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How To Plan a Video Game Night Your Kids Will Love

How To Plan a Video Game Night Your Kids Will Love

When we think of family game night, board games usually come to mind. However, with the right games, a video game night can be just as much and – and it will probably win you major cool mom points with your kids!

Even if you’re not a gamer, you’ll have loads of fun playing together. Plus, your kids will love that you’re taking part in an activity that they already love. Do it up with snacks, cool gaming consoles – and even matching team “uniforms” – and you’re good to go.

set the date

Pick a day and time when everyone is home and get ready to game. Between sports practices, after-school actitivies and homework, weekends may be best. Friday nights are particularly good, when everyone is ready to unwind after a long week. Decide if your family video game night will be a weekly ritual, or if you’ll have one family video game night per month. Either way, mark your calendar (and the calendars of everyone else in your house who keeps one).

Set the Scene

You might assume that kids want to play their video games on their own, locked away in their bedrooms. The reality is that most kids love it when mom and dad play with them. To set the scene, choose the best place to play. While it might be tempting to set up your kids’ gaming systems in their bedrooms, it’s often best to keep the gaming console in a common family space, such as a family room or living room. This will not only make it easier for you to keep tabs on what your kids are playing, but it will also make it more likely that the entire family will want to join in and play together.

And since no team sport is complete without uniforms,  have some fun by getting matching graphic tees or even lounge sets. Keep some cozy blankets on hand, too, for chillier evenings.

Grab All the Snacks

Make sure everyone’s favorite snacks are on hand. After all, what’s a game night without snacks? Choose snacks that kids already love to eat, like popcorn and chips. You might also want to get a bit creative with the foods you serve and cook up some snacks that follow the theme of the video games you’ll be playing. Bake some Pac-Man cookies or prepare a couple of Minecraft-themed Bento Boxes

Choose the Perfect Video game… or TWO

It’s ideal to choose from multi-player games that everyone can play. Pick family-friendly video games that the entire family will enjoy. Start by considering your kid’s favorite video games at the moment. In our house it’s Minecraft, so we play it often. There are lots of trusted online suggestions that can help you find age-appropriate video games to play as a family. Parenting media review website Common Sense Media is an excellent resource, and you can filter for games by age group.

In addition to Minecraft, here are a few other favorites. Note: some are single player games, but that doesn’t seem to stop kids from having group fun.

Multiplayer games

Just Dance

Mutiversus (characters from Warner Brothers properties such as Superman, Batman, Tom & Jerry, etc.)

Overcooked! (think The Bear meets a burning building deadline)

Mario Party – like a board game but on a video game console.

Mario Kart

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Snipperclips (Nintendo Switch) is great for younger kids.

Jackbox – an online game perfect for game night that’s good for older kids as well (though some games are more kid-friendly than others).

Single-player games with online multiplayer capabilities

Among Us 

Animal Crossing New Horizons 



Single-player games (mobile)

Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted This single-player game is fun to play with other people (Note: prepare for some semi-frightening jump scares)

Crossy Road

Minions Rush


Make Sure Everyone’s a Player

Besides the console and video games you choose, you’ll also need to consider having additional video game controllers on hand, so that each member of the family can play. It may even be fun to choose customized controllers. You can choose themed remotes or ones that are just right for little hands. Make sure every member of the family can play.

Go ahead and put away the usual board games and plan a video gaming night for your family. Playing video games is a great opportunity for you to enjoy more time together as a family. Plus, your kids will think you are the coolest mom ever.

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About The Author

Monica Encarnacion

Monica Encarnacion is a digital parenting writer and consultant for top online publications, including Common Sense Media, where she shares expert reviews of bilingual books and apps for kids. As a passionate content creator, she’s worked with brands such as VTech, ClassDojo, Microsoft, Verizon, and Lego Education. A NYC native, she writes about her family’s digital lifestyle and love of travel on her blog, NYCTechMommy. A former bilingual educator and technology teacher, Monica is passionate about identifying resources that promote learning and help kids (and families) make connections with the world beyond the classroom.

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