Family Game Night Ideas

Family Game Night Ideas

Everyone scores something when you have a family game night. Kids learn new games and how to win or lose graciously, while parents get to act like kids again. Game night might seem purely entertaining, but it also helps build bonds that can strengthen your family. Grab your dice and embrace a little friendly competition as you prepare for a fun-filled night.

Plan Your Night

Spontaneous game nights work, but planning ahead gives you a chance to coordinate the details. To turn game night into a tradition, set a regular, recurring night, such as the first Friday of every month, for your activities. Family time should be relaxing and enjoyable, but a few ground rules will only help keep the night going. As tough as it may be, ban phones, TV and other electronic distractions that can keep everyone from connecting. The location is another consideration. The dining room table is a common option, but you can also head outdoors or play a card game at your family’s favorite restaurant.

Go with a Theme

Who doesn’t love a theme party? Game night isn’t a formal soiree, but a theme adds a little extra something to the activity. The theme helps you choose games, plan snacks and even make decorations if you want to go all out. For example, you might want a night of word games and/or crossword puzzles. Another option is to give the night a dramatic vibe with a game of charades that includes dress-up.

Move Beyond Board Games

Families often have a stash of board games stored away in a closet or basement. Game night gives you a chance to dust off those boxes, but you don’t have to stick with board games. Active games, such as tag, ladder golf and badminton, are good for your family’s health — and good for lots of laughs. You don’t want your kids to spend too much time sitting still, but a few rounds of a video game is another option. Alternatively, you can make up your own games. You may even come up with a new family favorite.

Give the Kids the Reigns

Kids are used to parents running the show, so why not surprise them by letting them plan family game night? This gives your kids practice in decision-making and negotiation if they don’t agree on the games or details of the event. Let the kids choose the games, snacks and schedule for the entire night. As they get older, your kids might want to include friends at your family game night. Decide ahead of time if guests are permitted around the playing table to avoid a game-day disagreement.

References & Resources

Parent Further: Family Time Is Important!
Family Circle: The New Family Game Night

About the Author

Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience come from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.