Save - spend life happy

spend life happy

SaveEntertainment It’s ON! Family Game Nights

It’s ON! Family Game Nights

Ready, set, get your game on! Make family game night a blast for all ages with these family-friendly game ideas, snack tips, and more.

It’s ON! Family Game Nights

Go ahead: embrace your competitive spirit with a family game night. It’s a fun, low-cost way to spend quality time together.

Playing games also benefits your children’s development. Family game nights can help enhance fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, vocabulary skills, math and spelling, problem-solving, and cooperation. That’s what we call a sweet victory!

It's easy to create your own family game night. You may already have a stash of board games on hand or a deck of cards that can lead to dozens of different games.

There are also tons of the best games for families to play together available to download for free. Just do a search online to find free options like trivia, Scrabble, and more. Whatever you’re in the mood for, you can get your game on any time of year.

For the ultimate gaming get-together, we put together these family game night ideas so you can have an awesome time competing. Get those high-fives ready.

1. Choose Age-Appropriate Games

The best family game night games will be appropriate for all ages who are represented at game night. If your kids vary in age, try to find games that your youngest can understand and successfully participate in.

All-ages games should do the trick. Charades is a game that’s easily adaptable for any age since you’re in control of the clues. Just about any age can play games like the tower block game Jenga or the character-guessing game Guess Who. Some kids are even ready to start learning games like chess at the age of 4!

Trivia for all-ages is another game night option. Anyone can guess an answer out of multiple choices. Plus, everyone learns in the process – a definite win-win.

If there’s a big variance in age groups, you might want to consider dividing game night into games for the older kids and games for the little ones so that everyone will be engaged while playing. You have some options here.

  • If you’re a two-parent household, have each parent supervise each group of kids. Play simultaneously.
  • Start with the younger kid games. Have the older kids perform another duty while the younger kid is playing, like whipping up healthy snacks in the kitchen or “coaching” your little one(s) while playing. When the older kids are playing, enlist the younger kids for help during their game, too. For example, you can have younger kids roll dice, spin a wheel, flip over a card, etc., so they still feel like they’re a part of the older kids’ game.
  • Alternate family game nights. Dedicate one night to younger kids and another night to older kids.

Schedule game time for when your kids will be most alert and active. Maybe the best time is a weeknight or a family “game day” on the weekend. You may want to have shorter games for a shorter overall duration for younger kids, while older kids can play longer games for a longer time.

2. Make Room for the Festivities

Keep your family focused on the games you’re playing by clearing a dedicated space for game night. It could be the kitchen table, a coffee table in your living room, or the kids’ playroom.

Get rid of clutter so you have space to spread out. The more organized and clean your space is when you start, the more everyone can focus on the games and keep your space tidy.

If you’re going to serve food or drinks during game night (more on that next), equip your space with the appropriate supplies. Bring out coasters for drinks, for example, or stack some napkins nearby.

Make sure there’s appropriate seating, too. You might need a booster seat for younger kids, or spread out floor pillows if you’re lounging in the living room. You want everyone to be comfortable so they can play at their highest level, right?

3. Fuel Up

Stay hydrated and satiated as you play with game night-friendly snacks and drinks. Keep messy fingers, liquids, and crumbs off your game pieces. Use these game-proof food and drink ideas:

  • Store drinks in cups with lids and straws. Reusable straws are chic, sturdy, and environmentally friendly. For toddlers, make sure sippy cups are on hand.
  • Serve snacks with toothpicks to keep fingers clean. You can offer cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, sliced cheese, turkey rollups, sliced bell pepper, and the like.
  • Or, dish it out. Provide small bowls of non-greasy foods, like dry grapes, raw almonds, or carrot sticks.
  • Skewers are great, too. Add fruit like strawberries, apple slices, melon, and mango to kid-friendly skewers. You could also spear all the toothpick-friendly foods mentioned above onto a skewer for more variety.

In addition to napkins, you might want to keep baby wipes nearby so gamers can clean up if they do get a bit sticky.

Game Night Can Be Any Night

Even when you’re away from home, you can create game night wherever you are. Nationwide has some ideas for DIY game nights that require only a few supplies to get started.

  • Paper telephone: All you need are pieces of paper and pens to play. Everyone writes down a simple phrase and passes the paper to the next person. Then, everyone draws the phrase they’ve received. You fold down the paper to hide the phrase, then everyone passes their drawing to the next person, who then writes down a phrase to describe that drawing. The process repeats until the paper meets the original owner. The fun is in seeing how the original phrase transforms throughout the group.
  • Indoor bowling: Save all your plastic bottles from a road trip or at home. Rinse them out, then set them up as you would bowling pins, with one bottle in the front, two behind it, three behind them, and so on. Use a tennis ball or other small ball to roll it over and knock them down.
  • Paper airplanes: You can make paper planes with any shape of paper. Most hotel rooms have a paper notepad you can use, or challenge your brood at home with regular-sized sheets.

Get creative with your ideas. Your kids may have played games at school that can be adapted for playing at home.

Ask your kids’ teachers for suggestions for age-appropriate titles. They might even let you borrow one from the classroom.

Want to try games out before you commit to purchasing them? Head to your local library. Some libraries enable you to check out games for home play or play them while you’re at the library so you can see what your kids like.

There are also board game restaurants popping up throughout the country, where you can rent games and play while you enjoy a meal.