Let’s face it, our kids are growing up in a completely different world than we did. With so many more things for kids to do—technology, activities, outings—it can be hard to carve out quality time to spend as a family. Family game night is a great way to do just that. Game night can provide awesome opportunities to bond with your kids, and with the right games, it’s feasible for families with kids of all ages.
You might not have considered family game night for your family. Maybe your kids are super young and it seems like most games for little kids are super boring. Or, you think your tweens may not be interested in board games. But, just like technology has changed since we were kids, so have board games. Sure, the classics (like Monopoly and Jenga) are still amazing, but there are incredible games out now that are interesting and challenging and aim to provide fun for families of all ages.
Family movie nights are a lot of fun, but game nights provide entirely different ways to communicate with and teach your kids. To get your family board game stash started, here’s a list of great games to keep on hand for every age group.
Games for Families with Children Under Age 5
This game is a perfect introduction to games for families with toddlers and young kids. The rules are simple and the game is active, which means it will hold the attention of even your most fidgety kid.
The Little Orchard is a great cooperative game for families. The game pits all players against the game's raven character, which promotes cooperation over competition (and makes losing easier on stubborn preschoolers).
Spot It! comes in a whole selection of variations, and this animals version is great for young kids to develop attention and focus. It's super compact, which makes it perfect to pack for a trip.
Zingo! is a fun take on Bingo that is great for the whole family. And, there are ways to adjust difficulty, so you can keep playing as your kids grow.
This dominoe set is super-sized to help young kids learn hand-eye coordination. They come with a large mesh storage bag, so they are easy to transport in spite of their size.
This game is perfect for the under 5 crowd, as it doesn't require any reading, but still works on matching, turn-taking, and strategy. It has been featured at the top of nearly every best toy/game list and is sure to become a family favorite.
Busytown encourages teamwork and promotes attention to detail, making it a great game with young kids. It works on memory and speed, making it fun for the whole family.
Also available in a Disney version!
A Jenga-like stacking game, but easier to play for little ones. This hands-on fun for up to four players, with rules easy for young kids to follow.
Games for Families with Children Under Age 10
This game is a classic and great for families with older children. The rules are simple enough that younger kids can play easily on a team with a parent, and since it combines luck and strategy, it's fun for the whole family.
Suspend is a fresh take on classic patience/balance games (like Jenga). Younger players can hone their fine motor coordination, while older kids will still enjoy the challenge and strategy involved in keeping the structure standing.
Sleeping Queens requires strategy and quick thinking and is great for families with kids of varied ages. And, since it's just a set of cards, you can take it on the go.
Battleship is a classic game of strategy, and it's easy for older kids to get the hang of quickly. Its longer playing time makes it great for rainy days spent inside.
Games for Families with Tweens and Teens
Ticket to Ride is one of the most popular family games of the last 20 years. It requires players to collect and play train cards in order to claim railroad routes across North America. It takes about an hour to play a full game, which is perfect for tweens who want to hang out with their parents, but not for too long.
Sequence is perfect for mixed-age families—it's simple enough for kids to understand but challenging enough for adults to enjoy.
In this classic family game, players control their own civilization, and are trying to compete with the other players to dominate more of the board. There are many moments for interaction and bonding in this popular 10+ game.
Wits and Wagers is perfect for families because, though it's a trivia game, you don't actually need to know any answers. You score points by guessing whose answer is closest to the real one. This version comes with family-friendly questions that kids will be able to relate to.
No game list is complete without this classic. Scrabble has withstood the test of time for the way it pushes creativity, strategy, and logic.
For youngsters who have grown too old for Clue but still love a good mystery game, Code Names is the perfect puzzler. In this game, two rival spies know the secret identities of 25 agents, and have to guess the code names of the other spies while avoiding the assassin card.
Disney and Marvel versions also available.