One of our favorite family traditions is to play board games during the Thanksgiving weekend. We are a board game family, thanks to my husband. He loves the strategy and I love that my family is spending time together, communicating and learning how to win and lose. I will admit it can be tricky to find games that the whole family can play, especially if you have a variety of ages like we do. So here are my 10 Favorite Board Games For All Ages.
Ticket to Ride – Suggested age 8+ for 2-5 players. We love the train theme of Ticket to Ride, but you don't have to like trains to enjoy this game. This is one of the more challenging games on the list but it's a great game for older kids and teens. We've also found that our younger kids can play with an adult and they enjoy placing the trains and sorting the train cards by color. It's a great game to help kids learn about decision making but it is also challenging enough for adults. It's one of the most highly reviewed and popular games on Amazon and at my house.Bounce-Off – Suggested age 7+ for 2-4 players. Not much strategy in this game, mostly luck. You choose a challenge card with a design that you try to replicate by bouncing ping pong balls into the plastic grid. The first team to match the design with their color of ping pong balls, keeps the card. You can take turns for a calmer game or you can choose to all play at once and it can get kind of crazy, with balls rolling all over the room! It's fun for parties and especially for the tween and teen crowd. There are also several variations, Bounce-Off Rock n Rollz and Bounce-Off Blow-Out for more variety and a bit more of a challenge.
Blokus – Suggested age 5+ for 2-4 players. This is an easy game to learn. You take turns putting your colored pieces down on the board. The one rule is that it has to touch a piece of the same color, but only the corners can touch. This is similar in strategy to another one of my favorites, Qwirkle, but I think this one is easier for younger kids and tends to be quicker. There are no points involved. The game ends when none of the players can put down any of their pieces.
Spot It – Suggested age 7+ for 2-8 players. This popular game tests visual recognition and speed. You look for a matching picture on two cards and the first person to find one and say it out loud picks up the card. The player with the most cards wins. This is a great game for kids to play with each other or with friends because there aren't any rules to explain. Before you think it's too simple for the whole family, try it. It can be tricky to find the match faster than anyone else. Great game for travel because it comes in a small metal tin. It also comes in a variety of themes (sports, alphabet, frozen etc).
Reverse Charades – Suggested age 6+ for 6 or more players. This is one of our newest games and it's quickly become a favorite. This twist on traditional charades has you split into 2 or more teams. When it's your team's turn, one person guesses and everyone else on that team acts out the clue. Having multiple people acting can cause confusion or if they are good at working together it can be helpful but as with normal charades, no speaking! Even our 4 year old can play along by acting out the clue.
Qwirkle – Suggested age 6+ for 2-4 players. For this game you will need a large, flat place to play, like a dining room table or the floor. Players take turns putting down the wooden tiles by matching colors and shapes. It's a simple concept but since you earn points based on putting the best set of tiles down, it can require strategic planning. That's why it's good for younger kids and older kids. The first time we played this, our younger kids got bored before the game was finished. I would recommend only using half of the tiles if you are playing with kids under 8 to keep the game shorter for younger kids.
Apple to Apples Big Picture – Suggested age 7+ for 4-8 players. This is one we played for hours and hours on our last vacation. The concept is the same as Apples to Apples but with photos. The judge picks a card with a word on it and reads it aloud (when my 5 old plays this and it's his turn to be the “judge” someone helps him read the word on the green card) and the other players choose a picture from their hand that best represents that word. The pictures are often funny and we laughed and laughed while trying to convince the judge that our card was better than the others. Words and pictures are family friendly. Great way for kids to learn new vocabulary too.
Hedbanz – Suggested age 7+ for 2-6 players. This is an oldie but goody. It's a version of the game “Who Am I?” When of the things I like about it is that it has pictures and words so that even nonreaders can play. I would say many 5&6-year-olds could play this game. It requires critical thinking skills but it's not too hard because there are only 3 categories the words fit into (animal, food or man-made object). They also have a variety of editions including, Disney, Pokemon, and Shopkins.
Rory's Story Cubes – Suggested age 8+ for unlimited players. I would say 5 and up, especially if the 5-7 year olds have a good imagination. This game is about imaginative storytelling. You take turns rolling the dice and you make up a part of the story based on the dice you roll. I would say kids 5 and up could play this game, especially if they have a good imagination. Another great thing, it's very small which makes it perfect to take on vacation or camping. Also, there is no real winner, it's just for fun. It can be played alone or in a large group.
Uno – Suggested age 7+ for 2-10 players. Technically, this is a card game but it's one of the best games for families with younger kids. I have had preschoolers play it with just a little help. If the child knows numbers and colors then we have them play their own hand and a parent helps them with wildcards and skips. It reinforces numbers and colors, taking turns and winning/losing concepts but it is fun enough that older kids won't complain about playing it.