Games for Kids

Ever since I was a young girl, my family always played a lot of fun board games.  We had one night a week that was our family game night.  Once I started my own family, I always tried to include games for my kids while they were growing up.  Their first games, of course, were often kids learning games and various preschool and kindergarten games.

Once my kids were a little older, my Christmas list always included the most fun games for kids that I could find. Besides the typical popular board games, I find that light strategy games are helpful in developing logical thinking. Games instill both cooperative play and friendly competitiveness. They also present many opportunities to teach good sportsmanship. But most of all, I enjoy a good family game because of the interactions, fun and laughter.  It’s one way to have fun with several different age groups … and that isn’t always easy.

I will admit that I have never been a proponent of long games, ones that can take hours to play such as Monopoly, but I have a few die-hard Monopoly fans in my family, both young and old.  A little spoiler alert though, there is a really fun card version of Monopoly that everyone in my family enjoys and that is the Monopoly Deal card game.  There are so many fun board games for kids and also tons of fun board games for adults that can be played as family games.

And even though card games have been around forever, having a basic set of cards around the house, in the car and in travel bags makes for a fun spur of the moment chance for play.  I mention this because just a few weeks ago I was having a fast food dinner moment with two of my tween and teen grandkids.  There seemed to be so much silence even when I was trying to engage them in conversation.  Well, I pulled out the card deck and almost immediately the atmosphere changed.  There was almost instant laughter and engagement.  Who knew?

Card games abound and many are easy enough for even a six year old to play. Some of the basic card games we often play are Go Fish, War, Crazy Eights and Spoons.  Spoons is super simple and the kids always want to play over and over again.  Best of all, all you need are the standard card decks to play.

There are so many fun games to choose from that sometimes it is difficult to make a selection.  Actually, when I see a new game that looks interesting, I will sometimes buy just one of the games as a trial and give it to the kids for a gift.  That way we can play test it to make sure it’s a game that I want to buy and add to each of my kids family games collections.

What fun games for kids and families do I recommend that are worth buying or downloading?  See my favorite games list below.

Preschool Games

Playing games during the preschool years can be extremely beneficial to a child’s development, both mental and physical.  It is also a great tool for social interaction to say nothing of the fun play value. Games for preschoolers should be in every parent and teacher’s early learning toolbox.

Educational Games

Truthfully, there are many educational games to choose from.  There are games that help children with early concepts, like letters, colors, numbers and basic math. Some are flashcards, some are actual board games. These can often be found by searching through the online catalogs of educational game companies.  But the games that have even more educational value are some of the ones I want to share here.  Games that teach an actual life experience.

Election teaches the Electoral College system, politics, geography and strategic planning.  Players get to plan an entire campaign strategy and go through the process of voting to try to become President of the United States.

StartUp is a business board game in which players compete to guide their startup company from launch to the completion of a corporate headquarters.  The StartUp board game teaches business and math skills and models many real business situations, such as the value of investing in your business, the risks and rewards of business opportunities, and the trade-offs in a Capital Opportunity or an IPO.

Kids Board Games

Two of the early classic board games that kids are first introduced to are Candyland and Chutes and Ladders.  These are easy to play games, however, it can be frustrating for young children when they pick cards and get moved backwards.  So my suggestion is to wait to play these two games until your children are old enough to accept a bit of rejection.  There are other early games that foster more cooperation when playing and some of those are probably more appropriate for a fun gametime.

Fun Family Games

Some of the best board games are ones that can be played by the entire family.  And the best thing is that they are games to play at home.  Yes, there are many classics, including Sorry, Chess and Scrabble, but these are the games that my family enjoys the very most.  This list includes card, dice, word, board and domino type games.

Some of the above games have been around for eons.  But they are still amazingly fun to play.  Generations have played Monopoly and Clue and now there are all sorts of versions of these games to keep them fresh and interesting.  As I mentioned before, I am always on the search for a good, fun game.  But some of the old classics just can’t be beat.

Online Games

If you have a preschooler, one of the best ways to introduce basic computer skills is through online preschool games.  Of course you will want to only utilize well-known sites and verified safe sites and bookmark them so this is the only place they can navigate to.  There are controls that you can use on your computer to do this.

Speaking about online games, I cannot stress enough how important it is to explain computer safety to your kids once they begin to find their way around a computer.  Stranger danger is even more real online, so do find out how to protect your kids in these tech-oriented times.

Some of the best fun online games for preschool can be found right here on ZiggityZoom.  Our online games concentrate on early learning concepts while providing a fun experience.  Teachers and parents alike use these games to help reinforce early concepts of colors, numbers, letters, memory and fine motor development.

Other kids sites that feature online preschool games are Sprout, Nick Junior, Disney and PBS Kids.  Many of the games revolve around the characters featured in their television shows.  Most of the games are simple but fun games for young children.

Kids Game Apps

Kids play tons of different games that are actual apps on their ipods, ipads and smartphones.  These are all geared to different age groups.  So you can find apps suitable for toddlers, beginning readers, tweens and teens.  It is up to the parent, of course, to make sure your kids are playing age-appropriate games.  Monitoring is essential in this day and age of tech.  While I think it is fun and appropriate for kids to play these app games on their devices, parents need to take control and set basic parameters.  Some parents only let their children play these single player games if they earn time for doing chores or homework.

Obviously, there are thousands upon thousands of game apps to choose from.  And new apps are being introduced every single day.  It’s hard to keep up, but when I find one we like, I always try to pass it on.

Card Games

Most of the card games I play with my kids and grandkids are played with a standard deck of cards.  What do we like to play?  Mostly they are fun games that can be played within 10 to 15 minutes.  By far, I have to say that we have the most fun playing Spoons, especially if we have a bunch of people playing.  It’s not as much fun when only a few play.

  • Go Fish
  • War
  • Crazy Eights
  • Spoons 

If you’ve never played Spoons, you are in for a treat.  All you need are a deck of cards and enough spoons so that you are one short for the number of players. (i.e.  if there are 6 players, use 5 spoons).  There are a few minor variations to playing this game but here is how we play it.  Object is to get 4 of a kind.  Deal 5 cards to each player.  Dealer will then start drawing a card at a time from the remaining card deck.  He then discards one of his cards and passes it face-down to player on his left.  He repeats this action quickly and at the same time, each player is picking up a card passed to them, discarding a card and passing to player to their left.

The very first player to get 4 of any kind, discreetly pulls a spoon from the center of the table.  As other players notice, they too try to discreetly steal a spoon.  Player without a spoon is out of the game.  Next round a spoon is removed, always keeping one less spoon than number of players.  Play continues until there is one player left, the winner.

Free Kids Games

Lots of different games can be played on the spur of the moment.  How many times have you played Tic Tac Toe or Hangman and all you needed was a pencil and a scrap of paper?  These games can be played anywhere and anytime.  They are great ideas for fun free games to play especially when traveling.  When kids are bored and we are out somewhere, these are my go-to games.  But I do always have a deck of cards tucked somewhere in the car or my bag … just in case.

  • Tic Tac Toe
  • Hangman
  • 20 Questions
  • I Spy
  • I’m Going to California

Video Games

A special mention should be made about one particular game that kids can play on their PlayStation or Xbox.  And that is Minecraft.  Minecraft is an exceptional game that both boys and girls play and I am constantly amazed at the skill these kids already have.  Kids as young as 6 and 7 start playing this game of building villages, castles, forts, houses and everything in between.  The skills these kids are developing is actually mind-blowing.

Outdoor Games

Lest we forget the good old fashioned games to be played outdoors, we do try to encourage as much outdoor play as possible.  Fresh air, nature and friends makes for a lot of fun.  Some of the best games are played outdoors and we even try to come up with some original games to play, which adds some extra excitement.

Family Game Night

Kids treasure time spent with siblings, parents and grandparents.  Playing games together as a family strengthens those bonds and creates fun memories.  Plus, playing games on a regular basis and instituting family game night is something your children will probably pass on as a tradition in their own families.  Whenever possible, consider giving a fun board game as a gift for special occasions, birthdays or Christmas.  It’s something the kids can play over and over again and it encourages family play time.

Wish List of Games

There are also a few games that I have come across that I’ve been meaning to try.  Maybe you’ve tried one of them.  I’d love to hear what you think.

If you want a little more info and other fun game suggestions, here are a few good links:


games for kids free