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Does your family like playing board games? Board games are a huge part of our daily life, we use them in our homeschooling to teach things like geography and math and for fun family game nights. There are lots of cooperative games for kids as young as 3, so don’t leave out the tiny members of your family!
We will list the best games for kids of all ages, from preschoolers all the way up to high school age. Games are a great way to bond with your kids and I promise you, these aren’t the typical board games that adults dread playing. You will love these games as much as your kids! Milana helped select her favorites from our ever growing collection of over 100 games and while she claimed it was hard to select just a few favorites, she narrowed them down for this list. Here are our picks for the best games for family game night.
Tips for a Successful Game Night
I think the biggest tip would be to have fun, games are supposed to be a fun, bonding experience. Set a routine and time every day to play games. For us, that’s in the evening after dinner for family games (we play lots of learning games during the day for schooling). If you’re confused about the rules, check out YouTube videos that will show you how to play. There are a ton of channels dedicated to game play these days, and we have found that watching the rules vs. reading them makes a lot more sense for a lot of the games.
The Best Family Board Games
Best Games for Preschoolers
When Milana was around 3, we started stockpiling our game closet. While many rush to buy Candyland and Chutes and Ladders as first games, we opted to skip those and researched cooperative and learning games instead. To our surprise, there were a ton! The two most popular companies that make cooperative games for preschoolers seem to be Peaceable Kingdom and Educational Insights.
Cooperative games are great for preschoolers because there isn’t one winner and all players work together as a team for a common goal. The other games I mention in this section will teach skills like math and develop fine motor skills. If you have older kids and preschoolers, they can play these games with their siblings.
- Hoot Owl Hoot
In this cooperative game, players work together to help the owls fly back to their nest before the sun comes up.
2. Shelby’s Snack Shack
This is one of the games with a winner at the end but a must have in your game closet. It’s a really fun way to teach your preschoolers how to count, while helping tone fine motor skills since you use pug shaped tongs to pick up the bones. This was a huge hit in our home during those early game years!
3. Mermaid Island
Have a mermaid fan in your house? Then this game is for you! This is a cooperative game where players work together to help the mermaids swim to Mermaid Island before the witch gets there. Super fun for the whole family!
4. Dinosaur Escape
Another cooperative game, this time with a dinosaur theme. This was one of Milana’s favorite when she was younger. Everyone works together to get the dinosaurs to safety before the volcano erupts.
This is a super fun mystery solving game. If you like games like Clue, then this is a great introduction of the same concepts to young kids. Players work together to figure out which fox stole Ms. Plumpert’s pot pie.
6. Sneaky Snacky Squirrel
This game is a must! We have purchased it as a gift many times, it was definitely a favorite in the preschool years. This is a really easy game to learn to play, even toddlers can get in on the action. Spin the spinner, use the tongs to pick up the acorns and place them in your log. The first player to collect all 5 wins.
7. Frankie’s Food Truck Fiasco
In this game, kids use the spinner and then use the tongs to pick up food items that match the shape on whatever they landed on. It’s a great way to teach your kids about shapes and develop fine motor skills. The player who collects all of the pieces to their 5 course meal first wins.
8. Clumsy Thief Junior
This is a really fun game and a great way to teach even the youngest child addition. Players need to collect cards that add to 10 and the player with the most cards at the end of the game wins.
9. Cha Cha Chihuahua
Catchy name, isn’t it? This is a super fun game for the whole family! Milana is 8 and still loves this game. The player with the most chihuahuas on their dance floor wins.
Best Games for Older Kids
These are all games we currently have in our game closet and play regularly. We started playing many of these when Milana was around 5. There are a few that require the child to be able to read, so the playing age will depend on when they learn that skill. Here are the best games for family game night with older kids.
This game is so much fun! It’s better if you have more than 2 players, but Milana and I have been playing every day with just the two of us and it’s still a lot of fun. The rules are super simple but your child does need to be able to read in order to play. Match your picture card to the clue card and win. The first player to get rid of all their picture cards wins that round.
Gamewright is one of our favorite game makers, so you will see lots of their games in our list. This is a card game and one of our favorites. This game teaches strategy, memory building and addition. The goal of the game is to have the lowest number cards at the end of the round but you can only peek at 2 cards at the beginning of the round and then have to remember where they are for the duration of the game play. It’s super fun and watching a quick video will explain the rules much better than trying to read them.
3. Sleeping Queens
Another super fun card game from Gamewright. Use strategy and quick thinking to wake the queens. The player who wakes the most queens wins.
4. Too Many Monkeys
This is a really quick card game that even the youngest kids can play. Game play takes about 15 minutes, so it’s a perfect choice when you don’t have too much time for a game.
5. Trash Pandas
This has quickly become one of our family favorites. I highly recommend a video to learn the game play. Once you figure out the rules, I guarantee you’ll love it! Make your child the score keeper to hone their math skills.
6. Avocado Smash
This game is a Target exclusive and so much fun to play! The rules are super simple and the game play is quick. The first player to get rid of all their cards in this fast paced game wins.
7. Wig Out
Oh look, another Gamewright game! I’m telling you, these guys know their games. This is a fast paced game where players race to get rid of all their cards by matching them. The player who gets rid of all their cards is the winner. This is another quick game (can be played in 10 minutes), so a great option if you’re low on time.
8. Twin It!
This is a fast paced game where you race to find a match to your card. Seems simple? Not so much! A lot of the cards look super similar and have the same color scheme, so it’s a lot harder than it looks.
Do your kids like brain teasers? Then this is the perfect game for you! Players race to fold their fabric recipe cloth to match the card. The first place to do so wins. It’s not as easy as it seems!
This is a different spin on their very popular Rat-A-Tat-Cat game. In this version, players use dice and move around the board trying to collect the lowest cards.
One of the oldest strategy games that’s still a hit! We love mancala in our house and play all the time.
12. Four Player Mancala
Do you have 4 people in your family? Then grab this 4 person mancala game so everyone can play at the same time.
This game comes in a teeny tiny tin can, that can fit in the palm of your hands. Perfect for taking anywhere! In this game, you add cards to a grid and make sure that the color, shape and number are either all the same or different.
A super fun family guessing game that even the youngest players can play. Players must guess the item on the card that is attached to their headband, by asking yes or no questions.
15. Trivial Pursuit Family Edition
There are many versions of this game, but in the Amazon exclusive, kids and adults have separate question cards, leveling the playing field.
16. 5 Second Rule
Pick a card, read the topic and then start the timer. You have 5 seconds to name 3 things that fit the topic. Not as easy as it seems when you’re being timed!
17. Herd Mentality
Flip over a question and write down your answer. The goal of the game to have the same answer as the majority of the other players. If your answer is in the majority, you win cows. Avoid the dreaded pink cow or risk losing the game!
18. Game of the States
This is one of our favorite games to play as a family. It will help your kids learn US geography, since the goal of the game is to race their trucks across the country to buy and sell products. Super fun way to learn geography!
19. Money Bags
Another fun learning game, this time your child will learn to count coins. Players collect, count and exchange money in this game. Your child will be able to count coins really well after playing this a few times!
20. Ticket to Ride Europe
This is one of the longer games that requires more time to play. The goal of the game is to build train routes. There are many versions of this game, but this one focuses on Europe. Your kids will learn European geography, which is a huge plus!
21. Ticket to Ride First Journey
Just like the full version, but with simplified rules for younger players. It’s a great way to introduce the Ticket to Ride series to younger kids. And this one doesn’t take as long to play!
22. Just One
This is a really fun game but you need at least 3 players to play. The more, the more fun it is! One player turns over a card so that all the other players can see it. They all write a one word clue on their easel and that player must guess what word is on their card.
23. Scrambled States of America
This is a fast paced game where you need to quickly find states that start with the same letter, states that border certain states, etc. A great way to learn about the US.
24. Race Across the USA
Visit 6 states, answer geography questions then get back to your home state to win!
25. Guess in 10 Series
There are several different versions of this game, we have most of them. The animal one is super fun as is the Cities Around the World if your kids are into traveling and world geography/facts. To play, you ask up to 10 questions to try to guess what’s on the card. It may seem easy, but it’s not as straightforward as it seems!
An oldie but goodie! Everyone loves Uno and it’s super easy to play. A fun game for the entire family!
This game is a little more difficult but at 8, Milana has no issues playing. Players collect gems and try to acquire the most number of points.
Azul is a tile placement game, in which players compete for the highest score by claiming tiles and arranging them on their board. This game takes around 40 minutes to play, so make sure you have enough time before starting!
This game has a chess-like strategy and is super fun to play. A must for family game night!
30. Organ Attack
This is a hilarious game that will teach your kids all about the human body.
31. Road Trip
We recently scored this (brand new!) game at a thrift store for $4 and it’s become a family favorite. The game comes in a super cute tin shaped like an RV. Players travel across the US in their chosen station wagon. This game is super fun to play!
And there you have it, our picks for the best games for family game night. I could easily keep going since we have so many more games! I hope you find some new family game night additions that your family will love. What are your favorite family games? Comment below and let us know!