Family game night is a fun and affordable way to create family memories and take a break from technology. After all, how do you think families had fun before computers and televisions were invented? One option was playing family games at least one evening a week.
Whether you haven’t had a family game night since you were a child or you’re looking for to try something new, you’re sure to find a game you can’t wait to try. These family games can also be an excitingly new inexpensive hobby you can include your children too.
Besides spending quality time as a family, playing games can teach your children valuable life lessons including:
- Attention to detail
- Critical thinking
Of course, some games can also be to have fun when you simply want to relax but don’t want to watch yet another movie or playing video games.
Fun Games for the Whole Family
This first section of games is for the entire family when your children are in grade school through high school. Most of these games are newer board games that require a bit of strategy. Some of them can teach the life lessons mentioned above and others are just for pleasure. Whatever you choose, have fun!
Catan is probably the most popular game at the moment in many gaming circles, just ask any of your family or friends that love to play games. This strategy game even won the “Game of the Century” award too.
If you’re not familiar with Catan, here’s a brief overview. Up to four people can play and the game takes 60 minutes. You each try to build a network of settlements by acquiring and trading resources. As your settlements become cities, you earn victory points and the first person to earn ten victory points wins!
2. Ticket to Ride
Relive the glory days of the railroad as you race to build the largest network across the United States. With Ticket to Ride, you will need to think several steps ahead to make sure you can build all your proposed routes. If another player beats you to the most direct route, you have to find a detour.
Each round takes approximately 60 minutes to play and up to five people can play at once.
3. CashCrunch Junior
Are you ready to teach a valuable life lesson you didn’t learn in school and your children might not either? CashCrunch Junior is intended for children between the ages of seven and twelve years old. As you might infer from the game’s name, encourages conversations on the following topics:
- Social responsibility
- Family values
You don’t want your children to be part of the 50% of American families that can’t afford an unexpected bill of $500. This game has parents and children make everyday financial decisions. If you make the right decision, you win!
CashCrunch Games also offers these single player games too:
- CashCrunch 101
- CashCrunch Careers
- Personal Finance Bite Size
All of these games let you learn valuable life lessons with virtual money in an entertaining setting. That way, you can learn how to responsibly manage your actual savings by applying the lessons you learn in the various CashCrunch games.
Who knew learning how to manage money could be so exciting?
Try to build a five-card Sequence to win the game by placing your chips on the board and staying a step ahead of your other family members. A whopping 12 players can play at once which means this can be a perfect option if your children bring friends over for a sleepover!
Sequence is easy to play which means your younger children can catch on quickly.
Like to play dice games? Farkle requires you to roll six dice at once and you cannot begin keeping score until you roll 500 points by rolling pairs and straights. The first person to earn 10,000 points wins the game. This is another game of chance that is a good option if you don’t want this week’s family game night to be a strategy or trivia game.
6. Googly Eyes
Googly Eyes requires you to wear vision-altering glasses and attempt to draw a picture. A dice roll determines which glasses you wear for your turn; easy, medium, or hard. No artistic ability is required, only a willingness to laugh at your unique creations.
This game is team-based and up to 16 people can play at once!
Cranium has questions and challenges with some of the following activities:
- Singing and humming
- Trivia questions
- Sculpting figures with clay
Families with children at least 16 years old will benefit the most from this game. The primary reason why is that several questions require you to be familiar with pop culture songs and movies to answer correctly.
8. Survive: Escape from Atlantis
Believe it or not, Survive has been around for 30 years and can be played by anybody at least eight years old. This is a turn-based game that requires each player to remove a game piece from the island of Atlantis. The person who gets the most people to the shore before the volcano blows is the winner. Don’t forget to watch out for whales, sharks, and sea serpents too!
9. Family Feud
Family Feud has been a tv staple since 1976. If you enjoy guessing what the “survey says…,” you have your chance with this board game version. You correctly guess the most common answers to various questions and try to steal points from the other team when they guess incorrectly.
10. Trivial Pursuit Family Edition
Trivial Pursuit isn’t just for people with a brain full of useless knowledge. With the family edition, the entire family can work together and have fun. The game comes with separate cards for children and adults so everybody has a fair chance of winning!
11. Apples to Apples
Apples to Apples is a comparison game where you take turns matching red apple cards to green apple cards. The game helps children expand their vocabulary, use their imagination, and even spark their sense of humor too.
There is a junior version of Apples to Apples that’s recommended for children at least nine years old, so you can begin the edutainment early on.
12. Catch Phrase
Clear the tablecloth for Catch Phrase as you will need to slide the device from person to person. This team-based game requires you to describe a word or phrase before the timer expires. If you do, you pass the device to the other team so the timer expires while they’re trying to guess. If it does, you get a point and the first team to accumulate seven points wins the game.
There are more than 5,000 clues from a variety of categories so this game contains a lot of replay value for multiple family game nights and parties.
13. Escape Room In a Box
One of the newest entertainment experiences is “escape rooms” where you must work together as a team to reveal the unlock code to escape the room before time runs out. Instead of leaving the house and paying $25 per person for an hour game session, play at home as you work together to solve the puzzle with Escape Room In a Box!
Classic Family Games
These are games you probably played as a child. Some of them have been updated for the 21st century, but they still have the same timeless gameplay that made family game night fun in your childhood. There are also multiple “novelty” versions of these games for your favorite movies, tv shows, and music genres too.
If you still have a younger family with children between ages five and eight, don’t forget that many of these suggestions also offer a “Junior” version too.
Battleship is another fun guessing game that also involves some strategy for adults and children as young as seven years old. Take turns guessing the correct quadrant until you sink all of your opponent’s ships.
Bingo is another game that can be fun for the entire family. To add to the excitement, you can have children taking turns drawing numbers from the basket. In the meantime, you can all work on filling squares to be the first person to yell, “Bingo!”
Boggle is another fun family game where you try to spell as many words as possible before time runs out. This can be a good alternative to Scrabble, if you like shaking up letters and quickly spelling words to create some healthy competition.
Young children and teens can enjoy playing Checkers. It doesn’t require as much strategy as Chess which means the gameplay is simple and efficient, but still requires some thought. Because of the relatively quick gameplay, you can easily take turns playing against each other if you prefer a one-on-one game instead of playing as teams.
When you want a mystery family game night, Clue is the perfect option. Players have to visit the various rooms on the board to solve the murder mystery by correctly guessing these three tidbits:
- The suspect
- Weapon of choice
- The correct room
Whoever is the first to guess these three clues correctly, wins the game.
Once again, Clue Jr. is a simpler version for younger children. The concept is the same, but you try to guess who ate the last piece of cake instead of solving a murder mystery.
Maybe you want to take family game night outside on a clear and crisp evening. Croquet is a fun game for children and adults as you navigate your ball through the various wickets. This game can easily set up in your backyard. Your children may also have fun making an obstacle course you must maneuver around too.
Many other countries play dominoes instead of card games. Depending on the ages of your children and their level of experience, you have two different domino games to choose from.
Beginners and families will enjoy playing with a Double 12 set so you can play Mexican Train by playing all your dominoes first and more difficult games of strategy that involve counting and connecting dominoes to win.
21. Game of Life
Maybe it’s spinning the wheel or the prospect of pretending to be an adult when you’re still a child, The Game of Life is a multi-generations favorite. Just like the old game, you choose a career, have a family, go on vacation, and try to avoid life’s curveballs.
This game requires some nerves of steel as you delicately remove a block from the wooden tower without causing it to collapse. Jenga is a game that combines skill and suspense.
Monopoly is a timeless game that teaches your family the value of managing money, building real estate, and the rewards of running a successful business. Your children will also know the meaning of “Monopoly money” now too.
Since Monopoly can take several hours to play, you might prefer Monopoly Jr. if you want to finish the game before bedtime. The gameplay is simpler and quicker, but younger children can still exercise their money management and critical thinking skills without losing focus.
Operation requires nerves of steel as you must carefully remove the objects from “Uncle Sam” without touching the edges. If you do, the buzzer will go off and your turn is over.
Since 1904, family game nights all across America has included Pit in the mix. Up to eight players bid on various commodities and cornering the market to win by ringing the bell.
Kids and adults can also play Trouble. Each player pops the bubble to see how many spaces they can move a peg. The first person to get all their pieces home is the winner!
With Yahtzee, you roll five dice and try to match the dice for specific sequences like a full house, three of a kind, and a Yahtzee (five of a kind). This is a game of chance and the gameplay is fairly quick which makes it a good option for smaller children that can’t play longer strategy-based games yet.
Board games are fun but don’t forget about card games too. Although there are dozens of card games to plays, these are some of the best. Some of these games can be played with a regular deck of cards, while other games require a special set.
Uno requires you to play your entire hand, but you can only play a card if you have a matching color, number, or action. Don’t forget to say “Uno” before you play your penultimate card or you’ll have to draw from the pile.
Swap is a more competitive version of Uno. You have match color-coded cards, but the game is fast-paced and the rules constantly change. Children of all ages can enjoy this game because of the constant action that keeps you on your toes.
If you prefer building sequences, Skip-Bo by playing all your cards in numerical order to use your stockpile of cards up. Cards are numbered between one and twelve, but there are a few wild cards thrown into the mix too.
31. Phase 10
Phase 10 is another sequence-based card game but more structured than Skip-Bo. As you might guess, you cannot advance to the next phase until you have the required sequence. To add some twists and turns to each hand, you may also be dealt wild and skip cards that can help you gain an edge over the competition to advance the next phase first.
32. Kings in the Corner
Kings in the Corner is the family-friendly version of Solitaire. You try to place each king on one corner of the deck and you can also build other card columns between the kings. This is a very popular family game because children as young as seven can quickly learn how to play and be competitive.
Maybe you take turns playing Hearts on the computer in your free time. With four people, you can also play it with a deck of cards. The objective of the game is to have as few hearts as possible in your hand. That means you need to play your high-point hearts on other players hands when the hearts suit is finally broken.
With Spades, you play as a team and bid on the number of tricks you can win. If you reach your estimated number of tricks you earn positive points. “House rules” can vary for this card game, but usually the team that reaches 500 points first is the winner.
The card game Golf is similar to the actual game of golf in regards to the person with the lowest score wins. Each player receives nine cards that they place face down. They can flip over two cards of their choice and they have to match an entire row or column. You can play either nine holes or eighteen “holes” to stick with the golf comparison.
Your family might have a love-hate relationship with card games, especially that ones that aren’t fast-paced. When this is the case, you might enjoying playing Spoons. To play Spoons, you only need a standard deck of cards and one less spoon than the number of people playing.
Each person is deal four cards and you need to keep discarding cards until you get a four of a kind in your hand. You want to be the first person because you pick up the spoon before anyone else. If somebody else picks up the spoon first, hurry and try to grab one of the remaining spoons. Because there’s one less spoon, the slowest person is out. You keep playing until one spoon is left and the winner draws the first four of a kind.
You don’t have to visit Vegas to play Blackjack and no gambling is required! This game can be played with adults and older children as you try to come as close to scoring 21 points without going over. Blackjack is an excellent exercise in teaching math skills that number-savvy players and casual card players can both have fun with.
38. Texas Hold ‘Em
Texas Hold ‘Em is probably the easiest version of poker and you can play with or without chips. A unique twist is betting pieces of candy that children can enjoy eating as a snack after the game ends.
Each player is dealt two cards face down and then three cards are placed in the center. As the hand progresses, the dealer flips each of the three cards over as the players “ante up.” The player with the best hand at the end of each hand wins the pot.
Family Games for Small Children
So you have small children that are still a little too young to play the Junior version of your favorite card games and board games. Instead of lamenting or waiting for them to go to bed before you play, start the family game night tradition early on!
Children of all ages can have fun with Twister. As you spin the wheel and you have to twist and contort your body to teach the different colors. The last person standing wins! You might want to stretch thoroughly before you start playing to improve your flexibility and increase your odds of winning.
40. Connect 4
This two-person game requires you to both drop tokens into a slot to connect four coins in a row, hence the name Connect 4. Whether you connect your tokens horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, connect them together to win.
41. Candy Land
Just the name alone of Candy Land might make you hungry and fuel your imagination. This game is recommended for children ages three to six as you race around the board to visit the castle first.
42. Chutes and Ladders
Another fun children’s game is Chutes and Ladders. You want to climb ladders while avoiding chutes. The first player to reach square 100 is the winner.
43. Guess Who?
Guess Who is a tabletop game where your child needs to guess which character you are. They can figure it out by asking some of the following questions:
- “Do you have blue eyes?”
- “Are you wearing a hat?”
- “Is your person a boy or a girl?”
Of course, you get to ask your child similar questions to guess their character too. As you narrow down the possibilities, you flip the non-possibilities down so your guess is the last character left standing.
44. Hi-Ho! Cherry-O
This classic children’s game is a perfect way to teach your children dexterity skills as they take turns taking cherries off the tree. Hi-Ho! Cherry-O can also encourage your young children to learn basic counting skills too.
You probably played Memory as a child yourself. If you don’t remember how to play, all you have to do is place the memory cards upside down and you take turns flipping over two cards and trying to make a match.
46. Mouse Trap
Maybe this is another game you played as a child because you enjoy setting off the mouse trap. With Mouse Trap, you maneuver your way around the board instead of getting caught. Up to three players can play this game at once.
Free Family Game Night Ideas
The other game night ideas only require a small one-time purchase, but the beauty of game night is that you can truly have fun for free. Whether you use your imagination or improvise with some of the items you already own to make a game, this ideas creative ideas can be a fun idea when you want to take game night outdoors or you have friends over.
While you can use the official Pictionary game to get category ideas, all you need is a sketchpad, cell phone timer, and a small imagination. Before you begin drawing you can decide on a bank of categories like animals, food, tourist landmarks, etc.
If drawing isn’t your cup of tea, maybe acting is. By using non-verbal language, your team has to guess who you are or what action you’re performing. This game can also be as simple or complex as you desire depending on the age of your family.
You’ve probably played this game at least once in your school days. Pick a word, draw a blank line for each letter, and the others need to correctly guess the word before you draw the entire person.
50. Who Am I?
You might also know this game as “Twenty Questions” and it can be a fun way to guess who you are. The possibilities can include U.S. Presidents, athletes, movie stars, or Disney characters. Players can ask up to twenty questions–or a smaller number if you choose–the goal is to correctly guess the character with as few questions as possible.
51. Would You Rather?
Another game to get the brain thinking and to refine communication skills is “Would You Rather?” You or your family can take turns asking others their preference of two scenarios. They must choose their preferred option and explain why.
To make this game interesting, think of questions that you don’t ask each other during your day-to-day conversation.
52. Fortunately, Unfortunately
Can you tell a story, spin a yarn, or just love to talk? Fortunately, Unfortunately lets each person adding a segment to a story on a line-by-line basis. The beauty of this game is that no two stories will be identical. It can be a fun way to let every family member be creative and create many laughs.
53. Hide and Seek
This family game needs little introduction. Children, especially small children, love playing hide and seek because it’s their chance to find mommy and daddy or be found themselves. Depending on the age of your children and the players, you can add some additional rules or challenges to the game to make it more entertaining.
Tag is another timeless game that’s fun to play outdoors on a perfect evening night. It can also be an excellent way to exercise for free because you’re having fun at the same time. You can play the classic game of tag where you try not to get “tagged.”
There are different versions of tag you can play to keep the fun and laughter humming:
- Amoeba tag
- Flashlight tag
- Freeze tag
- Foot to foot tag
- Tree tag
These different versions of the game make it possible for multiple people to be “it” and for an option to be safe if you maintain a certain posture or touch a specific object before you’re tagged.
55. The Flour Game
The Flour Game only requires a cup of flour and one piece of candy. After tightly packing the flour into a cup or coffee mug, carefully place the cup upside down on a plate and slowly pull the cup away from the plate. On top of the flour pile, carefully place the piece of candy like Lifesavers or M&Ms.
Now, each person takes a turn cutting off a slice of flour with a butter knife. Because the flour is tightly packed like when you build a sandcastle at the beach, each person should get multiple turns. Whoever makes the flour pile collapse must pick up the piece of candy only using their mouth. As you might imagine, this game is a little messy but it’s free and fun.
You can take turns repacking the flour and seeing who ends up drawing up the most during the evening.
56. Selfie Hot Potato
If you’re looking for some new material to post on Instagram, Selfie Hot Potato is the 21st-century version of the classic hot potato game. With this game, set the camera timer on your smartphone camera and pass the camera around with the camera facing the player.
The person whose picture is taken has to perform an action at the request of the group. Some of the possible actions can include barking like a dog, singing “I’m a little tea pot…,” or having to complete 20 push-ups. It’s your family game night, so have fun and mold some memories.
If you want to exercise your short-term memory, Telephone is another fun game you might have played in grade school. The person at the front of the line whispers a statement to the next person. After the message is delivered from person to person, the last player in line compares their message to the original message. The outcome can be unpredictable and entertaining.
Do you have a basketball hoop at home? Twenty-one is one game the entire family can play as you try to be the first person to score 21 points is still highly competitive but not as structured as a regular team-based ball game. There are many “court rules” you can add to this game as every family plays it differently.
If you want a more relaxed game that’s still competitive, you might also try playing “H-O-R-S-E” or “Around the World” where each person takes a turn making a shot. If you make a shot, the other players must make the shot or they receive a strike. Once they miss too many shots, they are disqualified from the game.
Family game night is one of the most enjoyable ways to have fun as a family on a weekly basis. Even though our culture makes us think we must spend hundreds of dollars a year on experiences to “have fun,” family games can be a recurring source of fun for a fraction of the cost. And, you can even learn a new skill or claim lifetime bragging rights by being the all-time family game night champion.