I first played the original Taboo at a game night with adult friends a couple years ago. It was a blast. I thought if a bunch of grown women could have so much fun getting tongue tied, it was definitely a game I wanted to play with my family. I discovered Taboo Kids vs. Parents and bought it the next day. What I found was that the age recommendation of 8 and up is fairly accurate. It took awhile, but I think we have finally found a way to include our pre-readers in a way that is fun for everyone.
Taboo Kids v. Parents Game Details
Product: Taboo Kids vs. Parents
Recommended Age Range: 8 and up, younger kids can be included, but will need help
Price Range: ~$20
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Taboo is such an easy and fun game to play for some fast family bonding. If all of your kids are over about the age of 12, I think it makes more sense to get the original Taboo. Those words will be easily recognizable to teenagers and if one team needs a handicap, you can simply give them more time.
However, if you have children who are under about 12, I think it makes a lot of sense to get Taboo Kids vs. Parents. There are two sets of clue words, one for kid and one for adults. The kid words are much easier than in the original version. Personally, I think the adult words are a little harder, though I don’t own the original version so I can’t compare directly. The kids cards also only have 2 words that are “taboo” while the adult card have 5.
In case you are unfamiliar with the game, you start by dividing into two teams. Then players take turns trying to get their teammates to say a given word. However, they are not allowed to use their hands or say a list of words that are “taboo.” For example, a kid might have to get their teammates to say the word “pocket” without using the words “hold” or “pants.” They could say something like “a part of your clothes that you can hold stuff in.” An example of an adult card is trying to get your team to say “puncture” without using the words: wound, bite, snake, hole, or tire.
There is a one minute sand timer that runs during each turn. The goal is to see how many words the person describing can get their team to say before the time is up. While they are describing, someone from the opposing team sits near them and monitors what they say. If they accidentally say one of the taboo words, they squeak a squeaker to indicate they made a mistake. According to the game rules, any card that is squeaked or “passed” gives a point to the other team, but we don’t play using that rule.
I find that my 8 and 10 year olds are pretty good at being describers without help. They can both read and understand the concept. My 10 year old is better than my 8 year old and successfully describes more words. However, my 8 year old daughter can do it without help. She’s just a little slower.
When my 4 and 6 year olds who can’t read take turns, we don’t use the “taboo” words. I simply tell them which word they want to get their team to say and they try to do that without using that particular word, which is challenging. I typically whisper some suggestions of what to say in my 4 year old’s year and my husband helps to guess for them even though he is not on their team.
Using these modifications, our family is able to play in a way that is fun for everybody and evens out the parent vs. kid teams pretty well. As our kids get older, we will decrease the amount of assistance we give them. In the meantime, our family is laughing and having fun together while stretching our minds and practicing creative thinking. That is a win in my book!
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