10 Tested & Approved Family Games

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Have you seen The Royal Tenenbaums? I cannot even type the question without laughing. One of our family goals is to have a Tenenbaum game closet. What a strange, wonderful movie.

Below is a list of 10 family-friendly games that are fun for adults and children alike.

We are trying to commit to a weekly Family Game Night.

A Family Game Night is a wonderful format for group conversations, team work, and educational opportunities. This week I was reminded that our girls will not be young forever; take a moment to watch this author reading by Katrina Kenison from The Gift of an Ordinary Day.

I want Family Game Night to be a long standing family tradition so when my kids hit the tween years it is just “a given.” Many parents of young children think a Family Game Night has to include long painful boring children’s games like Candy Land and Chutes & Ladders, but it doesn’t have to be! Check out the list of adult-friendly games below.this post contains affiliate links - thanks for supporting us

What is your favorite family game?
We are always on the lookout for something new!

Wishing your family love & luck in the New Year,

PS: Click here to read 7 Simple Tips for an Enjoyable Family Game Night.

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Blokus | Fun for all Ages

Product Description
Fun for both kids and adults, Blokus is a strategy board game that challenges spatial thinking. Bright colors and simple rules make it ideal for ages five and up, but adults will certainly be engrossed by this unique and challenging game.

What we like about the game:

  • If needed you can play teams until your younger child gets the hang of it.
  • It is actually fun for adults to play without children. What a concept!
  • It is thought provoking & requires a bit of strategy.

Find It Online

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Shut-the-Box | Fun for 5 to 101 Years Old

Product Description
Entertain yourself with this classic style dice game called Shut the Box. This game is centuries old that has been played and loved by sailors and fishermen, and now you can enjoy it too in your very own home. Simply roll the dice and flip over any combinations of tiles that match the numbers you rolled. Then, continue rolling until the numbers you roll no longer match the tiles – this is the end of your turn. This game is fun to play with a group of friends but can also be enjoyed with only two people.

What we like about the game:

  • It teaches kids a variety of number combinations. For example my daughter can now tell you in the blink of a hat that 7 can be created by 1 + 6, 2+5, and 3+4.
  • If you play multiple rounds you can work on larger math equations with your child by adding multiple scores together.
  • The game goes very quickly!
  • Your child can play by themselves, with a sibling or with the whole family.
  • Many of the Shut the Box games are very stylish.

Find It Online

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Life on Earth Matching Game | Fun for all Ages

Product Description
Flora and fauna from around the world show the richness of Life on Earth. Tiles include everything from iguanas to cardinals, oak leaves and acorns to underwater coral.

What we like about the game:

  • The quality! The matching cards are thick & have a protective gloss laminate. We’ve had this game since our little Rose was an infant & the cards have made it through a few not-caught-quick-enough trips to the mouth.
  • The imagery! Those of you who read the blog a lot know I am a bit of a visual snob; with a background in art I just like things to “be pretty.” This is a gorgeous game.
  • The challenge! Ok, let’s be honest here…  we are not one of those families that lets the child win so they can feel good about themselves. I truly believe a child can tell when you are not giving your all when playing a game. What I love about the classic game of memory? Well, 8 of 10 games my girls kick my butt. Sometimes I find it disturbing and they love to see my very real frustration. {winks}

Find It Online

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Rummikub | 5 to 100 years old

Product Description
Rummikub is played with a set of 106 elegant tiles that are as durable as they are easy to handle. Like Rummy, players build melds of runs of the same colors – Red 7, Red 8, and Red 9 – or sets of the same numbers – Blue 8, Red 8, and Black 8. If you’re looking for a fast action game where the outcome is undecided until the last play and has a never-ending variety of strategies and play situations, you’ll love Rummikub! For 2 to 4 players.

What we like about the game:

  • It is challenging! The concepts may take a while for a younger child to grasp, but they will be proud when they do.
  • You can start the game with the very basic approach of sets or runs (example: coordinating tiles in the correct numeral order such as 8, 9, 10). Once your child has mastered the basic skills you can advance to splitting runs, etc. The progression is awesome.
  • I love playing this game with my family, it is my absolute favorite. We set up each player as an individual, but play teams so I can help one girl with their tiles & Shad can help the other.
  • It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings. This is a game that requires thought and strategy. It is very hard to tell who is going to win, so if the child gets frustrated because they have a lot of tiles and their opponent does not, you can easily calm them.

Find It Online

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Pentago | 5 and Up!

Product Description
Pentago is a fast and fun strategy game that is both simple and sophisticated. The object of the game is to create a row of five marbles anywhere on the board. The mind twisting part is that you’ll twist one of the four game blocks as part of your move. This causes the game to dynamically change, making for a fun and challenging game experience, both for beginners and masters alike. Play duration is 3 to 30 minutes. Pentago is simple and stylistic, yet very smart and deep with strategy and logic. It won the prestigious Swedish award “Game of the Year” in 2005 along with several other awards of excellence.

What we like about the game (the explanations from Amazon are right on!):

  • Seconds to Learn- It takes just under a minute to learn how to play Pentago, as it’s a basic five-in-a-row game, with a twist.
  • Fun to Play- Pentago is immediately fun for beginners and continues to be fun and challenging for intermediate players.
  • Years to Master-As you become a master Pentago player, the style of play, spatial orientation techniques and strategies get perplexity complex. Deep logic and skill is required to conquer another master player.

Find It Online

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Toy Story Pop-o-matic Trouble Game | 5 to 100 years old

Product Description
It’s the classic race-and-chase game with the PopoMatic die-rolling bubble! Pop the bubble and hop your pegs around the track. Land on an opponent’s peg to bump it back home. But don’t you get bumped back, or you’re in Trouble. Keep poppin’ and hoppin’ to get all 4 of your pegs to the finish line first, and you win.

What we like about the game:

  • Well, the bubble of course! Our girls *love* to pop the bubble on their turn. However, when they were younger this sometimes was a challenge.
  • There are a variety of versions available from Toy Story to Star Wars. Fun, fun, fun!
  • This is another “It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings” game. It teaches a child not to give in just because it seems like they are behind.
  • Best of all, it is a great intro to the more complex game of Parcheesi.
  • If you don’t have a lot of time you can reduce the game to “get in 2 or 3 pegs” instead of the full four.

Find It Online

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Richard Scarry Busy Town | Perfect for little ones!

Product Description
Race around town solving mysteries! How many objects can you find? Join Huckle Cat and Lowly Worm on a fun-filled race around Busytown to solve mysteries and find hidden objects. Drive through lively city streets, an activity-filled farm, an action-packed airport, and a bustling harbor full of silly boats. There’s much to discover on this gigantic, colorful game board that’s over six feet long! As players race through Busytown, they’ll team up every time someone lands on Goldbug-leaving no corner of the board unexplored as they discover hidden objects and race toward Picnic Island. With hundreds of objects to find this game provides hours of fun, while building confidence each time a child says, “I found it!”

What we like about the game:

  • This is a great game for families who have elementary school age children and toddlers. It is a perfect “intro” game that is tolerable for parents too!
  • If you have siblings who vary greatly in age this game is wonderful. Each player starts out individually, but half way through the game they are required to team up to “beat the pigs.” It is a wonderful way to ensure your little one doesn’t get left behind. Again, it is a great intro game which can create positive experiences before moving on to individually competitive games later on.
  • Did you read the description? The board is over SIX FEET LONG. It is just cool.
  • I love the variety. Not only do you move characters forward, but you also get to play a team Busytown version of Where’s Waldo once and a while.

Find It Online

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Sequence | Elementary Aged Children

Product Description
It’s fun, it’s challenging, it’s exciting, it’s Sequence. Play a card from your hand, place a chip on a corresponding space on the game board when you have five in a row, it’s a Sequence. Learn to block your opponents – remove their chips. Watch out for the Jacks, they are wild. With a little strategy and luck, you’ll be a winner.

What we like about the game:

  • If needed you can play teams until your younger child gets the hang of it.
  • It is a great intro to a regular pack of cards vs. being character oriented.
  • It is actually fun for adults to play without children. What a concept!
  • It is thought provoking & requires a bit of strategy.
  • There is a children’s version of the game available that is slightly easier for kids 3 to 6.

Find It Online

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Disney Bingo | Fun for all Ages

Product Description
Join all your favorite characters in this magical DVD twist on traditional BINGO with Disney Movie Clips! This game offers a high-tech twist on an old favorite. The Disney DVD Bingo lets kids learn numbers, colors and matching skills with their favorite characters from the show. Match the numbers on the board to the ones given by the caller. Disney makes learning so much fun in this DVD version of traditional BINGO with real clips from Disney.

What we like about the game:

  • I will admit we don’t generally openly promote Disney at our house. Still, I know it is common for elementary school children to watch Disney flicks. This game is the perfect way to keep your distance from Disney, but still allow your child to know the characters in social situations.
  • The game can literally be played by any child who has enough hand eye coordination.
  • The caller on the DVD announces the information in three ways & in the perfect educational order. The first read the letter and number. Next they read the color associated. Finally if the child hasn’t found the square yet the game announces the character on the square. Perfect!
  • The game has a lot of classic variety; you can play traditional bingo, patterns or black out.
  • To keep the kids entertained there is an occasional “free space” movie clip presented. Generally it is a short popular scene or a song. Again, this is a great way to introduce your child to Disney if you are not a fan of some of the values or morals their movies convey.

Find It Online

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UNO | Fun for all ages

Product Description
America’s number one card game, UNO offers hours of fun. It’s easy to learn, always unpredictable, and never dull. It can be played with 2 to 10 players, individually, or in teams. And it can even be educational, teaching younger kids number recognition.

What we like about the game:

  • It is small! You can carry it in your purse and play it anywhere.
  • If you have little ones you can play teams & it is still fun.
  • It is great for teaching numbers & colors.
  • Great game for mixed aged siblings.
  • Everyone knows the rules. Generally most adults know the rules so there is no learning curve. If you are at a family function and you whip out the cards most aunts, uncles, cousins and relatives are willing to play because they know how already.

Find It Online

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SuspendBonus Game:

Suspend | 8 and up *We’ve played since girls were 5!

Product Description
Melissa & Doug Suspend is a balancing game that is as easy to understand as it is difficult to master. The game comes with 24 notched, rubber-tipped wire pieces that hang from a tabletop stand. With each turn, a new piece is added to the transforming vertical sculpture, causing the balance to shift and the difficulty to increase. This balancing game tests your nerves and helps develop hand-eye coordination, cognitive skills, and interpersonal skills.

What we like about the game:
5 reasons why you must add Suspend to your family game stash (Our FULL Game Review)

Find It Online

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For Christmas this year the girls got Battleship, Yahtzee, and Shut the Box. I cannot wait to try them tonight. {winks}
UPDATE: Wow, Shut the Box ROCKS!

Click here to see a full list of ALL the games we have stock piled over the years!

What is your favorite family game? Share in the comments below.

stock your stash

Pin it:

Great collection of suggestions. *Our family loves some of these too

Disclaimer: Some links above lead to affiliate networks. Click here to read our full disclosure.

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36 Comments

  1. Kellir
    December 30, 2011

    I discovered a super fun game that we play on our Family Fun Night…( which includes either a game night or movie night depending on the week). The game is called YamSlam. It is a lot like Yahtzee, but also has some strategy because you collect chips for your score. When chips for a certain thing (3 of a kind, full house, etc.) is gone you cannot go for that anymore. It gets tricky to roll your options at the end. My 5 and 7 year olds like it and so do my husband and I. It is also a sneaky way to teach some math. :)

    Reply
    • Anonymous
      December 30, 2011

      Interesting. I’ll have to check it out and add it to our “want” list.

      Reply
      • Anonymous
        December 30, 2011

        PS: Thanks for sharing! ;-)

        Reply
  2. booturtle
    December 31, 2011

    Great tips. My kids love to play Sorry. And one of all our favorites is Dizios: http://www.mindware.com/p/Dizios/44004. It’s fun without the kids. And it’s also one the kids can beat the adults at. It’s like a twisted, colorful version of dominoes.

    Reply
    • Anonymous
      December 31, 2011

      We added a lot of Mindware games to our Christmas wish list, but didn’t get any….

      Reply
  3. Myrzh
    December 31, 2011

    one of my FB friends loves Quelf, plays it with her kids all the time. makes me want to try it.

    Reply
  4. Anonymous
    December 31, 2011

    We are a game playing family & one of our very favorite is “Bananagrams”. It is educational yet a lot of fun…it is like Scrabble but you work on your own individual puzzle and try to beat everyone else at the table in completing your puzzle while drawing more & more tiles out of the middle until they are all gone…you can get it at most large chain stores or we purchased the “double set” at the local bookstore. It has helped my young middle schoolers not only spell better (since schools don’t seem to emphasize spelling much anymore) but it has expanded their vocabulary..they think of more words to try to spell..Enjoy!!

    Reply
  5. Anonymous
    December 31, 2011

    Sorry..the other new game we received for Christmas & have not quit playing yet..is Farkle..it is a dice rolling game and kind of like old fashioned “Greed” we have played for a while…it is good for math & for deciding how much you, as a player & person, are willing to push the envelope while risking your points..
    For the younger group of kids, “Pass the Pigs” is another way to play basically the same game..you get different points for how the miniature plastic pigs land when you throw them…the can land on their snouts worth 10 points, on their backs 5 points..or on their sides only 1 or maybe “pigged out” and lose all your points..good for counting and the kiddos love to see how many different ways their pigs can land…

    Reply
    • Anonymous
      December 31, 2011

      My daughter played Pass the Pig at a holiday party this year, pretty funny stuff. She enjoyed it. Our friends said at a hotel they got board once and played their own version of the game with a cheese head (Packers Hat). This made me laugh.

      Reply
  6. Maine guest
    December 31, 2011

    We just got a new game this year for Christmas that we all love. It’s called Tetris Link. Each family member/team (up to 4) have a different color. The object is to link as many tetriminos as possible in your color. It’s a game of strategy. We have had so much fun as a family playing this! If you get a chance, you gotta try it! By the way, thank you for this post. I love having more games we can all play together as a family!

    Reply
    • Anonymous
      December 31, 2011

      I’ve played hours of Tetris on the Nintendo as a child. It is really interesting to play a board game version!

      Reply
  7. Texasholly
    December 31, 2011

    We love Sequence too. My kids are a bit older and we are exploring some of the strategy games…at our house it is ALL about the board games!

    Reply
  8. Hayley Skladanek
    December 31, 2011

    As Usual, your ideas and suggestions are Parenting Gold! XOXO Thanks!

    Reply
  9. Mustanglayla
    December 31, 2011

    We loves to play games here at our house. We seem to play Sorry a lot. I also altered the rules to Enchanted Forest to make it easier for my 5 year old to play. Sequence Dice is another game we like to play. I know there are a couple more, but I am not remembering them right now.

    Reply
  10. mejaka
    December 31, 2011

    I’m stunned that Apples to Apples isn’t mentioned here. My kids have played that game since before some of the youngest could even read. My daughter had no idea what was on the cards, but she loved the reactions of her brothers when she randomly chose a Red card to go with the Green card she had laid down. Also, another great one is Ruckus. My folks bought that one for my 15-year-old son last Christmas based solely on the way the name Ruckus sounded like something Nate would love–and it is one of the funnest games ever. We also play a dice game closely related to Farkle, but we just call it “dice,” though we had a friend from Serbia who called it “Chicago.” I liked that, lol!

    Reply
    • Anonymous
      December 31, 2011

      Well this is not a “best games in the world list,” it is just a list of games we own at our house! My niece got Apples to Apple Jr. for Christmas. We played teams because my ladies are pretty young still. We had a blast despite them not knowing what half the terms were. Which version do you play? I saw that Amazon has a kids version. Perhaps we’ll have to add that to our “want” list!

      Reply
  11. Meli W.
    December 31, 2011

    We love Sequence, Rummicubes and Uno, also! Some other favorites are: Tri-ominoes, Boggle, Skip-Bo, Phase-10, Outburst/Outburst Jr., and, of course, Scrabble (also Upwords, a multi-level Scrabble)!

    Reply
    • Anonymous
      December 31, 2011

      We have Upwords & tried it once, but may need to give it another go!

      Reply
  12. Jennx lynch-postma
    December 31, 2011

    We love games at our house. We’re just starting to get the big guy (he’s 3) into playing them with us. A big favorite is Ravensburger Labyrinth, we have the original version. It came out of my husband’s family game closet which looked quite a bit like the Tennebaum’s closet.

    Reply
  13. soccermom11
    December 31, 2011

    Our family loves games too. We just got “5 Second Rule” for Christmas. It’s quick, easy to play and fun for kids 8 and up.

    Reply
  14. Anonymous
    December 31, 2011

    Thanks for the suggestions! I love having this as a resource for future shopping adventures. :-) Keep the comments coming!

    Reply
  15. Pam
    December 31, 2011

    Kerplunk, Hands Down, Don’t Break the Ice, Don’t Spill the Beans and Monopoly.

    Reply
  16. Karin N
    January 1, 2012

    We love Miles Bournes, it’s a card game and the object of the game is to complete a “road trip” have fun giving the other players hazards like flat tire, accident, out of gas to slow them down on their trip. As long as the kids can count and understand the object of the game they can play. We also enjoy Pit, and when my daughter was younger Waterworks. We just got the Logo game, like trivial pursuit with all of the questions based on advertising slogans and info from company products. Hope you enjoy some of these too…

    Reply
  17. MThousemama
    January 1, 2012

    You should try Flux! It’s a great card game and if your girls can read or you are willing to help them learn the cards it’s a game that good. Also, pretty hard to tell who is going to win.

    Reply
  18. MThousemama
    January 1, 2012

    Also, you should find a good game shop, a place the sells games beyond the norm. Like there are many really good Euro games such as Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne, power grid and several more. Oh, one we got that is good for kids is a game called Rory’s story cubes. There are many great games out there.

    Reply
  19. Raaabtbnt
    January 1, 2012

    We love Quiddler and Set. Both are made by the same company and simply use a set of cards. Set is about grouping things in different ways (making sets). Quiddler is a word game. http://www.quiddler.com My boys loved these when they were old enough to spell.

    Reply
  20. Anonymous
    January 2, 2012

    We have almost all of the games you have listed. There are a couple I haven’t seen before and would love to try! I see that you don’t have Phase 10 on your list. We played the original card game as kids. It’s awesome for all ages and any amount of people. Now they have made Phase 10 dice (pretty good too) and Phase 10 Twist (my kids favorite. If you haven’t tried it, you should… I think we have the same taste in games! ;)

    Reply
  21. MissJubilee
    January 2, 2012

    I like Pictureka, though I haven’t played it myself; I got it for my students to play during indoor recess. It seems like a game with good mixed-age potential. I do enjoy playing “Ten Days in Asia,” which is more for adults, but I modified it for my third graders, inviting them to pick an origin and a destination, then just sort through cards and make their own travel route (normally you have to pick cards to replace your ten cards one at a time until you have a complete route). It might be something you enjoy with your family when the children are a bit older :)

    Also, my family used to play Fantan all the time. It’s a fun game with a standard deck of cards; as you play, you develop some strategies, to the consternation of other players!

    Reply
  22. Courtney
    January 10, 2012

    My family used to play thirty-one when I was little – it’s a great intro to card games (because little hands only have to hold three cards) and we would bet things like goldfish crackers or chips instead of money, and a good variation for the younger ones would be to work towards getting 31 without worrying about what suit each card is. It also serves as a good tool for simple addition (up to 31), or to simplify it, you can write up a list of cards from the lowest value to the greatest for real little kids so they know to discard the card they have with the lowest value (the one lowest on the list). Wikipedia has some good instructions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirty_one
    P.S. Thanks for posting this, my husband is not much for playing games, especially little kids’ games, but you have some on here that I think we’ll have to invest in for our family!

    Reply
  23. Jennica
    December 8, 2012

    Thanks so much for these ideas. I don’t know most of these games, so I’ve got some catching up to do!

    Reply
  24. Mhairia77
    December 11, 2012

    How about Skip-Bo, Millionaire (only if you are ready for a headache!!!)
    We also loved Scattergories, Chomp and any of the University Games range.
    For older children I like Apples to Apples, Frog Juice and other games from Gamewright.
    Thanks so much for this list. I am going to go search for Shut the Box!

    Reply
  25. Sprom8
    December 22, 2012

    Set, Quiddler, Upwords, and for tweens strategy games like Risk and Settlers of Catan

    Reply
  26. Melissa Richards
    January 14, 2013

    We’ve done family game night weekly for a while now, sometimes it’s just our family and other times we have aunts, uncles, cousins and friends over. We love old ones like spoons, and PIT. Our new favorites are Farkle and Head Bandz. We got the adult one and made kids cards out of index cards.

    Reply
    • GrowingPlay
      January 28, 2013

      We just started playing Farkle. Very fun!

      Reply
  27. GrowingPlay
    January 28, 2013

    Love shut the box too! If you like that try yamslam a little longer but fun dice game. How about Left right center? Rummikub gets a little long for me. Another one we love for 6 years plus is Trigger. The all time go to games are card games in our house and especially camping.

    Reply
  28. Jen @ de Jong Dream House
    August 4, 2014

    We are having game night nearly every night this summer! Our favorite is Settlers of Catan (along with add ons, Cities & Knights and Seafarers of Catan). We also love Apples to Apples, Sequence, Phase 10, Ticket to Ride, and Gin 13.

    Reply

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