For my kids, their siblings have been their only playmates for months. And hey! Now that we’re heading into yet another weekend during Covid, that means finding a few more family activities. Our default is to sit around the table and play card games or board games together, but that can present a challenge when there’s a big age gap at home — and my kids range from 6 to 15.
I imagine we’re not the only ones who grapple with this, especially if you’re “quaran-teaming” now with cousins of different ages.
So good news, I’ve put together a list of a few board games that have actually been fun for our younger kids and our older kids.
Because as sweet as your teenager may be, there’s a limit to how many times anyone over about 6 can play Pretty Pretty Princess without losing it.
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When it comes to keeping kids of all ages happy, one successful strategy is to choose a game with a theme everyone loves. Right now, I’m excited about the new Disney Jungle Cruise board game, based on the old-timey ride at Disney World — and we’re all excited to see the new movie adaptation coming out next year. So surprise! There’s a licensed tie-in game for kids 8 and up from the game masters at Ravensburger, that’s newly available now. And it really is entertaining.
The goal is to maneuver your boat to the end of the map with cargo and passengers still on board, and it’s full of all the silliness you get on the ride thanks to the cheesy puns on every card. I think it could be a new family favorite. (Thanks to Ravensburger, for sending us a copy for editorial consideration. It’s a hit!)
Color Brain is one of my family’s favorite games to play all together. We actually have the Disney version of Color Brain but I plan to add the basic set to our collection too. The gameplay is very simple and fast, which makes it great for little kids, despite the 12+ age reco. It’s also perfect for your tweens and teens who want to get back to chatting with their friends.
Each game card has an item on it, like, Thomas the Train or Belle’s dress. Each player is dealt a hand of cards with solid colors on them, and the goal is to turn in a card that matches the object listed. (For example, if the Thomas the Train card is played, you’ll turn in your blue card.)
Don’t be deceived, some of the items are much harder than others; some have up to 5 colors on them, while some will even be easier for younger kids than older ones. This helps levels the playing field and keep things lively for everyone. Highly recommend!
Liz’s kids have raved about Not Parent Approved since it first came out, and it’s still a family favorite of theirs. It’s like Cards Against Humanity…for kids. It’s gross and silly and funny — be prepared for lots of booger jokes and fart jokes and irreverent references to teachers and grandparents. Let’s call it a gentle PG. But as long as your child can read and understand the references, they can play this game — or, partner them up with a parent or older sibling. Because we’ve found that kids still love this, even into their teens.
If your younger kids are up for a little more strategy in their game play then they’re going to get from most party games, I suggest you introduce them to Carcassone. It’s the first strategy board game we’ve played with all of our kids, and they’ve all been huge fans.
No reading is required; iall you have to do is build a kingdom by match ing your tile game pieces so that roads meet roads, grass meets grass, castles meet castles and so on. When playing with younger kids, we eliminate the “farmer” aspect of the game (read more about that in the rules) to keep it simpler, but one of the reasons we really love this one is that there are endless expansions you can buy to keep the game interesting.
And when you have endless nights and weekends to fill with family time, that’s a big deal!