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Family Night Games by Age

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Fun & Engaging Family Night: Game Ideas by Age Group

Family game nights may seem like fun and games, but games and play are such important aspects in child development. We want to help you in selecting some games according to age group for your next family night. First we will explain what types of games kids can handle developmentally and then we will provide you with some game suggestions.

“Playing encourages a child’s desire to explore and discover new things. This encourages the youngster to develop control over their surroundings, which improves focus and concentration. It also allows the child to participate in the flexible and higher-level cognitive processes that are considered necessary for new-age learners. These include problem-solving, analysis, evaluation, application of information, and creative inquiry processes.”

New Path Learning

Setting the Stage for Family Gaming Success

Preparing for a family night means embracing a mix of excitement, varying attention spans, sore losing, and different energy levels from the youngest to the oldest family members. Learning how different ages respond to games generally helps keep the atmosphere fun and harmonious by setting expectations upfront. If you know what you are getting into with temperaments, you will have a better understanding and plan of action when said temperaments flare.

With this in mind, let’s gain an idea of what to expect for your next family night based on your kids age group.

Age Appropriate Considerations for Family Game Night

  • Toddlers and Preschoolers: Expect shorter attention spans and high energy levels. For this reason, choose games suitable for their age, like simple matching or sorting games. Find cooperative board games that encourage teamwork over a sole winner. Losing is a very tough concept at this age. If your child does not understand or want to play by the rules, tell them that you will play by the rules the first time, and then they can make up the rules the second time.
  • Elementary Age: Curiosity peaks, competitiveness emerges. Opt for games with clear rules and easy-to-follow instructions, fostering both cooperation and a little competition. Time based games can put kids on edge and cause panic and frustration in younger elementary age kids, so opt for slower paced board or card games. And plan for breaks. Losing is still a hard concept during early elementary, but introducing the concept and talking through it is a good way to start wiring those brains for future life disappointments. Goal setting and strategy can start developing during these years as well.
  • Teens and Older: Embrace a mix of humor and challenge. Strategy-based games or trivia can, for the most part, keep older ages engaged and entertained. Don’t stop playing games when your kids get older! Games can help develop critical thinking, problem-solving, creative thinking and decision-making skills. In addition to building skills, the relaxed environment can open the table to intimate discussions and bonding.

Have Various Ages? – Team Building to the Rescue

Choosing the right games can set the mood for an enjoyable evening for everyone. If you have various age spans in your family, then try creating teams so that younger players can learn with the help of older players.

Also, don’t forget the food. Make sure to plan your game night food in advance so everyone comes to the table with happy bellies and good energy. Getting everyone involved in food preparation and clean up is another bonding family night endeavor.

Family Night Game Ideas Galore (by Age Group)

Now, let’s dive into exciting game recommendations tailored to different age categories, thus ensuring that every member of the family has a fantastic time!

Age GroupGame Ideas
2-5 Year OldsI Spy
Candy Land
Chutes and Ladders
Hungry Hippos
Hi Ho! Cherry-o
Bugs in the Kitchen
Peek-A-Doodle Doo
Gathering a Garden
Richard Scarry’s Busytown Seek & Find
5-7 Year OldsUno
Catan Junior
Go Fish/Old Maid
Battleship (2 player)
Guess Who (2 player)
My First Carcassone
8-11 Year OldsPictionary
Lost Cities (2 player)
Game of Life
Settlers of Catan
Trekking The National Parks
Ages 12+Wingspan
Ticket To Ride
Last Word
Apples to Apples
Mexican Train Dominoes
Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza
Escape Mail
Wits & Wagers
Game ideas to consider based on age group

Classic card games like spades, gin rummy and spoons are also worth exploring. Making indoor putt putt courses, setting up hallway bowling, or a keeping a balloon from hitting the ground are fun family night games at any age as well. And holidays or vacations are another way to engage in family games by having a puzzle out on display for daily rendezvous.

Looking for other ways to play while teaching your kids? — Check out our post about getting your kids involved in the kitchen.

Game On!

Planning a family game night includes selecting games that cater to everyone’s interests and abilities. Understanding dynamics of different age groups and choosing games that ultimately resonate make family night more enjoyable and inclusive for everyone. Incorporating these game recommendations into your family night can provide an evening filled with laughter, bonding, and memories for all. Let us know in the comments below if you have any game night traditions or games you enjoy playing.

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