My family has a game night once a week, and even more during this stay-at-home order. Family game nights give us the opportunity to turn off the TV, put the phones down, and spend time laughing and playing together. We’ve also started brainstorming games to play virtually with grandparents and friends to keep busy and stay connected during the coronavirus pandemic. My kids have been learning how to take turns and congratulate the game winner. We’re enjoying our family game nights together!
Best Board Games for Families + Games to Play Over a Video Call
We’ve divided our favorite family games into two categories: games to play in person, and ways to play virtually with family and friends.
Local Toy Stores in Chicago’s West Suburbs
The games we have suggested have links to purchase on Amazon (and if you do, we’ll earn a small commission). But first and foremost, we’d love you to support our community’s local businesses! Some are open for delivery or curbside pick-up as well. Call or email ahead to order and check the options.
Anderson’s Toy Shop
111 W Jefferson Avenue
Naperville, IL 60540
5147 Main Street
Downers Grove, IL 60515
19 South La Grange Road
La Grange, IL 60525
900 Roosevelt Road
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
Our Favorite Family Games
Family Games that Include Young Kids
Count Your Chickens is a cooperative game in which everyone is working towards the same goal. Great for preschoolers!
Eye Found It is an I spy style trivia game with different versions such as Disney, Dreamworks, Star Wars, and Richard Scarry for ages 4 and up!
Jenga is a fun game that works on strategy and luck as you try not to let the wooden tower come crashing down. There are indoor and outdoor versions of Jenga for all ages.
SET is fun card game of matching different sets of cards to win. For ages 4 and up!
Left Right Center is a dice games for ages 5 and up that is easy to pick up on and fun for a diverse age group.
Qwirkle is a great game for ages 6 and up as you match tiles based on color and shape. You develop strategy and is a great game for a wide range of ages in your house.
Sorry is a board game for ages 6 and up in which players scoot, bump, and slide their pieces around the board as they try to get their pieces home.
Wits and Wagers is a guessing game for ages 6 and over. A question is asked and everyone guesses their answer. The closest wins!
Tenzi is a dice game with many different variations that is easy to learn and play as you roll ten dice as fast as you can. Tenzi is best for ages 7 and up.
Exploding Kittens is a game of chance to keep your cards and not pick up the exploding kitten card. It involved some strategy and some luck, similar to Uno. Another version of this games includes Unstable Unicorns. This games is geared for ages 7 and up.
Blockus is for ages 7 and up for up to 4 players. Blockus is good for strategy and spatial awareness.
Pictopia is a picture trivia game with many different versions available, such as Disney and Star Wars. This picture games is suitable for ages 7 and up!
Bananagrams challenges players to create a crossword puzzle of words with letter tiles. Great for spelling and vocabulary, this game is for ages 7 and up.
Family Games that Include Elementary Schoolers
Rummikub is a number tile game that involves strategy and luck in grouping numbers together as theme board constantly changes. This game is suitable for ages 8 and up.
Five Crowns is a rummy style card game with wild cards for ages 8 and up.
Scrabble is a vocabulary building game trying to score the highest points for each word played. Even as adults, my husband and I play this on date nights! Scrabble is a great game for ages 8 and up.
Just One is a great cooperative party game for ages 8 and over in which you have to give clues to guess as many mystery words as you can.
Farkle is an easy dice game for ages 8 and up that involves counting, and scoring the most per roll. This game is great for travel!
Monopoly Deal is a card game version of the Monopoly boardgames that you can play in less then 15 mins! Ages 8 and up.
Pass the Pigs Dice Game A fun dice game that uses pigs instead of traditional dice. Toss the little pigs and see if you can be the first to get 100 points. Pass the pigs is geared towards ages 8 and up.
One Night Werewolf has a strange name, but is a fast paced group card/solve it/strategy games. Each person gets role and tries to find the werewolf. Suitable for ages 8 and up.
Yahtzee always makes for a family games night easy choice. It’s a dice games for ages 8 and up based on casino hands like a full house or a straight.
Blank Slate is a word association game for ages 8 and up that is easy to learn and play.
Catchphrase is an electronic timing game to try to get your team to guess the word on the display. There is also an app for that called Outburst!
Carcasonne is a tile playing board game in which you build a countryside around a fortified city. For ages 8 and up.
Quiddler word game is geared towards ages 8 and up creating words based on the letter cards drawn.
Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza a matching card game of random words to have you laughing and playing over and over. For ages 8 and up.
Mexican Train (Dominoes) This game of dominoes is for ages 8 and up that my family has played many holidays when I was a kid.
Family Games that Include Ages 10 and Up
Hellapagos is a cooperative game trying to escape an island as you run low on food and supplies. The game is played as a team, until the end! This game is for ages 10 and up.
Ticket to Ride is a board game with a trip, by train, around North America. You collect cards and train routes to get to your destination cities throughout the country. This game is for ages 14 and up.
Telestrations is a pictionary-style telephone game for ages 12 and up that is sure to get everyone laughing at the crazy pictures your family draws.
Settlers of Catan is a great board game for ages 10 and up involving strategy as you build, trade, settle your own civilization. Make sure you have plenty of time to play this game!
Exit: The Game is an escape room game that has many variations. They are a one time use, but you can choose different versions and then swap games with friends. Ages 10 and up.
Forbidden Island is a cooperative strategy game to survive on an island together. This game is for ages 10 and up.
Ideas for Playing Together Virtually
Caribu is my kid’s favorite app during quarantine! They get to see their grandparent’s face while they read them a story or play a game! Highly recommend it.
Houseparty is a game available on iOS, Android, Chrome, and Mac that offers a few games for free and some for a fee. Games include trivia, Heads Up, Chips and Guac, and Quick Draw!
Jackbox Games makes uproariously fun party games that everyone can play together from their own phone. (Not all their content is kid-friendly, but some have family settings, so be aware.) They’ve got directions for playing remotely on their site. Annie’s family has tried several of the party packs and their favorite is Jackbox Party Pack 3.
Dominion Online lets you play the starter pack of this popular deck-building game for free online. You can create a game and have everyone log in at the same time to play together; Rachel and her husband set up a video call to chat while they played with friends.
Exploding Kittens gives you the ability to play online with friends or strangers.
Casual Game Ideas for Video Calls
You can play these games over any video call tool you use with family or friends.
Charades: The kids can act out whatever word comes to their mind or use one of the many free printable charades games.
Scavenger Hunt: The grown-up on the video call can ask kids to find something red, big, small, blue, smooth, bumpy, etc. The kids loved running around the house and then sharing each item they found on FaceTime.
Last Letter: The idea of the game is to make a chain of words on a given topic. The first player names a word on a given topic. The second player names a word whose first letter matches the last letter of the previous word. (For example, you might choose desserts; the first player could say “Cake,” the next “Eclair,” the next “Rice Krispie treat,” and so on.) The game keeps going until someone can’t come up with a word with the right letter for 30 seconds.
21 Questions: One player thinks of a thing. Other players can ask up to 21 questions to guess what it is. Simple, classic, and easy!
If you are looking for more games or toys to keep your kids engaged, check out the Kidlist Toy and Gift Guide.