If you're in for the night (or week), it might be time to invest in some new games you can play as a family. Not all games are created equal, though, so depending on the type of night you want to have, choose wisely. Some family games bring out competitive sides and petty disputes. These 15 family-friendly board games are just competitive enough to keep families entertained minus the drama.
Many games have both winners and losers, but games that are too competitive are more likely to ruffle some feathers than less competitive options. Obviously, that means Monopoly is out of the question. Monopoly game boards getting flipped over in fits of rage, sending faux money and tiny plastic hotel pieces flying through the air — not exactly my idea of fun.
Another source of frustration for families playing games together? Choosing a game that's too hard for younger kids. Games that require quick reflexes or an immense amount of strategy can make little ones super frustrated if they are outwitted or their older siblings are faster. Don't underestimate the fury of an angry 4-year-old. You won't want to be stuck at home with that if you can help it. Instead, go with these 15 games to keep family fun days drama free.
I can personally attest to a game of Memory (Angry Birds–themed, if you must know) entertaining my then 3.5-year-old when we were stuck at home for 5 days during Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Even though it's definitely more fun to play with multiple people, Memory also works as a solo game for kids to keep them occupied while you work or take some time to yourself.
2. Chutes & Ladders
While Chutes and Ladders may not be the most thrilling game for older kids, it can definitely be enjoyed by younger ones without any drama. Plus, it is easy enough that kids can potentially play on their own without a ton of parental oversight.
Who doesn't love a good game of Operation? This is one board game that you and your kids can play over and over again. It's also a good opportunity for parents to sneak in a health lesson about the parts of the body.
What better way to help your kids brush up on their math skills while school's out than to play a game of Dominoes together? There are different versions of the game, but the object is usually to line dominoes up end to end to make different number combinations. Look up the rules for variations of Dominoes online to give your family more options for play.
We love playing Uno in our house. The rules are straightforward and easy for younger kids to understand. Plus, it promotes color and number-recognition, counting practice, and a bit of strategy.
6. Guess Who?
The classic game of Guess Who? is fun for kids and adults alike. Plus, it doesn't include any annoying sounds or fast-paced movement that can be challenging for little ones.
7. Who's She?
8. Connect 4
This game is a staple in any house with kids. My four have figured out how to take turns playing Connect 4 tournament-style. Even my husband and I love playing together. It is just competitive enough to be fun without causing a huge fight.
9. Go Fish
While you can definitely play a game of Go Fish with a plain deck of playing cards, younger kids might have more fun with the added visual of actual fish on the cards in this set specifically made for playing the game. Plus, it's way more fun to ask, "Do you have any swordfish?" than just asking for numbered cards.
Another learning opportunity disguised as a board game, Scrabble gives players the chance to use their vocabulary skills to score points during game play. Pro tip: If you're playing with beginners, try playing a few rounds without keeping score until younger kids get the hang of it.
Another spelling and word game that families can play together is Boggle. This version of Boggle, Big Boggle, features a bigger grid and letter cubes so that larger groups can play together and see the letters clearly. This makes it ideal for families who don't want to have to fight over who gets to sit closest to the letter board.
If you love playing Tetris, Blokus is like the real-life version of the shape-shifting strategy game. It does have some pretty small pieces included, so this game is ideal for playing with ages 6 and up.
If your kids don't already know how to play checkers, now is the perfect time to teach them this simple yet fun way to pass the time. This particular version of checkers is a giant rug that can be spread out on the floor so kids can move their bodies and stretch out a bit while playing.
My favorite junior high math teacher used to keep Mancala sets in his classroom for his students to play when we had free time. His sets were homemade and used egg cartons and marbles (which you could also make yourself in a pinch) but this classic set could help entertain your kiddos for hours.
If your kids have ever had the pleasure of playing a live game of Bingo, they'll love this deluxe Bingo set including that cool cage with a crank handle to draw numbers from. Kids can take turns being the Bingo caller and the entire family can play together.