family games

The Ultimate Guide to the Best Family Games

Connecting together as a family is a special and important thing to make time for each week. We often forget to spend time with each other because of our busy lives, but it's those moments of playfulness and connection that we remember for life.

Remember when your dad taught you how to ride a bike? Or sat reading you books by the fireside? Or went to the beach and learnt to body surf the waves? Or climbed trees in the park and played hide and seek together? Or played Monopoly over and over again until you were declared the unanimous winner? It's those special moments that we can create with our kids that remind us how much we care for each other. 

Why is it important to create fun family memories?

There are so many benefits of sharing happy memories together as a family. By creating fun moments and engaging with each other in a playful way, it makes the hard things much easier to get through. 

Kids who have connected, engaged parents also feel much more stable at home, and are confident they are loved and cared for. This is a huge benefit, especially at this time with so many uncertain things in the future such as extended lockdowns, state border closures and other restrictions. Some family members may not be able to travel or connect with each other, and that makes it hard. 

Focusing on the happy moments and strong bonds also last a lifetime. If siblings have good memories growing up together, they have a much higher chance of staying friends and supporting each other when they get older. It's a win-win situation for everyone, and you'll all appreciate the benefits of family games and shared family fun. 

It's definitely worthwhile to connect, create happy memories together and learn to have fun with each other. It's the best thing about family!

family games

How do you create strong family bonds?

First of all, creating happy memories and strong family bonds doesn't need to be over complicated or hard to do. Simply a day at the beach, hiking up a mountain trail or watching the sunset together are simple and special things to do together. 

Here's an extensive list of all the best family games and family fun you can have together. Let me know if you ever make it to the bottom of the list....

The Ultimate Guide to the Best Family Games

Here's a compilation of the best family games and family fun! These ideas are great when you are looking for inspiration on how to spend quality time together as a strong, connected family. These memories last a lifetime! Enjoy. 

1. Spend a day in Nature

family games

This is the most simple and easiest way to connect as a family. Take a walk to your closest park, outdoor playground or visit the beach. Having your kids run around outside is wonderful for their mental and physical health, as well as an opportunity for exploring the natural world. You can play hide and seek, treasure hunt or build sandcastles together (sand needed). 

Here's a 100 Maths Activities that include a variety of fun and engaging games that help your kids learn maths at the same time - and the best thing is, they're all outdoors.

2. Get creative with fun indoor games

When the weather is rainy or wet, it's sometimes a good decision to stay inside and find a few games to play together (and keep the carpets clean!). We've put together a whole list of fun family activities, including some great ideas about what to do when you're stuck indoors.

family games

It's a wonderful resource that you can bookmark for future rainy days, lockdowns or restrictions that mean you need to stay inside. Your kids will be well entertained and you'll have some fun with these ones too!

You can check out the Ultimate Stay at Home Activity List here.

Having fun colouring in

Colouring in shapes is perhaps the most well known form of indoor play. The kids get to draw out the picture using dot-to-dot and then colour it in! Because these games involve maths (on a subtle level, so they are still fun and engaging games) then you can be rest assured you're having fun and your kids are learning at the same time.

You can download the free Games and Activity booklet to print off and start using straight away. It's jam-packed with loads of different maths games, and makes learning much more fun and engaging!

You can check out the full 67+ Maths Games here.

If you're interested in more fun games and activities that help your kids learn maths, you can also check out How to Teach Place Value Using Maths Games.

3. Learn to play dominos

Playing dominos means you have to have a strong focus and an eye always on the dominos - no pushing, shoving or wild playing! It can be as simple or as complicated as you want. Remember, keep things light and fun!

Here's a short video about how to play dominos:

The basic rules of playing dominos is pretty simple: each player must in turn then play a tile onto the table positioning it so that it touches one end of the domino chain which thus gradually increases in length. If you want some more lengthy variations of this game, check out these domino rules and extra games.

4. Get out the drawing pad and pencils

All you need is pen and paper! Start a drawing game. One person starts by drawing a shape on a piece of paper and passing it to the next player, who adds to it. Remember, you will need to start where the last person finished their drawing. Fold down your drawing and cover it before passing on to the next player. 

Keeping passing around the drawing until everyone has a turn or for a predetermined number of times. When everyone has completed their drawing, uncover the masterpiece! This is the best part, with loads of laughter as you uncover the combined artwork. Some of them don't make sense, while others are hilarious!

This can be played with as many players as you wish.

5. Play hide and seek

As simple and childish as this may seem, sometimes hide and seek is the most fun! You will discover hiding places across your entire house that you've never seen before and create squeals from the kids when you discover them! Chasing them around the house until you tag them is often a fun addition to this game!

6. Play a card game

There are so many legendary card games to play together that you'll have a hard time picking which one you want to start with!

The most simple card game is called "Spoons," where you each start with 6 cards. Place a spoon for each person in the middle of the circle with one spoon short. That means if you have 5 people playing, you only need 4 spoons in the centre. 

The aim of the game is to collect four of the same cards and then slowly pick up a spoon so no one realises you are doing it. The last person to realise the spoons are gone loses because they don't have a spoon!

This is a wonderful game and has provided our family with many happy memories. You can also use other items if you don't have any spoons handy, but the game stays the same. 

Here are 21 classic card games you can play with your kids.

7. Get active with Simon Says

You probably remember this game from your childhood! Simon Says is a simple game that anyone can learn - and even the grandparents cna join in by calling out what to do.

Everyone gathers in an open space such as the living room. Make sure you have enough room to fall over if you can't do everything Simon Says!

The leader will call out something to do. "Simon Says rub your stomach!" Everyone will start rubbing their stomach. Then the leader will say "Simon Says stand on one foot!" And everyone will follow.

The leader will keep calling out things to do until they speak a command without the word "Simon Says" in front of it. If the leader calls out "Sit down!" and someone sits down, they lose instantly! The aim of the game is to keep a sharp mind and still be able to do what Simon Says.

Loads of fun and totally worth playing anytime!

family games

8. Get involved with Charades

Charades is a family game that is fun and exciting - and often gets alot of giggles and laughter!

Choose a player to start the game. The player thinks of a book title, a famous person's name, a saying, a movie title or a song title to pantomime. He should choose something with which the others will be familiar. If you like, designate a category like sports or Disney.
The player then pantomimes the word or phrase he's chosen to the other players.

Here are some common clues used in charades:
To indicate a book, pretend to read a book.
To indicate a song, pretend to sing.
To indicate a movie, pretend to crank an old movie camera.
To indicate the number of words, hold up that many fingers. (Then hold up one finger before pantomiming the first word, two fingers before the second, and so on.)
To pantomime a word that rhymes with the word you want players to guess, first tug on your ear to say "sounds like."

The first person to guess the word or phrase gets a point. If you like, divide into teams before playing. Players from each team take turns pantomiming for their teammates. The first team to guess the word or phrase gets a point. Keep track of the points earned by each player or team. The one with the most points at the end of the game wins.

9. Guess away with Memory games

This game is one of my personal favourites because it trains good memory and observation skills. 

Start by placing an assortment of different items on the benchtop or table. You can ask the kids to collect some items from around the house such as a pencil, cup, hair tie, nail scissors and cards. Place all the items together and then cover them with a teatowel or sheet.

Ask all the children to look away while you remove one item. You can shuffle the items around to make it a little more challenging. Replace the cover, then when they look again, remove the cover (replacing and removing the cover is an important part of this game, so don't forget it!)

Ask your kids which item is missing. Whoever guesses the right item wins! You can keep playing this games as many times as you like. 

family games

10. Play some Board Games

Board games are always loads of fun. I remember playing Monopoly a hundred times over before I won, and then I couldn't stop winning! It was one of the highlights of my childhood, and something I still boast about today.

Finding an activity for the whole family to enjoy can be a much harder task than you might think. But an actually fun board game can yield hours of entertainment for all ages (and maybe even bring your family closer together). We’ve written about a lot of such games before — including the best adult board games, two-player board games, and four-player board games — but here, we’ve rounded up the best family board games, as praised by the most enthusiastic Amazon reviewers. To make sure that these are fun family games, all of the listed options are kid-appropriate while still entertaining enough for adults.

There's a massive list of family board games below. You can check them out, read the descriptions and see if they are the right fit for you and your family. 

New York Magazine - 18 Best Family Board Games

Finding an activity for the whole family to enjoy can be a much harder task than you might think. But an actually fun board game can yield hours of entertainment for all ages (and maybe even bring your family closer together). We’ve written about a lot of such games before — including the best adult board games, two-player board games, and four-player board games — but here, we’ve rounded up the best family board games, as praised by the most enthusiastic Amazon reviewers. To make sure that these are fun family games, all of the listed options are kid-appropriate while still entertaining enough for adults.

How we pick each product
All of the family board games that we’ve included here have more than 100 reviews and an average rating of at least 4.1 stars, and are fulfilled by Amazon. That means that Amazon, not a third-party seller, will handle customer service and product returns if anything isn’t to your liking. Our best-rated pick is the family board game with the most reviews of any product in the category, and our best-rated (less expensive) pick is the one that meets all of our criteria at the lowest price in the category, in case you’re looking for an all-ages game night without spending too much money. The rest of the products are categorized based on what users are looking for and what reviewers are raving about.

Check out the full New York Magazine 18 Best Family Board Games here.

The Spruce - 10 Best Family Board Games of 2021

Whether you have a family reunion coming up, are looking for indoor activities that don't involve screen time, or just want to bond with your kids, it's always wise to have a few games on hand. But as you probably know, not all are created equal, and some are better suited for families versus those for peers and friends.

"The best family games work well with a variety of ages, meaning that younger players can understand the rules and take part, while older players are not bored out of their minds," says Erik Arneson, a game expert and the author of How to Host a Game Night. As you look at options, be sure to consider the type of game (board, card, dice, guessing, drawing, team-based, outdoor-friendly, etc.), as well as the recommended age range, the number of players needed, and how long it takes to play.

"When I'm looking for a family game, I want something that's both easy to learn and can be played again and again," adds Cardner Clark, store manager of Guardian Games in Portland, Oregon. With insight and recommendations from these game experts in mind, we rounded up standout sets for every family.

You can check out The Spruce 10 Best Family Board Games of 2021 here.

Playtivities - 20 Family Game Night Ideas

Without a doubt one of the favourite family traditions is family game night.

Saturday night. House smells like a pizza restaurant and you can hear more voices than usual in the living room. The excitement is going on all day and the preparation has been handled by the kids.

Most of these games are Minute To Win it games, but we don't take it very seriously the part who wins or loses. It's all about the fun!

You can check out the complete Playtivities 20 Family Game Night Ideas here

family games

11. Have a playful pillow fight

Even a rowdy pillow fight can be a good idea, with some clear rules outlined before you start. If anyone gets hurt and starts crying, the game stops immediately. 

I usually have the following rules for pillow fights:

1. No hitting on the head

2. Pillows are the only item you can use to hit each other with (this is an important rule for my kids, they got stuck into the game and started throwing balls at each other!)

3. One hour time limit. After then, the kids get tired and often start crying.

4. If anyone gets hurt, the game stops immediately.

5. Have fun! Pillow fights are some of my favourite memories and even parents can join in!

12. Let them be bored!

Apart from an extensive list of ideas about how to connect, play and create happy family memories together, it's also important for kids to have time to stop and be still. It's a common misconception that we always have to be "busy and on the go", a misconception that often continues into our adult lives. Sometimes, allowing kids to be left to their own devices and being bored is the best thing.

According to Teresa Belton from The School of Education and Lifelong Learning, boredom is a thing to be appreciated by both parents and kids alike.

‘Children need time to themselves – to switch off from the bombardment of the outside world, to daydream, pursue their own thoughts and occupations, and discover personal interests and gifts. Just letting the mind wander from time to time is important… for everybody’s mental wellbeing and functioning.’

‘A study has even shown that, if we can engage in some low-key, undemanding activity… the wandering mind is more likely to come up with imaginative ideas and solutions to problems.’ 

‘Children need to sit in their own boredom for the world to become quiet enough that they can hear themselves’ – Dr Vanessa Lapointe

It's a good thing to consider! Try letting your kids be bored, and see what they come up with. You might be surprised with how creative those little minds can be..

Have fun creating happy family memories - and being bored!

Warmly,

Esther White

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