12 (Actually Fun) Games to Play With Kids

12 Best Family Board Games

Every night before dinner…

…nine-year-old Toby and I go out on our stoop and play a game. It has been such a nice ritual during this crazy time (when the rest of the day can feel like a chaotic free-for-all), and I look forward to it all day.

Here are the games we’ve been enjoying:

Guess Who
Apples to Apples (the kids’ version)
Taboo
Too Many Monkeys
Sorry
Uno
Jenga
Matching
Zingo
Connect Four
Perfection
Heads Up

Have you played any of these?

After the boys are in bed, Alex and I will sometimes bust out one of the games, too. We’ll play Guess Who as adults by asking not about hair color and hats, but about personality traits: Is this guy super flirty? Does she interrupt a lot at her book club? And, crazily enough, you usually get the final answer right.

What other kids’ games do you like? I’d love to hear more…

P.S. Four games to play while lying down, and what parenting is really like.

  1. Joanna says...

    A lot of comments so probably someone already mentioned it… but if not than “Dragonwood” is what my 7 and 8 year olds are recently obsessed with. Other games they like recently – Blokus and Mancala,

  2. Lesley says...

    Sushi Go and Ramen Fury are favorites here. My kids love them, I love them, and it helps in our quest to keep them excited about more “sophisticated” food options. ;)

    The Scrambled States of America Is a great homeschool geography lesson which we play over morning tea. I feel like such a great parent when this is happening!

  3. Kristin says...

    We love guess who and ticket to ride. Our newest one is blokus it’s so much fun! We’ve played it so much lately, my son is 8 and he really likes it.

  4. Jessie says...

    Every night we have been playing Dutch blitz. It is so fast and fun. Our youngest is 5 and she can play it. We just don’t keep score. Another fund card game is Five Crowns.

  5. Nina says...

    My my kids are 11, 8, and 6 and our favorites are Splendor (I’m addicted!!), Labyrinth (Ravensburger), Ticket to Ride, and Dweebies ( a silly card game). We play all of them at least weekly. My six year old plays all but Ticket to Ride, it’s a bit too complex for her.

    Games definitely bring out personality traits, particularly competitiveness!

  6. Kelly says...

    Codenames is the favorite game in our house! We’re 5 adults and 2 teens. It goes quickly and it’s easy to play with 4-7 people.

  7. Paige says...

    My kids are 7 and 15, so finding games we all enjoy is a challenge.
    Our favorites:
    Yeti in my spaghetti
    Pass the pigs
    Farkle
    Uno
    Sorry
    Trouble
    Apples to apples
    Bop-it
    Blink
    Dominos

  8. Hannah says...

    I love how you and Alex play Guess Who!! I definitely want to try that version with another adult =]

  9. Addie says...

    My favorite card game is hearts and I recently introduced it to my 10 year old son. I used to read to him for 30 minutes before bed, but one night when quarantine first started, I had the idea to mix things up. I downloaded a hearts game app on my phone and showed him how to play just by playing, with him watching. I’d explain my choices and he’d take it all in with such enthusiasm! It has quickly become the thing we both look forward to the most of each day. Now he takes the phone and selects the cards, but always waits for me to chime in with advice. He’s teaching his 8 year old brother how to play now and you can just hear the pride and excitement in his voice to feel as if he’s mastered this game. It’s so fun to watch him enjoy it as much as I do!

  10. Catherine Holmes says...

    We always had a lot of fun with the card game “Ruckus”.

  11. Alex says...

    My 4.5 year old daughter LOVES games! We have daily tournaments of Outfoxed, Sequence for Kids, Uno, Guess Who, Spot It, Candyland, Animal Upon Animal, Sleeping Queens, Rat-a-tat Cat, etc.. Gamewright & Haba make such fun stuff. I actually got so many ideas & advice on this topic from CoJ, so thank you very much for all the recs (I very much appreciate them, especially now!)

  12. Ashleigh says...

    We recently acquired Sleeping Queens – huge win for my 6 and 4 year old! And I don’t know if it’s been mentioned yet, but Kingdomino is a really engaging game. It’s the first kid game we have that I beg to play :)

    • Tami says...

      Sleeping Queens is the best!!

  13. Heather says...

    We’ve struggled a bit with this because games designed for our youngest often feel mind-numbing for the rest of us, but we love Jenga! Another game that has worked well for both our 4yo and 8yo is Yahtzee. So much of it is luck that our 4yo has been able to win a number of times and can understand enough of the rules to say, “I’m going for 6s” or whatever.

  14. Elisa says...

    Hello,
    We play many of the games you’ve mentioned above but some our favourites are:
    Dobble (normal version and Harry Potter version)
    Jungle speed
    Head Bands

    All lots of fun to play with kids and adults alike.

  15. Lauren Tracy says...

    My 10 yo son loves Tenzi! It’s a fun dice game. I bet Toby would enjoy it too?

  16. Heather Harvey says...

    I highly recommend Cover Your Assets – equally fun for kids and adults. When they get closer to age 10, teach them how to play Cribbage. It’s a classic!! We also love Skip Bo.

  17. Darby says...

    Exploding Kittens is our favourite:) We also like Carcasson, Smallworld, and the Harry Potter version of Clue is surprisingly fun.

  18. Kelsey says...

    My kids are just recently turned one and three, but the older one and I have been playing the game, Orchard, for about two months now. She loves it and I love all board games! Excited to bring others into the mix as the kids get older.

  19. Tiffany says...

    Rummikub has been a quarantine favorite (my boys are 9 and 11). But Yamslam is a great game for playing on your front stoop. It’s like a fast paced Yahtzee hybrid!

  20. Elenor says...

    By the age of your kids and the games you have listed, you all would love Goblet Gobblers. It turns tic tac toe up a notch and makes for a longer and more fun game for kids and adults.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you!

    • Elenor says...

      And Spot it! It is fun because the games are quick and kids are capable of beating adults, which they love.

    • elle cornett says...

      I came to recommend Spot it too! I play with my adult friends (even though it’s a kids game) and we all have a blast!

  21. Bethan says...

    What happened to your baby?! 9! He looks like his mum :)

  22. Leslie says...

    My 6 & 8 yr old sons and I are loving Rummicub! Once the kids are in bed, sometimes my husband and I play a few rounds too.

  23. Alison says...

    Cards Against Humanity put out a ‘family’ version for older kids and there are a ton of poop/fart type jokes buy my kids, 12 and 10, end up rolling around, laughing like crazy with the questions and responses! They are offering it for free to print off their website right now. Also agree with a bunch of others about Sleeping Queens, Suishi Go, Tenzi, Blink, and puzzles have been keeping us busy!

  24. Kristian Olson says...

    For about 3rd grade and up the big winner in my classroom was getting to play Clue! I even later managed to find these books of “Five minute mysteries” that incorporated the characters of clue (and man they loved trying to figured out who stole the pet parrot or whatever).

    My students also really loved playing Set. A card game where you are finding groups of things that are alike/not alike. It’s a bit weird to explain but every student I had from about 1st grade up loved to play it. ANd you can play it with 1-6 players (more with more decks). Card games in general were fun.

  25. Alexis says...

    We have a 5 yr old and we also love Guess Who!

    Other favorites:
    Eye Found It (we have the Richard Scarry one)
    Rhino Hero – this is super fun and stressful and 3D
    Machi Koro
    Catan Junior
    Deep Sea Adventure (a tiny pocket game, good for travel)
    Uno

  26. Ginny says...

    We ordered Sequence at Christmas, but I ended up keeping it upstairs because the box looked…dull and a bit complicated. I dug it out during a moment of quarantine desperation (a PRESENT!) and we have enjoyed it so so much!! It’s complicated enough and requires enough strategy that it’s fun for adults, but my five year old is a whiz (he beats me 2/3 times). A winner all aroud!!

  27. Alex R says...

    I’ve been trying to teach my 2.5 year old how to play Guess Who. The results are hilarious.
    “Is your person wearing socks?”
    “Does your person like Sesame Street?”
    “Is your person a strawberry face?” (?????)

    • fgb says...

      haha!

    • I love this!

  28. StaceyLJ says...

    Guess Who is an awesome Classic even with my teenager! But your adult version is fantastic – I know what I’m doing tonight!

  29. Sonia says...

    I have a 9yo and a 7yo. We play a lot of Sushi Go, Exploding Kittens and Zombie Dice. All pretty quick and easy games, but very fun!

  30. SCOTT G says...

    Kids (6,8,10) were introduced to Colt Express last night and it was a hit. Great table presence to keep the game engaging for them…. and take-that games can be hit-or-miss with kids. That game was followed up by L.L.A.M.A. and Point Salad.. two very solid card games that hit the scene recently.

    • Megs says...

      We love all three of them over here in Germany!

  31. Angela says...

    I bought Twister midway through our isolation for a rainy weekend. My three year old thinks it’s the greatest game, and I tell myself it helps his work on following directions, multitasking, and his left vs. right.

  32. Alice says...

    We’ve been playing tons of games recently too! It’s just my boyfriend and I, so I can’t speak to how child-friendly these are, but we love the following:
    1. Bananagrams!
    2. Hive- you have to circle the other player’s Queen Bee with tiles, and all the insects move in different ways. Brilliantly strategic.
    3. Santorini- you have to be the first player to get on top of a three story building. Also very strategic, and a little like a 3D version of chess?!
    4. Pandemic! It’s a collaborative game- you work together to defeat the viruses. It’s obviously not a great escape from the current reality, but it’s SO nice to have a game where you work together, and not against each other!
    5. Ticket to Ride- also strategic, but VERY fun- and equally as fun with two players as with four!

    • Dana says...

      I have been playing bananagrams with my husband and 10 year old. It’s perfect for me as an introvert – I am happy to be in parallel play with them but there’s basically no talking or interaction!

  33. Kristin says...

    Sushi go. Taco vs burrito. I’m nit that into games and these I actually look forward to!

  34. Aileen says...

    Favourites in this house are Frustration, Dobble, Blink and Dominoes. We can while away many an hour playing those! Once Amy goes to her bed, we quite often play 90s Trivial Pursuit or Gin Rummy. In moments of madness I sometimes bring out Pie Face. I don’t like it but Amy (7) loves it!!

  35. Susan says...

    Sequence, Rummikub and Phase 10

    • Emma says...

      Yes, Rummikub is the best!

  36. Rachel says...

    I don’t have children of my own, but I work at the Exploratorium and therefore come in contact with a lot of kids and families and these are a few of our bestsellers (hope it’s ok to post links?):

    Sushi Go! : https://www.exploratoriumstore.com/collections/games/products/sushi-go

    Quiddler:
    https://www.exploratoriumstore.com/collections/games/products/quiddler-word-game

    Set :
    https://www.exploratoriumstore.com/collections/games/products/set

    My sister’s family also highly recommends Duck, Duck, Bruce, Kingdomino, and Parks (beautiful game featuring US National Parks) which are all fun even for adults.

    • elle cornett says...

      I’ve been obsessed with SET for at least 15 years now lol. I was introduced to the game at a work conference and proceeded to purchase my own set and find an online version that I could play lol. I love busting this game out when I have friends over. It’s deceptively simply and will drive you insane until you “get it” and then it’s on!

  37. Lorena says...

    Our current favourite is called Otrio. It’s a strategy game which takes tic tac toe to the next level. Tic tac toe extreme! My almost 6 year old loves it.

    When my daughter turned 3 we started playing Animals Upon Animals. We still play it almost 3 years later. A fun stacking game which is great for hand eye coordination for the little ones.

  38. Lisa says...

    My favorite way to play Guess Who, too!

  39. SB says...

    LOVE GAMES! As a kid (the youngest in the fam), I always wanted to play what the adults and big kids were playing, so there were a lot of “old timey” card games in the mix. One that surprisingly could work, especially if you played as teams, is Cribbage! Adults can do the strategizing and kids help with the counting and combos.

    Also – someone mentioned Pandemic – this is another great way to involve kids in an “adult” game because it’s completely cooperative, so you’re all working together, even as you have separate turns, etc. Kick it up a notch? Pandemic Legacy is SO GOOD!! Every time you play, the board changes, there are new cards, new objectives, etc, etc. And again – it’s cooperative!

    And for me, one of the best kiddo games (picked it up from a friend who worked at a summer camp in Spain) – JUNGLE SPEED!! Enough said.

    • Rach says...

      Pandemic Legacy ❤❤ Have you tried the Pandemic Legacy 2? Also a blast.

  40. Susan M. says...

    Our kids (6 and 9) love most of yours plus Dragonwood, Labyrinth, Sleeping Queens. Also Rhino hero.

    • Naomi says...

      love love love labyrinth – was my favorite when I was a kid and now love playing it with my 9yo.

      Dragonwood is great too – great for kids and adults!

  41. Kamina says...

    Ahhh me and my husband also play the adult version of Guess Who with the personality questions! We invented it one time when we were having a drink in a bar that had board games to play and we were both in a silly mood. And you’re right…we too have found that you nearly always get the right answer!!

  42. Emilee says...

    We’ve been playing a ton of Sequence for kids. I actually enjoy it too, and watching them come up with strategies.

  43. Anon says...

    Love these!!

    Word Witt is a brand new game that we have been LOVING! It’s really great for almost all ages and uses just the right amount of brain power :) Really can’t recommend it enough.

  44. Prachi says...

    You got crabs is a big hit in our family followed by jigsaw puzzles.

  45. Kristen says...

    We have Stress Free Chess and started playing with our 6 year old several months ago. I was worried it would be too advanced and cause frustration for all of us, but it wasn’t long before he was playing without the teaching cards and begging us to play a game every minute of the day. He even plays chess with his 4 year old sister! I think it just goes to show you that we underestimate kids’ ability to learn and stretch themselves. And during all this craziness, he’s learning a whole lot about flexibility, decision-making, and strategy. No Zoom calls needed. ?

    • We’ve been playing endless rounds of Yahtzee, Sorry and Qwirkle. My boys are 7 and 9. Also some Guess Who, Connect Four and Uno. And they love making up their own dice/board games on a big roll of paper.

  46. Patricia says...

    We love Guess Who at our house too. And we made our own matching game by printing 3×3 pictures on regular computer paper and gluing them to sparkly card stock. They helped me choose the pictures to use and they love seeing themselves when they play.

  47. Megan says...

    We love board games! Played them before, but now a daily must. Everyone loves Wits and Wagers – you bet on completely random questions and even my 4 year old can play! Also classics like Clue, Jenga, Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders.

  48. Cate says...

    Sleeping Queens (a card game)! It’s so good and was created by a six-year-old!

    • Lindsay Haws says...

      Yes this!

    • Heidi says...

      My kids are obsessed with this game and often beat the grownups even when we are trying to win!

  49. Jemma says...

    We keep coming back to Rat-a-Tat-Cat and just recently, Sequence. They are both incredibly simple to learn so young kids (around 7) can quickly learn the rules and have fun playing, but strategic enough that adults are entertained!
    Our daughter also plays chess online with her school chess club. I’m so glad they were able to move the program online as we have no ability to play against her anymore ?

    • AT says...

      LOVE rat-a-tat cat!! So does my 5 year old.

  50. Sophie says...

    In this pic, Toby looks so old and mature. He could be a teenager!

  51. Meghan Joseph says...

    Thank you for this! Hugely helpful.
    My twin 5 year old (very competitive) boys are obsessed with War and Uno. We also like Hoot Owl Hoot, Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders. I’m trying to expand the list w some more challenging games but it’s nice to have ones that they can do completely on their own!
    For younger ones, all of the Zingo games are great. The Think Fun cube games are wonderful for little ones and we liked those for years, so helpful if you have age ranges. Also try Educational Insights Magic Moves wand!

  52. K says...

    that Guess Who game but with personalities is hilarious.

  53. Emily says...

    Happy Salmon! So fun for all ages!

  54. Lorre says...

    Telestration had us howling at Christmastime. Lots of fun.

  55. Nicki says...

    Something I rediscovered, thanks to COVID-19: elastic jump ropes (apparently known as “Chinese jump rope” in the US, while in Germany we call this “Gummitwist”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_jump_rope).

    It costs almost nothing, is super fun, and even gives you a bit of exercise. It made me so happy to teach my three-year-old and five-year old something simple I used to play as a child, and has managed to keep them busy even when I want to work (you can use chairs to hold up the elastic if you don’t have three players).

    Also, a few pieces of chalk for drawing on the sidewalk. Hours of entertainment!

    • jdp says...

      LOVE “chinese” jump rope! those are also good for teaching cat’s cradle!

    • K says...

      Oh yes I remember Chinese jump rope as a kid! So much fun!

  56. Meri says...

    We are loving Rat a Tat Cat lately!

  57. Hilary says...

    My 3-year old loves Guess Who! And she legit beat me the other day. I was impressed, proud and a little wounded, ha!

    For those wanting to play Guess Who with extra littles, we just tell her “No, my person doesn’t have yellow hair, so put all your yellow hair people to sleep!” And that extra coaching seems to help her get it and feel a sense of confidence.

    The one thing that ends up being a confusion-maker, however, are the bald guys with the little tufties around their ears. Are they bald? Do tufties count as hair? And then we had a long conversation about hair tufties the other day and how Pops also has them :) Oh motherhood, you wacky adventure you.

  58. Court says...

    We have Frozen themed memory cards and my three-year-old loves to lay them out each night and play “Find The Match!” It’s not exactly Memory because all the cards are faced up. But we have been playing “Find The Match” every night!

    • Anna says...

      Gosh I like this thread so much I kept coming back for game suggestions.

      Recently I learnt something that really touched me, while playing Guess Who with my 5 year old cousin. In the UK, when we played growing up, I remember saying “is your person black?” or “are they white?”I don’t know if in the US you said African American? But my nephew hit me last week with a “does your person have dark skin?”
      So subtle, but poignant – a descriptor about appearance rather than presumptively labeling a person. It really feel so hopeful for the world of future adults!

  59. Katie says...

    Our current favorite is Five Crowns and my kids love to play it as a family of five (kids are 10, 9 and 7) as well as just one-on-one with me.
    As for Guess Who, an idea for someone with extra time on their hands…
    One Christmas, my brother made a Guess Who game for my oldest child, downloading headshots of our family members and close friends from facebook and the like, and using them in place of the game pieces. Nothing is funnier than hearing “has your person every thrown up while we were driving in the car???” ;)

    • Susan says...

      What a great gift!

  60. Robin says...

    Joanna, I’d love to hear more about what life is like in New York City right now? What is the mood in the city among residents? Are people comfortable to go out at all? What is the process like for everyday things like groceries? Have you know anyone personally impacted by Covid? Living outside a hot spot, what is happening in places like NYC can feel abstract and I think makes some tempted to go out more (I’m definitely shopping for groceries more frequently), but I think we can learn a lot of the experience of others to not lose sight of what we are trying to collectively accomplish with shelter in place and distancing.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Thank you for your note! It definitely feels very real here. People in our brooklyn neighborhood are wearing masks, walking six feet apart, etc. the grocery store by us has people line up outside so there aren’t too many people inside and you get a shot of purell as you enter. Still, there is a sense of joy around town — people sitting on their stoops, cheering at 7pm, flowers blooming, etc. Life goes on! I hope that helps xoxo

  61. Eleanor says...

    My sister made a personalized Guess Who game with pictures of our family, which is so great. It allows us to ask questions beyond superficial gender/race/hair, and delve into personalities and stories. It also has us ask “Is your person dead?” so there’s that, too.

  62. Rach says...

    I have over 250 Board games. Those 12 games listed have since been tossed (well, donated to Goodwill.). It’s a board game world out there, it’s time to move on from boring, outdated games.

    Teach your kids about birds and play Wingspan (won board game of the year in 2019)

    Play a game that looks beautiful on the table, has amazing pieces and great strategy- Azul (or Azul Stained Glass or Azul Summer Pavilion). Bonus, Azul won game of the year 2018.

    Teach your kids how to work together and play Forbidden Island, Magic Maze, Escape the Hidden Temple, Forbidden Desert, Pandemic, 5 minute marvel, Mansions of Madness.

    Crawl through a dungeon and play Clank! or Arcadia Quest.

    Play some dexterity games better than Jenga- Junk Art, Suspend, Rhino Hero, Drop It.

    Play card games better than uno- Star Realms, For Sale, 6 Nimmt, Campy Creatures, Dragonwood, Disney Villainous, Jaipur, Sushi Go.

    Become a cowboy- Western Legends or Colt Express.

    Eat bamboo as a panda- Takenoko.

    Build train routes- Ticket to Ride.

    Become vikings- Raiders of the North Sea or Champions of Midgard.

    Become an explorer- Cartograohers or Quest for El Dorado.

    Games better than Yahtzee- That’s Pretty Clever, Qwixx, Qwinto, Railroad Ink, Silver and Gold.

    Play a game that plays 6 or more- Dixit, Werewords, Codenames, Deception Murder in Hong Kong, Wits amd Wagers.

    I could keep going, but even I’m boring myself.

    Broaden your board game horizon, you will be happy you did….promise. And hey, no time like the present!

    • EM says...

      100% agree with Rach! There are so many amazing board games nowadays, filled with beautiful artwork, strategy, cooperative endeavors, and learning opportunities. Some recent favorites include Root: A Game of Woodland Might and Right, PARKS (trek through the 59 national parks across 4 seasons), Splendor (Renaissance merchants collecting gems and cards), and Wingspan.

    • Ragon says...

      Yes! I love playing interesting games with other adults and my kid! Splendor is one of my favorites and we recently got Wingspan and really enjoy it! Other big hits: 5 Min Dungeon, 5 Tribes, castle Panic.

    • Jenn says...

      This is brilliant! Our seven-year-old son loves all the Forbidden games (Forbidden Island, Forbidden Desert, Forbidden Sky), and we all love the various Ticket to Ride board games. (My favorite is the UK version, my son likes the Pennsylvania version, and my husband likes the European version; we just acquired Rails and Sails!)

      Dominoes and card games like whist and hearts are stand-by. And there’s a nifty card game called Mind the Gap that will teach your kiddies about all the London tube stations.

  63. Saba says...

    I must confess I am not the biggest game person, though I’m utterly enchanted by this ritual. My husband and 8-year-old have been spending a good many moments when the toddler is napping or in bed already to play games. He taught her spades.

    As for recommendations, my 8-year-olds absolute favorite game is telestrations. It is a great party game for families.

  64. Christine says...

    Hi- my two boys, ages 6 & 8, have loved:
    sleeping queens
    creature clash (this has been a quarantine fav!!)
    tenzi
    slapzi

  65. We love Sleeping Queens and Sushi Go! Also, Ticket to Ride is a fun game for a kid who’s into geography and building.

  66. Nina says...

    We have been loving Guess Who! Also:
    -Go Fish
    -Crazy Eights
    -Old Maid
    -Hoot Owl Hoot
    -Trouble
    -Candyland
    -Charades

  67. Noons says...

    Some we love at our house are:
    – Blokus
    – Mexican Trains
    – Taboo
    – Scattergories
    – Trivial Pursuit
    – Things
    – Eye Know

  68. Magda says...

    Dominoes are surprisingly fun and have provided us with hours of low-cost, high-quality entertainment.

  69. Amy W says...

    This is awesome! Totally doing for Christmas.

  70. Damia says...

    My sister and I played a lot of these growing up (and on long car trips…) to keep things interesting with Guess Who we instituted the rule that you are allowed to lie about ONE answer / game. It certainly made the game more fun to try and get the other to guess wrong about which question you’d lied about (the key is to sometimes not lie at all! haha)

  71. Sarah says...

    Our family loves games but our two daughters are 7 and 11, and the age gap makes playing some games a bit tricky. We have found the following games are fun for both their ages: Qwirkle, Spot It, Tenzies, LCR wild, Kerplunk and Sequence. Other games we enjoy with the oldest are Exploding Kittens, Dutch Blitz, Racko, Phase 10 and Skip Bo.

    • Susan says...

      I love Dutch Blitz!

  72. Emily says...

    We have a 9 yo and 6 yo and our new favorite family games are: Throw throw burrito (my 9 yo loooooves this game), castle panic, whoonu, old maid.

  73. isavoyage says...

    9YO timothée chalamet on a stoop in brooklyn – May 2020
    ;))

  74. Alexandra says...

    This is never mentioned on any kid game list, and I have no idea why because it’s amazing, but we LOVE Katamino Family. It’s been amazing to see my 4yo son’s spatial recognition progress over time with this game, plus there are other fun things you can do (stacking challenges, 3-D boxes, etc). And it gets progressively harder, which makes it fun and legitimately challenging for adults too.

    We’re also big fans of Sleeping Queens (mentioned many times here, and for good reason!), Ruckus, Cheeky Butts, and the card version of Oregon Trail.

  75. Good list. I’ve linked to our favorites (no pressure to read). We played Guess Who, Battleship, and Mastermind on paper just as happily.

  76. shade says...

    At least one day a week, we (me, husband and 6 yr old) like to do “soup and game night”. We usually play Monopoly or Ticket to Ride. We also take school and work breaks to play Chess and Taki (like uno).

  77. Rachel says...

    Our local library has board games families can check out just like library books, prior to all of this obviously. Of all the places I miss, I miss our libraries the most!

    Our favorite library find was Trash Pandas. Our kids (ages 7-11) all enjoy it, and we now own it and play it regularly. Another unusual game is Treasure Island. It is a cooperative game so players are all working together to beat the game. Our kids have never gotten tired of it! Both of these games have weird directions and take a couple of rounds in order to understand how to play, but it is well worth the effort!

  78. Bethany says...

    Piou Piou!! It’s SUCH a fun card game to play with my 4 1/2 year old. Like I literally ask her to play with me sometimes instead of her just always begging me to play a game with her.

  79. Alex says...

    We have been teaching our 4.5 year old how to play poker after her baby brother goes to bed in the evenings. The whole thing – blinds, double blinds, call/raise/fold, the different winning hands. Her favorite part seems to be where you have to secretly peek at your cards so no on else can see them. And she is VERY aggressive with her bets. :)

  80. Tovah says...

    Just a friendly plug for your local toy stores… please check and see if they are doing curbside pick up or local delivery when considering new games!

  81. alison says...

    Nothing feels as good as when you actually get a Guess Who correct when you play the grown-up version!! The BEST.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha yes!

  82. Kara says...

    Every day during my lunch break my five year old picks out a board game for us to play on the porch. Some of our repeat favorites have been: chess, Catan Junior, Gnomes at Night, and Monza.

  83. Laura says...

    Yes! We also LOVE the card game Taco, Cat, Goat, Cheese, Pizza. It’s as silly as it sounds. Over Christmas we had a crowd ages 4-75 laughing while playing. It’s easy to learn and addictive.

    • Pige says...

      I just purchased this and can’t wait to play it with my kids!

  84. Katie says...

    We’ve been playing a lot of Sleeping Queens- highly recommended. Now that our daughter is old enough (6) we’ve brought out old Lego games to play. I don’t see them for sale anymore but they are lots of fun.

  85. Kelley says...

    For Christmas last year, my sister in law and her husband gifted everyone a reimagined Guess Who game featuring random but meaningful people we all knew. She even got picture of eveyone and put their faces on the tabs. Our family dentist, insurance agent, parents wacky friends etc. It’s so much fun to guess based on actual people you know and was one of the most creative gifts we’ve ever received

    • alison says...

      this is amazing! I’m totally stealing this.

  86. jdp says...

    our 9-year old has been watching vintage game shows — the price is right, jeopardy — and hosted a jeopardy like game show for his parents, and “kid quiz” on zoom for two sib friends. they had buzzers via an app and had to answer questions in categories from harry potter to candy. it was a tight game! and kept everyone occupied for a nice long while….ps we also taught him cribbage, and that’s been surprisingly fun. (with kind of a throwback feel.)

    • jdp says...

      also charades!

  87. K says...

    This is a good list. I was just wondering what else to play with my kids. We also love Trouble, Chutes and Ladders, Checkers, and have been teaching games with a deck of cards (War so far but could also do Spit, etc.). Instead of buying new games, sometimes we also try first to make them… Made different kinds of Bingo (numbers, letters, colors), a board game from scratch that was reminescent of Candyland…

  88. Margaret says...

    Check out the game Set! It’s a cult favorite for a reason. Super easy to learn, can play for any length of time, physically compact for stoop sessions…

    • Neela says...

      Love Set! Haven’t found it with english instructions anywhere though. Gave it to loads of people for Christmas and translated the german instructions for them!

    • Megan says...

      Set is my absolute favorite!

  89. erin jeffries says...

    We are a big game playing family. Some of my girls (13 + 10) and for years we’ve loved:
    Sleeping Queens (easy concept and fun for all ages)
    Trouble
    Mancala
    Mastermind
    Clue

  90. Heidi says...

    You should try Pass The Pigs! It’s the perfect game because it travels well. I can totally picture it as a stoop game. The two dice are pigs and you toss them to make different combos with funny names like “trotter” and “snouter.” Each one worth a certain amount of points. Very addicitng!

    • Rachel says...

      This game helped me so much with math when I was a kid. I was super stuck on using my fingers to count and add, but this game made adding 5, 10, or 15 to any number suddenly fun. I am still thankful for Pass the Pigs!

    • Paige says...

      This is one of our favorite games!

  91. Sarah says...

    My family is HUGE on board games. Growing up, my mom would play Scrabble with each of us and keep a running total of points/wins over the years. It’s fun to look back and see how long we’ve been playing (20+ years!).

    My husband and I do something similar: We purchased a giant ledger and have a table of contents for each game we play (Chess, pages 1 – 10, Stratego, pages 11 – 20, etc.). each time we play a game, we note the date, and tally how many games each person won. It’s so fun to look back! We also make playful bets on each game, i.e. if I win, my husband makes me dinner, if he wins, he gets to pick the next movie we watch.

  92. katie says...

    We just made a board game this weekend – Zooland (Candyland knock off). Used one of the million delivery boxes we’ve received and my 5.5 year old LOVES it. He did the art, picked the animals, made a very wild route, etc. I was in charge of cutting all the playing cards. He feels exceptionally accomplished and it was such a nice break from what we’ve been doing. His relatives have already played it a lot via ZOOM.

    • Susan says...

      I love this!

  93. Denise says...

    Has anyone played Taco, Cat, Goat, Cheese, PIzza? It’s rowdy & fun! You will laugh til you burst.

    • Shira says...

      Yes, I was coming here to recommend this game. We’ve been having a blast playing it. My five-year old laughs non-stop!

  94. Meghan says...

    Highly recommend Skyjo. I have two boys age 8 and 11 and we all enjoy. Card game with logic/strategy/math.

  95. Betsy says...

    Do you have any tips about teaching super competitive kids to play games? I’d love to play games with my preschooler, but he’s obsessed with winning and often throws massive fits when things don’t go his way. Thoughts?

    • Tovah says...

      Betsy, try a cooperative game like Outfoxed or Snug as Bug in a Rug. Players work together to defeat a common enemy… like a sneaky fox or a pack of stinkbugs! These really helped ease my perfectionist kid into the concept of games. And our rule is we always shake hands and say “good game” after, no matter who wins.

    • Susannah says...

      One of my friends always shook hands with his kids and said thanks and “good game” before and after a game (like soccer!) no matter the outcome or what happened during. I’m sure there were still occasional flipped gameboards and tantrums but they still had to shake

    • Jemma says...

      This might sound strange but chess has really helped my hyper competitive kid navigate loss. She was the kid who would literally throw the Candyland board game pieces across the room if she was losing!
      But chess is strategic, and chance is not a factor – it’s just you and your chess knowledge that decides the game. It’s often the “chance” side of things that make kids feel like things are “not fair” and therefore makes their competitive side get mad.
      And as a beginner you lose A LOT and you have to learn how to handle that loss, clear your mind and move on to the next game.

    • Tami says...

      Agree about Chess….my 7 year old would literally stomp out of the room when he “lost” any game. It was so bad that I dreaded playing ANYTHING!
      He learned Chess in school Chess Club and plays at home with Dad.
      Honestly, it was a game changer ;)
      He loves to strategize and has never once lost his cool.
      Also love Sleeping Queens and Ticket to Ride!

  96. Laurie says...

    My kids (9 & 11) and I have become Scrabble crazy. Hear me out: this is the ONE thing you have to do to make this game 100% less stupefying. I bought an extra set of letter tiles and we play with both sets in the bag. Now, we’re drowning in all those amazing vowels and consonants. We can spell Vermont. We can spell badger. We can even spell Oreo. And we feel like serious Scrabble geniuses!

  97. Valerie says...

    wow is it me or is toby so big now!!! seeing this post’s photo next to the sidebar photo….time is really flying

  98. CC says...

    I love this! We have been having daily game nights and game night tournaments with our two young kids.

    Would you mind setting up a post about what to do with kids this summer with everything closed? I will still be working from home (hopefully), but I am running out of ideas…

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s a good idea, CC. (i’ve been trying not to think about camps closing this summer but i think it’s time to accept it!)

  99. MB says...

    Thanks Joanna and team for the great content, you’re one of the bright spots in my day!
    Anyone have any advice/ideas for activities I can do that will engage my 3.5 year old but where my 16 month old (extremely physical) one won’t be a total liability? My eldest is so into learning and playing and my littlest, sweet as he is, is a bull in a china shop. Thank you!

    • Emily says...

      Maybe Zoo on the Loose? I bought that when my kids were approximately your kids’ ages. The “game pieces” are stuffed animals and you play either with a mat on the floor or around your house. My kids have enjoyed it!

    • Erin says...

      Your kids are good ages for “What’s on my Butt?” which is an excellent game for tired parents of toddlers and preschoolers because you get to lie down. You, the parent, lie on the couch face-down with your eyes closed. The kids find objects around the house and put them on your butt. You have to guess what the objects are.

    • Meghan Joseph says...

      Think Fun Roll and Play for toddlers is a fun one that my kids enjoyed for a long time!

  100. Sarah says...

    Great list! Both kids (6 & 8) and adults in our house love Sleeping Queens (invented by a kid!), Telestrations (hilarious), Sushi Go (strategy and the cutest sushi I’ve ever seen), and Wig Out (very fast and fun—my girls nicknamed all of the characters).

    • erin jeffries says...

      Sleeping Queens is one of our families favorites AND the kids love that it was invented by a little girl.

    • Meghan says...

      We love Sleeping Queens too! At first it seems a little out there (sleeping potions and dragons and knights) but then we totally got into it! Our five year old can play totally independently. Our three year old even likes to make pairs And join in. We highly recommend!

  101. Nisha says...

    My 8 year old LOVES Exploding kittens and my 5 and 8 year old (and my husband and I) love Quirkle. Honestly, games have really been a sanity-savior during these times!

    • Nisha says...

      Oh and also Kids Against Maturity which is basically a kids’ version of Cards Against Humanity. There’s plenty of toilet/gross humor and the kids get such a kick out of not only saying it out loud themselves but having adults choose a ‘best’ card out of 3 or 4 options! :)

    • Chelsea says...

      My 9 year old loves Exploding Kittens too!

  102. Jenn says...

    Ticket to Ride! I bought it at the local game store for curbside pickup a few weeks into self quarantine and it has been so fun!

    • Chelsea says...

      We love Ticket to Ride. We have the adult and kids’ versions and they are both fun!

  103. Madeline says...

    A friend recently showed me a really fun game – Write down a bunch of random words on slips of paper, then select two of them, i.e. fish and shoe. Then each player has to draw some combination of the two objects. The fun of the game is that everybody comes up with something entirely different. You could have a fish wearing shoes, a fish shaped shoe, a school of shoe-fish, or anything, really! It is a perfect game for almost any age and any art ability.

    • Madeline says...

      bonus – we played it over Zoom with friends a few weeks ago, and it turned out perfectly!

    • Agnès says...

      I love that, thank you Madeline!

    • Cat says...

      This sounds like fun. How do you actually play? Does someone guess what the words were? Or does the group decide who has the best picture? Thanks

  104. Melanie Bell says...

    My stepkids’ love Sushi Go! (which I think I actually heard about here). And Phase10. Phase10 is a total family tradition in my family, so I love that they’ve picked that up.

    They’re also big fans of Clue. So much fun!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh yes, sushi go! i love that game! so curious to check out phase10 now.

  105. Elizabeth says...

    I’m a school based speech therapist so I play a LOT of games and my all-time favorite one is Slamwich. It’s basically Slap Jack but the cards have a bunch of different toppings on them (lettuce, tomato, etc.). It’s a little confusing explaining it at first, but once you start going everyone picks up on it really fast (it’s a speed game after all). It is so much fun and I might get way more competitive with 7 year olds than I care to admit.

    • Tovah says...

      We love slamwich!

  106. Diana says...

    I highly recommend telestrations for tons of laughs. I also love playing tile rummy with my 9 year old.

  107. Kelsey says...

    Monoploy Jr. and Clue Jr. have been big hits with my 5 and 7 year olds. And they’re actually pretty fun to play as adults too!

    • Trish says...

      Monopoly deal is SO good. A card version of the original . It is so much faster to play but still feels like monopoly.

  108. Dominique says...

    You should try Spot It. It would make a great stoop game.

  109. Emaly says...

    Rat a tat cat has been our family favorite for over 20 years! It’s easy enough for little kids to play, but still fun for adults. We started playing when my sister was in preschool, and we’ve been playing lots of rounds of the game during quarantine as well- only this time the youngest person playing was in their mid-20s!

  110. Erin says...

    My husband and I love playing Monopoly Deal with our boys (6, 8, and 10)!

  111. Leigh Anne says...

    Telestrations! Telephone meets Pictionary, hilarity ensues. Readers on up :)

    • Sarah says...

      Can confirm, this is a great family game.

  112. C says...

    Kids on Stage is great fun! My 3yo loves it and it can easily be adapted to accommodate a wide range of ages. Highly recommend.

  113. Ragon says...

    My daughter is 7 and we love games! Favorites are:
    *Sleeping Queens
    *Dragonwood
    *Zeus on the Loose
    *Uno Attack
    *Quirkle
    *Ghost Fighting Treasure Hunters
    *Fluxx (we have Fairytale and Pirate versions)
    *Castle Panic (our new one! Fun, cooperative game!)

    Any game that isn’t equally fun for the grown-ups to play with her gets quickly “lost” in the back of the game shelf and then out for donation. Life is too short to play boring games!

  114. Lucy says...

    we just bought clue for our family and it’s such a great game for the whole family. It’s actually fun for the adults to play as well. (Instead of murder, we just say, Col. Mustard broke the candlestick in the Dining Room etc…)

    • Sarah says...

      The kids version of Clue (Clue Junior) actually does this for you: You are trying to find out who ate the cake! It’s true to the original, but modified just enough for kids.

  115. P says...

    We love Code Names, and there’s a free online version (not an official version but one that a developer made) at horsepaste.com – we’ve been playing with friends over Zoom! Every player needs a phone to look at the “board.” It’s been a fun way to connect with friends!

    • Susan says...

      We love Codenames too!

  116. Erin says...

    We really love Uno. It’s not too complicated but has enough surprises that it doesn’t get dull. We also have been playing one of those memory games where you try to find pairs of matching cards, as well as Sorry, Snakes and Ladders (my kids think it’s more fun if you play it backward, starting from the end), Clue, and Go Nuts for Donuts. I didn’t realize there was a kids’ version of Apples to Apples — I think I need to check that out.

  117. Agnès says...

    My 6 y old loves battleship, parcheesi and a game which is just conversation but you can’t say “yes” and “no”, so much fun.

  118. Nan says...

    Family charades has been a huge favorite in our home these days! We all love it!!

  119. All adults need to get on board with the fun that is Monopoly Deal – a 15-20minute card version of the board game. It’s truly so fun.

    • Kim S says...

      we love this game! It is the best.

    • Becky says...

      Monopoly Deal is the best!

    • Caitlin says...

      Yes yes yes! Monopoly Deal is a blast! All the fun, without the dread of a never ending game.

    • Erin says...

      Yes! I just posted a comment with the same! Before quarantine, we got a taste of this life here in St John’s, NL (Canada), during the state of emergency that occurred after a blizzard in January, which lasted over a week. We lost our electric heat for a couple of days and played A LOT of Monopoly Deal wrapped in blankets.

    • Diana says...

      This is the game our family has been hooked on as well. My husband is ruthless though.

  120. Lisa says...

    We are playing so much Yahtzee, which I played with my grandmother as a kid!

  121. J wells says...

    What about Toby? As a second child, I hope he’s getting all the quality time Toby is. :/

    • J wells says...

      Should say Anton.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh yes he is, of course! he is obsessed with drumming right now, so he often chooses to stay inside and drum. but he’s very warmly invited and sometimes joins us, which makes us so happy!

    • Em says...

      what a weird comment. I can’t imagine talking to a friend and any time they mention one of their children, saying, “but I hope your other kid is getting enough attention!!!!”

    • Can I chime in as a mom of two boys ages 9 &11… we really cherish a little 1:1 time with each boy, as well as stuff as family…. but mine really crave a little 15-20 mins a day with just mom ❤️

    • K says...

      I don’t understand why this first came to mind for a reader. It seems judgmental. It’s obvious by your posts that you spend time with and care for both children equally! It is just that different kids enjoy different things. I have two boys, and just because I am spending time with one and mention it doesn’t mean I am not doing so with the other…

    • Jessica says...

      Respectfully J Wells, that comment hardly seemed necessary.

  122. Anna says...

    An alternative version of Guess Who for adults (or how to even the playing field when playing with kids) is to have 2 or, when you become an expert, 3 character cards .
    It becomes a more intense logic puzzle… When the answer is no, you exclude characters as normal. When the answer is yes, you can’t turn any faces down (but you can try and remember that AT LEAST ONE of your cards has that feature).

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      ooh that’s a fun idea!

  123. Jane says...

    Set is a good game for kids!

  124. Ashley says...

    My favorite to play with the kids is Ticket to Ride, Jr. I also like chickapig and codenames. We lay out the cards for codenames and ask the kids (6 & 8) if they know what they all mean first. We had a confusing game when “leprechaun” was a clue and the kids were clueless!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is so cute! i’m impressed that your six year old could play codenames — it’s a tricky one!

    • Genevieve Martin says...

      We have Codenames duet (2 player version) and it’s a really good one to play over Zoom!! I set up the cards and have a laptop dialled in pointing to the board then another device dialled in with the video on me and then a friend dials in and we play! It’s really straightforward and not at all frustrating, and nice to do when theres not much happy stuff to chat about but you’re so over the endless quizzes ha.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      ooh genevieve, thanks for the tip!