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12 Exciting Games for Families and Learning

Games are a great way to spend time with the family. Not only can games be fun, but learning can happen, too

Below you will find a curated list of games (in no particular order) across different mediums to try out for your next family game night. We have tried to curate a list of some new ones, as well as some timeless classics.

1. Forbidden Island

Players: 2 – 4

Type: Board Game

Skills Learned: Cooperation, Communication, Strategy

This is a cooperative board game, which means instead of everyone playing against each other, you are all on the same team and win or lose as one. Communication is a key aspect of this game. Sharing ideas with your family and knowing what everyone is planning for their next move is essential for success. 

In this game, you and your family are trying to find and save sacred treasure on an island. The artwork is exquisite, but you better look fast because the island is quickly being reclaimed by the sea. Gather as much treasure as you can and get off the island before it disappears beneath the waters!

2. Puzzle Snacks

Players: 1 – 2

Type: Book

Skills Learned: Vocabulary, Language, Puzzling

Puzzle Snacks is a book of short crosswords with a twist. Sometimes the answers are placed backwards, sometimes the crossword is in the shape of a spiral, sometimes the clues are mixed up. And wow, is it fun!

The clues make use of common vocabulary and pop culture references and are very do-able for ages 10+. A couple family members can team up and work on these together for as little or as long as they like. If you know people who like word games and/or puzzles, they will get hours of entertainment (and vocabulary review!) from this book.

3. Splendor

Players: 2 – 4

Type: Board Game

Skills Learned: Strategy, Counting, Resource Management, Adaptability

Pick up gems, buy a gem mine. Get more gems, buy more gem mines. The concept and rules are easy enough for families to pick up quickly. But once you get into it, there is a lot of strategy to unpack. 

There are different types of gems, and you must decide how many of each you want as it goes along. The turns are generally very fast, so each player will feel like they are participating the whole time. The magic in this game comes when you play a second time and decide to figure out what the best strategy might be. This can lead to family conversations about resources and long term planning. 

4. Jackbox Games

Players: 2 – 8

Type: Video Game

Skills Learned: Language, Communication, Memory, Comedy

These are packs of different mini games, well-suited for play over zoom/virtually. Only one person in the group needs the game (on a game console or computer) and then it can be streamed to the other members of your family.

There are trivia games, comedy games, drawing games, and other fun variations. All of the games are very replayable and seem to go on sale regularly. For the past 8 months, I have had a weekly standing reservation with my family from all over the country where we play some Jackbox games for a couple hours. The amount of different games to try out keeps it fresh even after all that time.

Specific game titles best for families: 

Role Models

Guesspionage

Tee K.O.

Push the Button

Blather Round

5. Clue

Players: 3 – 6

Type: Board Game

Skills Learned: Deduction, Communication, Organization

The classic whodunnit game, which was released in 1949. Three cards are randomly put into an envelope at the start of the game: a person, a weapon, and a room. 

Each player goes through the game using a handy notepad containing all of the possible options. You travel the game board from room to room, making accusations about who did it, with what, and where. All the while, eliminating suspected items and people as you trade knowledge with the other players.

6. Unstable Unicorns

Players: 2 – 8

Type: Card Game

Skills Learned: Strategy, Reading

A card game featuring dozens of different types of cute unicorns, sounds interesting, right? It certainly is! 

Once you get past the joy of seeing what a hybrid puppy/unicorn combo might look like (Puppicorn), there is a deep strategy game here. Players take turns filling their stable with a unicorn until they reach a certain number. Along the way there are action and item cards to be played that will make filling your stable easier or more difficult. 

7. Scattergories

Players: 2 – 6

Type: Board Game

Skills Learned: Language, Vocabulary, Quick-thinking

An alphabet dice is rolled to reveal one letter. You must think of words beginning with that specific letter for the entire round. 

But wait, there’s more. It is not just any words. You must think of words to answer a thematic set of categories. Loud Things. School Subjects. Vehicles. You must find words to fit all of those categories, and starting with the letter rolled on the dice.

This family game is great for teaching vocabulary, learning new words, and being creative with language.

8. LEGO Game Franchise 

Players: 1 – 2

Type: Video Game

Skills Learned: Teamwork, Communication

A good co-op game can be tough to find. Especially for those who may not be as savvy with video games. But the LEGO Franchise makes two player cooperation very fun while playing along with a familiar franchise.

Usually each LEGO game follows the story of a movie where all the characters and objects are made of LEGO. Your family will love these games, playing through classic movie scenes together.

Popular options include: Harry Potter, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Marvel, Batman

9. Ticket to Ride

Players: 2 – 5

Type: Board Game

Skills Learned: Geography, Strategy

In this game, your family takes turns placing trains on the map. You are trying to complete a specific route from one city to another.

The map acts as a great way to get to know where each city is in real life. You must calculate about how far they are from each other and which cities connect. Players draw cards and need to get matching colors to place trains. At the end of the game, you will have a map full of multicolored trains (and it looks pretty cool!). 

10. Sushi Go!

Players: 2 – 5

Type: Card Game

Skills Learned: Strategy, Probability

Pick one card from the hand and then pass the rest to the next player. That is the main premise of Sushi Go! You must decide which card is good for you. But also, which card is not good for the other players.

Cute Sushi-related dishes are featured illustrations on the cards. This game is simple to learn, but takes time to master. Some outcomes can be chalked up to luck. But many can be attributed to the laws of probability.

Sushi Go! can lead to conversations about the chances something could happen, or predicting what someone else might do.

11. Scrabble

Players: 2 – 4

Type: Board Game

Skills Learned: Language, Vocabulary, Math (Scoring)

Scrabble is a classic game of making words with a randomized set of letter tiles. Players usually scramble and unscramble their set of letters in each round, brainstorming the best word possible. Then each word is scored based upon its board position and individual letter values.

Vocabulary is key for this game. The more words a player knows, the more possibilities they can think of to use with their letters. That said, seeing words other family members use can be great practice in itself. The key to Scrabble is playing it more than once, to keep growing with language skills.

12. Monopoly

Players: 2 – 6

Type: Board Game

Skills Learned: Math (Money), Strategy

Monopoly is a controversial pick, as some people really like it and some really do not. This family-friendly game can last a while depending on the rules that are used (and there are many variations on these “house rules”).

All that aside, Monopoly is a great game for teaching math, money, and counting. Players are forced to manage their money, and add or subtract from that pool as the game goes on. It is a constant exercise in mathematics and teachable moments. The game is fun and competitive enough to hold interest even with all of the math.