Shabbos board games/activities for 9-10 year old boys

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    Over the last few years many games and and activities have come out that are great for a shabbos afternoon I would like suggestions for a fourth-fifth grade boy I have the old stand-buys of monopoly and nok hockey. Thanks all suggestions would be appreciated.(p.s. yes he does make sure to learn on shabbos as well)


    If he’s interested in strategy games, I might recommend a game called Settlers of Catan.

    If he’s looking for a fun, fast-paced game, I might recommend Wheedle.

    The Wolf

    Pashuteh Yid

    The best activity is fighting with his brothers and sisters.


    Thanks pYid but he already has that game and is quite the master:)

    the wolf- Both your suggestions seem good however, how essential is writing down scoring in wheedle?


    Perpetual Commotion is great!


    Domination, sort of dominos with a board, my 9 year old likes it, as well as skip-bo, set and othello.


    the wolf- Both your suggestions seem good however, how essential is writing down scoring in wheedle?

    It’s been a while since I played, but IIRC, you don’t have to write the score at all. In Settlers of Catan, I’m certain there is no need to write down the score (your points are basically the number of cities/settlements and certain cards in your possession).

    The Wolf

    Be Happy

    “Sorry” is a great board game suitable to pay on Shabbos as it has no dice in the game.


    Settlers of Catan is a game my 24 year old plays every Shabbos with his friends and sometimes during the week. THEY ARE OBSESSED!!!!

    I just bought a LEGO game for my 8 year old grandson, that might work. Risk is a good game and takes thought, Stratego, Mastermind makes them think as well as Othello.


    I really appreciate everybody’s suggestions so far thanks. Some of the games mentioned I never heard of (catan, wheedle domination)and looked them up and they seem great. Thanks so far to everyone that replied


    uno is a very good card game. koogalach (the five gold small squares)you must have five to play, is great to play on shabbos.

    i also found a game in my house that i had for very long,it’s very good my kids play with it,you need two players for it it’s called moncolo(it’s with marbles)it’s fantastic.


    rummykub is alot of fun for all ages.



    If he’s good enough, he can learn in Slabodka.


    Settlers of Catan also has the vote in our house. deiy.. i think you are talking about mancala. Another great game is Slapegories. It can be played by those of all ages, the bigger the group the better.


    Great game that I love (except that you have to figure out a way to keep score) is Malarky.


    I’ve always found that poker chips are wonderful for keeping scores.

    The Wolf


    The kids( and adults around here love Perpetual Commotion- but you need at least three or four players to have a geshmake game.

    Also, spit(only need a deck of cards and two/three players.

    On long afternoons, we try to play long games like triopoly.

    If there’s only one player, rushhour or tipover are good choices.


    As I mentioned above i do truly appreciate everybody’s suggestions. And of course my son will appreciate it even more 🙂



    I’ve played Scrabble in English, Spanish, and Hebrew.


    thank you that is what i meant.


    Mnay people hold that playing scrabble is assur on shabbos.


    Many people hold that playing scrabble is assur on shabbos.

    If scrabble is assur on shabbos, it is because it is normal to write down the score, not because placing the tiles is “writing”.


    I found a cool game for pesach called “Chametz: The Search is On” … it’s like Clue, but instead of the knife or candlestick, it’s a cupcake or cracker. You can read about it at


    How about UNO?


    We are rather fond of Flux. There is also phase 10, 5 Crowns and a bunch of other card games. I think there is a really good game store in Manhattan, If you go there and tell them what games you have liked they will probably be able to steer you to other games.

    My 3 year old has become a jigsaw puzzle machine. Last week I think we did the solar system puzzle 5 times!

    My wife and step daughters also love Settlers of Catan.


    Be Careful!

    Playing Scrabble on Shabbos

    Rabbi Yirmiyohu Kaganoff

    Written by the rabbi

    Dedicated to the memory of

    R’ Meir b”r Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld zt”l

    Writing is counted among the melachos prohibited on Shabbos because each board of the Mishkan was marked in order to return it to its correct place whenever the Mishkan was reassembled. Erasing is a melacha because the numbers written on the boards were sometimes erased when a board was improperly marked (Rashi, Shabbos 73a).

    Only permanent writing is prohibited min haTorah while temporary writing is prohibited only miderabbanan. “Writing” is permitted when no letters are formed at all. Thus, one may form letters in the air and one may communicate in sign language on Shabbos. Writing in an unusual way, such as with one’s weaker hand, is prohibited midirabbanan, although erasing with one’s weaker hand is prohibited min haTorah since it is not difficult to do so. One may walk on snow or mud with shoes that leave an imprint. Writing on frosty windows and using disappearing ink or invisible ink on Shabbos is prohibited miderabbanan. The poskim discuss whether eating icing in the form of letters is considered erasing; the Mishnah Berurah rules that although one may bite through the letters, when cutting the cake one should preferably slice between the letters and not through them. I will shortly explain the distinction between slicing between the letters and through them.

    We now continue our discussion of modern shaylos concerning writing and erasing on Shabbos.


    Discussing the halachic issues as to whether or not one can play the game of Scrabble on Shabbos provides an opportunity to address some other aspects of the laws of writing. As we will see, there is not only a question as to whether or not this constitutes writing, but an additional concern whether it could potentially cause one to write.

    Two potential writing issues are involved with Scrabble. Firstly, is placing existent letters to form words considered writing? Perhaps writing requires actually forming the letters and not merely placing letters next to one another? Similar shaylos exist with educational toys or puzzles that form words, or combination locks that open by sliding numbers or letters into a certain sequence. In all of these cases, the question is whether forming a word or a code by moving letters together constitutes writing. Similarly, if this is considered writing, separating the letters constitutes erasing.

    Scrabble also involves a second shaylah: May one play games on Shabbos where the score is usually kept by writing? Is this prohibited because of concern that one might forget and write on Shabbos?


    One of the early poskim, the Levush, ruled that it is a Torah violation to open and close a book on Shabbos that has words stamped on the edge of its pages (Levush 340:4). In his opinion, opening the book and thereby breaking the letters in this way violates a Torah prohibition of erasing; closing the book and reconstituting the letters violates writing.

    Similarly, assembling or disassembling letters of puzzles and games will be prohibited according to Levush since one is “writing” by moving the puzzle pieces together and “erasing” by separating them. Other poskim add that the Levush would also prohibit opening and closing a book where the page edges are decorated since this is considered erasing and redrawing the decoration (Machatzis HaShekel 340:6). According to this analysis, it is prohibited to assemble or disassemble a jigsaw puzzle or a child’s picture puzzle on Shabbos since doing so creates pictures which is “writing” according to this opinion.


    Other poskim disagree with the Levush for two reasons:

    (1) They disagree whether moving letters or parts of letters together is considered writing. Writing is forming letters of communication. These authorities contend that bringing existent letters or parts of letters together is not considered writing and is permitted on Shabbos.

    The Levush, who contends that creating letters or words is considered writing, even if one creates them from existent writing, disputes this exact point.

    (2) Opening or closing the pages of a book is not a melacha since the book is meant to be opened and closed, just as opening or closing a door is not considered destruction and construction (Shu”t Rama #119; Taz 340:2). Opening and closing a door is considered using the door and not the building or destruction of a house. Similarly, someone opening and closing the pages of a book is using it; this is not considered erasing and writing the words on the edges.

    Presumably, the Levush contends that there is a major difference between opening and closing a door, which is using it in a normal way, and opening a book with writing on its edges. The writing and erasing that takes place on the edge of the book cannot be considered the normal, integral usage of a book (because it happens incidentally to opening the book) and therefore it an act of writing and erasing on Shabbos.

    Although some poskim agree with the Levush (Magen Avraham 340:6; Chazon Ish 61:1), the majority rule leniently. Mishnah Berurah concludes that although the halacha is not like the Levush, one should preferably be stringent if one has a different book available (340:17). The same ruling might be applied to puzzles on Shabbos. An adult should preferably not play with a puzzle on Shabbos if he has an alternative diversion. According to all opinions, one is not obligated to prevent a child from playing with a puzzle on Shabbos, although one should preferably not help him assemble the puzzle (see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 443). Many poskim permit assembling a picture puzzle that has no letters.

    Rav Pesach Frank and others contend that even the Levush agrees that bringing together two complete letters does not constitute writing, because his whole argument concerns joining and separating letter fragments. The letters on the side of a book are obliterated each time the book is opened and recreated every time it is shut. However, separating two letters from one another is not erasing, nor is returning letters adjacent to each other considered writing (Shu”t Har Tzvi, Tel Harim, Meleches Koseiv #4).


    Rav Frank’s explanation answers several problems that would otherwise pertain to the Levush’s opinion. Rashi explains that erasing was a melacha in the Mishkan because the person marking the board sometimes erred and wrote the wrong number on a particular board. Since that number then needed to be erased and corrected, erasing is categorized as a melacha (Rashi, Shabbos 73a). However, if separating letters is considered erasing, then erasing was performed every time the Mishkan was disassembled and the adjacent numbers that indicated the order of the planks were separated from one another. Since this simpler case is not mentioned by Rashi, one may infer that merely separating two numbers does not constitute erasing and that placing two numbers of letters together does not constitute writing (Shu”t Rama #119).

    Another question resolved by Rav Frank’s approach requires an introduction. Someone who violates Shabbos negligently must bring a korban chatos if he wrote two or more letters. Although writing less than two letters is also forbidden min HaTorah (Rashi, Shabbos 74a; however cf. Rashbam, Bava Basra 55b), it is not considered significant enough to require a korban. Yet, there is one situation where one is obligated to offer a korban for writing only one letter on Shabbos: when someone writes the last letter of a book, thus completing it, because in this instance the single letter is very significant (Gemara Shabbos 104b).

    This Gemara is difficult to explain according to the Levush’s position. Since the Gemara is teaching a novel concept, it should have taught the most novel insight possible, which (according to the Levush) is that someone moving one letter closer to another who thereby completes a book desecrates Shabbos. By omitting this case and mentioning the case of someone writing the last letter of a book, the Gemara implies that moving the last letter closer is not considered writing on Shabbos, presumably because moving letters together is not considered writing (Taz 340:2).


    As we mentioned, Rav Pesach Frank answers these questions by theorizing that even the Levush agrees that bringing together two complete letters does not constitute writing. The Levush is discussing only creating or destroying letters by bringing together or separating parts of letters such as what happens when one opens or shuts a book. However, separating two letters from one another does not constitute erasing, nor does returning them so that they are adjacent, constitute writing (Shu”t Har Tzvi, Tel Harim, Meleches Koseiv #4).

    According to this approach, even the Levush would agree that spelling words while playing Scrabble does not violate Shabbos since the letters are complete to begin with. He would, however, prohibit assembling a puzzle where letters are created, but he would be unconcerned about assembling a puzzle in which each letter is on a different piece of puzzle.

    Incidentally, this may be the reason why the Mishnah Berurah distinguishes between slicing cake between the letters and through the letters. He may hold that slicing between the letters is not an act of erasing and therefore is permitted since the letters are not obliterated in the process. However, slicing through the letters is an act of erasing since it obliterates a letter.

    With this introduction, we can now explain how this influences playing Scrabble on Shabbos.


    In travel edition of Scrabble the letters lock in place. Does this have any affect on the halacha?

    Some poskim rule that it is prohibited to attach lettering firmly to a paroches on Shabbos (Magen Avraham 340:10 as explained by Igros Moshe). According to this approach, firmly attaching a written item is also considered a form of writing. Although not all poskim agree, it seems that one should follow this approach (Minchas Chinuch; Nishmas Adam). This precludes using a game where letters or numbers snap firmly into place, and prohibits playing Travel Scrabble on Shabbos.


    Chazal created many gezeiros (Rabbinic prohibitions) out of concern that someone may write or erase on Shabbos. For example, they prohibited selling or renting items on Shabbos lest someone record the transaction (Rambam, Hilchos Shabbos 23:12). Similarly, it is prohibited to weigh or measure on Shabbos (Rambam, Hilchos Shabbos 23:13), to marry (Gemara Beitzah 36b), to perform a pidyon haben (Shu”t Rivash #156; Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 339:4), or to make financial calculations in one’s head (Rambam, Hilchos Shabbos 23:18). All of these are prohibited out of concern that one may forget and jot down some of the information on Shabbos.

    Incidentally, even though acquiring things is normally forbidden, someone who finds an ownerless object on Shabbos may keep it, provided, of course, that he does violate carrying or muktzeh (Pri Megadim, 371:7 in Eishel Avraham; R’ Akiva Eiger, glosses to Magen Avraham 339:6; Sdei Chemed Vol. 2 pg. 220). Since there is no buyer and no seller, Chazal were not concerned that he would write anything.

    Chazal also prohibited reading financial documents on Shabbos because one might correct them. Furthermore, they forbade reading the caption below a statue in order to enforce the previously mentioned prohibition.

    Similarly, Chazal forbade reading a guest list or a menu of what one intends to serve on Shabbos because one might realize that he does not have enough food and erase an item (Gemara Shabbos 149a; Rambam 23:19).

    Among these prohibitions was a takanah prohibiting playing games where writing is part of its regular activity (Chayei Adam 38:11). Therefore, one may not play Scrabble or any other game where people usually keep score. Poskim permit playing chess on Shabbos even though some people write down their moves. This is permitted because most people do not write down their moves.

    The melachos of writing are a prime example of how a person must be fluent in all the halachos of Shabbos in order to understand its far reaching ramifications. Who would have imagined that even after proving that Scrabble is not included in the actual melacha of writing, it is nevertheless forbidden because of a decree that one might write in order to keep score? Learning the halachos of koseiv and the other melachos of Shabbos help us to appreciate Shabbos more, and get the maximum joy out of this special day.

    (emphasis mine)


    I feel the need to point out (and my Rov agreed) that some of the “newest” versions of scrabble have a “scorekeeping” component that does not involve writing. In that case, the Chashash of Kosev falls off, since the normal use does not include writing.

    Also to solve this problem keep score (even during the week) with an Abacus. (Ask your own LOR for practical use).


    “even the Levush would agree that spelling words while playing Scrabble does not violate Shabbos since the letters are complete to begin with.”

    That is what I have been taught.

    “This precludes using a game where letters or numbers snap firmly into place, and prohibits playing Travel Scrabble on Shabbos.”

    I have also been told to use regular Scrabble and not Travel Scrabble on Shabat.

    We also have a simple way of keeping score: Bookmarks! Find a book with at least 300 pages. If you score 20 points, put the bookmark at page 20. If you score 13 points on the next turn, put the bookmark at page 33. It completely avoids writing. You need as many books as you have players. In fact, because we mostly play Scrabble on Shabat and rarely if ever during the week, this is our normal method of keeping score! Therefore there is no issur.

    I. M. Here

    If you want a game for one person only the Perplexus ball is a great idea. Perfect for a 9-10 year old


    How about Mille Bournes?


    wolf – can you explain the settlers of catan game in more detail? thanks.

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