Start a Family Game Night

5 Great Benefits

Story by Sarah Lyons

In the age of smartphones, Netflix, and busy lives in general, family time often gets neglected for other things. However, spending quality time as a family is important for the strength of your family. One great way to incorporate family time into your busy life is to plan and schedule a family game night. Get the kids involved and pick some games that are fun for all ages, set down the electronics, set out some snacks and enjoy some time together. Here are some great benefits you will enjoy by making time for family game night.

Affordable family fun
Not only is game night a great way to bond as a family but it is much more affordable than other family outings such as going to the movies or visiting local attractions like the zoo. These activities often cost $10 or more per person, not including food and drinks. Game night is a frugal and fun way to enjoy family time because a one-time purchase of a new game costing $20-50 can be enjoyed repeatedly for years to come.

Conversation starter
Many parents struggle with getting conversation started with their kids, especially teens. Conversation flows more easily as you play games together. Games can create healthy competition, teamwork, and bring up topics that you might not normally discuss. It also helps build a bond and trust between family members.

Screen free time
If your family is anything like mine, screen time limitations are a challenge, not just for the kids but for the adults in the family as well. Intentionally setting our phones aside while we play a game together gives all of us a break from the constant barrage of social media and other digital distractions and frees us to take the time to focus on each other.

Build reading skills
Games are a great way for kids to build their reading and comprehension skills. If you really want to work on these skills, choose games that will help challenge your child’s reading skills. For example, when playing trivia, the kids each take turns reading questions that may be about subjects that are new to them. They practice their read-aloud skills and might learn new information too.

Create great family memories
Perhaps the best reason to add a family game night to your schedule is enjoying quality time together. While doing so you will create wonderful family memories as you laugh together and enjoy some healthy competition. Kids are sure to look back on this family tradition and appreciate that you made time to set aside the distractions of life and enjoy the time spent playing together.

When planning a game night make sure to be realistic. Playing games for several hours every Saturday night will probably not work for most families due to busy schedules. Plan a night where everyone is free and choose a game that can be played in a reasonable amount of time that will keep everyone’s interest as well as be fun for all involved. Game night doesn’t have to happen every week, try for once a month or every six weeks. Put game night on your calendar and adjust plans to protect that time from other engagements. The time you put into family game night will be worth the bond your family members will build and the memories you will share.

LITTLE KIDS (Ages 3-6)

Go Fish
Ages 3+
Go Fish is a great way for young kids to learn how to play cards – how to hold them, how to deal, how to read the numbers, how to take turns.

Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game
Ages 3-6
Spin the spinner, squeeze the matching colored acorn with your squirrel squeezer, and place it into your log. Be the first to fill your log with delicious acorns and you win.

Eye Found It
Ages 3+
Eye Found is a board game for preschoolers that helps children practice their focus, memory, object identification and matching skills.

The Memory Game
Ages 3+
Can you remember what’s hiding where? It’s fun to find matching pictures of your favorite things. If you find the same two cards, you keep them. The player with the most pairs wins.

Mr. Bucket
Ages 3+
Scoop up the balls that match your colored shovel, and drop the balls into Mr. Bucket as he whirls and spins around the floor. Watch out: Mr. Bucket will try to block your ball with his hands and will even spit the balls right back out of his mouth!

Ages 3+
Start down the “magical” road to sweet surprises! Players choose their cards, move their pawns, and let their imaginations soar as they make their way to the castle to win!

Ages 6+
Use the tweezers to take out all of Cavity Sam’s 12 funny ailment parts that parents might remember, such as a wishbone, Charlie horse and Adam’s apple.

Ages 6+
Chase, race, bump and slide! It’s so fun for players to say “sorry” to opponents as they bump them back, while they hustle their way to home base. Includes a fun coloring and activity sheet for kids.

Big Kids (Ages 7+)

UNO Attack!
Ages 7+
If you are a fan of UNO, you’ll love the new UNO Attack! In this game, the rules are the same, but with a twist: when you must draw, the card shooter may not shoot any cards or it will stream out several cards, keeping you in the game longer.

Ages 10+
Build settlements, cities and roads on an island by spending and trading resources. Accumulate points during play (you need 10 to win) by building, having the longest road and the biggest army and more.

Exploding Kittens
Ages 7+
Players take turns drawing cards until someone draws an exploding kitten and loses the game. There are a few twists to help you avoid exploding along the way. Russian roulette sort of fun.

Ages 13+
In this hilarious game, players have to complete activities in each of four sections to win, calling up creativity, trivia knowledge, word scramble ability, impersonation skills and more.

Ages 8+
This classic detective game has players solving the mystery of who done it at the mansion. Players move from room to room using deductive reasoning to find out the contents of the confidential file in the middle of the board.

Ages 7+
Trap and capture your opponent by placing your disks on the board. “Sandwich” at least one of your opponent’s pieces to turn their disk to your color; but look out, your opponent will do the same to you!

The Game of Life
Ages 8+
In this game, players can make their own exciting choices as they move through the twists and turns of life. A spinning wheel makes the play fun as do the little cars you use as your game token and the pegs you use for people.

Trekking the National Parks
Ages 10+
Experience the U.S. National Parks in a fun and competitive way. Players compete for points by claiming Park Cards and collecting trail stones as they race across the country experiencing the wonders at each of these magnificent landscapes.