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Our Top 10 Favorite Family Board Games + Card Games

Family Board Games

Our family has always loved playing card games and board games, and we try to have at least one “Family Game Night” a week. From our humble beginnings when Candy Land and Go Fish were our only options with small kids, we’ve graduated to strategy games where everyone – kids included – has a fair shot at winning and there are often bragging rights involved!

Below you’ll find the best family board games for kids. These fun board games and card games are ideal for a great family game night or even some one-one-one quality time with your son or daughter. These games will get your kids off their video games and get them excited about strategy board games or fun family time.

Many of the games on our list say 8+ on the box, but our youngest is a quick learner and loves games of strategy, so he has been playing most of these games with us starting at age 6. Every child is different so don’t assume you have to wait to try a new game just because they don’t match the age on the box.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means we will receive a small commission when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. Thank you for supporting Lakeland Mom! We only recommend games for kids and families that we play and love ourselves.

Below you’ll find our 10 favorite kid-approved AND parent-approved family board games that we play on a regular basis. (It’s now actually a few more because we added new favorites since this article was originally published in 2018)

The Best Board Games + Card Games for Families

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Ticket to Ride

The objective of this train board game is to see who can travel by rail to the most cities in North America in just seven days. You’ll try to fill up train routes across the US, earning points as you go. Not the easiest game to explain, but we all picked it up easily the first time we played and it is now a favorite. Over 4,000 reviewers on Amazon seem to think so too!  Variations include Original Ticket to Ride (North America), United Kingdom, Asia, Europe, Heart of Africa, Nordic Countries, and First Journey for kids ages 6+.

Number of Players: 2 – 5
Age listed on box: 8+
Time required: 30-60 minutes (we say at least an hour, especially while learning)
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The instructions on this game make it sound WAY more complicated than it is. Basically, you lay out a grid of 25 random words. There are two spymasters who have a secret pattern of 8 words they are trying to complete. The spymaster gives one word clues to their teammate(s) trying to get them to guess specific words in the grid, preferably multiple words that are connected in some way.  Does require some complex thinking as you also are trying to avoid them guessing other specific words on the board.

Number of Players: 2 – 8
Age listed on box: 14+ (my kids are 8 & 10 and totally get the concept, there are some words in the box they don’t know and we just set those aside)
Time required: 15+ minutes per round, can play multiple rounds
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This game is FAST PACED and EXCITING! A family friend introduced us to this fast, fun game. Start with a handful of cards and trade anywhere from 1-4 cards at a time while trying to secure a full set of identical cards. Much like the stock trading floor you’ll find yourself yelling “two, two!” as you try and make a trade. First one to collect all the same commodity cards wins the round.
PS – We discovered in the Smithsonian Museum of American History in DC that this game was invented in 1904!

Number of Players: 3 – 8
Age listed on box: 7+
Time required: Each round takes less than 3 minutes (the fewer players the shorter the round) so you can control how long you play. We usually set a limit like “first person to 6 hands wins”
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As a “spin off” of sorts from the card game Rummy, we all love this game of numbers and strategy. Players take turns placing numbered tiles in runs (2, 3, 4, 5) or groups (all 4’s in different colors). You can play on other people’s tiles, and even rearrange tiles that have already been played. The first player to use all of their tiles wins! Reinforces STEM skills like sequencing and pattern recognition.

Number of Players: 2 – 4
Age listed on box: 8+
Time required: 30-45 minutes
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This classic dice game has each player roll 5 dice and try to fill up their score card. With each turn you roll the dice 3 times, saving certain dice each turn, with the goal of filling each slot on your score card. Slots include full house, small straight, large straight, numbers 1 – 6, and of course YAHTZEE – 5 of a kind!

Number of Players: 2+
Age listed on box: 8+
Time required: 20-30+ minutes depending on the number of players and how fast players make decisions
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Avocado Smash

New to our rotation in 2020, this is a quick and easy to learn card game, ideal for nights we want to squeeze in a quick game but not anything that might stretch out for a while. This is a twist on the game snap, the deck of avocado numbered cards is split evenly between all the players, you take turns going in a circle flipping your top card down and saying “1 Avocado, 2 Avocados, 3 Avocados, etc.” If the number you say matches the number on your card, it is a SMASH and everyone has to slap the deck. Last one has to add all of the cards to their own deck, the goal is to be the first one to run out of cards. To make it fun there are also Guacamole cards in the deck (everyone yells out “GUACAMOLE!”) and other surprises.

Number of Players: 2+
Age listed on box: 6+
Time required: 10-15 minutes per game
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Shut The Box

This dice rolling game seems like a game of luck, except the strategy comes in when the player chooses how you’ll use your dice! Be the first person to flip down all of your numbers – 1 through 10. Roll an 8? Flip down the 1 & 7, 2 & 6, 3 & 5, or just the 8. This is a great tool for teaching basic addition. The player rolls the dice, adds up the values, and then lays down the tiles that have the sum.

Number of Players: 2 – 4
Age listed on box: 8+
Time required: Varies – a single round can be as short as 10 minutes, or longer depending on how a player wins it all.
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Apples to Apples Junior

Apples to Apples is a fun party game or family game, but the challenge with using the original game is all the cards kids might not understand. Enter the Junior version! The box says ages 9+ but we’ve been playing this since my youngest was 6. Players take turns being the judge. The judge begins each round by playing a Green Apple card that features a one-word characteristic, such as Crunchy, Smelly, or Excellent. The other players must then look at the Red Apple cards in their hands and select the one they think is best described by the judge’s card. It’s a game of crazy comparisons!

Number of Players: 4 – 8
Age listed on box: 9+ (we think you could start playing as soon as your child has a vocabulary to work from)
Time required: 30-60 minutes
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Apples to Apples Disney Edition

Another favorite for the Disney fans! Cards include movie characters and references.
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It was Miss Peacock… in the Kitchen…. with a Rope! This classic game has plenty of spin-offs including Harry Potter Clue, Big Bang Theory Clue, Clue Junior, Star Wars Clue, and many more. The concept remains the same! Using your guesses and the process of elimination, the detective in you will enjoy figuring out the culprit and the scene of the incident.

Number of Players: 2 – 6
Age listed on box: 8+
Time required: 30-45 minutes
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This game is actually funniest if you can’t draw very well! Using a handheld white board and erasable marker, create your best masterpiece and hope your partner has good guessing skills. The game includes both adult and junior cards so the whole family can play. We’ve gotten a LOT of laughs out of this game – the best one being when my 7 year old had to draw the word “bikini.”

Number of Players: 2 teams (minimum of 4 players)
Age listed on box: 8+
Time required: 20-45 minutes
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ir?t=lakemom 20&language=en US&l=li3&o=1&a=B00NQQTXU8Scrabble Junior

A friend gave this to my son as a birthday gift and we love it! While it includes a blank side to play regular Scrabble, the “easier” side has all of the words already laid out and the exact number of letter tiles to match what is on the board. This means anyone who knows their letters can participate. Still requires some strategy as you only get points for completing a word, so hold onto your rare letters until the time is right!

Number of Players: 2 – 4
Age listed on box: 5+
Time required: 30-45 minutes
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UNO Attack

A variation on the original game of UNO, instead of a draw pile you use the card shooter. Sometimes you get nothing, sometimes you’ll be adding 6+ cards to your hand! Offers an exciting new way to play a familiar favorite.

Number of Players: 2 – 10
Age listed on box: 7+ (anyone who can play regular UNO can play UNO Attack)
Time required: 30-45 minutes
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Trivial Pursuit – with a twist…

We’ve never been able to play Trivial Pursuit as a family because most decks are from a specific decade (80’s, 90’s, etc) or the questions are way too hard. While there is a

Friends recently introduced us to a new way to play where EVERYONE can participate and I LOVED it. You’ll need one Trivial Pursuit board and multiple trivial pursuit decks (travel versions work great!), examples are listed below. Each person gets to pick the deck they want a question from. So one person can answer Friends trivia questions, another Harry Potter, someone else Beatles, or even the classic edition. Everyone has an equal shot of answering questions correctly and no one feels dumb (like I do with most Trivial Pursuit games). You can even pick a different deck based on the color you are answering.

Trivial Pursuit Decks:

The one thing you might need to figure out is if there are any colors not found on every card, for example – newer cards don’t include brown, it is purple instead.

Family Game Night Favorites for Kids & Adults

Below you’ll find a few more fun family board games plus board games for adults.

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