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My Top Picks for Family Game Night

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There are countless reasons to love Friday: the end of the work week, the end of the school week, no bedtimes, live music at the bar, Rebecca Black songs… Seriously, countless reasons.

But my personal favorite reason to celebrate Fri-Yay! is that it’s Family Game Night for us!

Every Friday we eat dinner, turn on the Disney soundtracks station on Amazon Music and sit around the table to play a fun game. Scheduling intentional fun bonding time each week has been truly transformative for our family.

Photo by Tammy Hunt

Family Game Night Rules

There are a few rules for our Family Game Nights that we all agree to, and I think you should too!

1. The person choosing the game alternates each week.

Our little one doesn’t get to pick each week, or else we’d end up playing the same game every week and that’s not quite as fun for my husband and me.

2. No phones allowed.

I’ll occasionally sneak a quick picture of us playing, but other than that, no texts, no calls, no mindlessly scrolling Facebook. None of that noise is allowed during Family Game Night.

3. No bad attitudes, period.

It’s required that you shake all of your attitude or sadness from the day out before you approach the table. Family Game Night is a time for fun, and we leave everything else off the court!

And that’s it! We don’t have any other rules about the night, no other expectations or worries.

My Top Picks for Family Game Night

Now that you know why you need a family game night and the rules to play by, here are my absolute top picks for games!

And I want it to be known that this list DOES NOT include Monopoly! My husband is probably questioning everything about our relationship because I didn’t include that game, but I don’t care! Monopoly is divisive and takes too long! (True story: I once had a 3 month long fight with my brother-in-law after a particularly intense game of Monopoly)

There are card games, dice games, and board games on this list. Some you can buy on Amazon, and others you can play with what you already have lying around at home. Some are classics you played growing up, but others I bet you’ve never heard of!

Yahtzee

You seriously can’t go wrong with a classic like Yahtzee. I played Yahtzee with my mom and sister growing up, so it’s easy to see why this is a favorite for me!

Hedbanz

Hedbanz is definitely a crowd pleaser. We just played this one last week (you might have caught it on my Instagram stories!), and we had such a fun time. I also secretly love that it teaches our kiddos problem-solving skills and how to ask the right questions to get to the answer you seek.

5 Second Rule

This is a game for the quick ones in your family! You have 5 seconds to think of an item that fits the chosen category or you’re out!

Fishbowl

I’m honestly not sure where Fishbowl originated, but it’s a game I learned years ago and taught my family. Here’s how you play:

Everyone writes 5 prompts (usually people, place, or thing) on a scrap sheet of paper, folds them, and puts them individually in a communal bowl. A few examples are: Taylor Swift, school bus, and swimming pool.

Shake the bowl up, and assign players to 2 teams. Members of the same team should not sit next to each other. Team 1 will go first, and a member of Team 2 will start the timer.

Member 1 of Team 1 will have 60 seconds to get her teammates to guess as many prompts she draws out of the bowl as she can. After 60 seconds, give Team 1 as many points as prompts were guessed, then play passes to Member 1 of Team 2. Play continues until all prompts have been guessed, and the timer is paused. All prompts go back in the bowl for the next round.

Round 1 is like Taboo: you’ll explain the prompt without using the word.

Round 2 is like Charades: you’ll act out the prompt without using any words or sounds.

Round 3 is One Word: you can only use one word to describe the prompt.

Once all three rounds have been completed for all words, scores are totaled and a winner is chosen!

Uno

We’ve been playing a LOT of Uno around here lately. It can get prettyyy intense in the Skiles household.

Skipbo

It’s like Uno on steroids. We love it!

Watch Ya’ Mouth

We first got this game about 2 years ago, and while I’m not a major fan of the inevitable drool from the mouth piece, my stepdaughter thinks it’s the funniest thing in the world and who am I to deprive her?

Apples to Apples

Apples to Apples is always a solid go-to for family game night. Everyone is basically guaranteed to get the giggles.

Exploding Kittens

My little one received this as a gift for her birthday! The rules confused us at first, but once we started playing, we easily learned them and have had a lot of fun playing!

Clue

A classic! Whodunnit? Find out with your littles for family game night!

Rummikub

Did anyone else play this growing up? I used to play this one with my stepmom growing up, so obviously it hits me right in the feels when I get to play it with my stepdaughter.

Pass the Pigs

I gladly introduced my family to this little-known treasure. Growing up, I spent hours tossing pigs and counting points. It’s a lot of fun for your wee littles!

Boggle

Boggle: When you’re trying to trick your kids to spell by having fun. Boggle is actually a game I used when I tutored elementary students. They had fun, they practiced spelling, and it helped them change the narrative in their mind that spelling is boring.

I would include Scrabble in this lineup, but I think it’s a little more advanced than the typical player for most of these games. Start your kiddos on Boggle then graduate to Scrabble!

Sorry!

Sorry! was one of my favorite games as a kiddo, and it’s one of my kiddo’s favorite games now. I’ll admit, I prefer many of the other games on this list more than Sorry!, but it’s a staple and a classic.

Kemps

If you’ve never played the card game Kemps, you’re seriously missing out!

You’ll need 4 people and 1 deck of 52 playing cards for this one. We played when my stepdaughter was as young as 6, but growing up, I used to play with my friends in middle school often. Here is how to play kemps. I could explain it for you, but why do that when someone else has already done such a marvelous job explaining?!

This one is seriously a lot of fun. Our signals to our partners have been as subtle as a hair tucked behind the ear or as obnoxious as a full song and dance. We have the most fun when we fake signal though 😉

No matter which game you choose, I know you’ll have a blast on family game night! Try to make it a regular affair and really soak up the time you have with your kids when they actually like being around you. I try to never take that for granted.

Have any games you love for family game night that I missed?! Drop them in the comments below! I’d love to add some new ones to our collection!

xo,

P.S. I totally get that it can be challenging to schedule in regular activities or traditions with your stepchildren and their custody schedule. Have you tried using our free planner designed for stepmoms to get organized despite custody arrangements?! I bet it could help!

2 thoughts on “My Top Picks for Family Game Night”

  1. Hello Kristen,

    This post was so helpful! I’m always looking for games for family fun night. There are so many old games that I had completely forgotten about. Thanks for sharing!!

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