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My family loves to play board games. Many nights we are huddled around the dining room table strategizing (or laughing – depending on the game) after dinner. We love family board games so much that we even take them on vacation! We bring board games if we are driving, but pack the card games if we are flying. They fit perfectly into my favorite travel tote bag, so we have access to them during flight delays.
We are blessed with an amazing local toy store that carries a great selection of family-friendly games. It also happens to be located right next to my favorite gluten-free bakery. My kids know that if we stop in for a cupcake we are probably going home with a new game too. I’m okay with that because we can always use a new game.
Family board games also make great gifts. A few years ago my husband and I decided to start sending our siblings family gifts rather than individual gifts for each person. Everyone already had everything they needed and pretty much all they really wanted. We wanted to give them the gift of family time. A board game that the entire family will enjoy fits the bill perfectly.
Board games are great for families because they are:
- affordable – play as much as you want for one reasonable price
- small and don’t take up much storage room
- entertaining for a variety of ages
- able to get a family together without screens
Family Board Games
Ticket to Ride is great for a variety of ages. Younger children can focus on completing their train routes while older players can strategize how to block other players while simultaneously completing their routes and earning the most points. My family loves this game and the kids barely even notice that they are getting a little sneaky geography practice.
Monopoly is a game that requires a decent amount of time (we only play if we have an entire evening free), but it can be a ton of fun – especially if your family is as competitive as mine. There are many different versions – classic, National Parks, Disney, and even Fortnite, but our family favorite is the Washington DC edition. We lived right outside of the city for years, so this is a bit of nostalgia for us.
Players have 5 seconds to name 3 items related to a chosen card. 5 seconds goes by fast! Our friends introduced us to this game while we were on vacation and all of the kids really enjoyed it.
Trivial Pursuit Family Edition contains separate cards for children and adults – that goes a long way towards making this a fair game. There is also the option to form teams to include really little ones in the fun.
Apples to Apples was a family favorite for years in my house. Players choose a card from their hand to match a communal card from the deck. The matches usually end up hilarious and ridiculous. My daughter played this at a slumber party and the girls all about fell over laughing. They laughed so loudly that I thought we would get kicked out of the hotel!
Not Parent Approved is a catchy name to grab children’s attention, but it actually won several awards. It is kind of like a family-friendly version of Cards Against Humanity. Players try to choose the best card to fill in the blank.
Learn about the National Parks without expensive travel bills. In Trekking the National Parks, players earn points by collecting park cards and trail stones. This is a great game for outdoorsy families or families that like to travel around the US.
Pyramix is a great choice when you need a quick, but fun, game. Players must select dice from the pyramid. Each die contains a different symbol and each one is worth a different point value. The person with the most points at the end of the game wins. This is usually what we play when I’m too tired to think of strategies.
This game is actually an escape room experience in a box. Players work together to solve puzzles and piece together clues to solve the mystery and save the astronauts in the allotted time. This is a great way to encourage team work.
Family Board Games ~ Cards
This is the Monopoly version to play if you are short on time. Players try to collect all properties of a particular color by earning and trading.
Skyjo is a great way to sneak in a little math practice. Players add or subtract based on their cards. The goal is to get as few points as possible.
This game sounds violent, but no kittens are harmed while playing. Players draw cards until an exploding card is selected. Avoid drawing the exploding card by using laser beams, cat yoga, or simply skipping your turn.
Speedy Words is one of our favorite family board games. It is the first that I throw in my bag when we will be spending any time waiting (restaurant, doctors office, etc). The object is simple – name something (city, famous person, animal, food, plants, etc.) with the first letter shown on the card. This game moves fast.
What are your favorite family board games?
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