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Sometimes planning fun family activities can be challenging especially if you are trying to not spend a lot of money. One of our favorite family activities is Family Game Night. We’ve accumulated a lot of games over the last 8 years and it allows us to have a rather dynamic game night.
Often we play just one game and sometimes we play as many different games as we can manage in the time we have available. It is one of my favorite ways to spend time as a family.
Many of the older games on this list we started playing with our kids when they were much younger than the recommended age. We’ve learned that our kids are capable of playing many of these kinds of games with some help and guidance the first few times but then play very well on their own later.
We like to make it special by making a fun treat like:
or our favorite healthier choice- popcorn and smoothies. It really doesn’t have to cost a lot or require tons of time planning to have a fun time together.
Games for Family Game Night
Board Games For Younger Children:
And although younger kids need simpler board games it doesn’t mean you only play Candyland and Chutes and Ladders. Co-operative games are great for younger children so they can learn to understand strategy and cause and effect. Here are some of our favorite board games to play with younger children.
1. Max (under $16)
A great cooperative game where everyone works together to get three woodland creatures away from the cat Max who will eat them if he can. Perfect for younger kids especially since everyone is working together so everyone wins or loses together but still fun for older children.
2. Richard Scarry’s Busytown (under $25)
Another fun cooperative game that’s a cross between a look and find book and Max above. As a group you are working to get to an island to have a picnic with Pig Will and Pig Won’t who might eat all the food before you can get there!
3. Uncle Wiggly Game (under $25)
This is an old classic from my husband’s childhood that we inherited. Great for kids who are learning to count and is a similar concept to Candyland.
4. Black Sheep (under $20)
We play this with a slight adaptation for my little ones where we work to collect as many animals as possible and disregard the point values associated with the animals.
5. Duo Card Game (under $15)
Similar to the classic Uno, Duo has you match 2 characteristics instead of just 1. My kids were 3 and 5 year old when we first started playing this game and could mostly play it without assistance.
6. Spot It Junior (under $10)
My kids love this game and will sit in their room playing Spot It (hallelujah). Each card has only one match to any other card and you really have to look for the matches. It’s also a great travel game because it is so small.
7. Sequence for Kids (under $15)
Little ones can play this game on their own once they learn the rules. My kids love finding the matches.
8. Race To The Treasure (under $20)
9. Sneaky Snacky Squirrel (under $25)
Try to fill your log with acorns but beware, the others playing can steal them!
And if your kids are older, you might enjoy some of these games. These are great group games and can be adapted to play with younger children as well. We also play a lot of games as a couple for our date nights at home so I’ve included a couple of those.
Board Games For Older Children:
As our children have gotten older we have tried to introduce more complex games with strategy or speed or both. We also like to allow the kids to keep score which helps them with their mental math!
10. Survive Escape From Atlantis (under $40)
Escape from a volcanic eruption while avoiding sharks, whales, and other dangers! We have the original version from the 70s and love to play to it- even with my 5 and 3 year old. This also could be played with just 2 for a fun game night.
11. BANG (under $20)
The classic game of Mafia with a spaghetti western twist. You can pick your own character who each have their own extra powers and try to take out your opponents to be the last one standing.
12. Wackee Six Card Game (under $35)
Race the other players to get rid of your cards like the classic game of speed. This game gets crazy especially when you have 6 people playing as everyone is playing on the same cards at the same time. Have a big group? You can play Wackee Six in pairs for extra craziness.
13. Scotland Yard (under $70)
This is a unique game where one player is trying to avoid the police while all the other players work together to hunt him down. It is way harder than it sounds!
14. Ticket To Ride – Europe (under $45)
We love to play this as a couple. You work to build train routes on your destination tickets but may be foiled by other player’s lines being built first. The Swiss expansion is perfect to play with just 2 people if you can find it.
15. Qwirkle (under $25)
Match colors and shapes to score as many points as possible. Get all 6 shapes or all 6 colors in a row and you get a qwirkle. A great group game that’s still good for younger kids. Although this game can be played with 2 people we have found it’s more fun to play with at least 3 players.
16. 221B Baker Street (under $30)
If you are Sherlock fans like us, then you might like to try your hand at sleuthing out the answer to the mystery as you travel back and forth across London hunting down clues. This is another fun game with 2 players.
17. Carcassonne (under $60)
Build castles, roads, and farms while battling your opponents for control. There are some fun expansion packs and other versions of this games available. This is one of our favorite 2 player games.
18. Set (under $15)
Race to spot the three cards that share a similar trait, or three completely different ones. This is a great game that will make you think hard. Good for a crowd or just a pair.
19. Rummikub (under $20)
For lovers of the classic card game Rummy this is the perfect game. Rearrange the tiles to create new sets and runs and be the first to use all your tiles. Another good game for a couple but just as fun with 4 people.
20. Blockus (under $20)
This is another really good game for your spacial awareness. Try to use as many crazy shaped pieces as you can before you get blocked as everyone plays towards the middle. This game is surprisingly difficult with just 2 people so it’s another great option for date night.
21. Camel Up (under $50)
You make bets on which camel will cross the finish line first. But the odds are always changing as different camels come out on top.
22. Sushi Go (under $15)
You try to put together the best sushi hand. Simple and fast paced its a fun game that is easy to take along with you wherever you go.
23. Bohnanza (under $20)
So many beans and not enough room to plant them all. Trade with other players to plant the best bean harvests you can.