Family Game Night Without the Tears!


Family Board Game Night is a popular evening at our house. We look forward to this time each week. However, family game night does not always end with rainbows and butterflies. Most of the time, it ends with someone in tears and upset because we chose a board game that was just too long and the kids were too tired.

I believe competition can be healthy and there needs to be times when there are winners and losers. Sometimes, though, I think it is just as crucial to keep the peace not only for the sake of the kids but the exhausted parents as well. So we aim for a balance between these two types of games.

Here is a list of games that encourage cooperation and family unity. These games also take time into consideration.

Game: Outfoxed

Who can play: Ages five and up, 2 to 4 players

How to play: Mrs. Plumpert’s pot pie is missing and now it is a chase to crack the case!  Roll the Dice to reveal the suspects, find clues, use a code detector to eliminate suspects, and don’t falter, or the fox moves closer to escaping. Finally, find the guilty fox and win!

What I love about this game:  We worked together as a family to narrow down the suspect. The clue decoder was fun for the kids to use to see if they could eliminate suspects. It was the perfect amount of time for my kids to play a game. It took us about twenty to thirty minutes to play.

Game: Spin Master Games: Beat The Parents

Who can play: This game is intended for four or more players, ages six and up. However, I thought the trivia was difficult for the kids and would recommend second grade or higher. We turned the questions into multiple-choice, so my youngest had a chance at answering some.

How to play: Kids and parents compete by answering trivia questions and completing challenges to become household champions. The parents and kids get a chance to decide what they would wager if they lost. We picked an early bedtime if the kids lost, and the kids picked a trip to Dairy Queen if we lost.

What I love about this game: There was so much laughter during this game. The kids loved the challenges, and we made a lot of fun memories. However, this game took longer, so I suggest breaking it up into two nights.

 Game: The Family Treasure Hunt Game!

Who can play: Children three and up, two to five players

How to play: Adults lay the trail (clues) around the house before the game. Kids solve the clues. Some clues require reading as well as picture clues depending on the age of players. Players follow clues and collect jewels, leading them to the final golden treasure.

What I love about this game: Although a little bit of setup is required from adults (hiding clues), this is a fast-paced and fun game. My kids got some energy out by searching the house for clues. In addition, it is a very interactive game that combines cognitive and cooperation skills.

Game: Stone Soup

Who can play: Two to six players, ages five and up. The game lasts about twenty minutes.

How to play: Players work together to cook a soup by matching ingredients. Match all the ingredients before the fire under the kettle goes out!

What I love about this game: It is a fun twist on a classic game of matching. It took us about fifteen minutes to play the game. I love how this game is both simple and fun!

Game: Hedbanz Junior

Who can play: Two to four players, age five and up (you could always have younger ones guess too!)

How to play: This version focuses on a fun animal theme. Kids take turns and help each other out as they try and answer, “What animal am I?”  This game encourages kids to engage with one another and exercise important social skills.

What I love about this game: We find ourselves laughing throughout this game. We love taking turns and helping one of the kids try and figure out their animals. We also enjoy the Hedbanz Classic version!

Game: Cauldron Quest

Who can play: Two to four players, ages six and up.

How to play: Kids will love helping save the kingdom from a dark spell. Everyone works together to beat the wizard and create a magical potion to break the spell.

What I love about this game: We have not played this one yet, but I cannot wait to get this game as a family gift for the holidays. My children will love the theme of this game and I know it will be another tear-free game night!

Playing games together is so beneficial for children. It creates an opportunity to use cognitive skills while improving emotional and social development. We hope your next family board game night will be full of fun and memories and not as much frustration and tears!

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Melissa Burnett
Melissa Burnett was born in New Jersey but moved to Ohio at the beginning of a school year where she thought her parents forgot her at Kindergarten and spent most of her first day in tears. Since then, she learned to transfer her imagination onto paper and write stories. She taught Title 1 Reading and wrote children’s books before embarking on her journey into parenthood. Melissa is a mother to twin boys and a younger boy who keeps her on her toes. She enjoys Friday stay home movie night with her boys and dreaming up business ideas with her extremely patient and loving husband. When she is not breaking up wrestling matches, Melissa and her husband spend their time working on rental cabins in Hocking Hills. They also enjoy popcorn and coming up with new popcorn flavors. Melissa promises she does not have motherhood figured out, but she does have many funny stories to share and a word of advice “when you go through the car wash with kids…make sure your window lock is on.” Follow her blog: