We like simple games that the whole family can sit around the table and play. 

As a family, we think you sometimes get more from the basic games than the complicated ones.

Firstly, the straightforward ones let more family members play; the more complicated the game the more people get left out.

Secondly, we think simple games can be better for quality time and communication. There are fewer rules and complications getting in the way and more time having fun and interacting positively. Plus, when you’re sitting around a table you’re not staring at a screen, you’re actually looking at each other, which leads to better eye-contact, communication, and is just nice.

Lastly but not leastly (we know that’s not a word), it’s important for kids with disabilities. They don’t have to be very mobile – their seating system, wheelchair, or GoTo Seat may be all they need – and can help improve communication, motor and cognitive abilities.

So with all that in mind, here are our top 10 classic table-top games.

1. Play-Doh

Always a favourite, play-doh encourages you to let your imagination run wild. There are no age-limits and no restrictions. Why not take turns at making models of the person sitting opposite you?

2. Table Football

A simplified version of table football can involve nothing more complicated than something to mark-out a goal and a rolled up ball of paper. Take turns shooting at your opponent’s goal by flicking or rolling your ball. And there’s no reason why you can’t add more players and more goals to make it more chaotic and fun.

3. Lego

We don’t really need to explain this one, everybody loves lego and, like play-doh, you’re only limited by your imagination. It’s fun for everybody but for kids with developmental delays it provides a good way to practise with fine motor skills colours and shapes.

4. Pairs

We loved playing this game with a deck of playing cards, but it’s easy to replicate with homemade cards displaying shapes, pictures or numbers. Place all the cards face down on the table and take turns at trying to find a matching pair. It’s probably the original memory game and it’s a good cognitive workout for anyone.

5. Balloon Toss

This is a great team game with lots of sensory stimulation. With a pile of balloons and a sheet ready to go, split into two teams. Team one sits around the table (the wider the table the better) and stretch the sheet out by holding the bit nearest them. The balloons are then dumped into the middle and team two counts to see how long it takes their opponents to shake off all the balloons. The winning team is the one with the fastest time.

6. Table Basketball

All you need is an empty cup and a ping pong ball for this one. Place the cup in the centre of the table and take turns at throwing or bouncing the ball into the cup. By sitting around a table, you can have as many players or teams as you want. Set a timer and the highest scorer when the buzzer goes is the winner.

7. Skittles

Best played on a long table, set up a collection of plastic bottles at one end. (For an extra sensory element half fill the bottles with liquid, peas, lentils or marbles – anything that with make a fun noise). From the opposite end of the table, roll a suitable ball towards the skittles and see how many you can knock down. Place the skittles close together to make it easier, or further apart for an extra challenge.

Tell us: what's your family's favourite table-top game?

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