Ten Favorite Games for Family Game Night

Family Game Night can be a great way to keep your kid’s brains active and learning during the summer and all year round!

Today is day 6 of our 10 Day Summertime Learning Fun Series. I hope you have loved this as much as I have!

10 Days of Summertime Learning Fun

You can find the other posts in this series here.

This summer has been a rainy one here in our state. A few weeks ago, a large portion of our state was flooded with what they are calling a thousand-year flood. So there have been lots of days that the kiddos have been stuck in the house. Most days they do a really good job of finding things to do, and if they complain I am happy to oblige them with some of the never-ending chores that need to be done!

But every once in a while, someone suggests Family Game Night. At our house, family game night includes microwave popcorn, sweet iced tea, and board games from our treasure chest of board games. No really, it really is a treasure chest.

Family Game Night can be a great way to keep your kid's brains active during the summer and all year round! Come check out our favorites for game night!

My grandparents rescued this chest from the dump many years ago (can you believe someone threw that amazing chest away??) and it has now been passed down to me. I love it so much, but the insides are musty, so you can’t store blankets in it (that was my original plan.) So it has become the game chest, and it works perfectly for us. The games are out of sight most of the time, but readily available if we need them. And the chest looks cool in my living room! Bonus points!

So what’s in that chest? I’m so glad you asked! I am going to share with you our favorite games for fun and learning, for rainy summer afternoons and all year round! The links in this post are affiliate links. I am a part of Amazon’s affiliate program, and I receive a very small commission if you buy something using my links. Thanks in advance for helping me to support my family! (1)

Keeping their minds active

I started this 10 Day Series, expecting to give you 10 ways to keep your kids learning during the summer without pulling out the textbooks. And I think we have covered some great ways to do that! But I have realized while writing these posts that reducing summer learning loss is not necessarily making sure they have learned more during the summer. Just keeping their brains active during the summer and not vegging out in front of the TV is enough to reduce the “summer slide.” You don’t have to make sure they still know their multiplication tables (although it couldn’t hurt to play a game that enforces that.) It’s enough to make sure their minds are active and engaged.

Games don’t necessarily have to be “educational,” in order to keep little minds active. There are other benefits to playing games together than learning new skills. When you are playing games together, you are strengthening relationships, learning how to play fair, and how to lose gracefully. Even if the game isn’t teaching grammar or science concepts, the social skills that are gained while playing games are important.

Choosing the right games

My kids range in age from 8 to 14. Not such a large gap, really. But sometimes it is difficult to find a game that is challenging and fun for the 14-year-old but not too hard for the 8-year-old. I love to find games where we can all play together and have fun. So a game needs to be simple to understand, but still fun to play if you are older.

Sometimes we choose a more advanced game and have Superman team up with mom to play. Sometimes we choose classic games like Uno, that have easy rules, but are fun for the whole family. It’s especially exciting for young kids if they win a game like this all by themselves!

Ok, you’ve stuck with me for this whole post! Yay! Now I’m going to share some of the games that we love to play together! Our game chest has many classic games like Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, Operation, and Sorry. We play these classic games often (they are classics for a reason), but I want to share with you some of our favorites for family game night.

Our Favorite Games for Family Game Night

Ticket to Ride

This game is so much fun! It takes about an hour to play and it is enjoyable for the whole family. It does have a little bit of geography in it,  but there is a lot of strategy and thinking that goes into playing this game! Definitely five stars from the Lanham family!

Dutch Blitz

This game is a blast when you have a big group! It’s fast paced and you can finish a round in 5-10 minutes. But you won’t want to stop at one round. The easiest way to explain it is that it is sort of like solitaire, but with other people trying to beat you to empty your pile. It’s really a lot of fun!


I bought this game years ago at a yard sale, and it has definitely been worth the $1 I paid for it! I have two reluctant readers, so it was a great game to help them practice sight words. And it’s really fun! They have outgrown it now, but they would pull it out on their own, because it is such a fun game! I highly recommend it for early readers!

Scrabble  Flash

This is the game that has replaced Zingo now that my kids are reading better. It has several different modes so that you can play by yourself or compete with others. It’s much faster paced than the original Scrabble, and I think it’s more fun. The way you play it is to find as many words as you can with the 5 letters given in a certain amount of time. It’s suprisingly challenging, even for a word worm like me!


Wits and Wagers

We got this game for Christmas last year, and promptly fell in love. It’s sort of a trivia game, and sort of a guessing game. You get trivia questions like “How many home runs did Babe Ruth have in his lifetime?” Now some of you smarties out there might actually know the answer to that question, but if you are like me you have no clue. So you would make your best guess and put your answer down for the rest of the players to see. All of the players place their tokens on the answer that they think is closest to the correct answer. Players who chose the closest answer get points, and the person who made that answer get points too. It’s really fun, and much more fun to play than Trivial Pursuit for those of us who are not trivia buffs.

Careers Game

This game is similar to life, with a little more strategy involved. The point is still to be the one with the most money, but you have to choose the best way to get there. We have owned this game for probably close to 20 years, and it can be hard to find. But if you ever come across it at a yard sale or Goodwill, snatch that thing up like it’s gold!


I’m adding this game into the list at the insistence of my kiddos, because I hate it. It seems to be a silly game to me, but it is their top pick when they are playing a game together. You pretty much draw a card and do what it tells you. It might be something like “talk like a pirate for the rest of the game” or “name three ingredients of Tabasco Sauce.” They seem to love all of the silliness! I guess I’m just an old stick in the mud, because it’s just not my cup of tea. (How’s that for cliches?)

Story Cubes

I love this game for it’s creative storytelling prompts. It is fun and educational all at the same time. We were playing the other day and my eight year old son came up with a story about a boy who loved engineering who met with the queen. It’s a great game to get stories started and keep summertime brains active! It’s also a great game for on the go. It comes in a small box that you can drop the dice right back into, so you can play in the car and not lose the dice.

Sushi Go

I first played this game last week and realized why my kids love to play it. It’s different than any game I’ve ever played, but it was really fun. It takes lots of strategy and thought to be the one that ends up with the most points in the end. Basically, each person has a hand of cards. During each turn, you choose a card to save and then pass your hand to the next player. So you might choose a card just so your opponent can’t get it. It’s a simple game that is fun for the entire family. Oh, great! Now I’m hungry for sushi.

Apples to Apples

I cannot believe I almost forgot to include this game! It is one of our favorite games to play with a big group. You have red “thing” cards and green “description” cards. The judge lays down a “thing” card, and each player chooses a green card from his hand that best describes the thing. Then the judge has to choose his favorite. The fun part is in trying to convince the judge that your card was the best description. We use the Junior version with the kids, and I actually think it’s more fun than the family edition. The family edition has more people and places that kids and some adults might not know, like movie stars and politicians. If you haven’t played this game, you need to get it and plan a game night soon!

Ok, so I have given you our top 10 games for family game night. Now I’m ready to invite some people over for Game Night at our house. How about you? What are your favorite game night games? Have you played the games listed on this post?



  • Diane

    July 18, 2016 at 12:26 pm Reply

    Love the treasure chest…literally and figuratively! Here’s a post your readers might like on using board games to teach critical thinking skills:


    P.S. We also really enjoyed Mexican Train, a fun but more sophisticated dominoes game:

    • Amy

      July 18, 2016 at 1:28 pm Reply

      Awesome! Thanks for the links! I will check them out!

    • Amy

      July 18, 2016 at 1:31 pm Reply

      Once I looked at the photo of the mexican train dominoes, I realized that my mom has a similar game but we haven’t ever been able to figure it out. Maybe you can give me some pointers.

  • Rebecca

    July 18, 2016 at 2:22 pm Reply

    Such a fun list of games! My kids are much younger so our task now to is to find games an 8yo and a 4yo both love! I’m excited to try some more interesting games once my little girl gets a little bigger!

    • Amy

      July 18, 2016 at 4:15 pm Reply

      They might be able to play Zingo together. And one that we used to play alot at that age was Candyland. There are a bunch of new cooperative games on Amazon that look pretty cool, but I’ve never used them. They are for ages 4+, so probably perfect for your family.

  • Betsy

    July 18, 2016 at 6:46 pm Reply

    I love family game night. We love Ticket to Ride, but haven’t tried out many of your other recommendations. I can’t wait to check them out!

    • Amy

      July 19, 2016 at 3:18 pm Reply

      I hope you love them as much as we do! Let me know how you like them!

  • Trena

    July 18, 2016 at 11:06 pm Reply

    We only have ONE of these games on our shelves! I’ve heard great things about Ticket to Ride. I need to check out the others!

    • Amy

      July 19, 2016 at 3:27 pm Reply

      Let me know if you do! I would love to know how you like them!

  • Mother of 3

    July 19, 2016 at 9:26 pm Reply

    Great game night suggestions; we only have one of these.

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