When our boys were in elementary school, we started a weekly game night as a way to spend time together and away from screens. Family game night became such a regular event in our house that today, even though the boys are busy young adults, we still find time to sit down and play together.
If you're looking to start a regular game night with the kids in your life, or if you just need to spice things up with some new games, you're in luck! 2019 has been a banner year for fun, family-friendly games. Below are some of our favorites. And as always, we're happy to suggest games based on your group and circumstances, so feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need a personalized recommendation!
Rat-A-Tat Roll - We played the now-classic Rat-A-Tat Cat card game constantly with our kids when they were in the 4-6 yo range. It lived in our car, and was our go-to game while we were waiting in restaurants for food. This new take on the game features a nice big board and delightful dice, which make it perfect for a family game night. No reading required, and helps with numeracy. Recommended Age Range: 5-7.
Sky Magic - This co-operative board game from Peaceable Kingdom is great for kids who are ready to stretch their strategic thinking skills and are developing longer attention spans. Kids will love the beautiful dragon pieces! Recommended Age Range: 6-8.
S.O.S Dino - One of the most visually-enticing kids games we've seen in a long time, S.O.S Dino is another co-operative game. In this game, everyone is working together to get the absolutely adorable dinosaurs and their eggs to safety in the mountains. It can be very tricky to navigate exploding volcanos, flowing lava, and meteors, so you'll have to plan your moves carefully! Recommended Age Range: 6-8
Clack! Categories - Clack! appeared on the scene last year, and was a great option for families who like visual speed games, similar to Spot It. In the slightly-more-advanced Clack! Categories, two dice are rolled and then everyone races to collect pieces that match the color and category shown. The magnetic pieces make a very satisfying Clack! sound as you're racing and collecting. Recommended Age Range: 7-9
The Grimm Masquerade - If your kids have played Guess Who and like the deduction element, this fairy-tale themed game is a great next step. The theme is fun and the artwork is gorgeous! The game is for 2-5 players, and you can play the basic game or add in some advanced components (included) that ramp up the difficulty level. Recommended Age Range: 8-12
Sushi Roll - Sushi Go, the card game, has been hugely popular with both kids and adults, so we were really excited when we heard that a new dice version of the game was arriving this year. Turns out it was worth the wait! The dice and other components are adorable, and the game play is wonderful. Dare we say that Sushi Roll is even better than Sushi Go?!? Yes, we do! Recommended Age Range: 9-13
DragonRealm - DragonRealm takes the fantasy theme and some of the game play from DragonWood and turns it into a more complex, but still family-friendly board game. This is a great game to play with the kids when they're ready to graduate to games along the lines of Kingdomino or Ticket to Ride, but not quite ready for more advanced strategy games. Recommended Age Range: 9-13
Periodic - Genius Games specializes in making games that are educational, but still very fun to play, and they have a real hit on their hands with Periodic! It's a puzzle-y strategy game that draws you in with a great-looking board and cool pieces. Our son Cyrus is now studying Chemical Engineering in college, and it would have been awesome to play Periodic with him when he was younger. Thankfully the game is fun and strategic enough that we'll still have a great time playing it with him over Thanksgiving break! Recommended Age Range: 10-14