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:
- 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).
- Mastermind — a simple, challenging 2 player game: code-maker vs. code-breaker (great for logic, codes, problem-solving)
- Cashflow 101 / Cashflow 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).
- 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.
- 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.
GAMES OUR 8-10 & UP BOYS LOVE:
- Axis & Allies — this is the one our oldest has asked for, for Christmas this year.
CLASSIC GAMES –
We love to play these again and again:
- Clue (or, here’s the classic edition you remember playing)
- Charades— this set is particularly great because it has a picture at the top of each card, so non-readers can participate in family game night, too!
- Guess Who?
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?