work together to win the game. Players take turns moving their pawns around the ‘island’, which is built by arranging the many beautifully screen-printed tiles before play begins.
As the game progresses, more and more island tiles sink, becoming unavailable, and the pace increases. Players use strategies to keep the island from sinking while trying to collect treasures and items. As the water level rises, it gets more difficult- sacrifices must be made.
What causes this game to truly stand out among co-op and competitive games alike is the extreme detail that has been paid to the physical components of the game. It comes in a sturdy and organized tin of good shelf storage size. The plastic treasure pieces and wooden pawns are well crafted and they fit just right into the box.
The cards are durable, well printed, and easy to understand. The island tiles are the real gem: they are screen-printed with vibrant colours, each with a unique and pleasing image. With multiple levels of difficulty, different characters to choose from (each with a special ability of their own), many optional island formats and game variations available, Forbidden Island has huge replay value. The game can be played by as few as two players and up to four (though it can accommodate five).
More players translates into a faster and more difficult game, though the extra help can make all the difference. This is a fun game, tricky for players of almost any age. Selling for under twenty dollars, oddly, Forbidden Island is a rare game of both quality and affordable price.
For those who enjoy Forbidden Island, a follow-up project by Gamewright titled Forbidden Desert was released in 2013.
From the publisher’s website:
Dare to discover Forbidden Island! Join a team of fearless adventurers on a do-or-die mission to capture four sacred treasures from the ruins of this perilous paradise. Your team will have to work together and make some pulse-pounding maneuvers, as the island will sink beneath every step! Race to collect the treasures and make a triumphant escape before you are swallowed into the watery abyss!
These companies all have a mission to develop quality games to help families with children that have a disability some of them are very cool but they all tend to have a high price point but are with checking out (links below)
Educational Board Games for Kids Build Self Esteem!
Did you know that Games not only offer fun family time but that playing games with your children actually builds their self-confidence? Making time to unplug and play children’s board games is as important as feeding and bathing – seriously! Playing educational board games for kids allows children to develop socially and intellectually. Making decisions, using forethought, thinking sequentially, using memory, language, listening and concentrating skills are building healthy active neurons. Learning how to be patient, to listen, to not being too bossy and to even winning and losing gracefully makes for a better well-rounded human being. HABA creates imaginative children’s board games that are fun for all ages. So why not unplug and play a HABA game today? At HABA we pride ourselves on making educational board games for kids that grandparents love playing as much as parents and children. Explore our collection of fun and exciting children’s games below!
And we know that those game instructions sometimes get lost so we made it easy – click here to download HABA game instructions
Some of Our Favourite HABA Games
The super hero from the animal world fearlessly scales the highest houses looking for burglars and rogues. He is as strong as a lion and as smart as a fox but also as heavy as a rhinoceros. So even the most robust multi-story buildings may start to wobble. Can you help Rhino Hero accomplish his wobbly mission and build a skyscraper as tall and solid as possible?
Karuba Junior – Children’s Game
Together the players head off on an exciting search for treasures in the jungle on the island of Karuba! Will they manage to arrange the tiles so that they reach all the treasures before the mean pirates raid the island? They’ll need to work together, and be careful of tigers that block the paths. With skill and a bit of luck they’ll be faster than the pirates!
Wild Vikings – Children’s Game
One ship for me, one for you: that’s how real Vikings divided their booty. Whoever has good foresight and is clever at bidding can gather lots of precious stones.
We imagine playful and creative ways to make learning fun, empowering and rewarding.
Through shared play, our diverse collection of games brings academic and life skills alive for all ages. Whether it’s critical thinking, problem solving, creativity or strategy, we have fun ways to help you build essential skills with your child.
Ready? Game on.