52 Family Game Nights

During my blog break over the holidays I thought about what I would like to share with you in 2016. I had lots of ideas and many of them made it into my blogging notebook. I have drafts of posts, ideas for posts, and snippets of blog titles written there. (The real trick will be sitting down to actually write these theoretical posts that live mostly in my brain.)

One favorite thing in our family is games. Board games, card games, puzzles, puzzle books…if it can be considered a game, we’re into it. My husband designs board games (and yes, these are real games, published by real board game publishers). My oldest daughter has designed a board game, which should be released this year. If we have time to spend as a family, you can bet that a game will be part of it. (Honestly, for us, we don’t really have a Family Game Night because not many days go by without playing at least one board or card game.)

52 family game nightsSo, this year I’m going to encourage you to have a weekly family game night. And I’m going to do that by sharing 52+ games for your family to try. I put this list together with my husband’s and children’s help, so you know each game has their seal of approval as well.

Why Game Nights are Good for Your Family:

  • Spending time together is always a good idea
  • Games mean that everyone should put away their phones, mp3 players, etc. and actually interact with each other
  • Games teach important life skills like how to win well, how to lose gracefully, how to negotiate, how to follow the rules (and when it might be okay to advocate for judicious rule change), and how to work as a team.
  • Fun. Really, it doesn’t get much simpler than that.

How to Branch Out of Your Game Comfort Zone:

Now, lest you have images of playing 52 interminable games of Monopoly, let me set your heart at ease. Monopoly did not make my family’s list of 52 Family Games. Some old, familiar favorites made our list, but there may be some new to you games as well. (And yes, at least a few of my husband’s games made our list, too. And if my daughter’s game comes out this year you can bet it will be mentioned as well!)

Variety keeps family game night from becoming a drudgery. And when you’ve decided to have a family game night once a week (or as often as you can), it helps to know you’re not always going to have to play Candy Land. (Can I get an amen?)

Some of the games on my list will be suitable for groups but to make the list they had to be for a minimum of two players. There are several fantastic single player games that I’d love to mention, but unfortunately they don’t fit the brief. Remember that family game nights are great for learning to take turns, or you could have multiple games going at once. (Dad and the older kids playing one game, Mom and the younger playing another, then switching, perhaps.) Some games will be inexpensive and readily available while others might be a bit pricier (great additions to your birthday or Christmas wish lists!) or harder to find.

Some of the games will be suitable for young players and some won’t. All 52 might not suit your family, and that’s OK. This is about stretching beyond Candy Land and Monopoly. This is about spending time with family. This is about making memories and traditions that will echo through your life as a family.

So, with that lengthy introduction, let’s get on with Number 1:

Family Game Night #1: Cards.

I know, I know. Boring.

But hear me out on this one. You can buy a pack of cards for $1 at the dollar store. You can find them at thrift stores, yard sales, the grocery store, and Amazon. It won’t impact your family budget at all. At these prices you can buy several packs to increase your game possibilities. There are very few things that are going to offer as many options at such a low price.

family game night #1: cards

These are just a few that my family plays and enjoys:

  • Rummy (I confess to very fond memories of this because I played with my mamaw as a kid. Incidentally, this is where I learned about negative numbers. See? Educational!)
  • Spoons (a family favorite)
  • Endless variations of Speed
  • Golf
  • Nerts

You can use basic playing cards to play Old Maid, Memory, and Go Fish, too.

If you’d like a comprehensive list of card games and rules check out this Alphabetical Index of Card Games.

And, of course, when all else fails you can have a family competition seeing who can engineer the best card house. (STEM, anyone?)

52 family game nights pin

So, do you have a family game night? What’s your favorite game to play with a deck of cards?

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Comments

  1. I’m excited about this series, Karen! I like to make family game night (that doesn’t involve a screen) more regular here. I’d be interested in any tips you might have to deal with a kid who gets very angry if they aren’t winning… Sadly, that’s a big problem with one of mine, and it ruins an otherwise fun time for the rest of us. :(

    • That is a great question, Anna! We do have some experience with this and I will give a fuller answer in this week’s game post. One thing I will mention here: having more frequent game nights (or afternoons, or whatever) does help some with the pressure some kids feel to win every time. When you can say, “No, you didn’t win this time, but we will play another game next week” or tomorrow or whenever the next specific time is can help.

      It’s definitely a character thing so hugs to you as you deal with it. Stay strong!

  2. I missed this! Very excited about this series! I can’t wait for Roman to get a little bigger and start playing with me. I bought Dixit recently when you mentioned it was on sale

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  1. […] to share today! If you need some ideas for family game nights, check out Karen’s new series 52 Family Game Nights. In her second post of the series, she has some great advice on how to deal with a child who gets […]