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Revealed: The Most Popular Children’s Games In The UK

Revealed: The Most Popular Children’s Games 

We’ve looked at official Google search data to find out which children’s games are most popular right now.

If you’re a parent looking for a game that the whole family will enjoy, or are looking for educational games for your class of children, check out our data below to get inspired.

 

Our data explained

Using the Google Ads Keyword Research tool, we looked into which children’s games received the highest monthly searches on Google in the UK.

We’ve subsequently come up with a list of the top 20 games for kids, which includes some key information about each one – such as the educational benefits of each game, which we cover in more detail further down.

 

The most popular games for kids

Mousetrap is the most popular game for kids in the UK, according to Google search data.

There are 49,000 monthly searches for this game – which is more than one Google search every minute! The search volume for this board game has increased by 50% over the last three months, suggesting that it’s becoming more popular over time.

Game Monthly
search
volume
Three-month
change
Released Age
range
no.
players
Mousetrap 49,500 50% 1963 6 + 2 – 4
Snakes & Ladders 40,500 0% 1943 3 + 2 – 4
UNO 40,500 7% 1971 7 + 2 – 10
Scrabble 35,000 0% 1948 6 + 2 – 4
Connect 4 27,100 50% 1974 6 + 2
Ludo 22,200 23% 1896 3 + 2 – 4
Cluedo 22,200 23% 1949 8 + 2 – 6
Guess Who 18,100 22% 1980 6 + 2
Twister 14,800 22% 1966 6 + 2 +
Jenga 14,800 0% 1983 6 + 2 +
Operation 12,100 124% 1965 6 + 1 +
Boggle 12,100 22% 1972 8 + 1 +
Twister 14,800 22% 1966 6 + 2 +
Jenga 14,800 0% 1983 6 + 2 +
Operation 12,100 124% 1965 6 + 1 +
Boggle 12,100 22% 1972 8 + 1 +
We’re Going On
A Bear Hunt
12,100 83% 2019 3 + 2 – 4
Kerplunk 9,900 50% 1967 5 + 2 – 4
Buckaroo 9,900 50% 1989 4 + 2 – 4
Monopoly Junior 8,100 84% 1990 5 + 2 – 4
4 In A Row 2,900 53% 1974 5 + 2
Hungry Hungry
Hippos
1,600 23% 1978 4 + 2 – 4
Codebreaker 1,000 39% 1998 3 + 2
First 100 Words 880 83% 2019 2 + 1+

First released in 1963 by Ideal Toy Company and now distributed by Hasbro, this game encourages players to scurry around the board, collecting and stealing cheese from their opponents while keeping watch for the trap. 

It’s suitable for kids aged six and older, and it offers a host of learning outcomes, including hand-eye coordination, observation, and problem solving. Find Mouse Trap on our website!

Following quite close behind in second place is Snakes and Ladders, a family favourite for nearly 80 years. This classic board game is currently searched for just over 40,000 times a month in the UK – 55 times an hour, to be precise. 

Originally known as Moksha Patam, this game’s roots can be traced back to ancient India. Historians believe that the earliest version of Snakes and Ladders was played as far back as the 2nd century BC. The game, in which players race each other to the top of the board, was brought over to England in the late 19th century by colonial rulers. It was then introduced and published in the US by the Milton Bradley Company in 1943 (by the name Chutes and Ladders) – hence this being listed as its official release date.

Suitable for two to four players and anyone aged three years or older, Snakes and Ladders is proven to improve a child’s numerical skills and their ability to interact with their peers.

 

Other popular children’s games

Like Snakes and Ladders, Uno is Googled 40,500 times a month – or 55 times an hour – across the UK.

First developed in 1971 by Merle Robbins in Reading, Uno is a card game with a simple objective. Players need to get rid of their cards before their opponents. They take turns matching a card in their hand with the face-up card at the top of the stack, either by colour or number, or they play one of the special cards. This article explains how to play Uno in more detail. 

Unlike many games, Uno can be played by up to ten players, making it the perfect activity for a bigger family or classroom environment.

The final two entries in the top five most searched for children’s games are:

 

Scrabble

This game is one of the oldest on our list, having been around in some shape or form for almost one hundred years. It’s still universally popular today, with people in the UK searching for Scrabble 35,000 times a month. 

Originally called Criss Cross, this game was developed by the architect Alfred M. Butts in 1931 and was based on the crossword puzzle and anagrams. It was later redesigned and renamed Scrabble and was first sold in the UK in 1954. 

If you haven’t played it before or aren’t familiar with how it works, Scrabble is a word-forming game, so it’s perfect for improving a child’s spelling and grammatical skills. Therefore, if you’re a parent looking to improve your child’s vocabulary, or a teaching assistant wanting to incorporate more games into your group literacy lessons, this game is ideal. 

 

Connect 4

This game is highly challenging and enjoyable in equal measure. Googled 27,000 times a month, Connect 4 has been officially trademarked since 1974, but it’s existed in other forms for centuries. In fact, legend has it that Captain Cook was one of the first people to play Connect 4 as we now recognise it – he’s alleged to have spent so much time playing the game that it was nicknamed ‘Cabin Mistress’

Connect 4 provides a whole host of learning outcomes, including observation and problem solving. Players take turns to drop counters in slots until one player gets four coloured discs in a line before their opponent.

 

The big movers

Over the last three months, searches for the battery-operated game Operation have increased by 124%, with more than 12,000 people a month currently searching for this game.

In this game, children must operate on a patient and remove their ailments with tweezers without setting off the buzzer. As such, this game is best suited to improving a child’s hand-eye coordination, observational skills, and problem-solving ability.

Monopoly Junior has also seen a huge increase in search volume over the last three months. Different from Monopoly in the sense that it has 24 spaces as opposed to 40, this game features a range of child-friendly properties such as an ice cream parlour, toy store, and skate park. As you’d expect, its main educational benefit is that it improves a child’s counting and numerical skill. 

Another popular children’s game that considerably more people have searched for over the last few months is We’re Going On A Bear Hunt. This game – an adaptation of Michael Rosen’s picture book of the same name released in 1989 – is geared towards improving a child’s literacy and communication. 

 

Demographics

Of the 20 most popular games for kids, 60% are targeted at children aged four to six years old. This statistic may not come as a surprise given that children are proven to develop most of their core cognitive, social, and emotional developmental skills during this stage of their lives.

 

Timeline

From our list of the 20 most popular children’s games, nearly half of these (40%) are more than 50 years old at the time of writing. 

Ludo has existed in its current form since 1896 – two decades before World War One! 

Of our top five games, three of these were released before the 1970s, showing that the old games are still the best. 

 

The expert’s view

Laura Steele is a teaching resources creator with PlanBee and was a school teacher for 11 years. We spoke to Laura to get her thoughts on the most popular children’s games and find out more about their long-term physical and psychological benefits.

 

How can some classic children’s games improve a child’s brain function and cognitive development?

The act of playing a game helps to awaken and exercise essential cognitive skills, such as problem-solving and decision-making.

For example, Connect 4 is a deceptively simple yet strategic two-player game that can help to develop a range of complex thought processes.

Many aspects of playing a board game can also promote literacy skills – from reading instructions and game cards to speaking and listening to fellow players. Games like Scrabble, Boggle and Articulate more explicitly help develop literacy skills such as spelling. They also enable a child to improve their vocabulary and oral description.

In addition to cognitive development, many games can also help children to practise and refine their fine motor skills, as a certain level of hand-eye coordination and dexterity are required to move pieces around a board. Operation, Buckaroo, and Jenga are games that can help children to develop these skills.

How can these games improve a child’s social and emotional skills?

Playing a board game almost always requires a minimum of two players. This sets the scene for the development of a wide range of social skills, such as patience, turn-taking, sharing, compromising, and collaboration. 

Games can also help older children develop their understanding of another person’s viewpoint – they may need to put themselves into their opponent’s shoes to anticipate their moves.

Many children find losing, or being unsuccessful, difficult to accept. Board games can be a safe activity to ‘fail’ at and offer children an opportunity to learn how to deal with this feeling. 

An adult’s input is often useful here – not only to express that it is OK to lose, but also, if appropriate, to discuss what went wrong and look at alternative strategies together. Playing games where there is a ‘winner’ and a ‘loser’ can help children develop resilience. They also become more able to pick themselves up and try again if things haven’t gone the way they wanted.

 

 

 

What do you consider to be the five most essential learning outcomes of children’s games?

  1. The amount of decision-making that takes place in even the simplest of board games can be quite staggering! Not only do games help children to practise this skill, but they also encourage them to assess their decisions quickly in order to keep up with the pace of the game.
  2. In a world where everyone wants and expects everything immediately, patience is a much-needed skill. The turn-taking aspect of most board games helps children to learn how to ‘wait’ and do so patiently!
  3. Anticipation – that is, understanding that other people have thoughts and ideas different to our own and knowing someone will react – is a valuable life skill that a child can practise through the playing of strategic board games.
  4. Most board games require interaction between two or more players. This leads to the development of essential cooperation and collaboration skills.
  5. Playing a board game can take time and concentration and can help to increase a child’s attention span.

Why do you think that, more recently, certain classic games such as Mousetrap, Connect 4, and Operation have seen such an uplift in Google searches? Do you think parents are now more conscious of their children’s screen time and are looking for new and creative ways to fill their time?

Many parents often worry about their children’s screen time.

Whilst there are many entertaining and educational on-screen games, they do not always have the same advantages that sitting down as a family and playing a board game can bring.

In an attempt to reduce their child’s screen time, parents may be looking to their childhood and have fond memories of these classic games, which they would now like to experience with their children.

 

Is there any advice you can give parents looking for Christmas presents for their children in favour of purchasing these games?

Board games can offer your children not only hours of fun and enjoyment, but many also have (an often hidden!) educational value.

If you want to ‘test the waters’ and try out one game, choose one with a theme or aim that you know will interest your child, as well as developing their skills in an area that would be beneficial to them. If you are looking to buy more than one game, choose a varied selection that will help your child to develop a range of skills.

Whatever you choose, be prepared to play these games alongside your child – modelling not only how to play, but how to win humbly, lose graciously, and celebrate others’ success, will provide an invaluable learning experience.

 

Find out more about popular children’s games

You now have all the information you need to help you decide which games are best for your child or children. The next step is to put these games in front of them and watch them learn, develop, and grow. 

At Hope Education, we sell a whole range of games for young children, as well as jigsaws, puzzles, stationery, and much more. 

We offer free next day delivery on orders over £25 and have an ‘Excellent’ rating on Trustpilot. Find out how we can educate and inspire your children today.

*Please note that we are unable to accept orders placed between December 20 and January 3. 

 

<a href="https://blog.hope-education.co.uk/author/sabrina-ruthven/" target="_self">Sabrina Ruthven</a>

Sabrina Ruthven

Hope Education writer

17 December 2021

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