Family game night


Our lives are crazy and with the moms working opposite schedules, we only have maybe 1-2 nights per week when the whole family is together. When I’m in single mom mode at night, I’m trying to not fall into the “let the kids play Wii or watch TV while I focus on other things” mode.

I’m trying to schedule some quality family time into a spot where we may otherwise say “there’s no time for that.”

For the last year or so, we’ve really made an effort to have a family game night once a week. It’s become such a thing for the boys that they ask for it close to 4 nights per week.

It is not that easy to sit down and play board games with two energetic boys who are 6 and 3 years old, but we’ve founds some games that work and guess what?

They love it!

Here are some of our favorites:

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Zingo  – This is our absolute favorite and after 2 years, it’s not gotten old. It’s great for both boys and the adults. The 3 yr old is definitely much slower on the upswing, but we try to nod to the older bro to allow an extra second or two for his brother’s response time. Everyone is supposed to tap their hand on the floor or table while shouting out which object they are claiming. This can get quite vibrant but it never gets completely out of hand.

Hedbanz – How much fun could you have putting a plastic headband on your head with an unknown object depicted on a card then asking a 6 yr old and 3 yr old to answer questions about it.

  • The 6 year old: “Mommy, you have wings and black and yellow stripes on your butt.”
  • The 3 year old: “Mommy, you have…um…um…you’re a bee.”



Don’t Break the Ice – another favorite of both boys. Although the 3 yr old hasn’t quite mastered the “touch” aspect of the game yet and usually cheers when he breaks the ice. Instruction FAIL on our part.

Pop the Pig – the boys LOVE this game, although the actual rules are pretty loose and it can get out of control quickly

SpiderMan Yahtzee – easier with the 6 yr old, his brother will be done within about 8 minutes.

Candy Land – great came for both kids but I’ve decided to take the “special” cards out that can make you jump like 30 paces ahead to the cinnamon bun. This results in conflict. When they get a little older, maybe we’ll put those back in.

Operation – This is nothing like the operation I remember as a kid. We have the Buzz Lightyear one and the regular one. Regular Operation has sound effects to let you know which object to remove. You can just imagine how much the boys love that. And it’s not the Operation from when we were kids, the body ailments are a little more humorous….



Chutes n’ Ladders – another game that both can play, although the 3 year old usually is ready to move on before we’re totally done.

Hungry Hungry Hippos – a favorite of both boys, not so much of the mommies. It’s loud and those white marbles seem to disappear (plus they’re a choking hazard for the younger ones). But they do make a travel version which is great for long car rides – not quiet restaurants.

Mr. Mouth – we LOVE this game but it’s hard to find. It breaks from time to time, but can provide a good solid 20 minutes of excited play which slowly leads to the 3 yr old getting frustrated and trying to throw the flies into the frogs mouth on his own.

Clue Jr. – perfect game for the 6 year old, totally outside of attention span for the 3 yr old.

Memory – we have classic, Spider-Man and Curious George. The excitement for this game ebbs and flows. For the 3 yr old, I separate out about 20 cards in advance so we can find 10 matches. The entire number that is contained in the box usually overwhelms him.

As I mentioned before, I have two high energy little boys. As you can imagine, games that involve shooting items or launching things are HUGE hits as well.


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Connect Four Launchers – this game comes out and we’re faced with the reality that every single person in this family is highly competitive. This is a “take no prisoners” game and even the 3 yr old can hold his own – but you need to watch him to make sure he’s not picking up his disks and just placing them on the board.

Other games like Flippin’ Frogs and Jumpin’ Monkeys are hits as well (although the monkeys are harder to land on the tree than the frog game)

Angry Birds Space – 6 yr old loves building and knocking down. 3 yr old loves knocking down. We totally ignore all written rules for this game.

They also love the Honey Bee Tree and they play it at Mema and PopPop’s at every visit.


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For birthdays or Christmas, we’ve mentioned that we welcome more games, especially for the next level. We had Cadoo but seem to have lost pieces over the years.

And most recently, we got Sight Words Bingo for the 6 yr old for a school fundraiser and the kid that resists practicing schoolwork LOVES IT!

So there’s my list of our current favorites. We are always up for new recommendations! And I truly encourage other families to have their own family game night of craziness. You never know what’s going to happen.

5 comments on “Family game night”

  1. Great post! I confess that I’m terrible about playing games with the kids…i usually relegate that to my wife, but there are one or two on your list I think I could handle!

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