There is no denying that life is busy, and finding pockets of quality time can be tricky. That is why a family game night is something you should incorporate into your busy schedule.
It offers you time to disconnect from your phone and work commitments and connect with your kids.
5 Golden Rules for Family Game Night
- No cellphones
- Play fair
- Include everyone
- Share the snacks
- Have fun
It’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of everyday life, but being intentional about family time can make all the difference. Whether you have littles, tweens, or teens, your kids will love being goofy with you, and these family game night ideas are sure to be a winner.
“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”– Plato
Here are our best picks for fun family games to play at home:
1. Make Your Own Board Game
Why not personalize your game night with a board game template?
You can create the rules and activities so they suit the whole family. A template also allows you to change the game for every game night and add new ideas as you play.
Snack Inspiration: Hard candies are delicious to snack on but can double up as game tokens.
2. Ultimate Twister
Twister is a classic game that is always a hit. This Ultimate Twister version has a larger mat so the whole family can play together. It comes with a spinner and is Alexa-enabled, so the entire family can be involved.
You can play a Simon Says version of Twister to spice things up. For example, “Simon says stand on a green dot on one leg while patting your head.”
Snack Inspiration: As you will be contorting into different shapes, pretzels are the ideal snack option for Twister.
3. Jenga with a Twist
Jenga is another classic family game night staple, but you can up the ante by writing actions on the blocks. These could be physical tasks, household chores, or a bonus like extra snacks.
Not only is Jenga fun, but it improves hand-eye coordination and strategic thinking.
Do you want to up the stakes and supersize the fun? Try Giant Jenga.
Snack Inspiration: Build a Jenga-like tower using carrots, celery, asparagus, and cucumber sticks. You can add jerky sticks, and don’t forget a delicious dipping sauce.
4. The Name Game
You can adapt The Name Game to suit younger family members, which works well with large families.
Pop the names of famous people into a hat/jar. Each player picks a name out of the hat and can give three clues about their person without saying their name.
The first person to correctly guess the person gets the point. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins. Pen and paper games like this are a great game night option.
Snack Inspiration: Put a selection of dried fruit and nuts into a bag, so each snack handful is a surprise.
Family game nights wouldn’t be complete without a classic game of charades.
If you have never played charades, the goal is to act out similar-sounding words or phrases while your teammates try and guess what is on your card before time runs out.
Snack Inspiration: For a classic game, go with classic snacks like sliders and pizza.
Zingo is another fun game that the whole family can play. Not only is it an exciting spin on bingo, but this award-winning game is great for the pre-readers in your home.
With two levels of play and a cool tile dispenser, Zingo is a must on family game nights.
Snack Inspiration: Zingo is a fast-paced game so keep the snacks quick with crisps and trail mix.
7. Cookie Wars
Having a cookie war is a fun way to involve even the youngest family members. You can make it an individual or a team event, pit parents against kids, or sweet against savory.
Snack Inspiration: Cookies will be the snack of choice for this tasty family game night challenge.
8. Cookie Face
If there are any cookies left after cookie wars, why not try this hilarious minute-to-win-it game?
Place a cookie on your forehead and when the timer starts, try and get it to your mouth using gravity and your face muscles.
Snack Inspiration: Use some of the remaining cookies to make delicious s’mores.
Mancala is an ancient game that is simple enough for young players but requires a strategy that adults enjoy.
Try having two mancala games where the winners play each other. That way, parents and kids can both join in.
For everything you need to know about playing mancala, look here.
Snack Inspiration: Rather than playing with tokens, play with jelly beans; that way, you can feast when the game is over.
10. Play or Pay Card Game
Play or Pay is a card game that involves you getting rid of your cards in a sequence. The sequence is A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K.
- Deal out the cards and start each player with 15 tokens.
- Sort your cards into suits.
- Everyone places a token in the kitty, and the first player puts a card in the center of the table.
- The second player can place a card on top of the first card if they have the next card in the sequence or start a new pile.
- There can be four piles, one of each suit.
- Go round the group and either play a card or pay and place a token in the kitty.
- The first player to finish their cards wins the kitty.
Snack Inspiration: Chocolate buttons make a great token option and will up the stakes.
If you have never played Bananagrams, you should include it in your next fun family game night.
With up to 8 players, this race to create a crossword-style grid and finish all your tiles is a fast-paced head-scratcher that makes a great addition to game night.
Snack Inspiration: Frozen, chocolate-covered banana slices are the ideal snack for this enjoyable game.
Scattergories is another game night staple for families with older kids. You can choose a different category for each game night using a printable template and topic sheet.
Once you have chosen a topic, try and write one word related to that topic that begins with each letter of the alphabet. The goal is to have as many unique words as possible, and you don’t get a point for duplicate words.
Snack Inspiration: Match your snacks to your theme. For example, if your topic is Fall, go with roasted nuts, caramel corn, and pumpkin pie.
13. Balloon Tennis
Try balloon tennis for families wanting a more active addition to game night.
Make a racquet from a paper/styrofoam plate and a wooden popsicle stick, and use a balloon as a ball. You can play in teams or have a round-robin tournament.
Snack Inspiration: You will want something cool and refreshing after this game so opt for jello cups and fruit skewers.
14. Movie Quotes Game
Write down a list of movie quotes and put them in a bowl. One person reads out the quote and everyone else (individually or in teams) has to guess what movie it is from.
The team/person who answered the most correctly wins. End the night watching one of the movies that had a featured quote.
Snack Inspiration: Popcorn is the best choice for this movie-themed game. Feel free to go wild with topping options.
15. Minecraft Uno
Most parents don’t know much about the world of Minecraft, but they do know about Uno. Combining the two is an easy way to introduce an old favorite to your kids while learning more about a game they love.
Snack Inspiration: Use elements from Minecraft for delicious snacks like chicken nuggets, grape ‘slime balls’, baby carrots, and TnT Twizzlers.
16. Giant Lawn Matching Game
When the weather is nice, take game night outdoors with this giant lawn-matching game. You can easily make it at home and customize it to suit your family or the season.
You can make your game tiles from corkboard, cardstock, or masonite. Trace and paint your design, or use a stencil and spray paint.
Then head outside for an evening of fun lawn games.
Snack Inspiration: Keep it light and delicious with chicken taco pinwheels, lemonade, tortilla chips, and salsa.
17. The Floor is Lava
You can play this game outdoors or enjoy it on a cold night inside.
Your kids will love watching you get involved, and you can relive childhood memories of playing your own version of The Floor is Lava, usually with couch cushions.
Not only is this game great for your kid’s motor skills and balancing, but you might find muscles you haven’t used in a while.
Snack Inspiration: Why not get creative and try a molten chocolate or cheese fondue?
18. Spoons Card Game
For this game, you will need a deck of cards and one less spoon than the total number of players.
Each player gets four cards, and the dealer keeps the rest of the pack on their right. They then pick up a card and either keep it or discard it to their left. If they decide to keep it, they must discard another card.
The goal is to have 4 of the same card.
The next player will pick up the discarded card and either keep it or toss it to their left, and so the game goes. The first person to have 4 of the same card grabs one of the spoons in the middle. The other players also have to grab a spoon, and the person left without one loses.
Snack Inspiration: Have snacks that can only be eaten with a spoon.
19. Game Night Trophy
Every game night needs a trophy, so why not turn making one into a game?
Give each family member a $5 budget to buy supplies to make the trophy. The only rule is that you must use every item bought when designing the trophy, and you can’t reveal what you have bought until it’s time to make it.
Snack Inspiration: Give everyone an extra budget and ask them to buy a snack option but also keep it a surprise.
Compete and Connect with a Family Game Night
Playing games together as a family is a simple way to reconnect after a busy week. It helps to build relationships, strengthen communication, and bring everyone closer together.
Whether once a week or once a month, a family game is always a winning idea.