There isn’t a week that goes by in my home where at least one of us is asking to play a board game! My husband and I love pulling out a deep, intense strategy game to play with friends. But when it comes time for family game night, we’ve quickly learned there are a few essentials you need for success! The younger your children, the shorter their attention spans may be, but these few tips can help keep your kids attentive and interested in the game and make the whole family have a great night together.
I received samples and compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.
- Sweet – fruit, licorice, cookies, bite-sized candies
- Salty – chips and salsa, popcorn, pretzels, chips, crackers and cheese.
- Healthy – baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, hummus
Variety of Games – Every time you come to the table, chances are moods and interests will be different. Having a variety of games on hand will give you the flexibility to pull out a game that will make everyone happy and excited to play.
Quick and Easy Starter Game – Start with a game that’s quick and easy. Chances are, you’ll lose a few of the younger children that decide one game is enough after about 15 minutes, so start with a game that is easy to learn and can be played quickly so those that lose interest can play just the first game. For those that aren’t sure if they want to play, the first quick game can coax those family members and get them ready to play something longer.
A Positive Attitude – Nothing kills a fun game night then someone who gets upset about losing or a fight over the rules. Remember that it’s just a game and let the small things go. Remind young children that in order to play they have to keep a positive attitude and remember that they will not win every game.
We got to try out some new games perfect for our family game night from Blue Orange Games. They have a variety that fits different age groups and preferences which can help you build a good variety of games in your collection.
Starter Game – Spot It! Splash
We started with Spot It! Splash, which is a new waterproof spin-off of their classic Spot It! game series. In Spot It! you look to find the matching symbol on your card with another card from the deck. There is always only one and exactly one match for every other card you compare your starting card to. This game was so much fun to play with my boys! We each started with a single Spot It! card and a tall stack in the middle. The first person to find the match from their own card with the center card got to call out their match and take the top card. Play continues with everyone now seeking a match on the new top card from the stack until the pile is empty.
It was really fun to play with my 4, 6, and 8 year old boys. A lot of times, one of them would even beat me in finding their match, which of course they loved! The waterproof version is such an awesome idea as you can take the game to play at the beach, at sports practices, on the road, to the pool, or wherever you may be going without worrying about the cards getting spilled on and ruined. They’re also great with young kids as they are harder to destroy (they don’t bend as easily). It’s the perfect starter game for our family as my 4 year old usually only lasts the one game, and then the rest of us move on to something a bit more challenging.
Getting Creative – Doodle Quest
After our warm-up game, we pulled out Doodle Quest! This is an extremely creative game where you look at a puzzle game card with simple directions like draw 3 circles or draw a path. The goal is to meet the objective of the card – like a path that weaves through a stream of fish, without touching the fish. You make your attempt on your own transparent sheet in front of you, trying your best to judge where to draw your lines, and then line up each persons guesses against the puzzle card to score points.
The challenges, even on the “easy” side, are much harder than you might think so my boys and I did about equally well on most of the challenges. It was really fun to watch my boys as they made their own guesses on their boards and I would sometimes almost cringe as my 4 year old would draw some pretty random looking circles or lines.
However, as we placed their card over the puzzle card it was pretty neat to see which ones scored them points, even though they looked way off to me! They loved tracing the fish stencil that is included for some of the puzzles, too! This was a really fun game that wasn’t like anything we’ve played together before so it kept their interest for a long time!
Card Game Challenge – BraveRats
By the time we finished playing the first two games, my younger boys were all starting to bounce around and lose interest. However, my 8 year old was begging for another game! It was a perfect time to try BraveRats which is made for just two players. This game is a spin off the classic game of War with it’s own unique twists that make it really fun! I have a ton of memories playing endless games of War with my brothers growing up, so I couldn’t wait to try this new version with my son. I liked playing it growing up, but always felt it needed something a bit more to keep the game interesting. BraveRats does just that!
You secretly select which one you will play and then reveal your choices at the same time. The cards range in point value from 0-7, but each card has its own unique bonus that can completely change the way the battle plays out. Such as a special that says the lowest card wins! Or, win immediately if the Prince (the highest point value card) is played. You leave facing up the cards that are a tie or which ones you won and then count all your face up cards to see who is the winner. The game takes just a few minutes to play per round and there is a handy chart included that helps you know which card wins, if you get confused. It’s a great game for playing a few quick rounds and it plays out differently each time!
Whatever types of games your family likes best, one of these fun new games by Blue Orange Games is sure to be a hit for your next family game night!
David (Connect More)
Thursday 9th of October 2014
Some great tips and great games - Spot it! Jr is a staple at our house and we are really enjoying Doodle Quest as well! I would also add that a key thing to keep in mind as well is the timing. I have 3 tiny table toppers - aged 2, 3, and 4. The biggest things that dictate the success of games night (which is every night!) is their hunger and fatigue levels. Playing a game that bleeds into bed time increases the chance that someone will be upset if they lost, or didn't get to go first, or (enter other reason here). Taking note of these two things also helps me decide what game will be appropriate for our game session. Cheers, David
Kristin Wheeler (@MamaLuvsBooks)
Saturday 20th of September 2014
We love family game night!!! SO FUN!!! For the kids and adults alike!
Friday 19th of September 2014
Snacks are very important to us! We love a good snack while playing board games!
Mama to 5 BLessings
Friday 19th of September 2014
Sounds like a really cute game. We enjoy playing games in our home as a family - my kids would enjoy this game!
TerriAnn @ Cookies & Clogs
Thursday 18th of September 2014
Those games are all new to me and we'll have to check them out sometime. We love a good game of Sorry!, Uno, Mexican Train, or Ticket to Ride.