How to Create an Awesome Family Game Night
Although we didn’t have a designated “family game night”, I have fond memories of playing board games with my family growing up.
I am grateful that my parents didn’t always let us win but let us feel the burn of losing.
Board games can teach us a lot and having a family game night at home is becoming something that is happening less often.
If you’re looking for some ways to create a family game night at home, as well as some fun board games for kids, you’re in the right place! Not only do I have some awesome tips, but I’ve also compiled an awesome list of fun board games for your family to play together in case you need some new family game night ideas.
How to Create a Family Game Night
Provide a Variety of Types of Games
The first step to creating an awesome family game night is to have a handful of games for them to choose from. Board games are a fun activity to do with family, but there are other types of games too.
If your kids vary in age, you can do a couple of things.
You have the option of allowing your older kids to play the younger kid’s games, or you can pair up with your younger kids and allow them to play the older kid’s games with you.
Also, if you have a game that is new, you can always open the box ahead of time, and see if there are pieces that need punched out or put together. Kids like to help and be involved. Just check for choking hazards if you have little kids around.
Make Game Night Snacks
I seriously don’t think any family game night is complete without awesome snacks.
You can either use pre-made snacks or really get the kids excited for the game night by allowing them to help prepare game night snacks ahead of time.
Set Up Some Game Rules
No one likes a poor loser.
In order for your game night to be successful, it is helpful if you set up some simple expectations. This may also require you to set up some known consequences as well.
If you have a kiddo who isn’t great at losing, then set up an understood consequence of what will happen if they can’t be respectful of the others playing.
Nothing will ruin your game nights quicker than a grumpy loser.
Difference in Numbers
One issue people stumble upon is when a game is for 4 people and their family has more.
Not a big deal.
If you have a young child, one parent can pair up and help guide the child. If not, the parents can pair up and play together.
For families who have 4 kids, the parents wouldn’t need to participate in the game, but can still be a part of the game, and may even need to be the referee.
Weekly Family Game Night?
I know for a lot of families it can be really hard to have a family game night. When I was growing up, one thing that was consistent every week was going to the grocery store. We almost always went every Friday night, except during high school football season.
It was something I always looked forward to because I knew I got to have time with my family.
Creating a weekly family game night is likely going to be easier if you have young kids. But, even if you have school-aged kids, you can still choose to put it on your calendar and keep it a priority over anything else that comes up.
Another Fun Post: Fun Indoor Activities for Kids of ALL Ages!
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Fun Games for Family Game Night!
Board Games for Toddlers and Preschoolers
These are some awesome games for preschoolers. You can also check out my entire list of fun preschool board games!
For the Mischevious Kiddo: Pop Up Pirate
This simple and easy to play game is great for young children. The game is labeled for ages 4 and up, but without a doubt, a 3-year-old could play. All you do is push the pirate down into the barrel and take turns putting your swords into the barrel. If your sword makes the pirate pop up, you lose.
Great For Learning Colors: Sneaky Snacky Squirrel
If you have a kiddo who is learning their colors, this children’s game is the perfect addition to your family game night. Each person takes turns spinning the spinner. Then use your Squirrel Squeezer to pick up the matching colored acorn and put it into your log. The first person to put one of each color acorn into their log wins.
Perfect for the Busy Bee: Busytown Mysteries Board Game
If your kids like to move, this Eye Found It! the game is for them! The board itself is 6 feet long, meaning your kids will have a chance to be moving from one end to the other as the game is played. Your family will be working together as a team to find things. Once everyone has arrived at the ferry, you’ll head over to Picnic Island. Do this before the pig eats all the food, and you win!
Great for Letter Recognition: Sequence for Kids
If you have a kiddo who is trying to learn their letter, then Sequence for Kids is the perfect addition to your family game night. Kids will get a chance to learn their letter sounds while matching them with a matching picture. Once they make a correct match, they remove the card and place a chip in its place. The first person to get 4 chips in a row wins. My kids LOVE this game!
Great for Memory and Matching: Lucky Ducks Game
The ducks will be swimming with this Lucky Ducks memory game– rain or shine! The bottom side of each duck has a colored shape. Each player will take a turn picking up a duck and try to match it with the shapes on their card. If it matches, they get to keep it. If it doesn’t, they have to put it back. The first player with 3 ducks that match their shape wins.
Perfect for Taking Turns: Don’t Break the Ice
In the game Don’t Break the Ice, every player has a plastic mallet. There is a cute little penguin sitting atop the ice just hanging out until your family begins to tap away at the ice cubes. Everyone takes turns tapping out an ice cube, but the person who taps the wrong cube will knock the penguin off and loses that round. The game can quickly be reassembled for another round.
Perfect for Learning About Up and Down: Chutes and Ladders
I have fond memories of playing Chutes and Ladders with my great-grandmother growing up. It was simple to play, and we play the game for many years.
The game comes with a board, a spinner, and 4 pieces for players. Each person spins the spinner and moves that many spaces. If you land on a ladder, you get to climb up the ladder. But if you land on a slide, you have a slide down the slide moving back down the game board. The first person to reach the top wins!
Great for the Beginning Speller: Zingo!
Zingo Word Builder is a game I had never heard of, but it looks like a lot of fun! We have the traditional Zingo! game that uses picture to fill the board, and this is the next level.
I am always on the lookout for games that are fun and can help kids learn. This is one of them. While playing, your kids are going to be working on their vocabulary skills. Every player is working to complete the words on their cards with the letters they’re given out of the machine. The first person to spell all the words on their card wins!
Game for Learning Sequence: Pancake Pile-Up
One key skill kids need to be able to learn is sequencing and patterns. This Pancake Pile-Up game is great and can be played as a relay race for families. The goal of the game is to complete the pancake order correctly based upon the card. Players take turns assembling the pile of pancakes until the order is complete.
Great Counting Game: Shelby’s Snack Shack Counting
Shelby the dog has buried her bones and it’s your job to find them all. Your family will take turns spinning the spinners to uncover all of the bones. The person who collects the most bones wins. Shelby’s Snack Shack is a great game for counting and number skills.
Learning How to Count: Count Your Chickens!
If you’re working on counting and taking turns with your kids, then Count Your Chickens is an awesome game!
The main goal of the game is to save all of the chickens before mother hen gets to the barn. Along the way, there are ways you can lose chickens and pick up extras.
Board Games for School-Aged Kids
Trouble is one of the best family board games of all times in my opinion! I LOVE this game. Every person is given 4 color pieces. Your goal is to go around the board and get all of your color pieces back into your home base. Beware though, because along the way, other people may land where you color piece is and replace yours with theirs, and you’ll have to start over with that piece. The first person to get all of their color pieces to home base wins.
Connect 4 is a classic family game night game suitable for kids who won’t put pieces in their mouths. This game is often played with two people, but can also be played strategically with teams. The goal of Connect 4 is to get 4 of your colored pieces in a row first.
If your family likes a lot of excitement, Jenga is an awesome game! Jenga starts our with rows of 3 bricks stacked in different directions. Each player takes a turn pulling or pushing a brick out of the stack, trying not to knock the stack down. The person who knocks the stack over loses, and you rebuild for the next round.
One of the best family board games of all times is Monopoly. There are LOTS of different variations available, even this Monopoly Junior edition.
Although the game can take a while to play, there are so many things your kids can learn from Monopoly. They can learn how to manage money, learn to take turns, learn that jail isn’t fun (kidding, kind of), and learn to manage properties.
Kids need guided play to learn how to interact with others and Monopoly is a great family game night game for school-ages kids.
In the HEADBANZ game, you have one minute to guess what card is attached to your head in this fast-paced guessing game. You’ll be asking questions to your fellow players about what’s on your head in an effort to try and guess it correctly.
I recently took a girls trip for some me time, and we found ourselves playing board games every night. I know, we live on the wild side, but there’s something to be said about a good family game night.
UNO is a timeless card game that anyone ages 7 and up can play. If you have a child a bit younger who understands the concept of the game, they can absolutely play along too.
Another thing I love about UNO is that it’s fairly cheap and it doesn’t matter if you lose a piece!
If your kids are learning how to spell, or are a bit more advanced, Scrabble Junior is a great family game night activity for your house. Each player starts with 7 letter tiles and tries to create words based adding onto what’s on the board. Each letter has a point value on it, and you’ll keep score as you play. The person with the highest score wins.
Candy Land is a classic board game that even as an adult I would enjoy playing. Every player will have a person who moves along the colorful path through Candy Lane. You’ll take turns drawing colorful cards and moving along to that color. Beware of pitfalls along the way. As long as your the first to reach the end, you win!
There is only one rule for this BLOCKUS game– every piece you play much touch the corner of another matching piece. Your goal is to get as many of your pieces onto the board as possible. When the board is full, each player counts their squares. The person with the most squares on the board wins.
Race to the Treasure
Your goal in the Race to the Treasure game is to build a path to the treasure with your teammates before the Ogre gets to it. Along the way, you’ll need to collect 3 keys to open the treasure box once you get there.
Left, Center, Right
Left Center Right is certainly a game anyone ages 5 and up can play. Grab your snacks and get ready for a fast-paced game of fun! There are 3 cubes that are used to determine what you’ll do with your chips each turn. The person with the most chips at the end of the game wins.
Your goal in this Kingdomino game is to acquire new lands as an explorer. But, your new lands can only be expanded as you match your tiles with the ones already in play, much like the traditional Dominoes game. You only get points if there is a crown on the tiles you play. But, play strategically, because the tiles you play now are going to effect your play later in the game!
Ticket to Ride: First Journey
If you’ve ever played the adult version of Ticket to Ride, then you’ll be in good shape. If not, here’s how you play Ticket to Ride First Journey. You’ll be riding across the country collecting train cards, claiming routes, and connecting cities across the country. Your goal is to complete six tickets and be the first person to claim the Golden Ticket as your prize.
The classic game of Guess Who? Again, another favorite of mine growing up- you know, before the time of video games galore! Guess who is a game of clear descriptions and detective work. Asking descriptive questions to your opponent, your goal is to try and guess who their mystery person is before they guess yours.
Family Game Nights Your Family Will Love!
Creating a family game night isn’t difficult. Grab some yummy snacks, some family games to play at home that is appropriate for your kids, and set some ground rules. The rest is made in the memories you’ll create as a family around the kitchen table or living room floor. Have fun, be silly, and create screen-free memories with your kids!
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16 thoughts on “How to Create an Awesome Family Game Night”
We LOVE game nights and try to do them as often as possible! We’re so excited to start playing games with our baby as he gets older. I love your suggestions of games and ways to make game night as fun as possible!
I think family time is super important and this is just one way families can spend quality, screen-free time with each other. I know everyone is busy, but you only get this time with your kids once!
Can you please remind me of this post in like 4 years when my kids are old enough to play games?!! I CANNOT wait for this!!
Once your kids are old enough, it’s so much fun to play with them!
I absolutely love playing board games! My boyfriend on the other hand, not so much. I guess it is my job to make our little girl fall in love with board games so I’ll have someone to play with!
You have some great suggestions in this post. Love it!
As a stay at home mom, I often the one playing the games too! But, we still try to make a fun time with our family as often as we can.
I loved reading this and loved that you had so many kid friendly games listed! My husband’s family does game night all the time and I really want to do the same.
It is simple, but it can create some really awesome family memories. I think quality time with our kids is something that is worth the investment.
These are great ideas for family game night. My husband and I love to play board games and card games. I can’t wait for Paxton to be old enough to start playing games.
I think the time spent with your kids for a game night is time well spent!
Family Game Night is such a fun way to spend time together (screen-free)! We played a lot of board games when I was a child. We also played many board games with my grandparents. I love all the different games you share in this post. There are SO MANY different games out there and many I hadn’t heard of. Making fun snacks is definitely a must do when it comes to Family Game Night 🙂
I have fond memories of board games and a good snack never hurt anyone! 🙂
I’m very happy that I’ve found your blog @heykristiehill. We’re reestablishing our family game nights and this post just comes so handy right now. Thank you!
Awesome! I am so glad- family time is super important and I think game nights are a lot of fun, and a great opportunity to make memories with your family.
Great tips and selection of games! I love Don’t Break the Ice. It’s simple yet fun for the whole family. Ice Cool would make a good addition to this list as well. It’s a game where everyone flicks penguins around a “high school.” (High school… Ice Cool… get it??) It’s a real hit among kids and adults alike!
Also, Dinosaur Tea Party would make a great replacement for Guess Who? as it plays exactly the same way but accommodates 3-5 player. Plus, who doesn’t love dinosaurs?
Those are some really great recommendations! I will have to check those out and add them to my list. Thank you for taking the time to share!