One of our favorite family activities is playing a family board game. Because we enjoy this activity so much, we have dozens of them.
If you’re a regular reader, you know my kids span a wide age range (9 to 19). It’s harder than you think to find games that everyone enjoys just as much. That’s why I’ve decided to make a list of what we consider the best family board games.
Even though my youngest child is 9, we’ve had most of these games for 2-3 years. I’ll list the recommended ages but almost all of these are easy enough for kids as young as 6 to play.
Hedbanz is easy for people of all ages to play. Each player wears a headband that has a slot for a clue card. This enables everyone else to see your clue card. Each person takes turns asking a question to help them figure out what item is on his or her card. Because each card has a picture clue as well as the word, even pre-readers can play this game.
Everyone looks a little silly wearing the headband, which is part of the fun. And I can honestly say after playing this game MANY times, that age doesn’t offer an advantage. Little ones do just as well as the grown-ups.
Jenga is a classic for a reason. All you need is patience and a steady hand. Carefully remove one block each turn and place it carefully on the top of the tower. If the tower collapses on your turn, you lose. The thrill of the falling blocks is part of the fun though, so the loser of the round never really feels very bad. In our house, the loser is also exempt from helping rebuild the tower for the next round (or from cleaning up if the game is over).
Beat the Parents
In Beat the Parents, kids have to answer questions that most adults would know and parents answer questions the kids know the answers to.
Frankly, I think the game was created by a kid since we have never managed to win this game. I guess Beat the Parents is the perfect name for it since that’s what our kids do every time we play!
Taco Takeover is delightfully simple, quick and a ton of fun for all ages. Each player gets a taco shell and an order card. You race to build your taco the fastest.
There are a couple of wild cards that can propel your progress forward or back so even if you move a little slower, luck could be on your side.
In Spot It, players race to find a matching symbol on two different cards. If you have poor visual perception, this one is going to be tough for you. If you’re one of those people that breezes through the puzzle challenges where you have to find 6 differences between two pictures or finish word searches in record time, you will excel at this game.
Age, I’ve discovered, has nothing to do with it, so your second grader has just as good a chance to beat you as your husband does.
I discovered Happy Salmon at a toy expo. I was about to walk right past the booth when the team working it talked me into playing a round with them. Two minutes later, I knew this was going to be one of my family’s favorite games.
Each card has an action listed on it (e.g. “high five” or “pound it”) and you have to get another player with the same action to perform the action with you so you can move on to the next card. The goal is to be the first one to get through all of your cards. It’s fast, noisy, active, and tons of fun.
My family enjoys all of the games I’ve listed, but our hands-down favorite is Telestrations. In Telestrations, each player gets a sketch book and a dry erase marker and a card with different words and phrases.
You write your word/phrase down on the first page of the sketch book, then draw a picture of it on the next page. Then, you pass your book to the right. That person looks at your drawing (they don’t get to look at the word or phrase) and tries to figure out what it is. They write down their guess and pass it to the next person who has to try and draw what that person wrote. It’s like the game “Telephone” but with drawings. It’s hilarious how some of the phrases morph.
If you think you need to be a good artist to enjoy this game, I can assure you that you don’t. NO ONE in my family can draw. I think it makes the game even more fun since it’s even harder to decipher each other’s drawings. The more outlandish the final guess, the more fun the game is!
I know there are tons of other family board games out there. We own dozens more than I’ve listed. The ones I’ve recommended above are MY family’s favorite games. If you have a favorite that isn’t on my list, please share it in the comments!