In our house, game night is king. From the holidays to casual weeknights, we love gathering around the table to play board games and do puzzles together. Over the years, we have amassed quite the collection of games and have found a few crowd pleasers for players of all ages.
These 7 games can be adapted or easily learned by players of most ages, especially with a little help or “coplaying” from an adult. (“Coplaying” = “Come sit with me and help me play.”) All of them also have a sneaky educational factor so kids can learn and play at the same time. Win-win for all families!
- Farkle: This is an easy to learn dice game. Players roll dice and use combinations to gain points. But be careful! Fail to roll a winning dice, and FARKLE! Your turn is over. Calculating the points is an excellent way to practice adding skills. Flip the scoring system around to practice subtracting too.
- Sequence: Using cards and chips, Sequence is the board game version of Bingo meets Connect Four. Take turns selecting locations on the board that match your cards to get five in a row. Make the game more interesting by pairing up to win – but no talking! Sequence is perfect for practicing planning ahead and strategy. The game also comes in a variety of versions, including cards, animals, letters, and state capitols, to adapt to your family’s interests.
- Disney Pictopia: For all those Disney fans out there, this game is beyond fun! In fact, my young cousin got it for Christmas years ago and the older kids (read: 20-year-olds) were begging to play! Move around the board by answering trivia questions related to four images on a card. The cards cover traditional and new Disney films and their difficulty hinges solely on how many movies you’ve seen.
- Apples to Apples: As the family-friendly predecessor to Cards Against Humanity, Apples to Apples is the perfect way to introduce your little ones to creative word association. By pairing various adjectives and adverbs with nouns and pronouns, players stretch their imagination and humor to gather apples to win. In our house, the sillier the combination, the better.
* Bonus – Now that we’re older, we have graduated to Cards Against Humanity while the kids are out of the room. Even Grandma gets into it!
- Phase 10: By far my favorite card game! Players must swap and gather cards to create combinations to advanced to each round. But watch out! The first person to make their combination ends the phase for everyone, so you have to be fast!
- Scrabble: In a time of autocorrect, we love testing our vocabulary and spelling skills! Shut off the Words with Friends and play the classic board game version with your family. And I have to tell you, the number of times we’ve seen kids win is actually pretty impressive. Must be all those spelling tests…
* If the board and scoring system is a bit much for your little ones, give Bananagrams a try instead! It’s travel-friendly too!
- Rummikub: A tile-version of the game Rummy, this may be the best game to reinforce cognitive skills for kids. Players must create patterns and pairings to use all the tiles on their platform, which helps develop the ability for sequencing, pattern recognition, and planning ahead.
As I mentioned, we are avid game players in our household, so I’m always looking for recommendations. Drop a comment below to let me know what your favorites are!
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