The 10 Best Games for Kids & Parents

We love games in our house. Whenever we get together as a family — at holidays, birthdays, on vacation, whatever — we end up playing board games. Dave and I still argue about a particularly heated game of Scattergories that happened at the Jersey Shore approximately four years ago, in which I attempted to earn double points by saying that a french fry was a vegetable. 


The 10 best games for parents and kids to play together. Great holiday gift guide!

We almost always exchange games as gifts at Christmas, so I thought I’d put together a list of some of our favorite games to play with our kids. And to round out the list, I turned to my sister, who is a self-proclaimed board game geek. When I asked her for suggestions, I told her that I was looking for games for kids ages 4-12ish that parents can play without wanting to stab themselves. {You know the ones. Don’t pretend you don’t.}

So here’s what we came up with.

1. Beat The Parents – Let me just say, my kids {ages 6 and 8} take the name of this game very seriously. I think that, out of all the times we have played this, Dave and I may have won once. The other times, we’ve gotten annihilated. In the game, kids and adults start at opposite ends of the board and attempt to move their markers to the other end by correctly answering trivia questions. The best part is that there are adult questions and kids’ questions, so each team has a fair shot at winning. Technically.


2. Tenzi– I got this for Dave last year, and it is so, SO much fun. It’s the simplest game ever: each player has ten dice, and everyone rolls their dice all at once to see who can be first to get 10 of the same number. When you do, you yell “Tenzi!” {And this can cause hilarity to ensue, as evidenced by the time that Dave, who was going for ones, yelled “Onesie!” when he got all 10. The boys thought that was the single funniest moment of their entire short lives and still bring it up every time we play.} Plus, I just discovered a set that includes a fun 77 Ways to Play Tenzi card pack that shows you… well… 77 different ways to play Tenzi. Ahem. Anyway, our kids love to play, and it’s a fun game for kids and adults. {And, if you want to play with more than 4 people, you can purchase additional dice sets.}

sorry sliders3. SORRY! Sliders – Connor especially loves this game, which turns the Sorry! we all remember from when we were little into a mini shuffleboard game. There are a number of different ways to customize the game, so the fun can last a really long time. And, one player can even play by themselves, which is always a great feature when you’re, say, trying to get dinner ready or have 5 minutes to yourself and not hear “Mom. Mom. Mom. MOM. MOM. MOM. MOMMOMMOMMOMMOMMOMMOMMOMMOMMOM!!!!!!!” on repeat.

trouble4. Trouble – We actually have the Cars 2 Edition of this game, in which the pop-o-matic roller is actually part of Mater’s head. HUGE hit. But regardless of the edition, this game is always such fun because of that pop-o-matic bad boy. I mean, seriously. Why do you not roll all of the dice in the world with one of these? It is so much more fun than just letting them fall out of your hand. 

5. Spot It – In this game, players attempt to be the first to spot the icon that’s the same on two cards. There are five different ways to play, so you can change it up as much as you want. We actually got this game for the boys for Christmas this year, so we haven’t played yet, but it gets a 5 star review from almost 1000 people on Amazon, and they included it on their 2013 Holiday Toy List.

wits & wagers

6. Wits & Wagers Family – I am so excited that this game comes in a family edition. We have the adult version {and by “adult version” I don’t mean “ADULT” version, I just mean a version meant for grown-ups. Get your minds out of the gutter, people.}, and it’s one of our favorites. What is so much fun about this game is that you could conceivably win the game without answering one single question right. When a question is asked, everyone writes down their guesses and then lays them out on the table, in order from smallest to largest. You then place your playing piece {called a “Meeple” — I could die at the cuteness of that} on the answer that you think is the closest to the correct answer. So even if your answer was wrong, it doesn’t matter! Great fun for kids and grown-ups alike.

labyrinth7. Labyrinth – This game is like a treasure hunt through a maze. How fun is that?? The game board moves to create a constantly changing maze, while players try to get to all seven treasures shown on their individual treasure cards. Younger kids can also play a simpler version of the game, which makes it great for all ages.

uno8. Uno – I keep seeing all of these new versions of Uno {like Uno Attack, UNO Roboto, UNO Blast, blah blah}, and… No. Just no. I want plain, old Uno. Snowflake, our Elf on the Shelf, brought Uno when he came yesterday morning, and we’ve had to play it at least 7 times since then, including this morning before they got on the bus. Connor still gets a little confused sometimes, but for the most part, he’s got it down. I love it because it’s fun, and each round is pretty quick. {Unlike, say, Battleship, which is fun but can end up taking approximately 5 1/2 hours for one game.}


9. Qwirkle – This is another one suggestion from my sister, and I think it looks like so much fun {in fact, I might just have to order this one too!}. It’s a similar setup to Scrabble, but with colors and shapes instead of letters, making it much easier for younger kids. 


10. LCR {Left Center Right} – I will fully admit, before last year, I had only played this game at parties, with dollar bills {and alcohol} and would never have considered playing this game with children. But holy moly, do my kids get into this game — and it’s one of the simplest games ever. There are 3 dice, each of which are marked with L, C, R and a dot. You start off with 3 chips {or quarters, or pennies, or dollars … whatever you want. We have even played with M&Ms.}, and roll all 3 dice. Then you distribute your chips however the dice tell you {giving them to the person to the left or right of you, in the center pot, or, if you get a dot, just keeping them for yourself}. The game continues until only one person has any chips left, and then they get the center pot {which is way more fun when you’re playing with money or snacks than with poker chips}.


What do you think? Did I leave off any of your favorite games? Hopefully this list will help you with the rest of your holiday {or birthday, or just-whatever} shopping! For more information on games than you could ever possibly use, check out Board Game Geek. {Seriously. More info than you could imagine.}

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  • Bonnie a.k.a. LadyBlogger
    December 6, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    You picked some great games! I pinned this to my “parenting” board on Pinterest.

  • Marla
    December 10, 2013 at 9:19 am

    I believe it is very important to have healthy games that help kids think but they have fun at instead of all the videos games on the computer. These look like some really good ones. In fact UNO when I was a child was one of my favorites games we played as a family. Thanks for sharing. Visiting from Tuesday With A Twist Blog Hop.

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