As the winter season approaches and the pandemic is still going, we’re going to be spending even more time in our homes with our families. Many parents are looking for options of fun things to do that don’t involve a screen. Enter: the classic board game. But let’s not talk about the “boring” ones your kids already know. Here’s a roundup of some new ideas to add to your game options.
This straightforward game for little ones channels the charms of Mo Willems’ beloved book series. (Child-whisperer Willems also worked on Sesame Street and The Muppets, so the man knows how to speak “kid” while keeping grownups engaged.) Here, the pigeon wants to drive your bus, and it’s up to you to stop him already! (If the pesky pigeon lands on your spot, you have to start over.)
If you’re a discerning, design-minded parent who chooses toys based on aesthetics (we get it), then this charming ice-cream game will likely be your favorite on this list. (Fortunately, it’s a visual feast for kids, too!) Each player gets a sundae board and must spin the spoon to acquire six toppings to complete the dessert. The sweet scalloped napkin cards serve up additional challenges posed by the pretend parlor.
When your family is a blend of kiddos of all different ages and you need a game that everyone can quickly understand and enjoy, Clack is it.
The directions are super easy. Spread out the magnetic discs and roll the two dice. Depending on the shape and color combination, everyone playing will race to pick up every disc that fits the bill. No need to spend hours arguing over the directions — just get to playing.
It’s kids versus grown-ups in this battle of smarts, wits, and trivia. The rules are pretty simple (answer correctly, move your piece), which means it’s game on once you unfold the board. (In other words, it’s a home run for parents who aren’t looking to wade through longwinded instructions or a complicated, read-the-instructions setup.)
In this collaborative game, which will appeal to magic and quest-lovers, everyone has a common goal: to create a potion that can break the wizard’s spell, while finding hidden ingredients before he’s able to block their path.
Kids will get to practice skills like problem-solving, planning ahead, and shared decision making as they work together. The game takes 20 minutes for one round, and comes with playful game tokens like a wizard’s hat and potion bottles. It’s also simple and straightforward enough that children as young as four were able to play alongside older siblings.
If you and your gang are both kitten-obsessed and get a soul tingle when you see an explosion in a movie, then add Exploding Kittens to your family game night.
The game is super simple to follow. Each player picks up a card, and if you are the unfortunate player to pick up an exploding kitten, then you are out. But if you have other strategic cards in your hand that you can use, like a diffuse card or cat card, then you are still in the game. Super fun and perfect for every player in the fam, your brood will love this one.
Here is your fair warning: Do not play this game in the room with all of the fragile family heirlooms. If you were to combine a matching game with dodgeball, Throw Throw Burrito would be it.
As players race to snatch up matching pairs, other players try to throw the soft burritos at them. If you are hit with a smiley-faced burrito, points are automatically deducted.
In this eye-pleasing diversion, players — make that, artisans — compete to decorate a royal palace with beautiful mosaic tiles. (It’s like the decorative tile-loving hashtag #IHaveThisThingWithFloors has come to life in board game form!) Warning: Unlike other board games on the list, this one may also leave you wanting to renovate the master bath.
All aboard! This award-winning board game is a crowd-pleasing cross-country adventure in which players collect and play cards to claim routes across North America. It’s also — welcome to the future, y’all! — compatible with Alexa, which means you can skip the rule book and have the device walk you through how it works. (You can even play against Alexa.) This requires roughly 30 to 60 minutes to chugga through, so just know it’s a bit more of a commitment. (But well worth it, insist devotees.)
In this spooky game, players are divided into two teams: One controls the ghosts, and must find smart places to hide them before the game begins, and the other controls the ghost hunters.
Each round takes about 20 minutes, and there are challenges and variations to make it a bit trickier, although this is definitely a game that’s more aimed at kids than, say, adults having their own party.
Inspired by the very adult game Cards Against Humanity, this family-appropriate card game prompts players with fill-in-the-blank questions, and each person chooses a card from their hand that they think fits best with the question. Warning: The answer cards are totally ridiculous, so be prepared for some wacky combinations.
This family board game belongs in every home. Not only will your family have a blast getting goofy, but time spent playing this game doubles as an opportunity for kids to build confidence when it comes to expression, creativity, and improv.
Even if you hate to admit it, the most entertaining character in a Disney movie is definitely the villain. This board game is all about tapping into your inner bad guy to win.
The game comes with some of your favorite evil characters like Scar and Ursula, but it can also be played with other Villainous expansion packs.
How well can you and your family work under pressure? Heist is a family board game that tests how level-headed you can stay when trying to crack open a safe and steal all of the loot. Follow the instructions carefully — because after three false moves, you’ll sound the alarm.