15 Classic Kid’s Games Every Family Should Have
Stock your game closet full of games that are sure to delight players of all ages at your next Family Game Night!
I love a good family game night. There is just nothing like popping a bunch of popcorn and snacks, breaking out the juice boxes and teaching your kids how to play a few of your favorite childhood board games.
When my kids were little, we loved breaking out the easy games. We spent hours playing Chutes & Ladders and Candyland. We taught them the basics of Uno and Go Fish. We got a little crazy playing Old Maid. We always keep a deck of cards on hand so we are always ready to play games with our girls!
More important than teaching my kids how to win any of these kid’s games was teaching them how to be gracious losers. Admittedly, my seven-year-old is still working on this. But for my older two girls, we have stressed that playing games with family or friends is meant to be fun. There are no prizes for the winners, no gold medals for top finishers. We play to have fun. I always ask my girls if they’re having fun when we play… Because if playing classic kid’s games with your family isn’t fun, you’re doing it wrong!
Five Classic Kid’s Games (for kids under 5)
These games are easy to understand and fun to play for kids under five.
Checkers is one of those classic games that is both easy and fun. Plus, it’s easy to come by travel versions of the game to take on the road! We used to play Checkers tournament-style, as the one downside to the game is that it is only designed for two players. Sometimes, we would play “Who can beat Dad?” or “Who can beat Mom?,” games my girls always delighted in. When they were all younger than five, we often let them be a collective team paired against either my husband or me.
Connect 4 is a great game for kids because it teaches them how to count to four by lining up objects. One of the best parts of this game is that it’s quick. No waiting around watching two people intensely playing a game while you twiddle your thumbs. In 15 minutes, you could easily knock out 5 or 6 rounds of Connect 4.
Jenga is a game you can’t not have fun while playing. Even when my girls were tiny, they loved trying to build the Jenga tower taller without knocking it down. If you want to make Jenga more challenging, try writing on the blocks! We’ve seen friends add categories to the blocks- name five colors or five animals- and the player who pulls that block must answer the questions before their turn is over.
Guess Who is a fun way to get kids to learn to describe what they see. We love racing to see who can guess who the other person is first. Sometimes I ask hard questions, sometimes I go easy on my girls. I’ve tried to help them through the years to start big and ask broad questions to narrow the field quickly. Hopefully this will come in handy later in life!
Candyland is a great way to introduce your kids to board games before they are able to read. Because the squares are colored, players move according to the color of the squares, making this game perfect for kids who can’t yet identify letters or numbers.
Five Classic Kid’s Games (for elementary-aged kids)
One of my favorite childhood games. I loved winning this game, although it didn’t happen very often. To this day, I still love a good murder mystery. Something about trying to solve a whodunit mystery before my brothers always makes me wonder if I should have been a detective with Scotland Yard.
My girls have recently gotten into this game, and I enjoyed it as a kid. It’s a good game of strategy that requires kids to play close attention to the shots they are calling out so that they don’t miss sinking any battleships. These games are pretty easy to find in travel size, too.
We have to set a timer when we play Monopoly or we could be playing for days! But Monopoly is one of those quintessential American games that everyone should get to play. There is nothing like collecting your $200 each time you pass Go and hoping that, if you land on Boardwalk, you’ll have enough money to buy!
I can remember sitting around my grandma’s kitchen table as a kid, trying my hardest to win at Chickenfoot. I think it’s mostly luck of the draw, although sometimes there seems to be a bit of strategy involved. Every family should own Dominoes, and Chickenfoot certainly isn’t the only fun game to play with Dominoes, it just seems to be the easiest to play with a large group. We recently went on vacation in Cabo and sat around one evening playing Chickenfoot. I won three rounds and loved every minute!
I didn’t get into Yahtzee until my teen years, but, once I did, I was hooked. I love rolling the dice and seeing what numbers I get. Because the game only goes for 13 rounds, it isn’t as long as some and it can be played with a large number of people!
Five Classic Kid’s Games (for Teenagers and Up)
I love Trivial Pursuit despite being absolutely terrible at it. I love hearing the off-the-wall trivia questions and hoping I’ll be able to contribute to the answers. I’m rarely able to… But one of these days I’m going to knock my husband’s socks off with my answers!
Build an army, engage in battle and defeat the enemy. Easy, right? Ha! I love this strategy involved with this game. This game can drag on sometimes, making it a better bet for older kids who can stay focused for longer periods of time.
Cards Against Humanity
This game can be a little risqué if you aren’t careful, but it really is a super fun game to play with older kids. Answer goofy questions with odd-ball answers. You’ll laugh so hard you’ll cry!
Apples to Apples
Not completely dissimilar from Cards Against Humanity, Apples to Apples has players match their “red apple” cards to the judge’s “green apple” card, which lists an adjective. The best match (defined however the judge sees fit) wins. Hours of fun!
Divide into two teams and have your teammates try to guess what object you’re describing without saying it. Gestures welcome. You’re going for time with this game, so the more words you can get your team to say in a minute, the better. This game works with younger kids, too, but is more enjoyable with bigger kids who have a more advanced vocabulary.
What are your favorite games for family game night?