It truly would be too big of a task to share with you all of the great, family-friendly games out there today . . . because it is plentiful and exhaustive. So, I’ll only pass on a few personal favourites that our own family has enjoyed over the years. Our kids are currently in kindergarten, grade 2, and grade 3 – but we have been playing games consistently with them for years.

I firmly believe that introducing kids to games at a young age is beneficial for so many reasons. First and most importantly, it is intentional family time. Games force everyone to set aside their screens, gather at the table and spend quality time laughing and talking. Secondly, it gives you plenty of opportunity to guide them through the emotions of winning and losing graciously. This is such an important skill to learn and they won’t get it right all of the time, because even I as an adult don’t do it perfectly! There will sometimes be fighting, tears, giving up and then starting over. But if you keep giving them the opportunities and making it enjoyable, they will grow in their love for games. They will also increase their capacity for team work, encouragement and persistence while advancing their thinking to include strategy, speed, and adaptation.

Check out some of the board and card game suggestions below, but also comment and share what some of your favourites are. Let’s keep the love of board games growing in families!

Card Games:

Uno – old school favourite that is quick and enjoyable for any age. Lots of themed versions, like Toy Story 4, Emojis and the well loved one at our house: Super Mario.

Skip Bo – simple number sequencing card game, with a a junior version available.

Five Crowns – engaging rummy style game for kids 8+, there is a junior version for younger kids.

Spot It – a smash hit game available in lots of different themes, as well as junior versions.

Blink – similar to uno, but with colours and shapes – a great option to include younger players.

Kids Card Games – classic card games like memory, go fish, old maid, crazy eights, and slapjack all in one set.

Board Games:

family settlers of catan

Settlers of Catan Family Edition with my 7 & 8 year old

Settlers of Catan – a strategy game that involves trading and building. Available in many different versions and expansions including Junior and Family.

Carcassone – games last around 30 minutes making it a quick and entertaining board game, good for ages 7+, or the Junior version for younger.

Sequence – For ages 7+, simple matching and strategy involved. The letters version is fantastic for younger ones learning letters/words

King of Tokyo – A little like Yahtzee, but more complex and involving strategy as well as luck. This is another favourite in our home for ages 8-12.

Codenames – a popular party game that involves teams and guessing from clues. There is even a Disney edition for the younger crowd.

Qwirkle – easy to follow rules, and helps enforce matching and shapes knowledge while involving simple strategy.

Monopoly Junior – shorter running time than the original monopoly, which parents will appreciate. Plenty of options to choose from like NHL hockey, Frozen, Incredibles, and more.

There are benefits to both card games and board games. Card games are versatile, quick, and easy to travel with. Board games are longer, teach more skills and encourage more dialogue. Add in some snacks and background music to complete the set up for a perfectly fun and enjoyable family night, without spending a lot of money!