The Best Board Games for Families (Kids & Adults!)
The stay-at-home mandate has left many of us with a bit of extra time on our hands. Those off-hours where we used to go out to dinner, catch the latest movie or grab a drink with friends are now spent searching for things to do in the comfort of our own homes. Some people have taken up a new hobby, like knitting or painting, while others kill time by binge watching Netflix or solving jigsaw puzzles.
Many families spend their evenings playing good, old-fashioned board games. But with so many options, it can be difficult to find a game that the whole family will like. From classics like Monopoly to newer games such as Ticket to Ride, there are plenty of options for kids of all ages. Best of all, many of these games now have online versions, so you can play with family and friends living outside your household. Following are some of the best board games for families, depending on the age of your children (or lack thereof!)
Board Games for Preschool-Aged Children
Just because you have little ones in your home doesn’t mean you can’t have a fun game night the whole family will love. There are plenty of board games that are appropriate for the under-6 set, including classics like Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders and Hi Ho! Cherry-O.
Qwirkle is another game perfect for the youngest kiddos. It’s a simple game where players match wooden tiles in different colors and shapes to create rows. Think of it as Scrabble, minus the letters and words, so even non-readers can play. Another fun game is Zingo, a Bingo-like game where players must match tiles with pictures on their game boards.
Board Games for School-Aged Children
If you’ve got school-aged children at home, there are hundreds of board games to choose from that will keep everyone entertained for hours. Traditional games that have stood the test of time include Sorry, Pictionary and the Game of Life, of which are appropriate for kids 6 and older.
A fun, interactive game for kids and adults alike is Telestrations, which is like the game of Telephone and Pictionary in one. Double Ditto is another good family game, where players try to predict their opponents’ answers. If your kids like strategy games, one of the best games out there is Carcassonne, where players build a medieval city. Another good strategy game is Forbidden Island, where players have to work together to rescue four sacred treasures.
Board Games for Tweens & Teens
Classic board games like Scrabble, Scattergories and Taboo are best reserved for kids above 10. While these games certainly aren’t inappropriate, younger children may not yet understand the nuances of these games nor have the vocabulary necessary to compete. While many games can be adapted for young kids, it can leave moms and dads wanting a bit more challenge.
Some good games for older kids include Betrayal at House on the Hill, where players build their own haunted house and then work together to survive and escape. Codenames is another good game, where rival spymasters make contact with their agents using only their codenames.
Board Games for Adults
If your family doesn’t include children, there are several board games just for you. The gold standard is Cards Against Humanity, a hilariously inappropriate card game where you fill in the blank with the funniest answer. A similar game for adults is What Do You Meme?, where you pair phrases with some of the most famous images from the internet. If drawing is more your thing, you can try Drawing Without Dignity, a grown-ups only game similar to Pictionary. If you’re a fan of Ellen, you may have seen the game Never Have I Ever, in which players reveal the questionable things they’ve done over the course of their lives.
Card games are another solid bet for a family game night. Using a traditional deck of cards, you can play Blackjack or Go Fish with younger kids, as well as the longstanding Uno (with versions like Emojis and Harry Potter) or the newer Dos. Other popular family-friendly card games include the highly-rated Exploding Kittens, where players collect cards to move, thwart, and yes, explode their opponents. Not Parent Approved is another fun game, similar to Cards Against Humanity but rated G. Suitable for older kids, Unstable Unicorns allows you to build a unicorn army and destroy your enemies.
Do you pride yourself on your useless knowledge? If so, a trivia board game may be a good choice for you. Trivial Pursuit is the old standby, and there’s an edition for families and fans of Harry Potter and Star Wars. If your kid is an animal lover, then Guess in 10 — Animal Planet can let them show off their knowledge by trying to guess which animal is on the game card using clues. It’s not exactly a trivia game, but the 5 Second Rule game requires players to spit out things that fit an increasingly difficult topic. There’s also a family version.
Virtual board games
Many board games are now available online for virtual playing, including classics as well as newer games. In fact, playing with friends via online portals are one of the best ways to maintain your social life during the coronavirus lockdown. You can become a real estate mogul in Monopoly, find out who done it in Clue, or make your way through career and family in the Game of Life — all while playing with friends across town or across the country. There are also plenty of new-ish board games you can play online as well. This includes the rain-journey adventure Ticket To Ride, and the community-building strategy game Settlers of Catan.
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Elizabeth Penney is a content writer for Lyon Real Estate and the Lyon Local blog. A Sacramento native with a marketing background, she shares her insider knowledge on restaurants, attractions and outdoor activities throughout the greater Sacramento area and beyond.