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Tried and True Games for Kids and the Entire Family

Updated: Nov 19, 2023

The Game King is also a grandpa and loves having great games to play with with grandkids! This list contains his tried and true hits that littles will love and adults will enjoy too.

1. Sleeping Queens 2: Play your cards (using simple math skills) to wake up the queens and collect them. Or put your opponents’ queens to sleep. You will fall in love with the charming visuals, and there’s a new sequel game if you’re tired of the first.

Ages 8+ (could be younger), 2-5 players.

2. Pengoloo:  This game teaches numbers, colors and memory skills for younger kids. And it’s based on adorable penguins hatching eggs. The roll of the dice tells you which color eggs to find. Lift the penguin to find that egg and it’s yours. The all-wood pieces are an extra bonus. Ages 4+, 2-4 players.

3. Zimbbos: This circus-themed game doubles as a toy and is a game that appeals to the youngest kids. Build a tower using elephants, balancing bars, and other figures. It also teaches number recognition and problem solving. The all-wood pieces are great quality.

Ages 3+, 1-4 players.

4. Outfoxed: Figure out which fox is on the loose. Eliminate them by using clues. The best part is a genius contraption that lets you reveal special clues until there’s only one fox left. (Seriously, the contraption is the best part.) Ages 4+, 2+ players.

5. Dr. Eureka: Don’t let someone tell you this is a kid’s educational game. For me, it’s a fast-paced race to pour colored balls back and forth in test tubes to match the picture on the card. Don’t touch the balls, just the tubes. And sure, it can be educational, too. (And this translates well for a game for all ages.) Ages 8+, 1-4 players.

6. Paco's Party: Flip over a card to reveal a party. There are four guests and three party items. Figure out which one is missing from the scene and you win the card. If everything is there, it’s time to dance and shout “Paco’s Party.” Ages 4+, 2-6 players.

7. Zingo: Think Bingo meets Tic Tac Toe with some reading skills worked in. This is a great game for early readers and pre-schoolers. And they love playing against parents or grandparents. Ages 4+, 1-6 players.

8. Chickyboom: Remove chickens and other pieces from a precarious perch but make sure it doesn’t get out of balance and topple over. Teaches math-type skills, dexterity and problem solving. The pieces are all high quality wood and the game is solid. Ages 3+, 2-4 players.

9. Concept Kids: You have to get people to guess your animals, so you put markers by certain characteristics on the board. Color, where it lives, what it eats, etc. This is a collaborative game simple enough for some of the younger ones. Ages 4+. 2-12 players.

10. Cake-n-Bake Challenge: Simple, easy and great for younger kids. Follow the color-coded layers on your “recipe” card to build a matching slice of cake in a race against other players. You can even wear the included baker’s hat if you’re first. Ages 4+, 2-6 players.

11. Dragomino: Kind of like an intro to dominoes with a dragon twist. If you can match the pictures on the dominoes, you can reveal a dragon egg and hope it has a baby dragon in it.

Ages 5+, 2-4 players.

12. Sherlock Express: Who committed a crime from the six animals on the cards? Flip over clue cards one by one to eliminate the suspects until there’s just one left. Slap the card and it’s yours. ( I also play this with adults and it holds up well.) Ages 7+, 2-6 players

13. Waffle Topple: This is a fun stacking game where you place waffles, syrup, bacon and more on top of a fork tower. Tricky rules dictate what can be touching or placed where, so you can get strategic making it harder for other player, but don’t topple the waffle tower.

Ages 5+, 2-4 players.

14. Mantis: Make matching sets by trying to steal these colorful cards from opponents. Use clues to figure out who has the cards you want. Ages 7+, 2-6 players.

15. Exit the Game Kids: Specially designed for younger kids as an “introduction to deduction.” Follow clues to figure which three animals to pick on your decoder spinning wheel and the turn it over to see if you got the code correct. Ages 4-6, could be played solo with adult guidance, or small group collaboration. (This is NOT like Exit The Game for adults. It is a simple deduction game.)

1. Just One: I love collaborative games and this is one of the best. One person has to guess a word from the clues everyone submits, but duplicate clues get eliminated so you can’t give the obvious clues. Great for medium sized groups. (More than 15 and it starts to get too much.) Ages 8+, 4+ players.

2. Go Nuts for Donuts: Several donuts are up for grabs, each of them worth different points. Just pick which one you want. But if you picked the same as someone else, no one gets it. It’s strategy and second guessing with some pink glaze and sprinkles. Ages 8+, 2-6 players.

3. Linkee: You are given clues to four different things. But the REAL challenge is figuring out how the four things are linked. You have to silently figure out the first clues, and hope you’re right and then link them. Fun game that fits even for informal settings. Ages 12+, 2-20 players.

4. Think Fast: Currently one of my absolute favorite games. Two teams compete to guess 15 words from a clue. There are three rounds and each round, the clue gets more obscure while the 15 words stay the same. Great for any size group. Ages 8+, 4+ players.

5. Cobra Paw: One of the best “ice breaker” games to just get people drawn in quickly. There are a series of tiles with two icons on each. When you roll the two “icon dice”, race to be the first to snatch the tile that matches. Ages 6+, 2-6 playersiminate suspects in this funny disguised animal whodunnit. Ages 8+, 2-4 players.

6. Dr. Eureka: Don’t let someone tell you this is a kid’s educational game. For me, it’s a fast-paced race to pour colored balls back and forth in test tubes to match the picture on the card. Don’t touch the balls, just the tubes. (Sure, it can be educational, too.) Ages 8+, 1-4 players.

7. Tiki Topple: Nine colorful tiki tokens are stacked on top of each other. You are assigned three and now everyone is fighting to move their tokens up the pole with their action cards while some tikis are getting “toasted” until there are only three left. Ages 10+, 2-4 players.

8. Tenzi: One of my favorite “ice-breaker” games. You have ten dice and have to roll the to get an assigned task: all odds, add up to 47, all the same number, etc. Great way to get some quick energy in your game night (best in a short burst). Ages depending, one set of 10 dice per person.

9. Zillionaire's Road Trip: Monopoly meets auction-like bidding meets Sequence. What are you willing to pay for properties along “roadside Americana”. Get four in a row and you win. This game can go much longer than I like a game to go, but if you’re prepared for that, it’s a fun twist. Ages 8+, 2-5 players.

10. Herd Mentality: It doesn’t matter what the “right” answer is to a question, it just matters what is the most popular. Name a farm animal. What’s your favorite finger? You have to match the “herd” to get a point. Ages 10+, 3+ players.

11. Happy Salmon: Few games get people up and moving like Happy Salmon. Flip your cards over and find someone who has the same card, complete the action described and go to the next card. My stomach hurts every time I play (short bursts of shouting). Ages 6+, 3-8 players.

12. WHOZIT: Clever collaborative game. One person tries to get the rest to decide which celebrity/job is assigned by giving two clues on a sliding scale. You have to work together to reach the end goal in five rounds. Ages 10+, 2+ players.

13. Spot It: Everyone knows this game, but the best way to play it is NOT the traditional way. Everyone takes a card and turns them over at the same time. Find someone you match and then offload your card on them and you’re free. Last person standing is the loser. It’s frantic. Ages 6+, can play with larger groups with this version.

14. Sushi Go: You start with a set of cards, each worth different points based on combinations and sets, but you can only take one and pass the rest on. You’ll get a new set of cards from another player and have to keep building as you go with the leftovers from other players. Fun graphics and a great twist for a game. Ages 8+, 2-5 players.

15. Color Brain: Clever game where you have color coded cards you have to race to put down to match the color question. What are the colors of the Belgium flag? Get your color cards picked in a race against everyone. (There’s a Disney version that is a little too obscure for me.) Ages 12+, 2-20 players.

16. Code Names: Does anyone NOT have this game already? Two teams racing against each other to identify random word cards on a grid. Give clues that connect multiple words so you can find your team’s words first. Ages 12+, 4-12 players.

17. Block Party: Create an assigned object, but all you have is small colored blocks and a timer you’re racing against. Can the guesser figure out what you created? And watch for added challenges. Super simple concept everyone can grasp quickly. Ages 6+, 2+ players

18. So Clover: Identify four clues for what four word pairs have in common with each other. Then scramble the words and add some extra words to see if the rest of the group can figure out what the four original pairs were. Fun collaborative game. Ages 10+, can play in a larger collaborative group (up to 10 players).

19. You Can't Say Umm: Can you get your team to guess two random words as you describe them? Sounds easy enough? Oh yeah, you can’t say the word “ummm”. More challenging and funnier than you think, especially with a couple other twists that can get mixed in.

All ages, At least 4 players.

20. Hues and Cues: Picture a giant color swatch board. You have to give a one word clue to get everyone to figure out exactly which color is the right one. Periwinkle, huckleberry, Barney, plum could all be your clue, but will other players know where to put their marker?

Ages 8+, 3-10 players.

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