When you play family board games with your kids, you are doing a lot of good.
You will never regret this time.
And no matter what their ages, it’s never too late to start playing games as a family.
Starting this habit is fun, educational and will pay off in so many ways.
I grew up playing board games, and it’s still something we do when we get together as adults.
Because of this, I started playing games with my daughter when she was three years old.
We began with simple children’s board games, like Hi-Ho Cheerio, Memory Match, and Chutes and Ladders.
Later on, we played different games, such as Don’t Spill the Beans, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Jenga, Junior Monopoly, and Junior Scrabble, and Don’t Break the Ice.
We played card games, like Go Fish, with a regular deck of cards.
We played Old Maid and Uno.
As she grew, we played games involving more strategy and skills, including counting money.
We played regular Monopoly, Yahtzee, Boggle, and card games, like SET.
Depending on how much time we had, we played quick games or longer games.
No matter how much time we played, it was a way to connect us, more so than sitting in front of the TV together.
When she was a teenager, she would still want to play games with her father and me.
Even more incredible, a few times she wanted us — her parents! — to play a game with her boyfriend or her teen friends.
What teens want to spend time with their parents?!
Playing family games together always gave us something to do as she aged into adulthood.
They are also educational.
Playing games has always been a big part of our family.
My younger sons and I have shared these same positive experiences from playing board games together.
And we are all better for it.
Family game night
While the idea behind a structured family game night is awesome, when it’s more of an everyday thing and less of an event, you will do it much more often.
Certainly, parents don’t have always have extra hours each week to play games with their kids; however, you can use the time you do have and make it happen.
You can play a quick game of Yahtzee or Connect 4.
Or you can start a game that takes longer, and leave it out to play when you have more time.
There are amazing games available.
The best family games and board games are ones that you all want to play.
They should be age appropriate but it is okay for your child to grow into some skills.
Even as an adult — with games I played countless times with my daughter — I learned new strategies playing the same games with my sons years later.
Best family board games for kids
We are most definitely a Game Family.
I’ve spent hundreds of hours playing games with my family.
These games below are all great family games.
All of them are educational in some way.
Once your kids are older and you start playing more involved games, you can continue to enjoy them for years.
They are still lots of fun even as the kids get older.
We’ve owned or own each of these games and have played them all, many times.
There are a few other board games we didn’t like, and I have excluded them from this post.
I will continue to update this post with some other family favorite games.
This list is what I recommend based on when my kids started playing them.
As of this writing, my sons are 11 and 12 years.
My daughter is 25.
Games for 3 to 5 year olds
This game involves players turning over a card and moving to the next color that matches the card.
It’s great for building on color recognition.
If you are ordering Candy Land online and not buying in the store, you will want to be sure you are buying the one with cards.
Try to get as close to the original as you can.
Some of the game’s remakes have lost what it was that made Candy Land so magical and special to play.
Chutes and Ladders
In addition to counting and moving her playing piece, your child may find herself in the lead, only to slide down to last place.
Like with all games, they will start to learn about winning and losing.
It’s a fun game with all sorts of built-in lessons.
While my kids played this at a young age, we still have fun playing it now, even though they are older.
Connect 4 is a great game for when you don’t have a lot of time.
My kids often make up more advanced rules now that they are tweens.
They still have fun letting all the chips fall through the slots when the game is over.
Don’t Break the Ice
My kids loved this game.
They played with it until they were nine and 10 and would probably still play if I hadn’t (unfortunately) donated it when we moved.
I’ve known parents to pass down, donate, or let their kids sell this game at a garage sale much sooner in order to clear out their closets.
I always wished they’d hold on to it longer.
If you let it be accessible to your kids — and not keep it in the back of the closet — they will return to it.
It’s a really fun game and believe it or not, there is strategy involved.
It’s just a little bit of a pain to set it up — dozens of times — when kids are younger, and they can’t do it themselves…LOL
Your kids will love it.
Don’t Spill the Beans
This game is always fun, and it helps little ones build their fine motor skills.
In my day, the set came with real beans.
Now, they are plastic.
It’s a little flimsier and more likely to tip than it was when I was younger.
However, it’s still a fun and simple game.
If you play games on a table instead of on a rug on the floor, you will want to be sure you have a tablecloth or something other than the bare table.
You will have an easier time catching some of those beans that don’t make it into the holder after it tips.
Hi Ho Cherry-O
This game remains a classic for a reason.
Kids learn to spin a spinner and follow directions, counting, taking turns, and fine motor skills.
The best thing about this game is there isn’t strategy involved.
So the youngest child won’t automatically have a disadvantage, like in many other games.
Everyone has an equal chance at winning.
It’s a quick game.
You can play multiple rounds so all of your children will hopefully get a chance to win.
Hungry Hungry Hippos
This is an action-packed game.
My kids always loved playing.
We had one of the original versions with marbles.
Like other games with small pieces, you need to be aware of choking hazards, especially for younger siblings.
This is game is the most fun for little ones when you can play on a carpeted floor.
If you have more than one child playing, it may be hard for them to reach the game if it’s in the middle of the table.
My kids had a blast with this quacking ducks game, and we went through a lot of batteries.
The ducks circle the pond, and you try to find four ducks that match your color before the other person does.
It is a fast game and helps kids identify colors and sharpen their memory.
Like with all of these games, children are learning cognitive skills, such as problem solving and decision making.
Memory Match game
What’s great about the memory game is the different versions available.
Depending on their age, you can get start with an alphabet version or a character they are interested in.
There are so many options.
When my kids were small, they had a Thomas and Friends and Toy Story memory games.
When they were older, we bought the Mario Memory game.
This is how I learned all the Mario characters!
My kids had fun trying to help me remember their names.
Basically, whatever your child’s interest, you may be able to find some version of the memory match game.
Once, my aunt gave my kids memory match cards with famous paintings that she bought at a museum.
When my son was 10 years old, we bought him an NFL memory match set.
We still play it a lot.
We play where we have to find matches for an entire division.
It’s fun to watch how my kids modify and add on to rules to make it more interesting for their age.
It’s a great game to build memory skills.
I remember this game being one of the first games in which my kids started consistently winning against me.
Who can remember all of those cards?!
Now they beat me in most games, including Monopoly, CATAN, chess, and RISK.
It’s awesome when I’m trying my best, and they continue to win.
Games for 5 to 7 year olds
You can have your kids play this younger as well.
We own two sets, and the kids use them to build the tallest tower, among other things.
I’m glad to see they are creative with it in addition to playing the intended way.
I bought this for my boys because my younger son played in school.
The teacher had multiple sets, and during free play, the kids would compete to see who could get the highest tower.
So while they sometimes are creative with building, if we had more than two sets, they would do this more often.
Sort of like with Lego bricks, the more you have, the more you can do.
The fact that they are being creative in this way, makes me love Jenga even more.
How do you play? Set up the tower with three blocks facing one way and on top that, three blocks facing the other way.
Continue until you’ve stacked all 54 blocks.
Players take turns removing a block without making the Jenga tower fall down.
This last time I brought my boys’ Jenga sets out, I was surprised to see folded slips of paper in one of the boxes.
My tween boys had made up some additional rules, like “Pick a brick from the bottom half,” and “Use your left hand,” etc.
I didn’t even know they did it!
I love to see how they modify and add on to the games as they are getting older.
Junior Monopoly helps introduce the concepts of counting money.
It’s a much less involved version than regular Monopoly.
The rules are appropriate for the age range.
What’s great is you will know when they’ve outgrown this version and when to start them on the regular Monopoly.
Once they’ve aged out, you won’t want to regularly play it again, but it’s awesome for what it is.
My son played this at school and had been asking for it.
It’s the same classic game you may have grown up with.
It’s fun, and when the kids are old enough, they can play on their own.
Whereas many games involve setting up pieces in advance — especially as kids are playing more involved games — the unique twist to this game is players build the board as part of their turn.
They will have fun rolling the die to see where to move their playing piece (mouse) as they travel the game board.
Depending on what they roll, they might have the chance to build a part of the elaborate mousetrap.
That’s what makes the game fun.
And chances are, even if your family plays often, kids will likely get to build different sections and pieces to the game.
Kids and adults will enjoy seeing if the mousetrap catches a mouse, which is one of the player’s.
It’s sturdy and fun.
There are two steel marbles so watch for choking hazards and so they don’t get lost.
You can replace them with regular marbles but it won’t work as well.
You really need the weight to enable the trap.
There are multiple versions but we enjoyed playing the Classic Operation game.
Kids refine fine motor skills as they patiently work to extract body parts without sounding the buzzer.
If you purchase this game, be sure to get something close to the original.
It should include real body parts, including the Funny Bone, Wish Bone, Adam’s Apple, Spare Ribs, etc.
Some of the newer versions are much different and not as fun.
If you purchase online, buyer beware.
You will want to look for this in a store so you can check out the box and know what you are buying in advance.
My kids loved playing Perfection.
It’s great to enhance fine motor skills and the ability to make decisions quickly.
I even had my old Lakeside Superfection game in which you would build cubes in the same timed way you do with Perfection.
Sadly, they don’t make this game anymore.
Sorry uses cards instead of dice to move your pawn.
This is a great game to start introducing decision-making.
Which of your markers should you move?
It’s still one of our families’ favorite board games.
Somehow, it never gets old.
Get the set with the cards, and it will become a game you can play until your kids are teens and beyond.
Tenzi also makes for a great party game.
It’s a great game to play over the holidays with family.
It’s a fun and easy game to play when you have a play date or another family over and the kids are different ages.
The rules are simple, and you can make up your own, especially if you don’t get the cards.
You can play however long you want — five minutes or however long you have or want to play.
This is a fast game because you can end when the cards run out or whenever you decide.
Also, a bonus…. This game involves everyone the entire game, so no one has to wait for their turn to play.
We had Hasbro’s Trouble Star Wars version but the original is fun as well.
This is one game in which the version really doesn’t matter; it doesn’t alter the game in any way.
It’s perfect to learn counting, and like Sorry, to have to decide which pawn to move.
You “roll” the die by pushing down on the plastic dome in the center of the board.
The die is inside.
After you press and release it, the die pops up and lands on a number.
Whack a Mole
My kids would have enjoyed playing this when they were younger than six and seven.
However, one of my son’s friends gave this to him for his birthday when he was six.
Both boys enjoyed playing for years.
It’s a two-player game but sometimes we had Whack a Mole tournaments so three of us could play.
This was also a game my kids enjoyed bringing out when they had a friend over.
Games for ages 7 – 9
We didn’t love the rules to this game so over time, we made up our own games.
Sometimes we divide the letters evenly and do our best to use all our letters.
Other times, we take 15 letters at a time to make words.
When my boys were younger, we would often work together instead of compete against each other.
I’m happy my kids want to play because it helps them figure out what words they can make with their letters.
I’ve seen them put together blends and diagraphs they know go together, like tr-, sh-, sch-, ck-, fl-, etc., and try to make words.
It builds on skills they learn in school.
It’s definitely a game in which you will see your kids’ progress.
They will make more complicated words and find ways to use all their letters in ways they wouldn’t have years earlier.
This is engaging for younger kids and still is fun for my tweens.
It’s a two-player game.
Kids learn to figure out coordinates on their game board and work to find their opponent’s ships first to win.
You can play this game at any age and don’t have to make it a contest to see who can get the most words.
This is really a great game to help teach spelling and reinforce skills.
As kids get older, they will still be able to play.
This is a go-to game with my adult family members.
We never owned this game until recently when I asked for it for my birthday.
I told you I love playing games.
I owned it as a child, and played it with my kids at the library and at their cousin’s house.
This game involves strategy and goes quickly.
It’s best for an even number of players (you only need two) but works when three of us play.
You maneuver your pieces (like marbles) to get them all to the other side before your opponents do.
You can move one at a time or figure out strategies to leapfrog over your pieces to progress faster.
Find a set that includes an area to store the game pieces.
I still had my Clue game from when I was a child.
Now they have different versions, which is fun too.
To win in Clue, you have to be first to uncover the Suspect, Weapon, and Room.
Children will definitely learn skills from trial and error.
They will learn strategies to deduce different ways to get the answer they want.
For example, if they are trying to learn if someone has a suspect, they may learn to ask an opponent a room and a weapon they already have to flush out if the person has the suspect.
LCR – Left Center Right
Don’t make the mistake I did when we first started playing this with my kids.
I thought it would be fun with real coins.
It resulted in tears — and my boys weren’t/aren’t criers!
Use the chips it comes with and enjoy this simple game for what it is.
It helps kids learn their left and their right.
Like Hi Ho Cherry-O described above, this game is all about chance.
Everyone has an equal chance to win.
There isn’t skill involved; therefore, younger players will have just as much of a chance as his/her older siblings.
Also a bonus is that it’s a fast game, and it doesn’t take up a lot of room.
It’s just three dice and some chips that you can store easily in the small tube.
It’s a perfect game to bring on a trip and was something easy to bring to grandma’s house and have her play with them.
Tweens may still enjoy playing this.
However, we don’t play it as we have a lot of other games that involve strategy.
Maybe it’s just my family, but we always call this Left Right Center instead of Left Center Right!
Like all classic games for older children, Monopoly is one you can play repeatedly, even as an adult, and work to refine your strategies.
It really teaches the kids the concept of having an income-generating asset vs just saving money to pay rent when you land on other players’ properties.
Between all the versions of (Hasbro’s) Parker Brothers’ Monopoly and all the Late for the Sky’s -Opolis versions, you will have endless choices for fun.
My daughter owned Horse-Opoly.
One of my son’s has Puppy-Opoly.
In addition, we have many other versions, including Chicago-opoly and Seattle-opoly.
We also own many versions of Monopoly, including Pokemon Monopoly, Star Wars Monopoly, National Parks Monopoly, Monopoly Gamer (not exactly like the original version), among others.
This remains a classic for a reason.
The entire family will enjoy it.
You can think of it as a more involved version of Sorry.
This is a game older boys and girls will enjoy as well.
I have my game from the 70’s and my kids love playing Payday.
It’s a classic game that helps kids learn about paying bills and earning money each month.
It’s really quite realistic and engaging at the same time.
My kids still want to play this game even now that they are tweens.
This remains a family favorite in our house.
Talk about keeping the grown ups engaged in a game!
SET is a game in which everyone plays at once; you don’t take turns.
You need a flat surface to lay out 12 SET cards.
The goal is to be the find sets before the other player(s).
Whoever has the most sets at the end wins.
A set consists of three cards with everything in each of the four categories being the same or different.
Players look for color, shape, number of shapes, and pattern inside shape.
In each of these categories, they all have to be the same or all have to be different.
As an example of a SET can be:
- The shapes on each card are red
- Each card has a different shape
- All three cards have the same number of shapes
- Each card has the same pattern
It’s amazing how a simple game can at times be so difficult.
It really helps develop and cultivate critical thinking skills in your kids (and in yourself!).
While I’m all for playing games with your kids, this is something they can even play on their own, as one person.
Once kids learn the different combinations of dice, this is a very easy game to play.
Yet, there is a lot of strategy to this game that you might miss when you first play.
This is an excellent game for teens as well as younger children.
As your kids get better at understanding the rules and learn the different combinations for the dice, they will learn to figure out the odds of getting the different combinations.
After they roll the dice, they will have to choose what combination to roll for in their next two rolls.
After their third and final roll for their turn, they will have to decide where to mark on their sheet.
For example, if after three rolls, your daughter has three fives and two fours, she will need to choose to mark down three fives, or three of a kind, or full house.
Kids will definitely hone their decision-making skills.
Throughout the game, they need to add up their dice.
At the end of the game, they add all their points together.
Yahtzee is a great game to teach math concepts, probability, and strategy.
Games for ages 9 – 11
Apples to Apples
My kids started playing this when they were 7 and 8 years old; however, sometimes they didn’t know what some of the words on the cards meant, so I’m putting this in the older age category.
Of course, had we bought Apples to Apples Junior, they would have been fine.
This version is Ages 12+. We were always able to help them by quietly taking them aside to explain the meaning.
This was always fun to play in groups or when my kids’ friends came over.
Sometimes we play as a family.
We haven’t played it as much recently, but it’s one we do go back to.
It comes with enough different cards so unless you play all the time, you won’t repeat cards.
My kids would have been ready for backgammon when we all learned chess years earlier, but we never had a backgammon board.
It’s fun and a classic.
I remember my father playing with my uncle.
It just never gets old.
There’s strategy, counting, and it helps kids build critical thinking skills.
Start with the red box, which is the original CATAN.
Everyone works on their own to build roads, settlements, and cities with sometimes-abundant and sometimes-scarce resources.
The great thing about this game is that when someone rolls, everyone stands to benefit.
It keeps everyone focused on the game and planning what moves they will want to make on their turn.
After you play regular CATAN for months or (like us) years, you can add on another version.
It will really take this already-amazing game to a new level.
We have CATAN Seafarers.
Before you buy any of the expansion versions, you need to have the original CATAN in the red box.
Extension versions add more to the game so five or six players can play.
Make sure you know what CATAN you are buying.
Expansion is an add-on themed version.
Extension means you are buying the pieces so five or six players can play (instead of four players).
The Game of LIFE
I’d forgotten all about this game from my childhood.
My boys played it at their cousin’s house.
We ended up buying it for them the next Christmas because they kept talking about it.
Players spin the spinner and travel in a car as their game piece throughout their life until they reach the end of the board to retirement.
Whoever has the most money wins.
It’s a fun game, but my complaints are the game has the same inflated salaries and payouts that it did when I was a kid.
I wish they’d make it a little bit more realistic.
Also, I don’t like how you earn money for each additional child you have. (I’m not sure what that’s supposed to be teaching.)
This game teaches concepts though, and some strategy, taking turns, etc., and my kids always enjoy playing.
They really like the pieces.
So while it’s not one of my favorite family board games, my boys like it, so I play.
I actually had my daughter’s RISK board from the 90’s and played this with my kids when they were 7 and 8 years old, but only because we had it and I thought they were ready.
They were ready; however, we played for short time periods.
Also, I had to very much talk with them about how the game can get heated/stressful when you are losing and how it’s all just for fun.
So, I’ve moved this into the 9 – 11 year old category but my kids and I really enjoyed playing it for years before.
Unless you have hours to play, you will most likely need a place to leave it out so you can come back to it because it’s a long game.
Sometimes, we’ve slid it on a big piece from a cardboard box and put it out of the way until we had time to play again — oftentimes over several days. It is long!
However, it’s fairly simple to learn with not tons of rules like other advanced games.
It’s also ensured my kids know their continents and where each of them are in the world. (Our game board from the 1990’s has North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.)
It’s also fostered subjects such as how countries have been renamed through the ages.
This is a game even teens and adults enjoy.
This is two-player game.
If your kids enjoy battles, this is a great game.
It helps teach numbers (lower numbers beat higher numbers), strategy (where will you hide your flag and what strategy will you use to find your opponent’s flag first) and logic.
This is a game your family will enjoy as your kids become tweens and teens.
My boys would have enjoyed this when they were younger but received it as a gift when they were 9 and 10.
You learn about balance along with other physics concepts.
It’s a fast game.
Board games for tweens and teens
Kids of all ages will learn something from playing games.
In this list of best games for teens and tweens, you will see a lot of games that you can start much younger.
However, these are fun games that will interest teenagers.
What makes these board games classics is you and your kids will continue to improve your skills.
They are open-ended games that will continue to challenge you and your family. This keeps them interesting and fun to play.
Like all of the games listed, these are all great games for girls and boys.
When your kids are tweens and teens, it’s common to spend less hands-on time with them.
Between school, homework, and all their activities, when there is downtime, they are likely to be on their electronic devices.
What tween and teen doesn’t resort to going on the iPad, texting a friend from their phone, or playing a game on Xbox?
And frankly, parents are usually grateful for the much-needed break.
However, we all know this is a critical time in our kids’ lives. Playing family board games with teens and tweens will help them in so many ways.
It’s an easy way to spend time with your kids, even if you don’t always get them talking.
Just having being together, having fun is important.
Even if they are reluctant at first, find some games that capitalize on their strengths.
Are they into strategy and math?
Do they excel in reading or spelling?
Just have fun with them.
Don’t criticize their moves or over-explain.
Let them figure some things out.
Make it stress-free and fun to be with you.
Start off with a quick game and end on a high note so they will look forward to playing the next time.
Many of these games I have listed above with more descriptions.
Apples to Apples
This is fun when your kids have friends over and you want to get them off electronics.
You need at least three people to play.
You can play individually or on teams.
This is a two-player game.
You or your tween can even play this on your own.
As I mentioned above, we modify the rules according to how much time we have and what we’re in the mood for.
You can play for however long you like.
No matter your kid’s age, he or she can even use these tiles or Scrabble tiles to spell out their spelling words.
It will fun when your kids are really old enough to win against you.
In the meantime, depending on their skill level, let them use two letter words.
Or make it so you have to form words that are at least four letters to count.
As with all games, remember they are still kids — even though they are older.
No one wants to lose all the time.
My sons and I love CATAN.
As I mentioned above, what’s great CATAN is no matter who rolls, you can win cards.
This keeps everyone interested at all times.
Even though the original version is fantastic, as your family plays more, the Expansion additions — Seafarers; Cities & Knights; Traders & Barbarians — make it even more interesting.
Be sure to pick out a version that’s appropriate for kids.
There are some adult versions.
This has been a fun party game for kids and adults.
The more people you have, the more fun it is.
You should have a minimum of three to play but can have fun playing with two.
This is a two-player game.
When there are three or four of us, we make a mini chess tournament.
Read my review above.
It’s a fun game for tweens.
Remember, the different versions of this board game keep it a classic and interesting.
We recently bought Monopoly National Parks Edition.
We are all learning things from it.
Monopoly teaches essential skills about not just living to spend money and pay other people.
Make sure your kids play this several times when they are teens so they can really see how in order to win, they need to have income-generating properties.
Like in real life, they can’t just spend, spend, spend and expect to win.
Get some poker chips and a deck of cards, and you are ready to play.
I’m stunned my tweens find playing poker so fun.
On a recent vacation meeting up with friends, every time we made the tweens and teens get off electronics, they joyfully returned to playing poker together.
You can have a larger set of poker chips or a smaller set.
When we play with the smaller set of about 100 chips, we can easily play for even just 20 minutes until someone runs out of chips.
You will love playing RISK with your teen or tween because while it’s easy to set up, it takes a long time to play.
This will be a game you can enjoy together for many hours, but you can play in whatever time you have available.
This game is best played with at least three people.
When you have four or more, someone will most likely be eliminated fairly early on.
You want to make sure that person isn’t the teen you are trying to spend time with!
If you don’t have hours to play in one sitting, you will just need a means to set the game board aside and leave the pieces intact.
You won’t want to have to recreate the board once you’ve started.
This might mean you move it to the side of the table.
Or, if you don’t have room to leave it out, or have little ones or pets that might ruin the board, you may want to slide it onto a sturdy piece of cardboard and put it under the bed or dresser. (It’s worth the trouble because it’s so fun!)
There are many versions of RISK, including Game of Thrones, Star Wars, The Walking Dead, and more.
We’ve always enjoyed the original.
We don’t own any other editions except for RISK Europe, which we love.
When you think of buying Monopoly in a different version, the game has the same premise, just the characters, cards and board are different.
But you play the same way.
With this version of RISK, that’s not the case.
This is a different game than the original.
The idea is simple: Take over the world, or in this case, Europe.
However, it definitely has more rules and is more involved.
When we bought RISK Europe, my kids were old enough (9 and 11) and interested enough to watch Youtube videos and read the directions themselves, and they taught me to play. Win!
If your tweens or teens love strategy and are learning history in school, this is a great game.
See above for more about SET game.
It’s a fast-paced, educational game that adults love too.
Kids and adults love this game.
It’s for two players.
We actually play on my parent’s Stratego game.
Be sure if you are purchasing this family game online that you read the reviews and know what you are buying.
You will want to be sure you and your kids can distinguish each piece from the other.
In this age of battle games online, this is a great way to capture that spirit in a board game.
Players hide their flag and try to capture their opponent’s flag first.
If you haven’t read above for my description of Yahtzee.
Please do so.
You will be amazed at how much your kids’ game-play will evolve playing this game as they get older.
Together, you will be able to talk about probability and the odds of trying for certain dice combinations over others.
These games for teens are timeless.
It’s likely you and your kids won’t outgrow them.
Play family games with your kids
If you have an extra table or room for one, this is ideal for any game-playing family.
A folding card table is ideal for this.
You can start a game and then leave it out.
In some of our houses, this has meant sliding the game board on a big cardboard box cutout and moving it to another part of our house.
Fast games 20 minutes or less
The website, 10minutesofqualityfamilytime.com, discusses the benefits of playing board games, even if you have just 10 minutes.
You can play most of these games for as long as you want, however, they can all take 10 – 20 minutes.
This is great for when you have some time — like right after dinner or before bedtime — but can’t commit to playing for a long time.
Most all games in which there are “rounds,” instead of competing to get to the end of the board, are faster to play because you can end them at any time.
- Bananagrams: You can even sit with your kids and have them spell out their spelling words instead of playing a game.
- Candy Land
- Catch Phrase
- Chinese Checkers
- Chute and Ladders
- Connect 4
- Don’t Break the Ice
- Don’t Spill the Beans
- Hi Ho Cherry-O
- Hungry Hungry Hippos
- LCR – Left Center Right
- Lucky Ducks
- Memory Match
- SET game
- Whack a Mole
- Yahtzee: if playing with two players
If you are playing with older kids, there are other games you can play that will likely be shorter than 20 minutes as well.
Reasons to play family games
1. Playing family games is a great way to spend time with your kids.
Everyone can put away the electronics and other distractions and enjoy time with each other.
2. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time.
Even if you have 15 minutes, you can start or play a game, especially card games and games with rounds.
These are much shorter because you can agree to stop at any time.
On school nights, this is ideal.
During the weekends or schools breaks, you can play longer games, like Monopoly, Scrabble, or RISK.
3. Playing games teach valuable skills
Some games are more educational than others.
However, with family game, you child will be learning something or build on existing skills.
Your kids will learn so much from playing games.
- Taking turns
- Following rules
- Being a good sport
- Counting and adding
- Spelling, forming words and letters
- Colors, Shapes
- Odds and probability
- Critical thinking skills
- Spelling (Bananagrams, Boggle, Scrabble)
- Geography (RISK)
- Generating income
- Paying bills
4. Your kids will learn strategy.
Even as an adult, I’ve learned some more involved strategy after playing these games so many times.
5. It’s something you can always do together.
No matter how old your children get, you can always enjoy playing games with each other.
6. It doesn’t cost money after you have the game.
So many ways we spend dedicated time with our kids involve spending money.
Playing board games together is a great way to have quality time with our children, at home, without spending money each time.
Different versions of games
Sure, it’s marketing.
These big game makers want us to keep buying their games.
But it’s been fun to see the different Monopoly game versions.
My one son loves them so much, he’s started collecting them.
Even though it’s usually the same game, it’s been fun to see the different Monopoly game versions and other versions Parker Bros (owned by Hasbro), Late for the Sky, and Hasbro make.
Sometimes they are the same game with a theme.
Other times, as in RISK Europe, there are different rules.
Either way, having different themed games changes up your game play and makes for a great gift.
When a friend bought my son a game set that included checkers, chess, backgammon for his birthday, we started playing backgammon.
Some include a deck of cards, Mancala, and/or Chinese Checkers.
Popular board games are fun but be sure to remember the classics.
Family board games gifts
Some of our favorite games have been gifts.
Especially when kids have so much access to technology, an age-appropriate board game can be a welcome change.
As you play more games with your children, you will want to find different games to expand upon their skills and everyone’s enjoyment.
We’ve heard great things about Ticket to Ride.
I have that on my list for my son’s birthday.
Games as gifts
My son was invited to a birthday party.
We are good family friends with the parents.
I texted them to ask for gift suggestions.
The dad responded with, “board games” along with some other suggestions.
The mother wrote back to say to “forget the board games” because they “had too many.”
I’ll admit to being shocked.
We love games and are always looking for fun family games.
My daughter and sons have always enjoyed getting games and board games as gifts.
One of the best gifts ever was when a relative gave my sons CATAN for Christmas.
We’d never heard of it.
We’ve played 30+ times and will play for years to come.
Best board games
The best family games are educational, fun, stress-free, and ones you don’t tire of.
You want to find fun games to play, and you know your kids best.
Choose games that will interest them and play to their strengths.
Consider how many people will be playing and if there will be older or younger siblings playing.
You want to be sure everyone has a good time.
Board games for kids
Playing board games help kids to learn about saving and spending money, costs, having enough money, and running out of money.
They learn logic, strategy and figuring out ways to win.
Through all of this, they are learning about taking turns, good sportsmanship, and finishing the game, win or lose.
All the while, you get to spend invaluable time with your children, no matter what their ages.
Bring a deck of cards or some dice, and your kids will always have something to do.
It’s a great way to spend time together that doesn’t involve an outing.
And unlike watching a movie together, playing family games together gives you a way to really connect with each other.
I grew up playing board games and card games with my sister and parents.
This is still something we sometimes do when we get together.
It’s a great way to spend time with each other without electronic distractions.
When you do this often enough, it’s not so much an occasion as it is just something you do.
While the idea and branding behind Hasbro’s Family Game Night is great, it doesn’t have to be a dedicated event.
There are great reasons to play games with your kids.
You will never run out of fun family board games.
There are popular games and classics.
My kids and I have played all of the games I’ve reviewed above.
If there was something we don’t like about the game, I’ve included that information.
We will continue to update this with other games.
There are many we play that I didn’t include that I’m remembering now, including Othello, Scattergories, Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble (how could I forget Scrabble?!) and Taboo.
These are especially fun for older kids.
We also play a fair amount of card games, including Monopoly Deal, Quiddler (made by the same company as SET game) and Uno.
With electronics being so prevalent, now more than ever, it’s important to pick up some family board games, and play with your kids.