I grew up in a house full of board games. Each year, for Christmas, Santa would bring the family a new one. As a parent and an adult, I don’t even consider a life without them. Each Christmas now the kids get a new game – and the adults get a new game. And that’s how we spend Christmas night. Many times, the new game is a bust and we return to an old favorite. But our house is still full of favorites. (This is a drop in the bucket – we have 4 bags full of games we don’t play in the basement ready to try to take to a shelter or Goodwill or something and that’s AFTER we sold a ton at a garage sale this summer).
So I was perplexed when I had a conversation with my 8-year-old stepson about what games he likes to play at mommy’s house. “I have my Xbox there for entertainment,” he says. And that explains so much….
Regardless, in the limited time we have with them each month we’ve watched games make a difference. It gives us a chance to spend time together. He’s learning more about following rules and sequence and creating strategies. We haven’t done a lot of playing recently, with all the crazy we got ourselves into, but I really hope to pick it up again.
So, my recommendations for the most in family fun? (We have to span 8-14 years old so these should really appeal overall)
- Sorry! Disney– of course, it’s a classic.
- Break the Safe Game – this one you don’t really see often. It’s a timed game where you have 30 minutes to work together to find all the keys to open a safe.
- Any form of Yahtzee– still a little challenging for the 8-year-olds but they’re catching on.
- Uno – duh.
- Nacho Loco – another one you don’t see very often (I think we found ours at Target). Nacho shaped cards have 3 colors on the back that you use to match and build the board. Points are scored by being the first to go out. Special cards and other rules apply.
- Zombie Dice or Cthulhu Dice– okay, a little less than expected but hear me out. They’re both basic dice games which are easy to follow. They just happen to have a little more colorful characters which lend to the play (what family doesn’t have fun pretending to go crazy around the dining room table?).
- Farkle – another dice game, but with more math. This one starts getting good around age 10 or 11.
- Guesstures – my son has been playing this since before he could even read or understand all the words. It’s great for cutting loose and being silly. We have had some ROFL moments, to say the least (“Gramma!!” yells my son as she shows everyone the waistband of her underwear).
- Dicecapades – this one was new last year and still carries a learning curve along with some frustration. But how can a game with over 200 dice NOT be fun?
- Pictionary– who doesn’t love the arguments that come from badly drawn clues? “What do you mean that’s a horse?! It doesn’t have any legs!”
Now, go sit down and play a game!