Some games that would be great to play with your mentee include:
Each of the supply bins should have a normal deck of cards. There are actually a lot of games you can play with a deck of cards! Here are some ideas:
- Go Fish
- Old Maid (use a joker as the old maid)
- Crazy 8s
- Build a Card Casle
- Learn/ practice a magic trick
Rules for these games and more are available at: http://www.pagat.com/
or https://www.titlemax.com/resources/card-games-for-car-road-trips/ - Thanks Lindsay and Joy for the link!
Spoons is a fun card game, but it is best played with more than 2 people. For this reason, you might want to play Spoons when your mentee brings a friend along or you can change the rules a bit. Here is a suggestion for playing with 2 people:
Objective: Obtain the spoon (or pencil)
Gameplay: Before someone can grab the spoon, one of the players must get 4 of a kind (e.g., 4 7's or jacks). That player lays his/her cards down on the table and grabs a spoon. Everyone else can try to grab a spoon as soon as the 4 matching cards are placed on the table. You should have 1 less spoon than the number of players (e.g., with 3 players you should have 2 spoons)
To start the game, deal 4 cards to each player. Look at your cards. The goal at this point is to get 4 of a kind. The dealer picks up 1 card at a time from the stack of remaining cards. The dealer looks at the card and can take it or pass it to the other player. If the dealer takes the card, he or she must pass another card to the second player. The other player can chose to take the card or discard it. You can only have 4 cards in your hand at any time.
As soon as a player gets 4 of a kind, place the cards of the table and both players race to retrieve the spoon. This is where you can change the game a bit. Normally the spoons are placed on the table between the players. Instead, put the spoon somewhere that you need to run to retrieve. Race (carefully) to get the spoon! A fun idea if you play outside is to put the spoon at the top of the jungle gym, where there are several ways to climb up to get it.
7 Up is also a super fun 2 person card game. Each player gets 7 cards, facing down, spread out in a row in front of them. The goal is to flip your cards over and have them read A, 2, 3...7. This is done by flipping cards from your deck and exchanging them from the cards in your row. A video explanation of how this game is played can be found here: https://youtu.be/JPM4gS6Aroo
Make your own
Making your own board game is a great idea for any age, especially when your match shows interest in arts and crafts or is a kinetic learner. Look under the Bank Buddies tab for more DIY board games centering around math.
Other Game ideas
There are a lot of excellent board games out there. If you or your mentee has a topic of interest, you can probably find a board game about that topic! This section has a few ideas for some fun board games you can play with your mentees, but be forewarned, BBBSG does not have copies of these games. The games listed here are somewhat more mature and require decent reasoning skills, so they would be most appropriate for older mentees, generally grade 5 and up. With that being said, you can usually adjust the game to make it easier if you have a younger mentee who would like to try one of these games.
Settlers of Catan- This is a really fun game that you can play fairly cooperatively or competitively. Each player is a settler in a new land. You each start with 2 towns and you take turns placing your starting towns. If you make the map big, you might not even have to compete for resources. Each game is different because the map changes each time. You then collect resources and use those resources to build structures (such as roads, new towns, or upgrade towns to cities) or purchase items (you can buy new resource cards or development cards). To make this game easier, you can play without a limit on the number of resource cards each player can have (usually you can only have 7 cards in your hand).
You win the game by collecting a certain number of "victory points." Completing certain tasks wins you victory points. To make this game easier for your mentee to win (but so that you're still playing your best), try making goals to only achieve victory points by doing certain tasks. For example, try to get all of your victory points without purchasing any cards.
Magic Cards- To play this game you or your mentee will need to have some magic cards. You can build your own decks or purchase pre-made "dual decks." This game can get very expensive if you want to buy a lot of cards, so I would recommend just using dual decks if you aren't serious about playing it outside of your mentorship as well. Dual decks are also a good idea because they are made to be a balanced game when the two decks are played against each other.
The premise of this game is that you and your mentee are each different "summoners." You use cards to represent the creatures you summon and the spells you cast. Each card has a different ability, attack, or other attribute. Creatures have health and damage and they also sometimes have other effects/abilities. You will also need to play "land" or mana cards which basically is the currency you use to cast a new creature or spell. Some spells require just 1 land to cast, others require several. You then take turns drawing and playing cards, trying to defeat each other.
If you decide to play Magic Cards, please look through the decks before playing. Some of the cards have scary images on them, so consider removing these. This game requires good reading skills and some strategy, so consider your mentee's age and abilities before playing.
There are some important rules for playing Magic, so try to read the rule booklet before playing. Rule booklets are available in most decks.
Ticket to Ride- This is a neat game you can play with kids who are 8 and up. This is a great game for kids who love anything to do with trains, but it is also interesting for anyone who likes strategy, puzzles, or patterns.
Each player acts as a railroad company and you each compete to put down railways. At the beginning of the game you each get 3 "goal" cards, which state beginning and ending locations. You then collect "train cards" to try to create a railway connecting these two locations together. There are different coloured train cards and you need to gather a certain number of the same colour to create a train track.
For example, if you look at the image on the top left, there are 4 players- red, black, blue, and green. The blocks represent completed railways for each player. If you look at the triangle in the middle, you can see some uncompleted railway connections: 2 blue tracks, 2 green ones, and 2 yellow ones printed on the game board. To build those railways, a player needs to have the corresponding number of coloured cards (2 blue, green, or yellow respectively).
Sometimes you both want to put a train track down to connect the same two cities, so the game can get competitive. This might be a good opportunity to work on problem solving skills- what can you or your mentee do if you're blocked? Help your mentee see a path around their main route!
Carcassonne- This game is all about building a medieval landscape and designating parts of it as 'yours.' The game starts with 1 terrain tile face up and the remaining tiles shuffled and face down. On each turn, a player draws a terrain tile and places it beside a face-up tile it fits next to. Tiles can contain roads, city parts, and fields. All new tiles must be played so that it extends the features on the tile you're connecting to. For instance, you can see in the picture to the left that the roads do not just abruptly end- the connecting tiles continue the road.
After placing a tile, you can chose to place a "follower" on a part of that tile if no one else already has claimed that object. You then 'own' this object- be it a road, city, or field. For instance, a player can claim a city if no one else has claimed it. The game ends when the last tile is placed down. Then points are scored based on the number of tiles you have claimed.
The scoring can be a bit tricky, so make sure you read the rules and that you both understand how scoring works before starting the game- this may change your strategy!
Clue- this is a well-known game that is still a lot of fun. Work your way around the haunted mansion to figure out who the murderer is!
To start the game, place 1 location, 1 weapon, and 1 person card in an envelope. Do not look at these cards- they represent the murderer, weapon used, and location of the crime. Place the envelope to the side of the game board.
Next, shuffle the rest of the cards and deal an even number to each player. If you have a card, you know this person/place/thing is NOT in the envelope, and therefore was not involved in the crime. Taking turns, you can walk around the board and guess who the killer is, what weapon they used, and where they did it (you need to be in the room to guess that room). If your opponent has one or more of the cards, they have to show you 1- it is their choice which card to show you if they have more than 1. Through the process of elimination you should figure out who was the murderer, what weapon they used, and where they did the crime.
If you want to change the game to be more appropriate for younger children (i.e., not a murderer), think of a 'crime' together. Maybe the culprit you're trying to find cheated on a test. Then the goal of the game is to figure out who cheated, which room the cheated in, and what item they used. You can create your own cards for the school rooms (library, classroom, hallway, etc.), the items you could use to cheat on a test (phone, calculator, friend, etc.) and create your own characters (mentee, yourself, mentee's mom, teacher, etc). Creating the game can sometimes be more fun than playing it!