Family game night is the perfect way to brighten up a dreary week and get kids of all ages excited about spending time together. If you find yourself breaking out the same games over and over, chances are good that you’re all getting a little bored. Break up your plain old game routine by introducing some fun and clever games into your rotation! It can be hard to figure out which games will engage a variety of ages, but it’s not impossible to find some new favorites. Here are our top 15 family-friendly games you’ll love to play – along with the old favorites you’re already using!
1. Hedbanz – In this fun take on a classic guessing game, players must take turns asking yes or no questions as they race to be the first to figure out what they are as represented by the card on their heads. They’re using their heads in more ways than one and are bound to get a little goofy as they call out questions and answers.
2. Qwirkle – It’s not fast-paced or loud, but it IS perfect for teaching patterns, color and shape recognition. Kids will also learn reasoning skills, strategy and tactical play. All you have to do is lay down tiles matching in color or shape and build off of the pieces already placed. It’s a winner with all ages as it is simple enough in rules for young players, but can be more advanced based on strategical thinking.
3. Spot It or Spot It Jr. – Between any two cards in the deck, there is a matching picture (seems impossible but it’s true!). Just spot it quick to win the pair! The deck of cards comes with a rule book for different games you can play with the same cards, so it’s 5 games in 1! It enhances visual perception skills, powers of observation and attention to detail, but it’s not a complicated game which makes it perfect for players young and old!
4. I Can Do That! Card Game - Join that lovable character, The Cat in the Hat in an activity-filled card game that will be sure to have kids laughing! Just flip over three cards to reveal a new challenge. Can you crab walk to the bedroom with the fish under your chin? Can you dance around a chair with the fish between your knees? There are hundreds of hilarious possibilities in store. It encourages self-confidence and self-esteem, promotes early reading skills and gets kids up and on their feet.
5. Suspend – Here’s a game that’s great for a group or a solitary player! This balancing act is an exciting and intriguing way to work on hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, cognitive thinking and cooperation. Roll the colored die to determine what game rod you’ll add to the fray. Decide where to place it on the frame rods attached to the wooden base to ensure you make it to the next round. Suspend as many as you can before the whole thing become unbalanced!
6. Set - Set is a visual perception game that’s easy to learn and challenging to win! The rules and concept are simple enough for kids, but the practical application is challenging enough even for adults. Each card shows various shapes in various numbers, colors, and shades. Turn the cards over in a grid and match three cards within the specific characteristics based on “sameness” or “differentness” – but do it quick because it’s a race to make sets of three! It’s a classic game that will keep players thinking, reasoning and observing while they excitedly grab for cards!
7. Sequence – It’s challenging and exciting but basic enough to grasp the rules of play. Match cards from your hand to the pictures on the game board and place a chip. Place 5 in a row to get a sequence and create 2 sequences to win! You can block opponents with the right cards, use Jacks for wilds and play certain cards to remove opponents chips from the board entirely! Seems hard to win, but you don’t have to do it alone since with more than 2 players you can choose to play in teams!
8. Telestrations - You’ve played the telephone game, where a phrase is passed in whisper from person to person until it barely resembles the original remark? This game is telephone, but with drawings! It’s a fun, light-hearted game where you draw what you see, then guess what was seen to hilarious miscommunication and funny outcomes. Kids will love drawing with the individual dry erase boards, and there’s no artistic ability required – just some stick figures, laughter and a great sense of humor!
9. Doodle Dice – The deck is full of cards that show simple line drawings in varying degrees of difficulty (or number of dice needed to complete the picture). Roll the dice and try to match the lines on the dice with the lines on the cards to form the whole picture. You’ve got three tries to complete the picture and win the card shown. To make it more challenging, you can block opponents turns and steal their cards!
10. Beat the Parents – What kid doesn’t want to trounce their parents in a good old fashioned trivia game?! In this fun version, parents answer questions about kid stuff and kids answer questions their parents should know! See who’s the boss by sending the two mover pieces across the board first.
11. Story Cubes – This truly is a game for any age and any number of players – especially since there are no wrong answers and no right way to play! There are infinite ways to play – from each person telling a portion of one story by using a picture rolled on the dice, to one person telling an entire story using all of the dice. Literally anyone can play as they increase their creative inspiration, imagination, problem solving skills and literacy development.
12. 5 Second Rule – Flip a card to reveal a category, then start the timer because you have only 5 seconds to name 3 things that fit the category! Seems easy, until you’re under the gun. Pretty soon everyone will be calling out hilarious ideas and getting tongue-tied as they make up their own words! It’s fast-paced, easy to learn, fun to play and keeps people laughing!
13. Don’t Say It – Help your team guess the hidden word, without using any of the clue words listed on the card. Be quick so you aren’t buzzed out by the timer! Rack up the points for your team by giving them handy clues and you could win! Easy to learn and play, kids will love this fun guessing game and learn strategy, quick thinking, and literacy skills.
14. Tsuro - Choose tile pieces three at a time from the stack and place them on the board in turns to create a path for your game piece to follow. Be careful, if your path leads off the game board you lose! Be wary of other players – each tile has multiple path options and your opponents tiles could make an easy path for them and a cleverly treacherous path for you if they connect to your own tile. This game is easy to learn and a fairly quick play. There’s strategy and problem-solving involved, which makes it a great fit for a wide age-range.
15. Spontuneous – It’s the only “Name That Tune” style game that crosses age gaps and genres, so literally anyone can play it! Use prompts and be the first to shout out a song with the given word in the lyrics. Sing it out, in tune or not, to get the points! Take turns delivering word “triggers” and singing out songs. Try to stump your opponents! Be the first to move your game piece to the finish in order to win. It’s fun, it’s spontaneous, it’s easy and will have everyone engaged! Plus, build your memory and word association skills.
Kimberly Mueller is the “me” over at bugaboo, mini, mr & me, a blog that highlights her creative endeavors. She especially likes to share kid crafts, sewing attempts, recipes, upcycled projects, photography and free printable gift tags/cards. When she’s not enjoying being married to her best friend, chasing after the natives (AKA her three kids) and attempting to keep the house in one piece, you can find her with a glue gun in one hand and spray paint in the other. Aside from DIY pursuits, she also enjoys writing, reading, music, singing (mostly in the shower) and the color yellow. Kimberly recently published a craft book entitled Modern Mod Podge. You can also find her on Facebook, Pinterest,Bloglovin’ and Instagram. Email her at: bugabooblog(at)yahoo.com