Lesbemums: Games night! Our Favourite Family Games (Ages 4+)
We’ve always enjoyed playing games, even before T was born. On holiday Sharon and I would take a few games with us to enjoy of an evening, and when friends come round we often get the games out after dinner.
When T then came along it was natural for us to start shopping for age appropriate games for us to play with him, starting with matching games and pairs. When he then became old enough to understand more intricate rules he would join in on family games nights. This would often be limited to weekends, but now that T’s in school we try and avoid going straight for the television of an evening, and instead will often get a short game out to play together.
We’re probably a minority when we say we enjoy playing games as a family, but there’s just something really enjoyable – once you know how to play (!) – about sitting round a table and playing a game together, and not just at Christmas! I remember doing it when I was young and I hope T remembers it when he’s older. We find I’m more present and whilst you’re waiting for your turn you can talk about your day.
If you’re thinking of introducing family board games into your evening, here are a few of our favourites:
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At the age of 4, T now has an array of family games that he understands and likes to play, and I think this is down to us introducing them to him at an early age. He would either be present when Sharon and I were playing or we’d invite him to be on one of our teams, so eventually he’d learn a few things about the game. He’s obviously no where near beating Sharon at Scrabble! but he plays a mean game of Snap!
Last year saw a huge spike in our collection and we now have a lovely variety of games in our cupboard, from traditional board games like Snakes and Ladders to more hands-on games like Buckaroo, Snap! and Operation, here’s a few more of our favourites:
No, it’s not some dark and dodgy back-alley game, Tantrix is another tile matching game, however this time the aim of the game is to create the longest line or biggest loop. Each player picks a colour and it’s their job to keep extending their line, but watch out – if someone creates a ‘forced space’ then you have to fill that first.
This is a brilliant game for enhancing pattern work and strategy.
This was actually a random purchase when we had some vouchers to spend at a local toy shop, however it’s probably one of our Top 3 games that we like to play. There’s no tactics involved, just a lot of skill and patience, as well as a steady hand!
With this game, all you have to do is balance a number of coloured rods, which is dictated to you via the roll of a die, and the aim of getting rid of all your rods, however if you end up collapsing the rods already placed, those rods are yours and you have to start again.
This one is great for enforcing the phonics T is learning at school, although he is still yet in a position where he can play by himself.
For younger children, they’re invited to try and find patterns and pictures within the letters, while older kids can look for words in the jumbled up letters.
Think of this as a “trickier” dominoes and you’ll be ok. Simply match all three sides with other tiles. The first person to clear their tiles, wins!
This is a fantastic matching game and enhances any maths skills.
Connect 4 has been around for decades, I even remember playing (and losing) with my sister when I was young.
Although T is still learning the skill of blocking (meaning I’ve won a fair few rounds), this is a great game for shorter evenings or if you want to teach the art of tactical play.
Probably one of the more violent games we own, Cobra Paw is a grabbing game where once the dice have been rolled you have a few seconds to grab the matching tiles to what the dice read.
If we play with T the game is significantly slower, however once he’s in bed Sharon and I have been known to clash knuckles a few times “accidentally”, and I’m pretty sure my finger is still bruised from the last time we played. It’s a lot of fun, although make sure your relationship is solid before you play as tiles in your “pile” are fair game as well!
I love Uno, so much so that we have a fair few versions – from Uno Extreme to Junior Uno. It’s such an easy game that you really don’t need much instruction. Our latest addition is Uno Flip!
Simply match the colour or the number (and in the junior version the animal or the colour) to clear your cards, but watch out for the wild cards along the way that may cause a few tears when you have to pick up cards.
This is probably one of our favourite games at the moment and is similar to games like Triominoes and Tantrix where you have to match tiles in a specific sequence or pattern. T calls this game the ‘Dobble Tile Game’ and I can see where he gets it from.
I love this game, and although it looks childlike it can get really tricky in places. There’s nothing more infuriating than when someone messes up your chances of getting three points.
Very similar to the theory of dominos where you match tiles, but this comes with a twist.
This game asks players to match colour or shape to form a row of five. If you get a “full house” (all colours in a row or all shapes in a row) you get maximum points and get to shout “Quirkle!” but watch out for other players wanting to form their rows whilst stopping you from forming yours.
This was a game that some friends brought into our lives many years ago, and since then we’ve never not taken it on holiday with us.
If you’re familiar and enjoy a game of dominos then this is the game for you. Using the same rules, get rid of your tiles by creating “train” lines out dominoes – either by forming your own line or the Mexican Train line – before the other player(s), but watch out for those doubles!
Probably one of our favourite games and one we play almost every week. We play the original version, however for younger players there’s now the junior version with more basic imagery.
This game is a simple matching game. On each card is a number of different pictures but only one will match the card on the discard pile. If someone matches something before you, the discard pile changes! Clear your cards as fast as possible.
I’m pretty sure Sharon and I still have a game of Monopoly running from ten years ago where I got into a strop when Sharon wouldn’t sell Mayfair to me, which is why I was reluctant at first to get this game, but I’m so glad we did as T really enjoys it.
There are several versions of Junior Monopoly, each with varying theme and detail, but this one introduces the game of Monopoly really nicely and – thankfully – doesn’t take that long to play!
This was an absolute gem of a find when we found it as part of our goody bag from Blog On X last year. A simple game by Big Potato Games where all you have to do is form rows using your coloured tiles without the other player blocking you.
What makes this interesting, is that when you run out of tiles (and there’s still no winner) simply reposition one of your previous tiles until someone wins.
An absolute classic and one Sharon remembers playing when she was a little girl – so much so that Sharon wanted the original and could only find it on ebay!
The aim of this game is to collect all the bugs using tweezers (great for hand eye co-ordination, not to much if you’re drunk) whilst the bed is vibrating. Although the version we have is rather noisy, it’s really fun and will get you laughing along the way. There’s no real strategy required, just speed and skill.
This one is a new addition to our collection (you can find out full review here), but it’s another one that doesn’t require much time, making it perfect for the last half hour of the day.
The aim of the game is to collect all three doughnuts (or two if there’s only two of you) by matching them to everyone’s cards before the other player realises there’s a match – but, again, watch out for wild cards.
These are just a few of our favourites from our collection of family games, and as you can see we have a fair few already! Do you like playing family games? What are your favourites?
Image Credit: Photo by Ylanite Koppens from Pexels