Favorite Family Games

Favorite Family Games // jessconnell.com

As a family, we love playing games together. Good quality games:

  • contribute to a family environment of fun and learning together,
  • make holiday times and extended evenings with other families more fun,
  • give a great opportunity to model appropriate behavior for winning and losing, and
  • allow you to observe your children’s reactions and tendencies to competition, winning, and losing

We don’t currently have a “family game night” but at times, we have done so– we DO use games more during summers and vacation times. I lean heavily on educational games during each postpartum season (we’re currently expecting baby #8) to give my kids interesting ways to continue learning and exercising their minds when I’m not as apt to be keeping a full school schedule.

These are the best family games we’ve played and enjoyed over the years:



  1. Settlers of Catan— (pictured above). With randomly-assigned tiles that change each time, you’ll never play the same game twice. Use resources to strategically build cities, roads, and armies, to dominate Catan & win (we also love the Cities & Knights, and Seafarers, variations).
  2. Mastermind — a simple, challenging 2 player game: code-maker vs. code-breaker (great for logic, codes, problem-solving)
  3. Cashflow 101Cashflow for Kids — “Rich Dad/Poor Dad” Robert Kiyosaki’s game about entrepreneurship, investments, and economics. This one’s expensive, but high-quality, and the lessons it teaches about jobs and financial decisions are very different from the “chance” games of Life or Monopoly.



*** I’m only listing games our kids really love & ask to play.***

  • In A Pickle – (words/ vocabulary/ reading) This is a clever new game and stretches your logic, vocabulary, and imagination!
  • Loop It! (math) – One of my favorites. It combines strategy and math as you build paths with tiles.
  • 10 Days in Asia/the USA/Europe (geography) – Plan a trip across a continent before your opponents!
  • Bible Trivia (Bible) – Test your Bible prowess. I like that this game offers two levels– simpler questions for kids… more challenging ones for adults.
  • Scrabble and/or Bananagrams (vocabulary & spelling) — Everyone knows what Scrabble is, but Bananagrams is like a Scrabble game you build in front of you (without a board).


blokusTHINKING & STRATEGY GAMES (our kids play these from about age 5-6 on up):

  • Blokus (shapes, strategy, long-range planning) Only 1 rule in this fast, easy-to-learn game: your geometric pieces can only touch the corners, not sides, of your own pieces.
  • Headbanz (fast-paced, fun, easy) – each person tries to guess the noun strapped to his/her headband
  • Othello– easy, challenging, 2-player strategy game.
  • Rush Hour (WONDERFUL independent game our kids LOVE) — figure out the exit-path for a trapped vehicle.
  • Five Crowns – I love playing this card game with our kids, and they love it, too, from about age 6 & up. It’s easy to learn, and kind of similar to gin, rummy, and Phase 10.
  • 5 Second Rule – a fun, easy-to-play, think-fast game.
  • Gravity Maze – A leveled marble-run game to advance your kids’ physics/spacial reasoning. Figure out the order of the towers to make the marble end up in the right place.
  • Pit – fast-trade, high-energy game– extra FUN with larger groups!
  • Pentago– Get 5 discs in a row, on a spinning board, before your opponent. Great for spacial orientation & logic.


somebodyLITTLE PEOPLE GAMES (great for preschoolers):

  • Hoppel Poppel – this one’s an easy, quality-built, sweet first game to play with your little guys. Very basic: roll the dice, place the colored animals on the right shape. (age 2-5; simple, colors, animals)
  • Somebody – Race to place the basic body parts on a diagram. The pieces stick like the magnetic Colorforms of the 1980s. (age 4+; basic human body parts– not sexual/gendered)
  • ZooLogic – This one is a great first introduction to logic. Dogs can’t go next to cats. Mice can’t be placed beside cheese. Your 5-6+ year old can play this alone, or youngers can play together with mom/dad, but it teaches logic at a simple, fun level.




We love to play these again and again:


IN THE COMMENTS, SHARE: What are the best family games YOUR family loves? Are there any on this list that you’ve been wanting to try?

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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast (momonpurpose.com). I write and wrangle kids.

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11 Responses

  1. Shannon says:

    This is a great list! We love Ticket to Ride. It’s a lot like Catan for strategy but sounds like it might be similar to 10 Days in Asia/Europe/US. There are different maps and you have to create train routes to match the tickets you choose at the beginning of the game.

  2. Stephanie says:

    We love family games. It has become a hobby for my husband. There are tons of great games to play. I love Haha games for the little ones, they have great wooden pieces and are easy to play. We usually add a new game or two for Christmas

  3. Erin says:

    We love Quirkle! It’s a strategy-style game. We have had the original for a few years but they now offer add-on boards and varieties of play. I would say ages 8 and up for that. We also love Phase 10 – a rummy style card game – for ages 10 and up. Of course some of our earliest/youngest games were Go Fish and Uno.

  4. Britt says:

    My kids enjoy Catan Jr. too, especially for playing a game together on their own without me having to moderate. :)

    Moose in the House, Slamwich, and Castle Keep are a few of our favorite card games that the whole family can play. Apples to Apples is another family favorite (sometimes requires censoring depending on who’s playing).

  1. November 21, 2016

    […] our children grow older, naptime becomes a time of quiet reading, research, playing learning games, journaling, painting/artwork, gardening, caring for animals, building quietly with Legos, or going […]

  2. November 30, 2016

    […] Favorite Family Games— In need of some new games in your holiday rotation, or for family game night? These are the ones we love to play, again and again. […]

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