GIFT IDEAS: 50+ Fun Family Games

I think my family played more games this year more than any other time I can think of! It was one of the silver linings of being quarantined together. So if you’re looking for something new to play during the chilly winter months, check out our staff’s favorite family games below.
TRY TO SHOP LOCAL, but if you can’t find them in your local toy or hobby shop, we included links.

Loaded Questions
Here’s a good one to see how well you know each other. Shortest player starts. The player asks a question about themselves and everyone gives their best answers. Best and closest answer wins and the winner moves forward. There are questions like “What word would people never use to describe you?” or “What would you most like to do all day?” $14.99

Yes, there is actually a game called Pandemic. Surprisingly, the game came out in 2008-years. Players have to work together to save humanity from 4 diseases that threaten the world. You also have to contain the spread—if there are too many outbreaks, you’ll lose the game. I have to admit, I did find the idea intriguing. But for now, I think I’ll just stick with the real thing.

We play this a lot. I like that it’s not a huge time committment to play. Sometimes, the kids will just play one or two games whiles they’re waiting for dinner. Roll the dice and get a letter of the alphabet. Each player has a list with 10 items on it and has to name things that start with a that letter in 90 seconds. Kids will need to know how to read and write.

Watch Ya’ Mouth
This is one of the funniest family games I have ever played and there’s an adult version. Place an oversized mouth piece in their mouths that prevent them from understood and have to read a phrase off of a card.  Teammates guess what they are saying. Imagine your someonetrying to say “Warm Beef Meatballs” while wearing a big cheek retracting mouth pieces. It’s hysterical. The Adult version of Watch Ya Mouth that its on my wish list!

Hasbro Gaming-Pie Face!
I wish the kids liked this a little less because I’m always the one that ends up with pie in my face–and cleans up the mess–but it does get all of us laughing. Players load the arm with whipped cream and take turns sliding their heads through the mask and spinning the spinner. There are always tons of laughs when someone ends up with a face full of whipped cream! $27.

Players choose a card and stick it into their headband without seeing it. Then, on your turn, you start asking yes and no questions to figure out what is on the card that is in your headband! You get 90 seconds to figure it out. It’s always funny how way off some members of my family are!$14.

Spontuneous: The Song Game. Just Sing It!
Even if you can’t carry a tune, this is a fun one for all age. A word is given and it’s a race to see who can blurt out any song containing that word first. This game won the Mom’s Choice Gold Award and is ward winning Music Teacher Approved! $25.99

Tabletop Bowling
You might not be able to get to the bowling alley but the bowling alley can come to you–on a miniature scale. The set is solid wood contruction. $49

5 Second RuleYou’ll be surprised what people say when they only have 5 seconds to pick a card, read a topic, and name 3 things that fit the topic. It sounds easy but it really can be tough–and silly. When players get tongue-tied, funny, ridiculous answers come flying out of their mouths! $15.99

Apples to Apples
This game always gets laughs and isn’t competitive. Your children do need to be able to read to play it though. Pick the best card you have to fit the topic headers. Sometimes the results can be very silly. $39.

There’s even a Disney Frozen version for those Elsa fans. $18

Phone Phever
If you can’t get them off their phones, at least let them use to interact with you! Players use their wits and smartphone skills in a frantic race to answer fascinating questions and complete hilarious challenges. $29

Exploding Kittens: A Card Game About Kittens and Explosions…and Sometimes Goats
A very funny card game for people who are into kittens, explosions, laser beams and sometimes goats. Kids love this game because it uses words like “butt” and has fabulous, silly illustrations. It’s the most-backed project in Kickstarter history! $19.

Bears vs Babies
The crazy, furry box alone made me want to buy this. From the people who brought you Exploding Kittens, comes a card game where you build monsters who eat, well, babies. Whoever eats the most babies wins. $29

We Didn’t Playtest This at All 
This is one of the strangest games we’ve ever played. it could last 30 seconds…or 30 minutes. It’s totally random, chaotic, fast-moving, unpredictable and zany. The goal is to win…and to make you opponents lose as you choose cards with odd tasks and rules and play them. One card might involve a game of “rock paper scissors” while another vreates confusing rules that you must follow while you play…like never using the words “I, you or they.”  Any number can play from 2 and 15. $14.

This game is all about strategy but even someone as you as 6 can learn it reltaively easily. Players take turns placing 21 pieces on the board. Each piece must touch another piece of the same color–but only at the corners. The game ends when no more pieces can be put on the board. The player with the least amount of pieces remaining wins!

Spot It!
Another good one for all ages is Spot It. Plus it’s easy to carry around because it comes in a tin. $12

LifeStories; a Fun Game of Telling Tales & Sharing
My parents pulled this out last Christmas and we all enjoyed hearing people’s favorite memories and stories. It allows you to start top conversations, take a walk down memory lane and maybe make some
  new discoveries about each person in your family.LifeStories.

Monopoly Game: Cheaters Edition
This is one of our favorite versions of Monopoly…not sure what it says about my family. In the cheater’s edition of Monopoly, you try to cheat and lie and get away with. There is a deck of “Cheat cards” included. Try to cheat: if you get away with it, you’ll earn a reward. If you get caught, you’ll pay the consequences…and get cuffed! $12.99

UNO Card
We played it as kids and Uno is still a favorite all these years later! race to get rid of all their cards by matching color or number.

We played this all summer and recently brought it on vacation. It’s a fun family game where you use the tiles to create sets and runs of numbers. You can play off each other tiles as your try to be the first one to get rid of all your tiles.

Tenzi Dice Game
You can throw this in your purse and take this game anywhere–and we do. Our family loves to play at the beach because there’s nothing that blows away. There are tons of ways to play and games go quickly.

Rubiks Race
Shake it! Slide it! Solve it! Competitive Rubik’s Race from University Games is a head-to-head puzzle challenge. Be the first to match the pattern on the scrambler and shut the frame on this fast-paced game.

Space Faces
This is the best game to have when you have kids of different ages. Kids as young as 3 or 4 can participate. The concept is simply to find the alien that matches up with the colors showing on the spaceship. It has been a fam fave in my house for years.

Cranium Whoonu (Tin)
Rounds go fairly quick, allowing players to easily pop up for a moment.

Trivial Pursuit
With over 1,400 questions, you’re bound to be stumped and learn something new. Play individually or in teams. When playing with a family, pair up adults and kids as you discover who knew the most about Geography, Entertainment, History, Sports and Leisure, Arts and Literature, and Science and Nature.Play the the classic version or get the Family Edition for ages 8 and up.

Ticket To RideTicket to Ride is based on all the train routes in Europe and you actually build routes. Start with the European board game and then move on to the American rail version.

Brain Fitness Pathwords Game
We love Pathwords because we can play by ourselves or as a team. No competition required, which is sometimes nice in a family. We are all working together toward the same goal. Also, we get to select the difficulty level, making it fun for everyone.

My kids NEVER tire of Pictionary and the Junior edition makes possible for even my youngest to play.

You’ll love watching everyone “perform” during this high-speed charades game.

What’s Yours Like? – The Game That Tells it Like it Is
Pick a card, and all players–except for one–get to see what the guess word is. For example, it could be “swimsuit.” Then everyone describes the word and the one player has to see if they can figure out the guess word! For example, it could be swimsuit: “Mine is tiny” “Mine has strings” or “Mine gets wet” and so on!

Would You Rather? Boardgame
Would you rather use hot sauce for eye drops, or Krazy Glue for hair gel? Choose which dilemma you’d rather put yourself in. The categories range from Curses, Unpleasant, Fantasy, Powers, to Pot Luck. 

We love that you can take this game pretty much anywhere. It’s like a portable scrabble game.


Here’s a good one for a wide range of ages, from children to adults. Build lines by matching tiles based on either color or shape, and score points for doing so. Qwirkle,, $18

This is a good brainy game. Players have to rewrite first lines of various books and others have to guess which is the actual line. One player serves as the “librarian” and collects the various creative lines but the position keeps rotating, so everyone gets to try their literary skills.

If you don’t have these in your game closet, you should. We play some of these games so much that every few years, we need to replace them with a new one.

Chess & Checkers
Let’s start with the basics. Everyone should have a Chess and Checkers set in their closet! This wooden one will last forever and also come with Tic Tac Toe.

There are so many beautiful, creative chess sets out there! Check out this one inspired by Keith Haring. $38 at Moma

Scrabble…& Monopoly
L.L.Bean makes this all-in-one scrabble and monopoly set for the ultimate old-school gamer. $169

Risk got an upgrade–you have the option of playing this Risk game with Alexa.
There’s also a Lord of the Rings version.

The Game of Life
Players choose their path in life from whether or not to go to college to what kind of house to live in. We all love living vicariously through this game!We like the classic version but there’s also Life’s electronic banking version.

When we have hours to kill, this is the game we play. Sometimes, it goes into the following day with all the side deals going on. Buy, sell, dream and scheme your way to riches! $17.99. Plus there are fun editions like Monopoly Game: Star Wars for Star Wars fans or Disney Monopoly Castle and the Disney Princess Edition.

Clue Game
An oldy but a goody. Discover whodunit, with what and where. Your kids might also like a version of Clue with their favorite movie characters like the Clue Game: Star Wars Edition and Clue Harry Potter Board GameSurprise Grandma with A Golden Girls Version of Clue.

You Sank My Battleship!
I can still hear the kid on the commercial saying “Hey, you sank my battleship!” Go to war with your opponent to win or lose epic battles. Battleship is a great game for strategic thinkers as they carefully plan out each move. There’s also a Star Wars Edition.

Twister Ultimate
I have loved Twister since I was 10 and my kids love it too. As our family has grown, we just can’t fit on the mat anymore. So now there’s Twister Ultimate! It’s twice the size of the original with more and bigger colored spots. And now you can play spinner-less with Alexa guiding you. $19 on Amazon.

I can remember playing this with my cousins at my grandma’s house! Just added it to oiur game closet. $17.

Take your dominoes anywhere in this little carrying case. $14.

You can carry the 5 dice and scorecards in your purse–and almost any age can play. Plus it’s a steal at only $7.95

For Younger Children…
Hot Potato
Here’s one you know but a little easier with it’s own built in musical timer. $19.

Hi – Ho! Cherry – O
Be the first to pick your trees clean and fill your bucket with cherries. This simple game is easy enough for young children to play and learn a little math as they go along.

Chutes and Ladders
It came out in 1978 and they’ve even made 1978 Retro version that features the original artwork. Perfect for kids even as little as 3, players spin the spinner and move along the numbered path climbing and slides down the ladders as they pop up.
Perfect their fine motor skills as they wield the tweezers carefully plucking organs from their patients. Touch the sides, a get startled by a “buzz!”

Hungry Hungry Hippos
Kids always seem to squeal with delight as they make their hippos gobble up as many marbles as they can. The faster they press their tails, the more marbles they can chomp!

Gone FishingKids can practice their hand-eye coordination in this original classic! As the game board spins, the fish open and close their mouths and players use their mini fishing poles to try to catch the most fish.


Candy Land
Another game that has been around forever but that my kids still beg to play: Candy Land. Simple enough for your littlest family members. Great for ages 3 and up. They might also like the Candy Land Disney Princess version.

Ants in Your Pants, Cootie & Don’t Spill the Beans
I bet you grew up playing all of these from the time you were 3. They’re simple, fun games that little children love: Ants in the Pants, Cootie, and Don’t Spill the Beans. Get all three

 Connect 4
When you only have 2 players and a limited amount of time, Connect 4 is perfect. Line up 4 discs in a row on the grid and you win. It’s simple, fast, and fun. 

Little ones will love the Disney princess version of Monopoly.

Time is ticking! If you need something to entertain kids for only a few minutes at a time, perfection is perfect! Children will work on skills that help with focus, hand-eye coordination, and shape recognition.

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Author: Heather Zachariah

Former Art Director for Home Magazine, Heather Leahy Zachariah, left her career in publishing after baby number number one. She now works from home as a freelance graphic designer and a chauffeur to her 3 busy kids. "Working on TipsFromTown has been a wonderful outlet for me. It renewed my love of publishing where I can design colorful, enticing pages online and allows me to share the things I love about being a mom." Heather grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a place that still is near and dear to her. " After living in Brooklyn for 18 years and studying Graphic Design at Pratt Institute, she now lives in the Jersey burbs. "I love living so close to NYC, but in my heart, I'm an Ohio girl."


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