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Put that tablet and phone down and have some real family fun. Photos: (clockwise from left) Facebook/@thesingaporeandream, @zellbeing and @dobblegame

School Holiday Fun: Games That Don't Involve A Device

Looking to keep the entire family entertained during the school holidays? Instead of everyone sitting around fiddling with their gadgets (as usual), how about throwing a weekly family board game night?

Board games and card games aren’t just a foolproof way for everyone to bond, but they also help to enhance your child’s brain and language development. Win-win!

And no, we’re not talking about the classic Monopoly or Cluedo (or other retro games like these). To get your hands on the ones in this list below, you may have to go beyond your neighbourhood Toys “R” Us to find them - which, in itself, could be a super-fun family hunt!

Spot It!

Spot It! is a simple matching game where players must match symbols from two different cards before everyone else.

Between 55 cards and 57 different symbols (which can differ in size to boggle the mind), this game is super easy to learn and extremely satisfying when you manage to scream out the answer before everyone else. Plus, it’s also handy to carry around everywhere (did someone mention staycays?).

There’s even a Star Wars or Disney Frozen version (#NoJudging if you’re the one that wants the Star Wars version).

Spontuneous - The Song Game

Don’t shy-shy! Get your family to break out of their shell with Spontuneous (it's "spontaneous" but with the word "tune" in it).

Everyone starts by writing a list of “Trigger Words”. Then on their turn, announce one of your “Trigger Words” - the first other person who manages to sing five words that includes that “Trigger Word” gets to advance on the board.

And hey, nobody said you cannot sing Majulah Singapura or any of the NDP theme songs to win.

The Singaporean Dream

Which member of your family can proudly say that they are truly Singaporean? It’s time to step up and sabo each other in The Singaporean Dream, which pokes fun at our quintessential Singapore culture.

As one of the many Singaporean personalities available (from an NSF Army Boy to a Safe Distancing Officer), you need to hold onto the most Dream cards to win. Stop others from hoarding Dream cards with cards like “No PMD on Footpaths” or protect your Dream cards with “Gahmen Say Cannot”.

Look out for the updated Singaporean Dream: The New Normal version of this Made-in-SG game.

Exploding Kittens

Exploding Kittens is a weird, wacky version of Russian Roulette but with plenty of cats.

Each person takes turns drawing from a deck of cards until someone kena the “Exploding Kitten” which takes them out of the game. But they can stay alive by using Defuse cards such as laser pointers and kitten yoga to survive or use other cards to sabo everyone else.

The card artwork is also hilarious, and your family will love it even if they have a love/hate relationship with cats. There are several expansions available to make the game more interesting. Just remember to avoid the NSFW deck.


If your family is super kiasu and competitive, try Catan. It’s like Monopoly but on steroids!

Players need to construct buildings and collect resources to win the game. Dices add a random element that can screw up your strategy, but the fun part is bargaining with your fellow players to get the resources you need—just be careful not to sabo your wife or you might end up sleeping outside.

The regular version is great, but there’s a version for younger children and a Game of Thrones edition too if you’re not already scarred by the terrible ending.

Ticket to Ride

Imagine you’re the Transport Minister and you’re mapping out the MRT line for Singapore. That’s basically what Ticket to Ride is about - collecting train cards and building the longest or most train routes on the map.

The key strategy is striking a balance between adding more cards to hand and claiming your routes before your opponent chopes it first.

There are several versions of Ticket to Ride with maps from around the world, and a kids version to introduce your family to the game.


Erm… can try first?

Still undecided about what to pick? Before you add to cart online, you can try out many of these amazing board games at a board game café. Book a timeslot at one of these:

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