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Fun Family Game Nights with Kids Under 12

Make your next family game night a fun one to remember with these ideas curated for families with kids under 12 years old.

Step into the world of family game nights, where the magic of laughter, friendly competition, and quality time converge. We’re diving into the heart of what makes a perfect game for families with young children. While classics like Monopoly and Scrabble have their charm, the landscape of board games has evolved, offering a plethora of exciting new options that go far beyond the traditional favorites. Join us as we explore the vibrant realm of board games designed specifically to captivate the imaginations of the younger generation, making family game nights an unforgettable adventure for everyone involved. Get ready to discover new favorites that will have your family eagerly anticipating each game night with joy and anticipation.

Games for the entire family


Chess can be the perfect addition to family game nights. Once everyone knows the rules, you can organize family tournaments and consider chess-themed snacks to enhance the atmosphere. Games like ‘No Stress Chess’ – which comes with a handy deck of cards to simplify your next move – can turn game nights into teaching sessions, allowing experienced players to share strategies with beginners. Themed chess sets aligned with family interests add a visual appeal, and introducing chess puzzles or challenges keeps everyone engaged. Kids want more out of their chess games? Consider chess classes and camps where they’ll learn winning strategies in a group session.

Dungeons & Dragons

Affectionately dubbed “D&D” by it’s fan base, Dungeons & Dragons is a tabletop role-playing game (TTRPG) that has been around since the 70s. And while the main rule books and added accessories make the rules seem daunting, many families and gaming groups incorporate simplified rules and gameplay to include players of all ages. D&D is known for its flexibility, and it encourages players to use their imagination to create characters, explore fantasy worlds, and embark on epic quests. The social and collaborative aspects of the game make it a great choice for family a family game night, and can hlp in fostering communication, teamwork, and creativity.

Ticket to Ride

family game night - tickt to ride
Credit: Board Game Brother

Who doesn’t love trains? In Ticket to Ride, players try to complete cross-country destination tickets by claiming routes between cities with their train pieces on a game board. Players draw train cards, claim routes, and try to connect cities to earn points. The longer the route, the more points you win! Ticket to Ride involves a little bit of strategy and a whole lot fun. Players don’t need extensive reading or math skills, and the game comes in multiple versions that cover maps of the USA, Europe, Africa, and more. There’s even a version called First Journey made just for younger kids.

Family game nights with preschoolers

Shopping List

We’ve all played a memory game or two in our day, but Shopping List puts it’s own twist on this family game for ages 3 and up. Each player gets a shopping cart and a grocery list, with all of the grocery tiles face down within reach of everyone. ‘Shoppers’ take turns flipping over tiles, and if it’s on their grocery list, they get to add it to their cart. If not, they turn it back over. The first to fill their cart wins! The game is adorable, doesn’t last too long, is easy to learn, and requires no reading or math skills to get started.

Happy Bunny

family game night - happy bunny
Credit: Blue Orange Games

Carrots, fluffy bunnies, and a game that requires no reading skills, what’s not to love? Happy Bunny is a simple game for kids aged 2 and up that can grow with them as they mature. It’s a race to collect carrots against an angry farmer, and you can start off by playing in cooperative mode and switch to competitive when you think they’re ready. Happy Bunny is a very gentle intro into the world of board gaming, and it’s super cute and fun for the whole family, too!

Red Light, Green Light

Made for 2-4 players ages 4 and up, Red Light Green Light is a quick game of chance that brings the playground classic to family game night. The board connects like a puzzle and there are 4 wooden car tokens that can be decorated with stickers before you start. Players take turns flipping over as many cards as they dare to reveal green lights and see how far they can advance down the board. But be careful, a red light light or an orange cone means you don’t get to move at all! The first player to the finish line, wins!

Family game nights with kids 5-8

Sleeping Queens

family game night - sleeping queens
Credit: Dad Suggests

Sleeping Queens is a quick and entertaining card game that combines strategy and a bit of luck, making it an excellent choice for family game night. Players draw cards and use them to create math equations in order to wake up queens and perform other actions. The objective is to wake up the most queens, with each of them having a different point value, and the player with the highest total at the end of the game wins. The whimsical theme and engaging gameplay ensure that players of all ages can participate and have fun.

Robot Turtles

family game night - robot turtles

Screen-free coding games are becoming more popular for younger kids. And when it comes to board games, Robot Turtles is perfect for beginning coders to learn the basic concepts of programming and algorithms. Players create custom codes to move their robot turtle toward their jewels, and the difficulty can be increased as needed to introduce obstacles, “bugs”, and more complex coding concepts. This game will quickly become a family game night favorite.


Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we go – to learn about herbal remedies! Make the next family game night a learning adventure. Wildcraft is a beautifully illustrated cooperative game where your goal is to climb a hill and pick enough huckleberries to bake a pie and head back down before dark. Along the way you’re met with the challenges of trekking through the woods, including scraped knees, poison oak, wasp stings and more and must use the herbs you’ve collected in order to heal yourself and others.

Family game nights with kids 9 & older

Unstable Unicorns

A delightful addition to any family game night, Unstable Unicorns blends strategy with fantasy charm. Designed for up to 8 players, it’s perfect for large families, or inviting friends over. The game’s goal is to be the first to build your own stable of seven unicorns, while using Magic cards to add unpredictable twists that keep others from doing so. It’s a truly competitive yet lighthearted game that will bring tons of laughter among players, especially as you unveil the various types of unicorns.


Too soon? Pandemic stands out from many other board games in that players are not competing against each other, but instead work together to save the world. Each player is given a talent that they and the team figure out how to use to their advantage. The game has elements of unknowns including outbreaks that can occur anywhere in the world, which need to be quickly contained. Decisions must be made quickly and intentionally as to where to place finite resources on the world map. Pandemic delivers a dose of excitement and shared triumphs, making it a go-to choice for unforgettable family game nights.

Minecraft Builders & Biomes

Have Minecraft lovers but want to take the gameplay off screens? Minecraft: Builders & Biomes is a must-have! The game is played in 3 rounds, and a round ends when the blocks from that level are all gone, with each round scoring points for different categories. The person with the most points (XP) at the end of the third round wins. You can gain XP by collecting biomes, structures, and weapons, laying down weapons in a battle, and defeating mobs. The best part is that you don’t have to know anything about Minecraft to enjoy playing the game!