Make Memories with a Family Game Night

When I think back on times I played board and card games with family and friends while I was growing up, and now as an adult, I remember laughter. Laughter, and friendly teasing. Family game night always seemed to lead up to a good time, win or lose.

The first game I can remember playing was “Go Fish.” We even had special cards with different fish on them to ask for, even more fun than regular playing cards with numbers. I had a hard time holding my all my cards in my little hands, but I loved to play. I also remember the satisfaction and smugness I had when my brother would ask for a card I didn’t have: “Go FISH!”

Later family game night memories include the classic Monopoly, and then we got “Cincinnati in a Box,” or Cincinnati Monopoly. We took our customization a little further: my brother made property cards for our great-grandpa’s barber shop.

playing cards on game nightCard games were always fun on the road. Sometimes we played in the car, other times sprawled out in the hotel room. A pack of playing cards is easy to fit in a suitcase and can pack a lot of fun. We played a lot of War when I was a kid, and then we learned “B.S.” too.

As an adult, I’ve had a blast playing Uno with my husband and in-laws. Even our young niece and nephew got to join in on those games – even if they were playing on a team, “helping” one of the adults. I can remember one specific family game night when my niece was playing on her own while the adults all played Uno. She kept wanting to know why we were laughing so hard!

I’m really looking forward to the time in the near future when my daughter is old enough to learn to play some of these fun games. There are a lot of great skills that can be taught and learned through playing games: colors, numbers, counting, strategy, following rules, taking turns, patience, sportsmanship…. Oh, and we’ll probably have a great time.

Family Game Night gets parents and kids interacting.

My friend Jennifer recently decided it was time to start a family game night. She felt like they were watching too much TV, even if a majority of it was educational; “We weren’t interacting with each other,” she commented.

3 year old Aidan loves family game night

Sing it with us: It’s fun getting into Trouble…

Her son, Aidan, is 3 years old, and they had mostly “adult level” games that were a little over his head. He tried them and enjoyed them, but they weren’t quite for him: Clue, Monopoly, Yahtzee, Life, Uno, Jenga, and Sorry. Jennifer remembered games that she loved as a child, so she hopped online and ordered some of those favorites for her family to share: Candyland, Connect 4, Trouble, and Chutes & Ladders.

Their first game night was a success! “It was awesome, and totally frustrating for my husband,” Jennifer said. Aidan won Candyland 4 times, Chutes & Ladders twice, and Trouble! He did a great job, and only needed reminders of the rules. Connect 4 was more difficult for him because it requires skills he doesn’t have yet in strategy and thinking a few steps ahead.

Her favorite part of the evening? Watching her husband get beat by their 3 year old. Over and over again.

Also, she loved seeing Aidan start to understand the basics of how to play board games: taking turns, following directions, and problem solving. He also was learning how to continue to play when he thought he was going to lose.

She plans on making it a regular event for the family!

Let’s Play: Suggestions for your own family game night

Are you ready to have some laughs and connect with your family or friends? Try any of these games listed above, or check these links out for more reviews and recommendations to fuel your family game night:

Wil Wheaton’s TableTop: Video reviews and game play of various board, card, and dice games

The Dice Tower: Video reviews of board and strategy games

Article: “Tabletop for Two” – games that can be played with two or more people

Just be careful what you play, some games can be more intense than others!



What are your memories of family game night? Your favorite games to play with a group? Share in the comments!

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