Board and card games remain household staples for a reason; they spark a childlike joy. Regardless of how busy life is, your stress will melt away while playing these games.
Family game nights connect household members and teach life skills, such as strategy and patience. Whether you and your household are regulars or rookies, this is how to set up and host the best family game night that’s fun for people of all ages.
Location, location, location!
Where you play your game can affect the evening’s mood. Think about all the rooms in your home, and ask yourself which one has enough space for everyone, adequate lighting, and enough seating. A primary reason a family game night could fall apart, aside from an overly complicated or competitive game, is a lack of comfort and difficulty seeing the board or cards.
If you’re going to play at your kitchen table, consider buying a few cushions for the chairs. When playing on a carpet, use a tray or coffee table as a flat surface to keep the board or cards stable. These small adjustments can have a positive impact on the playing environment. Make sure the location is accessible to both children and adults. Children may not be tall enough to see everything on top of the kitchen table, while adults may have difficulty sitting on the ground comfortably. Create an accessible setup that works for all players.
Offer everyone who is playing the game a role for the evening. By doing so, everyone is encouraged to remain an active participant and feel included. Switch these roles between your household each week, or, if you find that everyone enjoys their role, keep them the same.
Let’s face it, children are packed to the brim with excitement and energy, which can make games challenging at times. Assign them a role that allows them to utilize their energy positively.
Chef: creates and serves snacks (with supervision)
Superhero: encourages or consoles people when they don’t win, and cheers for everyone
Teens and young adults
If your teens feel like they’re too cool for game night, entice them with these options that give them a form of control.
DJ: selects and plays background music
Scorekeeper: keeps track of any points or wins
Maintain order over the night’s activities and keep everything fair with these roles.
Referee: reviews the game rules and enforces them
Timekeeper: starts and stops time for any games that have timed rounds
Now that the stage is set and everyone has a job, it’s time to play! But what game will you choose? Below are a few ideas to suit your family’s energy level, but be sure to consider the size of your household too. Not all games will work for smaller or larger groups.
Competitive and hands-on
If your family likes sports or is more creatively inclined, these competitive and hands-on games are for you.
Board/boxed games: Pictionary, Jenga, Battleship, Zombies!
Card games: Uno, Spoons, Slapjack, Throw Throw Burrito!
Strategic and longer-lasting
Are you ready for a long night of fun? These games will keep you focused for a few hours.
Board games: Monopoly, The Game of Life, Clue, Ticket to Ride, Tiny Towns
Card games: Palace, The Voting Game, Hearts, Happy Little Dinosaurs
Short and sweet
Sometimes game night can only fit into a small window of time, and that’s OK. The most important thing is that you’re making an effort to spend time with one another. These games are quick and full of fun!
Board/box games: Scattergories, Labyrinth, Candy Land, Codenames
Card games: Cheat or “I doubt it”, Apples to Apples, Sushi Go!, Exploding Kittens
It can be hard to convince children, and especially teens, to sit down and spend time with their families. However, if the price is right, your loved ones will be ready to participate in a flash. Below are some enticing and budget-friendly prize ideas.
- A special item from the store, such as a coloring book or small toy
- The option to choose their favorite dinner one night during the week
- An hour extension to their curfew/bedtime for the week
- The power to choose their chore for the week
- Breakfast in bed, prepared by a loved one
- Responsible for choosing the next game night activity
Use these tips to plan your family game night, and then get ready for an evening of unforgettable fun for everyone!