This family loves a great board game. Any weekend or break or vacation involves a board game or 10. The kids are 9 and 7 and have played enough games to pick up how to play just about any game. For many of these games, they are REAL competitors at this point. if you are like us, you’ve moved beyond the Sorry! and Chutes and Ladders and easy card games and on to some adventurous and interesting games for older kids and adults. I’ve compiled a great list of our favorite games for families with school-aged children.
The Settlers of Catan
This is one of our absolute favorites. It seems complicated at first, but taking the time to learn it is completely worth it. The directions include a “starter” way to set up and play, and I suggest starting with this. After you get the gist of the game, you can move on to the random set-ups. We’ve also tried out “Seafarers” which is an expansion. This proves to be fun too with a new twist of water exploration and trade routes.
This is my favorite game of the moment. First of all, the topic is fun and interesting. When we received this game as a gift, it prompted us to get some books out of the library about the seven wonders of the ancient world and read up on our history! This game is complicated at first. Again, like Catan, it takes awhile to figure it all out, but DON’T GIVE UP. Both of my kids can easily play and set this game up and they are 9 and 7 years old.
This one is a bit easier in the directions department. You each have an identical game board set up in front of you and use identical pathway pieces to build paths from explorers to temples to collect treasure. It’s a quicker game but is fun nonetheless
This games is great for younger kids and there is even a Jr version for the youngest in the family. My kids played the normal version easily by 5 and 6 years old. You try to collect treasure in a large maze that constantly changes! It takes some thought and problem-solving….something great for exercising young minds.
This was another game that prompted us to get to the library to find some history books. In this game, you are in ancient Egypt, building pyramids and trading goods at the market. It has fun little game pieces and such an interesting theme.
This is a classic that you have no doubt heard of, but I have to say it makes my list of favorite games every time. No matter when in my life you would have asked me about my favorite games, I would have always included this one. The classic gameboard is fun, especially when you reference the Seinfeld episode!! But, you can find this game in a whole bunch of varieties, which can be fun if you want to change it up a bit. For example, we have a Lord of the Rings version and a futuristic version. Even if you play the classic rules with the new boards, it can be so much fun. Capturing the Shire or occupying the moon adds some fun twist in this game of world domination.
I realized after playing this game for a month that we DON’T have the original version. I picked this game up on a whim at Target and apparently have a new version called Machi Koro: Bright Lights. That being said, this game is an easy to pick up city-building card game. It involves some pre-planning and money-handling and just all around thinking which is great for young minds.
I hesitate to include this one because it is not MY favorite. However, it is very much a favorite with my kiddos. I do believe this game has some merit though. The whole money management thing is great. And the kids have to learn how to count out money and change too. I have to say I don’t like the idea of the newest version that has a “bank card” that automatically keeps track of the money for you. I like the old school version where there is a banker and each person has paper money and properties to take care of. Seems to me that the kids will learn a bit more in the process of using the “old” version!
Another great one that someone gifted us. My kids even like playing with the tiles and creating a city and countryside with castles, roads, rivers and churches. This game isn’t a super long one, so it is good for beginners, especially because you can adapt the game to make easier ways to play.
So what is everyone else’s favorite game for the family? We are ALWAYS looking for new suggestions!