Despite this mama being banned from playing Monopoly with the family (too competitive, apparently; a cheat, allegedly), I still adore family game night. It’s the best way to get everyone around the dining table, just hanging out and laughing with each other.
But it can be difficult to find a game that everyone can enjoy equally, especially if your kiddos are of varying ages. The games that younger one loves will bore your 9 year old to tears. So what we’ve done below is select our favorite games for different ages, with a special note for those options that will appeal across multiple age groups.
Although recommended for children aged 4 years and up, Hisss is simple, fast and fun enough to be enjoyed by toddlers from 2 years, so this is a terrific choice if your children are in the toddler and preschool range. All players have to do is use their cards to create a complete snake, from head to tail, matching the colors as they go. The player that completes a snake gets to put it in their ‘snake pit’ – and the player with the most completed snakes at the end of the game, wins. Each game takes about 15 minutes, making it ideal for short attention spans.
If you’re looking for a more physical game, ring toss is always a winner. This wooden version comes with 4 red rings that players throw at 5 pegs to gather points of 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 at a time. Sized slightly smaller than usual, it’s well-suited to indoor play, and is lovely to pull out even at a reunion or backyard barbecue, when you’ll have a bunch of differently-aged kids visiting.
Teach the kids patience, focus and to be gentle with this easy matching and stacking game that suits 1-4 players, aged from 3 years to around 7 years. All you have to do is place the elephants in the right spot on the platform, then add another platform and do it again, till you’ve built a tower. Then comes the dexterity bit – roll the dice and see if you can remove an elephant of the corresponding color without tumbling the tower.
BEST FAMILY GAMES WITH KIDS 4 YEARS+
Rat A Tat Cat Card Game $11.99 – LOW STOCK
The award-winning, bestselling Rat A Tat Cat card game is recommended for kids aged 6 years up, but can be played with 4 year olds with a little guidance. A low score wins, and players are challenged to get rid of high cards (rats), and draw or swap for low cards (cats). Each game takes about 20 minutes, and would keep your 7 year old entertained as well.
Go Fish Card Game $7.99
A childhood classic! Go Fish has been popular for eons because it’s just so easy and fun to play. Whip it out on a rainy day at home, and your children will love it – whether they’re 4 or 10 years old.
The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game $19.99 – LOW STOCK
Another bestseller, preschoolers just love The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game, where players use their Squirrel Squeezer to grab matching acorns and stash them in their logs (the first player to fill their log is the winner). A game best suited to children aged 3-5 years.
Uncle Wiggily Game $14.99
Uncle Wiggily is a top-rated board game ideal for early readers, but can be enjoyed by younger children that have just started matching numbers and symbols. Players draw cards and follow adorable rhymes to move Uncle Wiggily along the path from Hollow Stump Bungalow to Dr Possum’s office. Easy to understand and enjoy, this is great if your children are aged between 3 and 6 years.
BEST FAMILY GAMES WITH KIDS 5 YEARS +
Tell Tale Storytelling Game $15.99
Tell Tale Storytelling Game, a bestseller by Blue Orange, is pure hilarity… and absolutely perfect for a game night with the whole family. Players pull their cards, lay them face-down, and turn them over one by one, letting the pictures guide their made-up story. The odd appearance of a “crazy card” is where the creativity – and fun! – comes in. Players have to listen carefully to each other to build on the story, so it’s fantastic for improving everyone’s memory and communication skills.
It may be a retirement home staple, but Bingo is still a family game night winner. If your kids are on the younger side, check out our early learning options, such as Alphabet, Matching and Numbers Bingo, where the objective is simply matching up letters and numbers. Math Facts Bingo, however, will challenge them with basic subtraction and addition, making it more suitable for children in the 5 to 8 year category. Note that each set can accommodate up to 36 players per game, so it’s perfect as a classroom game too.
BEST FAMILY GAMES WITH KIDS 6 YEARS+
Farkle Family Dice Game with 75 Extra Scorecards $12.99 – LOW STOCK
This beloved, top-rated and top-selling dice game is a game of pure chance – absolutely anyone can win – making it an ideal game for the whole family, aged 6 years up. Play with small or large groups (2-8 players at a time) – roll the dice, score points, and roll again… The first player to reach 10,000 points is the winner. But roll a dud, and you’ll lose every one of your hard-earned points.
There’s A Moose In The House $10.99
Simple for even the youngest kids in the family to play, ‘Moose’ is a silly card-matching game by Gamewright. The goal is to keep the moose out of your house by closing doors, planting traps and passing them on to your opponents. For a really light-hearted, fun family game night of 2-5 players.
BEST FAMILY GAMES WITH KIDS 7 YEARS+
Scallywags Pirate Game $15.99 – LOW STOCK
Recommended for players aged from 8 years up, our 7 year old still got plenty of enjoyment from this pirate-themed card game. An award-winning bestseller by Gamewright, Scallywags challenges players to play their cards to grab coins. Each game only lasts about 15 minutes, and is terrific for honing those early math skills.
Scrambled States of America Game $17.99 – LOW STOCK
Question: Find a state that ends with the letter A. Now find one that borders Tennessee. This winner of the Dr Toy 100 Best Children’s Products, will test the family’s observation, reflexes, memory and matching skills, as they’re challenged to collect state cards and be crowned Head of States.
BEST FAMILY GAMES WITH KIDS 8 YEARS+
Zeus On The Loose Family Card Game $11.99 – LOW STOCK
A game that’s easy to learn, easy to play and based on Greek mythology? We love Gamewright’s Zeus On The Loose, a bestseller that gets players to catch Zeus by strategically playing cards, adding numbers on the climb up Mount Olympus. Reach a multiple of 10, and you’ve got him! Perfect for building math skills and encouraging strategic thinking.
BEST FAMILY GAMES WITH KIDS 10 YEARS+
Forbidden Island Game $19.99
A Mensa award-winning cooperative game, Forbidden Island will have your whole family absolutely riveted. Players are dared to discover (and escape) Forbidden Island on an adventure mission to collect four sacred treasures – the Earth Stone, Statue of the Wind, the Crystal of Fire, and the Ocean’s Chalice – as the island sinks beneath every step. Playing time per game is about 30 minutes. A brilliant, seriously enjoyable way to get your tween problem solving and thinking strategically.
Visit our Games & Puzzles page for even more family-friendly options across age groups.
And while you’re at it, check out our Pinterest board, Family Game Night, packed with the best entertaining recipes and family game night activities, and there’s even a link to show how to make your own Geller Cup.