With the holidays approaching, things are bound to start getting crazy at your house — I know that it will be true for me! So it would be smart to have a few tricks up your sleeve to entertain the kids, whether you are looking for a way to relax with the family on a Saturday night, or perhaps trying to think of a way to keep them happy during good old Aunt Jane's holiday party. So why not consider a family game night? Here are 5 great ideas for you to try.
1. Say Anything Family Edition
This is a fun game that gets the family talking! One player selects a game card that has three questions on it, such as "What celebrity would make the worst babysitter?" or "What is the best part about being a dog?" The player reads the question aloud and everyone else writes down an answer on a small white board. (Younger players can be paired with an adult or an older sibling as a team.) The player who reads the question aloud gets to pick the best answer given. Points are awarded for the best answer, and the next player at the table gets to select a new question card. The questions really promote family discussion along with plenty of laughs! We intend to take this game with us to play with our aunts, uncles, and cousins over the holidays. It will be a great way to learn more about our relatives that we don't see as often!
By Northstar Games. Recommended age 8-15 years.
I loved this game as a kid, and my kids literally giggle with anticipation when we get out the box to play! If you aren't familiar with the game, the object is to travel around the board, collecting pieces to create the mousetrap. For younger children, a parent will need to assist in the assembly of the mousetrap. Once it is complete, players will take turns setting the trap in motion — which is loaded with gears, levers, and rolling marbles that set off a chain reaction of events that eventually lead to the capture of a mouse. The last mouse left uncaptured is the winner.
By Hasbro. Recommended age 6-10 years old.
This game has been around since 1934 for good reason — it is so much fun to wheel and deal in an effort to "get rich!" Now truth be told, my kids don't always play exactly by the rules...but they love buying the properties, paying the mortgage, putting up hotels, and charging their brothers and sisters rent! There are multiple versions of Monopoly available. We have one that is a hometown edition (featuring properties from my husband's childhood town in Michigan) and a Junior edition which is better suited for kids ages 5-8.
By Hasbro. Recommended age 8 and up.
This is a great game involving strategy and logical thinking. Players are given colored pieces consisting of varying numbers of squares, and they take turns placing pieces on the board. Each new piece must touch at least one other piece of the same color — but only at the corners! The game continues until no more pieces can be placed on the board, and the winner is the player with the least squares remaining. We find it helpful to pair younger children with an adult or older sibling to help them find places to put their pieces — but this is a game our entire family loves.
By Mattel. Recommended age 5 and up.
5. Good Old-Fashioned Card Games!
With so many board games lining our shelves, it is easy to forget how much fun you can have with a deck of cards. And sometimes it takes a visit from a grandparent to inspire us to find a complete deck or two and gather around the table for an evening of "Crazy 8's," "Go Fish," or even "Texas Hold 'Em" (played with chips, not money — of course!).
Can't remember the rules? Pagat.com has a listing of virtually every card game ever invented! Just click on the game that you'd like to play and you'll find an introduction to the game, a listing of rules, and suggestions of variations to play for each game.