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The 9 Best Board Games for Family Game Night

The 9 Best Board Games for Family Game Night

These family board games encourage learning new vocabulary, imagination, bonding, and will keep the whole family entertained for hours.

Not all board games are created equal—a game that leads to a shouting match is not a great choice during quarantine, for example. But board games that encourage learning, bonding, imagination, and a little competitive spirit can be great ways to bring the family together and even learn new skills. These are the 9 best board games for family night because they will keep the whole crew entertained while encouraging learning, and a provide an opportunity to really connect (and when you’re done with the week’s family game night, check out these 50 indoor activities for more fun)! Looking for the perfect toy or game for your child with special needs? We've got an article for that too—but all of the games below are great for all kinds of players!


A classic is a classic. Monopoly is a game that requires math skills, strategy, and critical thinking. There are several varieties you can order, such as Dog-Opoly or Horse-Opoly, that will pique your child’s interests. After all, who wouldn’t want to buy as many kinds of dogs as she can?! 

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Apples to Apples 

Apples to Apples pairs word association with an easy-to-learn format, so even if the family has never played, everyone can pick it up in a heartbeat. The kids can make zany word combinations and silly sentences galore, and with so many cards in the pack, you’ll never get bored! 


Scattegories is a fun challenge for even the most experienced game players. You can do a 2-player or 4-player game, so you can turn it into a family tournament—winner takes all, of course. The game encourages creativity and resourcefulness, and will help kids expand their vocabularies. If you’re getting bored with your usual board game prospects, break out Scattegories for a family game night no one in the family will forget.

Exploding Kittens

This fast-paced, tension-filled card game is perfect for rambunctious kids that need something to hold their attention. Once the kids get the hang of the rules, it’s easy to play multiple quick rounds. High stakes paired with photos of tiny kittens is a surprising winner. And let’s be honest,  typing “Tonight, we’re playing Exploding Kittens” in the family group chat is bound to grab everyone's attention.


This drawing game is bound to get the group laughing at the ridiculous and unforeseen outcomes. Think Pictionary meets Telephone. Each player begins by sketching a Telestrations word dictated by the roll of a die (or you can use your imagination). The next person has to guess what the drawing is depicting, and then the next has to draw the new word they see (and so on). 

Speak Out

This is similar to Charades or Pictionary in that you have to guess what the other players are saying through hilarious mouthpieces everyone has to wear—but there’s a catch (which we won’t give away). There are many different versions of Speak Out, such as a Kids vs. Parents edition, that make playing even more fun for everyone. Challenge your kids to a winner-take-all game and make the prize something irresistible, such as the chance to have pizza for every meal the next day!


In this racing game, everyone gets a group of certain-colored pieces, and you have to race around the board to get back to your starting position as you “pop” a plastic bubble to roll the dice. Since you can knock each others’ pieces off the board if you roll and land on top of them, this can get intense—you can get your kids or partner in “trouble”! Trouble is as fun as the next game on this list, which is a classic...

Chutes and Ladders

Another game where you can knock your family down—literally, down slides that can send anyone back to the start of the game—Chutes and Ladders is a classic. There’s a fair amount of risk involved, and plenty of tension as you climb ladders and fall down chutes. The best thing about Chutes and Ladders is that it’s anyone’s game, and the game can change dramatically with just one player’s turn. Break it out when you’re looking for some drama!


Though not technically a board game, Jenga is still one of the best games out there, especially for families. Pulling the individual blocks out of the increasingly tall and unstable tower requires strategy, precision, and a little bit of courage. You can make it extra fun by ordering a giant-sized game, which will get taller than the tallest member of your family, or by writing challenges or dares on each block. (Spice that up for virtual game night with your adult friends by turning it into a drinking game.) No matter how you play Jenga, it will definitely make family game night interesting!

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Jacqueline Neber

Author: Jacqueline Neber is a social journalism MA candidate at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. When she’s not reporting, you can find her petting someone else’s dog. See More

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