I *LOVE* playing games. Board games, card games, physical competitions– if it’s something I have a chance at winning, I want to play! Not that I’m competitive or anything…In fact, one of my favorite traditions of ours is playing Ticket To Ride (aka “The Train Game”) with some friends who always come over on Thanksgiving.
Playing games as a family offers many positive benefits: games increase brain function; teach strategy, patience, and goal-setting; encourage togetherness, and reduce stress. Having a game night provides positive opportunities for socialization, produces wonderful memories, reduces screen time, and creates connections.
I’m always on the lookout for new games to play, so for my own benefit (and yours) I’ve compiled a list of highly recommended games for families, some of which I have first-hand experience, but some that I hope to try soon.
Board Games for multiple players
- Ticket To Ride (mentioned above) is by far one of the most highly recommended games for families. It is easy to learn and requires players to strategize. The ultimate goal is to build train tracks across (in the original version) North America. There is a Junior version of the game, as well as various other versions that take place in different parts of the world. Original version recommended for ages 8+.
- Blokus is a super simple game of placing different shaped tiles on a board in attempts to block other players from being able to play. If your family is competitive, or enjoy ganging up on each other, this is a fun fast-paced game that can be played multiple times in a row. Recommended for ages 7+, but could definitely be taught to younger players if they are interested.
Classics: Checkers, Monopoly, Sorry, Chutes and Ladders, Candy Land, Chinese Checkers, Clue
Card Games for multiple players
- Spot It is a game that encourages attention to detail. Every 2 cards in the Spot It deck share exactly one thing in common, and it’s your job to be the first one to find that thing. Recommended for ages 6+, but could easily be played with younger kids.
- One of my family’s new favorite quick-paced games is Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza. It is simple and fun, and since it is the size of a regular deck of cards, it’s easy to take on the go. The last time we played, we were in a movie theater lobby waiting with friends. Perfect for all ages.
- Guess in 10 is kind of like 20 questions, but with clue cards, and you only get 10 questions. There are many versions of the game including Countries of the world, animal planet, the states of America, and the world of sports. Recommended for ages 8+, but could easily be played with any kid able to read the clues or non-readers could play as guessers only.
Classics: Uno, Go Fish, Old Maid, Crazy 8s, Phase 10
Other types of games for multiple players
- It doesn’t get much easier than Kerplunk! Players remove sticks from a tube (almost like hard pieces of spaghetti) and try not to make marbles fall. Recommended for ages 5+.
- Throw Throw Burrito is a game I haven’t played yet because my child confiscated the burritos and sleeps with them in her bed, but it is described as collecting matching sets of cards faster than your opponents while simultaneously ducking, dodging, and throwing squishy airborne burritos. Recommended for ages 7+.
- Narwhal Free for All has the potential to be a little messy if you play it with water (optional). Players try to fling rings onto narwhal horns as they float around (or optionally are mounted in the board). Recommended for ages 5+.
- Scattergories is fun and easy for players who are able to read and write efficiently. Each round, a card containing a list of categories is selected and a letter die is rolled. Players try to come up with unique answers to earn points. Recommended for ages 13+.
- Telestrations is a combination of Win-Lose-or-Draw and Telephone, and is sure to result in a lot of laughs. Being able to read and write is a prerequisite. Recommended for ages 12+.
Classics: Jenga, Dominoes, Cranium
- Cat and Mouth is my daughter’s favorite because she somehow manages to stomp everyone at it every time! Players use colorful cat paws to fling marbles onto the other player’s side and try to keep marbles off their own side. Recommended for ages 7+, but my daughter was 5 when she mastered it.
- Guess Who is the classic face-based version of 20 questions. Recommended for ages 6+.
- Connect 4 is another classic, kind of like Tic Tac Toe in a vertical disc-dropping form. Recommended for ages 6+, but easily played with younger kids.
There are literally countless more games that could be listed for a game night.
Does your family have a favorite for game night? Share in the comments below.