One of the best things about southern California is that the weather is pretty much always nice enough for the kids to go outside. But as I hear from lots of my friends who don’t live in the Promised Land, fall is a time when parents start to tear their hair out because merciful heavens WHAT will I do with the kids? (And let’s not even get started on winter.)
As my own kids have grown a little older, we’ve started playing more and more board games together as a family. Here are a few the older kids have started to enjoy…and which are fun and strategic enough that I don’t mind playing with them. (Read my ideas for younger kids’ games here.)
9 Fun Table Games for Kids & Families 1 of 10
Click through for a list of games you'll ALL enjoy...
Tenzi 2 of 10
Any kid can roll dice, right? Imagine rolling 10 at a time. That's what Tenzi gets you to do. The original game is played with four players rolling their dice at the same time. The first to roll the same number on all 10 dice wins. It's fast, easy, and any kid with a little hand-eye coordination can do it. Even better, there are a ton of variations to the game play. And did I mention how fast-paced it is? This is quickly becoming a family favorite...as long as you keep up with the dice and keep them from fighting over who gets to be their favorite color.
Pocket Farkle 3 of 10
Another good dice-rolling game. This one's a little more challenging, with elements similar to classic Yahtzee...but not as complicated. Pocket Farkel comes in a little tube the size of an old film canister, perfect for keeping in your purse or backpack. It's easy to learn, fast, and addictive, and you can take it anywhere: the airport, a restaurant, their grandparents' house. Plus, the simple addition it requires as you score points can be really helpful for kids working on basic math. Pocket Farkle comes in a variety of colors, so these make good stocking stuffers or party gifts. And they're cheap enough that every kid can have his or her own game and color.
Farkle Flip 4 of 10
A card-based variation on the dice-play of Pocket Farkle. The new twist of Farkle Flip allows you to "steal" from other players' accumulated cards makes this just as easy as regular Farkle...but a little more strategic. The card format works well when the clatter of rolling dice isn't appropriate for wherever you and the kids might be playing.
Monopoly Deal 5 of 10
Um...Monopoly. No thanks. For parents, this classic game requires the patience of Job. And calculators. Nobody's got time for that. Good thing Parker Brothers introduced Monopoly Deal a few years back. It takes all the highlights of Monopoly—accumulating properties, making money, simple strategy—and speeds it way up. You can play a full game in about 10 minutes or less. And it's much easier to carry with you.
Sorry Revenge 6 of 10
Sorry! doesn't take quite as long as Monopoly, but it's still one of those games that can take waaaaay longer than I want to spend. Sorry Revenge speeds the game play way up with this card-based version. It's portable, speedy, easy to learn, and the game play is pretty close to Blackjack, with a few twists...which means it helps with your kids' adding skills.
Scrabble Slam 7 of 10
Help your kids learn four-letter words! Seriously, regular Scrabble is still too hard for most kids, but the short words you can make by limiting the card-game play of Scrabble Slam is perfect for them. It's quick, easy to learn, and improves their vocabulary. Even better, you won't find little wooden Scrabble tiles under the furniture.
Phase 10 8 of 10
A great family card game. Phase 10 takes a little longer than some of the others in this list, but we typically cut our playing time in half by playing only five "phases" instead of all ten. It's a rummy-type game so it requires a bit of strategy, but is simple enough for kids 6 and up.
Telestrations 9 of 10
Remember the "telephone game" where you never know what you'll end up with by the time a word or phrase reaches the end of the circle? Telestrations is like that but with simple drawings. And I'm not exaggerating when I say it cracks us up more than any other game we play. You don't have to keep score, so this is pretty much just a hilarious activity. Everyone plays at the same time, which means no waiting around between turns. A fantastic and fun diversion for parents AND kids.
Qwirkle 10 of 10
Qwirkle is another family game that's interesting/challenging enough for parents to enjoy but simple enough (shapes and colors!) for kids as young as age 6. It teaches thinking ahead since you earn points strategically by aligning your shapes and colors. We've found that our oldest ends up helping the younger kids make better plays and combinations—which I love.