Quality family time can be so difficult to come by. Between school schedules, work schedules, extra curriculars, and meetings it can be really hard to find time to just be together. And then, how do you use the time you do find in the best way? We love to pull out some good board games.
Our kids are getting older and there are more games we can play with them. It’s a great chance to teach sportsmanship, graciousness, and sympathy. It gives us a chance to just talk to our kids and find out a little of what’s going on inside their little heads. Game night is more than just little plastic pieces or a couple hands of cards. Game night lets us re-connect. Here are 27 games we own and love or want to add to our collection.
Links on this page may be affiliate or sponsored links. I will receive a small percentage of any purchase made through an affiliate link; however, your cost is in no way changed. This helps me keep this site running. I would also like to thank Personalogy for providing us with a game to play.
Click on any image in the collage below to learn more about that game or to purchase one for your family. Read a brief synopsis of each game below.
GAMES FOR PRESCHOOLERS:
- Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game – a color matching game that encourages counting, sorting, and simple math skills. Help the squirrels find their acorns in this quick and fun game with easy set up and clean up.
- Hoot Owl Hoot – This game encourages players to work together to help the owls fly back to their nest before the sun comes up. If they are successful, everyone wins! There are two play levels so this game can grow with your child.
- Spot It! Alphabet – We love all the Spot It! games because the whole family can play, even my 2-and-a-half year old. This one is amazing for helping my four-and-a-half year old practice his letters.
- Spot It! Junior – This is one that my 2-year-old really gets into because he is really into animals right now. He’s slowly getting the idea of the game, but needs help. My boys like to play this one by themselves and I love to pull it out when I’m trying to prepare dinner.
- I SPY Preschool – Players match riddles with pictures and put them together like a puzzle. There are three ways to play and there are no small parts, which means we can play with the whole family. Helps practice matching, reading, and following rules.
- Lucky Ducks – A fun matching game that helps develop color recognition. Match three to win! My boys LOVE playing with the ducks and I love that it has the kinesthetic aspect that keeps my 4-and-a-half year old engaged, while helping my 2-and-a-half year old practice shapes and colors.
GAMES FOR BIG KIDS:
- Totally Gross – A fun board game for boys and girls alike that explores science. Everyone will get a laugh or two from the silly science questions. I don’t love the gross out challenges, but my boys do! Recommended for ages 8+, so we have to help my 4-and-a-half year old.
- Suspend – This is one of our VERY FAVORITE games! It’s recommended for ages 8+, but my little guys like to play too. We have to adjust the rules a touch because they aren’t terribly stable, but we all have fun!
- Scrambled States of America – Helps kids learn basic geography, state names, capitals, nicknames, and shapes through visual puzzles, riddles and geography challenges. We haven’t played this one yet, but we love the book! Another great geography option is 10 Days in the USA. My 7-year-old likes to play this one by himself and his geography knowledge is awesome. It’s fun to play as adults too!
- Say Anything, Family Edition – Every player answers a fun question and players try to choose which answer the judge will like best. It’s a super fun game to see what stuff your kids come up with. When asked, “what would make long car rides more fun”, my 4-and-a-half year old answered with, “zebras”. Turns out he liked when we saw horse trailers, but wondered why they didn’t have zebras in them. A conversation we probably would never have had otherwise. It’s a GREAT car game!
- Pass the Pigs – This one is simple, it’s compact (we keep one in the diaper bag in case we encounter a long wait somewhere), and it’s easy to play. All of my kids can play. We don’t always keep score – because my kids don’t care that much – but it’s a fun one for adults to play too.
- Circuit Maze – This is a super neat game that we’ve played with at our local discovery museum and it is a really fun way to help kids learn about currents and electricity. My 7-year-old LOVES this. There’s also a lazer maze game that looks like it would be really cool too.
- Quiddler – This is a fun way to practice spelling and it’s a fun game to play as a group of adults too. When we play with our kids, we relax the rules a bit because our oldest is still learning to spell and our other two don’t spell at all.
GAMES FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY:
- Personalogy – This is not only a great gift for introverts, it’s a perfect gift for hosts of holiday gatherings! We dare you to play, see how quickly it turns any social gathering into hilarious fun and lightens the mood. If you don’t discover new things about who you are playing with or laugh-out-loud within the first 5 minutes, throw this game in the garbage or, pass it onto your neighbor. It has no use for you. Seriously, grab your drink and a special someone or a group of friends and see how quickly Personalogy makes you laugh! Grab the family edition OR the party edition – depending on what you think is best for your gathering or recipient!
- Rack-O – This one is fun for grown-up play and it’s a great way for my boys to practice numerical order. This is a fun date night game too, because the rules are basic and easy to learn, but there’s still some strategy involved. It is good for talking, or not.
- Guillotine – We were introduced to this game almost 10 years ago and it’s still one of our go-to games! There’s a bit of a learning curve because each card is played differently and scores differently; but, after you get through a hand, everyone has gotten the hang of it. The best way to learn with this game is to play it! This is another teams game with our little kids.
- Gloom – This one is still on my to-play list, but it sounds similar to Guillotine, which we really love. You try to play tragedies on your own characters and happy occasions on other players characters before they pass on.
- Saboteur – I haven’t actually played this one, but I’ve heard it is incredible. It’s on my Christmas list this year. You’re digging for gold in a maze of mining tunnels, but some of the miners are saboteurs and try to steal your hard earned gold.
- Mexican Train – I first played this game on my third date with Mr Napping. We still play it now with our kids! It’s a pretty basic matching game, with some extra rules and a bit of strategy. My 7-year-old can play by himself, but my other two play on teams. This is a great game for adults and older kids alike.
- Exploding Kittens – I haven’t played this one, but it seems like everyone else has. Out of 5, 116 reviews on Amazon it’s got a 4.5 star rating out of 5 stars. I’ve heard it’s a good party game, especially if you have a competitive streak!
- Double Ditto – This is a good game for kids and grown-ups alike. You pick a card, read it, and then write down two answers you think other players will write down too. If you can match one answer with another player, you get a ditto. If you match both answers, you get a double ditto. It’s fun to see who else thinks like you do.
- The Game of Things – This one is fun because you can tailor it to your audience. We can play G-rated versions with our kids and adult it up a notch when we play with our friends and other adults. For example: “Things… you shouldn’t laugh at…” could be burping at the table or something more adult.
- Deer in the Headlights – We were gifted this game last year for Christmas and it’s a fun one. There’s a bit of a learning curve because each combination of dice gets scored differently, but there’s a reference card to help keep you on track. After a while you’ll remember it too. It’s a great game for a large group. We have to play this one in teams with our little ones though.
- Blokus – We all LOVE this board game! There’s strategy and problem solving for the adults and my boys really like to just play with the pieces and putting them on the board. They like to make pictures with the pieces too. This is another game we pull out for date night and it brings out a bit of competition between Mr Napping and I.
- Bohnanza – This is SUCH A FUN GAME! Like stay up til 3 in the morning playing kind of fun. There’s bartering, and trading, and favors and planting and harvesting. It’s pretty easy – you are trying to collect bean plants in your fields. When you harvest your fields, you get gold. The player with the most gold is the winner!
- Been There, Done That – This is a good ice breaker party game and super fun to find out things you might not have known about your friends. It’s super simple to learn, and can be a quick game or take a little longer. This one is fun with the kids, although I imagine it would be more fun with older kids who have a bit more freedom from mom and dad than my little ones do right now.
- 5 Second Rule – This is a good game to practice speaking under pressure and thinking on your feet. With prompts like “name 3 breeds of dogs” and only 5 seconds to name them, how will you perform under pressure. With the pressure of the ticking timer, you just blurt out the first thing that comes to mind, and sometimes it’s ridiculous…ly funny.
Do you have any favorite games you like to play with your family? Leave a comment and let me know! We love that board games (and card games!) allow us to spend time bonding together. It is such a great chance to teach our kids some of the hard life lessons like fairness and not always being the best because those are things I want them to learn at home, in a loving environment.
Game night isn’t just the plastic pieces, it’s our time to re-connect.
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