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21 Family games that are fun for all ages

I’m Kimberly Coleman, a NYC wife and mom of two school-aged sons. I have worked as a lifestyle writer for the last nine years.

Games are a great way to get the entire family together in one area. Thankfully, there is so much variety in the type of games that are available in today's society.

From classic board games to online games, there really are games that are fun for all ages to play at home. Since family game nights have been a staple in our home since my sons were around the age of 3, the boys and I pulled together several of our family game-night favorites from throughout the years.

Preschool games

  • Candyland: I get nostalgic about this game, because we played it over and over and over again when the kids were very young. This colorful, fun game is a simple race to the top for young children (3+).
  • Checkers: This classic game teaches strategy and focus. My sons have played it since they were 3.
  • Chutes & Ladders: In this board game, little ones (ages 3+ due to small pieces) try to be the first one to the top of the game board as they climb up ladders and slide down chutes.
  • Dominoes: There are variations of this classic game (for ages 4+). We play until someone gets rid of all of their dominoes or can't play anymore because they are blocked. If everyone is blocked, the winner is the person with the least amount of dots on their remaining dominoes.
  • Hungry Hungry Hippos: Players try to get their hippos to eat more marbles than the other hippos in this game for young kids (ages 3+ due to the small pieces).
  • Zingo: In this Bingo variation (for ages 4+), participants must cover all of the pictures on their card before calling out "Zingo."

Grade school games

  • Bop It: Following a series of commands is fun while playing this handheld game. Variations such as Bop It XT and Bop It! Smash (for ages 8+) are family favorites.
  • Clue: This murder mystery game (for ages 8+) is a recent favorite although I'm usually the last to figure out "whodunit."
  • Cranium Brain Breaks: There are 200 creative, one-minute activities in this game package for ages 8+.
  • CrossWays: Competitors (ages 8+) want to be the first to build a path of pieces from one side of the game board to the opposite side. I usually forget that it doesn't have to be a straight line across, so I don't think that I have ever won this game!
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Cheese Touch Game: My sons are fans of Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid series so they especially enjoy moving the characters around this board game (for ages 8+) and avoiding the "cheese touch" as they answer questions about themselves and other players.
  • Don't Panic Game: In this fun party board game, contestants (ages 8+) need to quickly name things which are associated with the words on a card before the timer runs out.
  • Jenga: This classic block-stacking game gets updated with new variations like the challenging Jenga Tetris Game. It is also a crowd pleaser for larger gatherings. (Ages 8+)
  • Pictionary: In this variation of Charades, players (ages 8+) draw on paper while their teammates guess the answer before time runs out.
  • UNO: This classic game (for ages 7+) starts with seven cards. Participants need to be the first to get all of their cards out of their hand and can't forget to shout "Uno" when they only have one card left. UNO Dare is our current favorite version. It is especially fun when we play the "Family Rules" version.

Video games

  • Big Brain Academy: This rated "E" for everyone video game quizzes players on thinking, memorization, computation, analysis and identification.
  • Disney Think Fast: Our family loves most things Disney, so this Disney-themed trivia game was a hit when the boys were younger. It is rated "E" for everyone.
  • LEGO Games Video games: These interactive games based on the LEGO construction system are family favorites. Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lego Movie and Marvel Super Heroes are the rated "E 10+" for everyone 10+ games that we own.
  • Michael Jackson Experience: When they were little, my kids went to sleep listening to a Michael Jackson CD, so it's no surprise that our family enjoys this music video game where performers sing and dance to Michael Jackson's music and songs. It is rated "E 10+" for everyone 10+.
  • NBA2K: My husband's love for basketball has rubbed off on our kids. This series of basketball video games is rated "E" for everyone.
  • Wii Sports: This sports video game combines fun and fitness. While I normally win at bowling, my oldest son beats everyone in boxing and my youngest son is the tennis champ in this game that is rated "E" for everyone.

Online games

Along with video games, online games are becoming more popular in our family night game mix as the boys have matured. Besides games that include physical activity, we especially encourage digital games that make the boys use their minds. Recently, I was introduced to Idiotest, an online game and television show on GSN (Game Show Network). The show is based on a popular app game that allows users to advance to the next level by getting various visual puzzles correct. In the television show, two pairs of contestants compete in colorful puzzle tests.

I made the mistake of showing my 8- and 11-year-old sons the online version of the Game Show Network game "Idiotest Challenge" near their bedtime. They loved this game! It was quite interesting to see how they played it. At first, they each played it individually. Then, they decided to work together as a team so that they could get all of the answers on a level right. On the really challenging puzzles, they brought the laptop to their dad to help them solve them. My oldest son loves a challenge, so he didn't stop playing until he reached level 12 and I forced him to go to bed. "Those questions weren't all easy," he mentioned the next morning at breakfast.

Our entire family enjoys playing the online game and now we are looking forward to watching Season 2 of Idiotest on Game Show Network. Your family can also check out the show when the second season premieres on Wednesday, April 1. We think that you will love it too!

Disclosure: This post is part of collaboration between the Game Show Network and SheKnows.

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