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Fun Family Games to Play on Weeknights

know how to publish a parenting book

Get rid of the boredom and use these family games ideas.

The holiday season is upon us. This means classes are out and people are home for the holidays, but    it’s all fun and games until people get bored and catch cabin fever. What better way to kill time waiting for the big meal than with these good game ideas to play at home with the whole family?

Here is our list of five popular and educational games to play:


Number of players: 2–8

Recommended ages: 14+

Time to play: 15 minutes


Enter a world full of spies in Codenames. Two rival spymasters compete to see who can find all of their agents first. The spymaster gives one-word clues that may point to several words on the board while their teammates try to guess the words of the right color while avoiding those on the opposite team, while avoiding the assassin. A relatively new game, this is perfect for a family that enjoys word play.

Pictionary Card Game

Number of players: 3–16

Recommended ages: 8+

Time to play: 20–30 minutes

pictionary card game

A classic party game for the family, Pictionary has been around since 1985. Unlike the original, there is no drawing required in this version. Each team must act out a clue using nothing but the simple images on each card. Players can use combinations and it ends when the first to get to five points wins. This is great for a family who loves charades but wants to shake it up a bit.


Forbidden Island

Number of players: 2–4

Recommended ages: 10+

Time to play: 30–45 minutes

forbidden island

Even with a few small pieces, this game is great with kids younger than ten, as long as there is adult supervision. A cooperative adventure card game, players find themselves on Forbidden Island and must get to the treasures before the island sinks. With fun characters with special abilities to choose from and multiple levels of difficulty, this game is perfect for a fun family night.



Number of players: 3–8

Recommended ages: 12+

Time to play: 15 minutes


A fun party game, members of your family can bluff their way while employing their skills of deduction to flush out the Spy. A game played over several rounds, each player receives a card at each game showing the same location except one player who receives a card that says “Spy” instead of the location that can either be in a submarine, a space station, or a mall. Players then ask each other somewhat vague questions related to the location to try to guess who among them is the spy. During the round, a player may be accused of being a spy, and if all the other players agree, the round ends and the accused player has to reveal their identity. If the spy is revealed, all other players get a point, but if the spy can go undetected and discover the secret location, they get the point. This game is a perfect for the theatrical family.



Number of players: 2–5

Recommended ages: 8+

Time to play: 30–45 minutes


Go build castles in a medieval setting in Carcassonne. A tile-placement game, players draw and place a tile with a piece of landscape on it that can have a city, road, monastery, grassland, or a mix, and must be placed adjacent to tiles that have been played already to connect them to the existing structure. Featuring cute little meeples that score points for the owner, the players take risks because of the many options and possibilities that can either make or break them at the end of the game.

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