It’s winter in Wisconsin which means many days, nights, weekends cooped up inside. There will likely be some sick days and snow days too! One of the best ways to spend these cold winter days when we’re staying inside is having a Family Game Night playing board or card games.
As a teacher, there are so many great benefits to playing board games! The strategies, problem-solving, sportsmanship, patience, taking turns, and more are all things that are so great for kids to be practicing. In fact, I love board games and their value so much I have invested in a HUGE shelf full in my class and even have special bags that kids can take a classroom game home for the weekend. Most of those games have an educational focus, of course, but any board game is great for kids to be playing! (Games are also GREAT to put on birthday lists)
I want to share some of our family (and classroom) favorites below! I’m going to go in order from younger to older and also touch on a few brands that are favorites. My goal is to share some lesser-known games, but we still love the more popular ones like Guess Who?, Battleship, Clue, Candyland, Trouble, Sequence, and more!
Sneaky Snacky Squirrel (Educational Insights)
This is a pretty popular game for the littles. It is fantastic for fine motor practice as well as color recognition. I see it as an updated version of Hi Ho Cherry-O from my childhood and it very fun for the kids to play!
Silly Street (Buffalo Games)
This is such a fun family game night game that is more about the interactions along the way than who is the actual winner. When it’s your turn, you choose a card that asks you to do something – find 5 animals that swim on the board, stand on one foot, make up a story, make silly noises, name 5 items of a category, and so on. It allows kids to use their imagination, be creative, and have many family laughs along the way.
ANYTHING from Simply Fun
I was introduced to Simply Fun from another teacher/mom friend of mine and I have been nothing but impressed by their games. They are a little pricey but it’s worth it for the quality of the games. The packaging alone is fantastic that all pieces have a designated spot and kids are able to clean up the games quickly. They are also extremely EDUCATIONAL. So many of them practice fantastic skills like money, spelling, math, and more! They even have videos on their website with directions on how to play the game!
I like them so much that I own over 30 of their games between our home and classroom – no joke! I could go on and on about all our favorites! Here’s some that we like best!
Littles – Share-a-Berry – kids have to string beads (fine motor practice –bonus!) based on cards they flip. But the catch is that they have to share with the last two cards. It forces sharing for the age group that might need the most practice!
Bee Alert – My kids LOVE this game! Little bees are placed under cups. When you flip a color card, you need to try to lift a cup and see if that bee matches the color. As the cups get passed around, you have to keep track of which color bee is where. So great for memory!
My own kids also love Pop Belly, Kilter, Hook ‘Em, and Dreaming Dragon.
Bank It – This is a classroom favorite – so much so that I now own 4 copies and students have even asked for it for Christmas!!! Think of it as an easier version of Monopoly where they learn what you can do with money – spend, save, donate!
Math’d Potatoes – Such a great math game for addition and subtraction. Another classroom favorite!
Other ones loved by my students are Letter Slide (spelling), 15 to Zero (math), Corner Center Math, and Pelican Cove.
There are many great card games outside of Go Fish, Old Maid, and Crazy 8s. These really are great for strategy, and some are fantastic math games too! These are great because they are super portable too. We never fly or travel without at least 5 card games packed.
Monopoly Deal – This favorite involves the idea of Monopoly – getting sets of property and having money – but can be played in a fraction of the time!
5 Crowns – This is a rummy style game but has 5 suits instead of the normal four.
Math games – Favorites include 7 Ate 8, Zoom, and Snap It Up! These all are fun to play and a great way for your child to get fact practice in too!
This is truly just a small sample of the games I love! I hope you had a title or two that caught your eye that you might want to try. Regardless of what’s in your family’s closet, I hope I inspired you to dig them out and start family game nights on a regular basis. They are so, so great for kids and make for a perfect Family Game Night this winter!
Looking for more indoor fun? Try these DIY Sensory Jars!