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Games are my favorite way to spend time with my family and friends. I love to gather a big group, just a couple of family member or play with just my husband. Finding family games is my goal for a fun time.
During this stay-at-home pandemic time I am loving the variety of games my kids know. My kids are all under 11 but can play games made for adults with a good amount of skill. I’ll go crazy if I have to play another game of CandyLand or Chutes and Ladders, so these game keep my kids AND myself having fun! Games for the whole family teach kids important skills of sportsmanship, strategy, and even academics in a fun and competitive way.
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You can also rekindle your love of reading. Read my top 10 favorite books I read during the pandemic (and 10 to avoid).
We love Cover your Assets from Grandpa Becks and have played for several years. I kid you not, my 6 year old would play this game with herself playing 2 different hands. She loved it so much! Cover your Assets is probably the best version if your kids are young or new to games.
But if you are ready to take this family game to the next hilarious level, definitely go for “Cover your Kingdom”. Stealing cards and finding matches has never been so fun.
Warning: You may find yourself distracted laughing to the unique puns on each card and then lose your Kingdom.
Second Warning: This is a game where you are stealing cards from each other. It is difficult for some kids to get their piles stolen. All the more reason to play this! Our daughter cried and struggled for the first month. We started telling her she could only play if she would not cry if we stole her pile. She loves it now and is totally ok ‘losing’ a pile. Its a good skill to have in life!
If you want games for the whole family to be working together in solving puzzles, acting, drawing and word games Cranium has you covered! Try out this simple family game and compete to get ahead.
Grandpa Becks games are all so very family-friendly and fun. So of course, our list includes several games from Grandpa Beck. Skull King is a bidding game where you predict how many hands you will win and get points accordingly, but has annoying little cards that keep you guessing and losing your bid!
UNO is a classic card game for families. But these two new options make this simple game a bit more challenging and unique. Uno Flip has colors and numbers on BOTH sides of the card. When someone plays a “FLIP” card, you flip your entire hand over and start playing with orange, purple and teal instead of the classic colors.
In UNO Dare when you play a “Draw 4” card it comes with a specific Dare the next player has to do for a full round (or must draw 4).When someone is bouncing around like a bunny and someone else is talking like a pirate, you know this family game is bound to bring lots of laughs and fun.
This is a simple and inexpensive card game. The rules are easy to understand and the cards simple with big numbers. Each person is trying to get their pile of cards to zero to win. The entire board is working on building up the piles in the middle, so in some respects this is a little cooperative. This was one of my favorites as a kid and now I’ve passed the love onto my kids.
Splendor is an adult game with lots of fun strategies. But since it is simple, my kids picked it up quickly and sometimes their simple strategies blow the adults out of winning. Even if the kids don’t win, they still feel productive getting gems and buying cards. This is can be challenging and fun for adults while still engaging the little ones.
7. Spot It
Spot it is a Game where you are looking for matching symbols on cards. Every single card in the deck
I personally default to the adult version of any game just so I enjoy it more. My big kids do very well at the adult version, especially when I give them a 1-2 second head start.
Depending on the age or ability of your child, you may choose Spot it, Junior. There are so many variations of this game of spotting the matching characters on the cards. When my kids find the match before me it always gives them a confidence boost and a fit of giggles. If they like this enough they may even look for matches by themselves so you can get dinner made!
8. Long Cow
Long Cow is a new game we received this Christmas, so it’s gotten us through many a lonely night. It is hilarious and you get to steal from each other. Honestly, the kid who loves this game the most is in tears half the time from losing her cows. But the tears must not last too long since she begs to play over and over.
I’ve had a bag of many dice for my entire life. There are so many family games to be played with dice. I’ve used them with kids to do math games, word games, and writing challenges.
My favorite dice game is a time I tried to make homework fun for my 1st grader. I created a list of methods to write spelling words after rolling the dice. 1= rainbow colors, 2 = with the left hand, etc. I ran out of ideas when I got to 5 so I randomly inserted “Spell the word with the pencil up your nose.” Well, turns out my son rolled 5, and then 5 and then 5 and then 5. By the seventh spelling word and pencil dripping with snot, I finally inspected the dice to see that I accidentally grabbed the trick dice with only 5’s!! Sorry, kiddo.
Anyway, I digress. I like dice games. Here are a few of my favorites.
You may like or hate this game depending on your luck, but I love the concept of stopping while you are ahead, while also weighing it with the luck of rolling the right numbers.
You roll 6 dice. Each roll you must get points or you lose all points and pass the dice on. Set aside the dice that received points. Keep rolling the other dice until you don’t roll any points (and you lose your previous points) OR you decide to stop and collect points and pass to the next player.
***Fun variation! Most people play that every player starts over at zero. But my favorite version is that the next player can elect to roll the remaining dice and add to the previous players total IF they roll points.
- 1=100 points
- 5=50 points
- The rest of these points must be rolled on the same roll:
- 3 of a kind = the number on the dice x100 (three 1’s = 1000 points)
- 4 of a kind = 1000 points (four 1s = 200 points)
- 3 pairs = 1500
- 5 of a kind =2000 points
- 6 of a kind =3000 points
- Large straight 1-6= 2000 points
Keep rolling until you decide to stop and collect your points or you don’t roll any points. If you elect to stop rolling, write down your score. Pass the leftover dice that haven’t gotten points yet on to the next player. They start with the points you accumulated and can roll the total higher if they are lucky.
Thanks to my new IG friend from @EverydayReading we added a fun, new dice game to our lineup! Quick and easy game. Each player gets 2 dice, pencil and paper. You roll to draw a house and get 6 kids. When you roll a 1, draw a house. 2 = windows (2 required) 3 = door 4 = Chimney 5 = smoke 6= kids (6 required) .
You must roll the numbers in order. If you roll a 1 and a 2 you can use them both in the same turn.
The wild card is that anytime you roll two 5s, your entire house burns to the ground and you have to start over.
While I don’t encourage teaching my kids to lie, this is a fun game of statistics and guessing. It is very fun with adults and so I taught the kids, too. They liked it though they aren’t as convincing in a lie.
Every player gets 5 dice. Roll and hide all dice.
Make a prediction about how many dice are out of the same number
“I think there are 3 fours”
The next player must go UP, either in number of dice or in pips (the number on the dice)
“I think there are 4 (of any number)” or “I think there are 3 FIVES” (or sixes)
When the next player calls the bluff, all players reveal their dice to show how many of each number are out there. If the player who made the statement is wrong, they lose a dice. If the player who called the bluff is wrong, they lose a dice.
The player who lost a dice starts the next round. Continue playing until only one player is left with dice.
Hand and Foot requires 5 decks of cards and at least 4 people. The rules are a bit lengthy so I’ll leave the explanation here.
Working together with a teammate means building some unity that other games may lack. This game is 3-4 long rounds so it can occupy a lot of time, or you can play one round a day.
11. Forbidden Island
I love this game for families! Instead of being against each other and getting to one winner, you are all working together to beat the game. Its a cooperative game and everyone wins or loses together. Still, it is intense and fun, but you must work as a team to win. The “bad guy” is the random chance turning of the cards.
If your kids take to this game and you’s like to try a more advanced option try playing Pandemic! Just be warned that it may be a bit too close to our current situation for comfort! In this game a pandemic disease is spreading around the world and you are trying to eradicate it with a vaccine before too many people die.
12. Nertz (or Hell or Dutch Blitz)
For this game you don’t need to buy the decks of cards in the above game (although you can to make it easier). You really just need a deck of cards per person that all have a different color/pattern/style on the back.
Nertz is basically like playing solitaire but any Ace that goes out into the middle can be played on by any player! You are trying to get rid of a stack of cards and the first person out ends the round. Each card played in the middle gets a point. This means that the first person out might not actually have the most points.
You will need at least 3 people to make this one fun. I think it is perfect for kids 10+. The perfect family games for teenagers.
I love the fast pace nature of this game. Kids can play on a team to help with keeping track of all the moving stacks in the game.
Dutch blitz is the exact same game as Nertz, but the decks only go up to 10. So if your kids are getting confused with the Jack, Queen and King, try Dutch Blitz for a slightly easier (but just as fast paced) game of Nertz.
How has your family been getting through the Pandemic? Have you found any family games you love playing together? Please share in the comments.
13. Ticket to Ride
Our favorite family games are the Ticket to Ride games… ALL of the them! We own the Europe, USA, Germany (my personal favorite) and Switzerland (no longer available) versions. Our kids can play the adult versions as it is just picking colors and building trains. If your kids are younger or just starting out, you should try the “First Journey” version.
You will love this game of completing train route and earning points by collecting long connections.
14. Code Names
Code names may be too advanced for young kids who don’t know homophones, but my kids love the challenge of coming up with one word that will help you guess multiple words on the board. Needs at least 4 players. This game never gets old!
This is an easy game for kids to catch on to. Pick colored gems and try to complete a patterned grid. Extra points for completing an entire column, row or 5 of the same pattern. My 3-year-old even loves the brightly colored tiles and matching them with the pattern.
I can’t stop thinking of games I love, so I’ll have to write another blog post soon, but I’m sure you have enough fun to explore with this list. Happy Game Nights!
If you are heading on a trip with your family, make sure to check out my best packing tips.
Read my best hacks to save time and money in your family.
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