Plan an indoor family game night with these fun game ideas that include board games, cards, and easy games without any prep.
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What do you do at a family game night? Play games, of course! But you can also have snacks, dinner, or dessert. Go all out with a theme or just break out a deck of cards for a simple game of Go Fish.
If you’re hosting a game night for multiple families, try creating a bracket for teams to play against each other. Pick a simple and silly prize for the winner, like a paper certificate or even a trophy that can be passed around each time you play.
To make your family game night more fun, here are a few tips:
- Turn off or set aside electronic devices to avoid distractions. (You might want to keep your phone nearby to snap a few photos, but don’t get sidetracked.)
- Keep it light. It’s easy for a board game to turn into a squabble, especially if your players are competitive. Pick a game that isn’t one person’s favorite to avoid an upset.
- Play several games that use a variety of skills. Mix it up and play a card game, then a dice-rolling board game, and then a tabletop strategy game.
- If you’re hosting for friends, ask guests to bring a few games.
- Be patient. If you’re playing games with younger kids, it may take some time for them to understand the rules.
- Break the rules! Game night is about having fun together. It’s okay to change up the rules to a game, pick 2 winners, or whatever you want to do.
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No-prep game ideas
These games can be played without much planning. They’re simple and fun for most ages, and only use items you probably already have at home.
Wink Detective, via Intentional Summer, is a simple game that doesn’t require any supplies at all. It works best in a big group, and the more the merrier. Kids will love getting to take turns being the detective and it can go on for as many rounds as they like.
You probably played Telephone when you were a kid. Have everyone sit in a circle and choose one person to start the game. That person thinks of a sentence and whispers it into the ear of the person beside them. Each person passes the “secret” around until it gets back to the first person, who then announces the secret and the original version that they started.
Minute to Win It
Based on a tv game show, Minute to Win It involves a series of 10 challenges that take just 60 seconds to do. They often involve something silly, like sticking marshmallows to your face or using your nose to roll an egg across the room.
You can pick any combination of games based on items you have. The Pragmatic Parent has a great list of 20 Minute to Win It challenges.
Pictionary is a great game to play in teams. To play, you’ll need something to draw on and something to draw with. A pencil and paper are fine, but a chalkboard or whiteboard is even better.
For each person’s turn, they think of a word. Set a timer for 3 to 5 minutes. (If you’re playing with young kids, more time might be better.) The person must draw the word without speaking while their team tries to guess it. If the team guesses before time is up, they get a point.
Alternate between teams and make sure everyone gets a turn to draw. You can play until each person gets one turn, a certain amount of time, or a certain number of points.
The Flour Game
If you have some flour in your pantry, you can play The Flour Game. This slightly messy game, which is a bit like Jenga, is sure to have your whole family laughing. Learn how to play from What’s Up Fagans?
Card game ideas
These games are played with a regular deck of cards.
Learn how to play Spoons from Kid Friendly Things to Do. You’ll need a deck of cards and a handful of spoons. This is a fast-paced game that’s kind of a mix between Go Fish and Musical Chairs. Once everyone has played a few rounds and gotten into the game, it can be crazy and fun!
While there are special Go Fish decks of cards available, you can also play with regular playing cards. Shuffle the deck and give each player 7 cards. Set the remaining cards face-down for a draw pile. Each player takes turns asking another player for a specific card (Do you have any 7s?) If that person doesn’t have one, they say “Go fish” and the asker draws a card.
When a player has a pair, set them aside. When all of the cards are gone, count up how many pairs each person has. The one with the most is the winner.
If you haven’t played Crazy Eights in a while, get a refresher on the rules from Family Game Shelf. This game is all about matching cards and trying to get rid of everything in your hand.
Trash is played with a single deck for 2 players or 2 decks for 3 to 4 players. It’s a bit like Solitaire, in that you’re trying to stack cards in order. But you’re also trying to discard all of your cards along with the person you’re playing against. Learn how to play Trash from Grandma Ideas.
Go Boom is a simple game from What Do We Do All Day for 2 or more players. The goal is to get rid of your cards by matching either the suit or the color, so it’s easy enough for young kids to play too. Go Boom is a pretty quick game, so you can play several rounds.
Board game ideas
We’ve collected our favorite family-friendly board games and tabletop games that are fun for a wide age range.
Guess Who? is a classic board game designed for 2 players, but you can play as parent-child teams. Draw a secret character card and take turns asking yes-or-no questions to guess who the other person’s secret character is.
Play Jenga by stacking a tower of blocks, then taking turns removing one at a time. Be careful that you don’t knock over the tower!
Exploding Kittens is a card-based game for 2 to 5 players. Shuffle the deck and deal out cards, then take turns laying them down. There are good cards that help you do things and bad cards that explode. The player who makes it to the end of the game without exploding wins.
What Do You Meme?
What Do You Meme? is a silly game of matching photo cards to a scenario card for the funniest combination. This family-friendly version includes a set of 300 caption cards and 65 photo cards, recommended for age 8 and older.
Qwirkle is a strategy game to build matching lines of tiles (kind of like dominoes). Each player gets a handful of tiles and they have to match either by shape or color. There’s no reading or math required, so preschoolers and older kids can play together.
Play Loteria for a fun Mexican game similar to BINGO. Each player gets a card and the dealer quickly flips over and reads cards from the draw pile.
Kingdomino is a strategy game best for age 8 and older. Players build their kingdom by matching up tile cards and constructing castles.
Make family game night a regular activity that adults and kids will look forward to with these ideas.
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