Our Favorite Games for Kids – Our favorite family games to play with kids. Perfect for birthday or holiday gifts, rainy days, summer nights, and more!
One of the things I’m most excited about with the holidays approaching is a bit more family time. We’ll be off for about a week of winter break all together as a family, then the kids and I will have some extra time off.
We’re all REALLY excited to play some family games over the break. I’m not a major game person–I don’t want to play anything that lasts 100 years (I’m looking at you Chutes & Ladders) or makes everyone super frustrated (*cough* Candy Land). I’m looking for fun, quick, easy-to-learn family games we can all enjoy together.
These family games are great for playing with kids. We’ve been playing the games below with our kids for a few years now (Milo is currently 6; Sophie is 8). These family games make great birthday or holiday gifts, and can help you get through cold winters, rainy days, school breaks, hot summers, and more.
In no particular order, here are some of our favorite games for kids…
This is a relatively new find for us. We’ve played it for a few months and it’s easy enough that Milo and Sophie can keep up without a problem. (We started playing when Milo was 5 and Sophie was 7).
It’s a bidding game. Each donut has a different value or action. Players “bid” on which donut card they want to take each round. If two or more people choose the same donut, nobody gets it! The person with the most points at the end wins!
I’ve mentioned this game about a dozen different times, but it seems there’s always someone who hasn’t tried it yet. This game is marketed to ages 8+, but was designed by a child so it’s really easy to understand. My kids (who aren’t game prodigies) could comfortably play and follow the rules by age 3. The rounds are fairly quick and the rules are easy to follow.
3. SUSHI GO! and SUSHI GO PARTY!
This is a REALLY fun game. Milo and Sophie played with a grown-up for the first 2-3 rounds, but everyone’s been able to play by themselves ever since. Michael and I play with just the two of us fairly regularly, and it’s a really fun game to play with a group. The original version is a great place to start, but if I could only choose one, I’d choose Sushi Go Party! (the expanded version) since it’s got so many variations and ways to play to keep it interesting.
This game is adorable and very low-stakes, which makes it perfect for your littlest players. Let everyone play by themselves, or break into teams and try to hunt for the hidden items before the other players find them. Rounds go quickly and it’s VERY easy to play.
5. SPOT IT
Another look-and-find game, though this one is a little different! My mom gave Spot It! to us early this year and it’s the game my kids reach for over and over when we only have a few minutes to play. It’s quick and it’s another I-spy game. There are several ways to play, but our favorite is “Hot Potato” where you’re trying to quickly give your cards to someone else and end up with the fewest cards.
PS – It also comes in a cute Finding Dory edition and tons of others that are really fun.
I’ve been playing Uno since I was really little, and my kids have loved that game since they were about 3. It’s easy to follow along with and fairly quick. (We sometimes take out the Wild Draw 4 cards or make them regular Wilds to speed things along).
If you’re looking for a fun twist on Uno, you might like Dos. It’s a little more complicated than Uno, but after a practice round or two, you get right in the groove.
If I was going to choose one game to recommend to introduce games to your kids, this would be it. I prefer this to Candy Land or Chutes and Ladders, etc. Why? It’s cooperative, which means everyone is working together. (It also means no one can fight about winning or losing!) Your goal is to get all the baby owls to the nest before the sun comes up. It’s a great way to practice using VERY basic strategy and teamwork.
This is a cute, colorful game we all really enjoy. It’s nice and simple (the target age is 3-6 for beginners). Your aim is to claim 4 spots in a row using the cards you draw. Players can block each other or use basic strategy to play.
We learned about this game in occupational therapy–it’s great for hand-eye coordination, motor skills, following directions, cooperative play, etc. When you’ve got kids with extra energy, this is a great one to pull out. It’s a relay-style game, where you must build a pancake stack to match the cards you draw. You can play in big teams or with just 2 players.
My in-laws brought this game to us this week and it’s been fun! It says ages 8+ but after a practice round, both kids can play on their own with minimal coaching. The rounds are fairly fast (about 15 minutes), and it’s a fun game that combines dominoes and some pre-Settlers of Catan skills. (I’m not a Settler’s fan–treason, I know!–but I enjoyed this!)
11. RAINBOW JENGA
It’s basically the same as regular Jenga, but I love that this comes with a colored dice. Players have to choose a piece that matches the color they roll, which adds an extra layer to the game. Both kids love this one (and love playing with the blocks!).
12. DUTCH BLITZ.
This one’s not *super* great for little little kids, but gets really fun around age 8 or so and can be played on teams. It’s kind of like Nertz–there are a lot of piles and moving things around going on at once, which makes it a funny sort of chaos. This one’s also really great to play with just grown-ups.
13. SKIP-BO (OR SKIP-BO JUNIOR.)
Skip-Bo is one of my favorite games. Milo’s been playing this one with me since he was 5 and really enjoys it. If you’ve got lots of littler ones or need an intro to the game, you might like Skip-Bo Junior (geared toward ages 5-10). It’s fun and fast, which makes it a great way to learn the rules and ease into “grown-up” Skip-Bo down the road.
My kids are WAY better at Mancala than I am. It’s easy to learn (recommended ages 6+), and it’s a fun way to learn some thinking ahead skills. Plus, the rounds go pretty fast, so it’s easy to squeeze in when you’re short on time (or patience!).
15. PASS THE PIGS.
It sounds silly and it kind of is, but this fast-paced “dice” game uses pigs for dice. You get different points based on how the pigs land and the first to 100 wins. It’s easy for little ones and fun for grown-ups, too!
What are YOUR favorite games for kids?
Any new ones I’ve missed? Shout them out below!
PS – LOOKING FOR MORE IDEAS?