We love family game nights and these are our top picks. I love how games bring us together and get everyone off of the devices!
Ticket to Ride First Journey and Ticket to Ride
This game has exceeded my every expectation. It is easy to learn and easy to play. And although easy, it’s still fun each and every time. You get route cards and have to strategize to determine the fastest route with the color combinations of cards to connect different cities on the map. We play as four individual players or teams of two. My 5 year old Roen is obsessed with this game. He has a great mind for strategy and it is incredible to see how well he plays this game. When we first started playing when he was 4, he and I would team up or I would help him every turn. But now, I have to worry about my own strategy or he will beat me fair and square. We have Ticket to Ride (the next age level) on our Christmas list this year and are excited to see that version to add more routes and more of a challenge to a game we have loved.
Qwirkle has recently become a top game in our house. I enjoy this one. You have wooden colored blocks with six shapes and six colors that you have to strategize to combine for the maximum points. At ages 5 and 7, this is perfect for a family game night and we will play this one for several more years with great interest. There is addition involved for scorekeeping which my kindergarten and 2nd grader aren’t quite capable of yet without my assistance. This is one they don’t play without an adult for that reason but it’s ideal for a family game night.
Monopoly Gamer (Mario and Friends)
This is one of my least favorite games as an adult because I have to help and manage this one more than most games. But, my kids LOVE it. This has a fun new take on the traditional Monopoly. The game characters are the popular Super Mario characters which my kids love. The spin on this version is that in addition to collecting money (coins) and properties, each time someone passes Go, it prompts a race where additional bonuses can we won. Each character has special powers that are utilized throughout the game.
Disney Eye Found It
My kids have always loved these eye spy style look and find games. We have both the minions version and the Disney version and enjoy both. This is a great starter game for young ones to count spaces, read numbers on the spinner and do basic math, all with characters they love. We’ve played this since the kids were 2 and 4. While you are working against the other players, you are always working cooperatively as you race to beat the clock. I always appreciate cooperative games and Disney lovers will definitely like this one.
You can’t go wrong with Uno. It’s a great stocking stuffer and perfect to keep one in the car or take to wrestling meets or sports practices to pass the time with one kiddo while waiting on another.
This game is so good. I’m amazed that this game isn’t more well-known and popular. My son became obsessed with dragons when he was 6 years old and I came across this game after significant research. It immediately became a top game in our house. What I appreciate about this game most is that you have to make strategic decisions based upon based math. Age 5 is probably the earliest kids would understand this concept but when they get it, it’s impressive to watch as a parent. This is a dice and card game where you draw cards that give you the ability to strike, scream or stomp at a mythical opponent. It took a few minutes to read the directions and understand the game but once we did, we’ve played it weekly since. I think this is ideal for ages 5-14 but I enjoy this one as an adult.
This classic brings back memories from my own childhood. I typically partner with 5 year old Roen and go against 7 year old Jonathan. Jonathan is almost 8 and just recently has been able to follow the grid to mark and track what he’s called and hits versus misses. This is another game that I am happy to play with the kids.
Hoot Owl Hoot
This game is so cute. We’ve played this since the boys were 2 and 4 and they still enjoy it at ages 5 and 7. This is geared for the younger set and perfect for a first game. I think the ideal ages would be 2-6. The colors and owls are darling and this is a cooperative game where you work together to safely get the owls into their nest before the sun goes down. We’ve enjoyed all of the Peaceable Kingdom games and this makes a great gift at birthday parties.
Race to the Treasure
Another wonderful cooperative game from Peaceable Kingdom, you team up to go against the ogre’s to get to the treasure before the ogre’s do. You have to make cooperative decisions about your path and direction to obtain keys to unlock the treasure. We’ve also played this one since age 2 and our kids have enjoyed it from ages 2-7.
Other Game Favorites
Games On Our Wish List for Christmas
I make a list of the best recommendations throughout the year from teachers, friends and other and have this list of the items I plan to buy for my own kids or gift to others.
This comes highly recommended and I’m also excited about adding this to our strategy game collection.
This game comes highly recommended from friends and numerous teacher friends, including a teacher of gifted students. This is on our list to buy this year.
The boys find this name hilarious and are asking for this for Christmas. The reviews are good so I will be excited to try it.
Checkers and Chinese Checkers
Can you believe we don’t own checkers? We recently came across a giant checker board at a visit to Science City in Kansas City and my kids didn’t know what it was. Add that to our Christmas list this year!