We live in 188 square feet of space, but we definitely make room for games! Whether they are educational or just for fun, playing games is a fabulous way to spend time together as a family.
With kids in the 6-11 range, sometimes its hard to find games that will appeal to everyone. We have some we play all together, but we also play teams or even do one on one with an older kid.
Collaborative games like Castle Panic or Desert Island are great for younger kids because everyone is working towards the same goal!
Check out our list and then leave a comment below with YOUR favorite family game!
Hanabi: This is a cooperative card game. As a group you are trying to launch a spectacular firework show, only its so dark you can’t see your own cards! You have to share information about other players’ cards and figure out the right order to play them in. Cara (age 6) struggles with this one and usually plays on a team. Definitely more difficult than it sounds!
Professor Noggin: There are many versions of Professor Noggin’s games. We have Ancient Civilizations & National Parks. They are a great trivia game and easy to play ever for smaller kids. Does include reading, but its easy enough to help younger kids read the questions for other players.
Dominion: This is our current favorite game and the kids have asked for more expansions, which makes the game even more fun. You choose 10 sets of cards to play with and build your own deck as you play. The goal is to end up with the most victory points at the end of the game. It took Cara a bit to get into it, but she holds her own and wins more often than I do! There are plenty of expansions to extend play and make it exciting! We also have played Intrigue, Seaside, Alchemy, & Prosperity. Some are full sets and other just have the Kingdom Cards.
Brain Quest: We were given this game by a fellow traveler who had finished with it. We adjust the rules as necessary depending on how much time we have to play. Great all around knowledge. I was super excited when my kids could correctly identify a preposition. Score for for home school!
Gubs: Every time we visit family my niece asks if we brought GUBS. Whimsical with great illustrations, this game is a fast, easy one. Players try to collect the most GUBS while defending against Lures and even the Gargok Plague. Not a lot of strategy or reading involved.
Castle Panic: This is another collaborative game. Players defend the castle against invading monsters. There’s less strategy involved and it was a little too easy to win every time. Which I believe is why there are expansions for it.
Wizard’s Tower: Adds the elements of a friendly wizard who can help defend your castle with his magical spells. We don’t have this one… yet.
Dark Titan: This is the first expansion we bought, and I wish we had done Wizard’s Tower first. Dark Titan felt fairly complicated and we really struggled figuring it out the first time we played. I think it takes some getting used to.
Dragonwood: Bought this one on a whim for Rachel’s birthday last September and we love it! Play is simple – you roll dice in order to capture monsters. Some cards give you extra abilities and the game ends when both dragons have been caught.
Ticket to Ride: I’ve loved this game for years, but its been fun to introduce my kids to as they get older. We typically play open hand so I can help the kids plan their routes (especially Cara). I have to try really hard not to block them once I know where they are going!
Settlers of Catan: My two oldest (ages 11 & 9) have played this one on their own. I’m fairly terrible at Settlers, so its not my favorite game but the kids love it.
Zingo: We got this one for Cara (age 6) to help with reading. It takes practice to get good at calling out the letters, so more often than not we take turns choosing a letter instead of racing. There area a few different versions including Sight Words & Bingo.
Scrabble Junior: Our older two will play this, but its not much of a challenge. I honestly like that I don’t have to think up words. Instead the board is preset and we have figures to move around the edge of the board as we score points. If you finish a word that’s the same color as your token you get an extra point!
Forbidden Desert: This is our favorite collaborative game. As a team you are stranded in the desert and must fight off thirst, sand, and windstorms in order to collect the pieces of your ship and get home! Our kids are actually pretty good at this one, and because its collaborative play all our kids join in.
Forbidden Island: Similar to Forbidden Desert, but this time you are stranded on a sinking island! As a team you have to collect the four treasures and make it to the take off point before your island disappears completely.
Trekking the National Parks: We found this one at a National Park last fall and have enjoyed playing it. Gathering trek cards allows players to move across the map and claim valuable park cards. If a player is the first to visit a National Park, they collect that park’s stone, which award bonus points at the end of the game. The visuals on the board & cards are stunning which helps make the game even more fun to play!
Enchanted Forest: My mom owns this one and I have played it since I was little. Its a fun memory match game that is easy enough for even young kids to play. Roll the dice and round the board, sneaking a peek at treasures hidden in the Enchanted Forest along the way. Be the first player to find the treasures the king seeks and the kingdom is yours!
Can’t Stop: Players try to win three of the eleven number columns as quickly as possible. During their turn, players may roll the dice as long as they wish-provided that they can place or move at least one of their runners (each player has 3). If, after rolling the dice, a player is unable to do so, his turn ends immediately and he loses everything that he achieved during that turn. You have decide if you are going to roll once more or stop when its safe!
Winter evenings are a great time to settle down and play games around the table as a family! Its too dark or cold to be outside, and I we can hardly put our kids to bed right after dinner. Games are staple around here and we would love to hear what some of your favorites are in the comments below!