Games For Kids To Play Indoors
Between cold temperatures, winter sniffles and wanting to stay inside, this is the season for the whole family to get into games.
We're talking board games, card games, silly games, hard games, games that get your body moving and any other type of game that will pass the time and help build bonds. Bonus, when you buy board games and puzzles gently used, you can get more variety, not just to keep game night fresh, but to find out what everyone really wants to play.
With this list for each major age group, families can find the perfect addition to game night.
Games for Babies & Toddlers
For really young kids there aren't a lot of true games out there, at least not in the board game sense. Instead, game night involves a lot of imagination and often accouterments. Very young babies can easily be entertained by a game of peek-a-boo or the "where's baby" blanket game.
For toddlers, a colorful bowling set can lend to fun. Also stock up on big, chunky wooden puzzles, perfect for tiny hands to grasp while the kids practice hand-eye coordination and learn to piece things together. Or, let them enjoy the sounds of the farm or zoo with a classic See 'n Say, something they can play with on their own.
This is also a good time for little ones to practice their color and shape skills. There are plenty of shape-sorter kits, which cost under $10 when sourced second hand. Or, pick up a snazzy set of cards. If you have nothing on hand, call out things around the house for them to find. For example, say, "Look for something green," or "can you see a red circle anywhere?" These games engage small children, and help pass the time when they can’t go outside.
Games for Preschool Kids
One can never have too many puzzles, and for this age group a floor puzzle is the way to go. The large format of this type of puzzle feels special, and while it takes up space, clean up proves easy. Order a gently-used version for a fraction of the cost. Or, trade different puzzles with friends to refresh the cache.
On the board game side, there are some great options for preschool kids, starting with the non-competitive Pete the Cat Missing Cupcake game. The Ladybug Game is a favorite, and was designed by a kid for kids. Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders are classic board games, though be warned after the tenth time in a row, many adults get sick of it. Luckily there are many versions of these games featuring superheroes, unicorns, Winnie the Pooh and more. Finally, Zingo, the preschool version of bingo, and it's energetic enough that little ones get a bit of a workout too.
If you want a little more action inside, strike up a game of Simon Says. You don't need a lot of room to get kids to do silly things such as acting like a monkey, spinning in a circle or singing a song. When there are four or more kids and enough room to make a circle, a game of duck, duck, goose is in order. Hot potato is another good one, and can be played with two or more people. The "potato" in this game can be any object you want. There are also pre-made toys used to play a version of hot potato that sing or make sounds.
Games for Grade School Kids
Probably one of the funnest groups to play games with are kids in grade school. We're talking ages 5 to about 10. Break out a checker or chess board for epic battles of the mind. Or shuffle a deck of Uno cards and get ready to yell when your sassy child skips you and makes you draw four. Mouse Trap too can get grade school kids excited as they build the device to trap the mouse and win the game.
This age group can also get down with a more challenging puzzle, working with 25 to 500 pieces depending one their skill level. The only thing you need is a space to do it in, safe from younger siblings, curious fingers and small cats who like to jump on things.
On the board game side, it's time to introduce them to Monopoly, either the original version or the junior one. Choose from a classic set or one featuring Trolls, Littlest Pet Shop, Peppa Pig, Avengers and other beloved characters. Another traditional game to check out is Operation, that surgeon-themed activity where players try and take out bones and organs without zapping the patient. And, if you want to practice reading and critical thinking, Apples to Apples proves super fun for everyone in the family old enough to play.
Games for Kids Ages 10+
When it comes to older kids the options seem endless as there are so many new games and classic games to consider. Bonus, these games are fun for adults too. On the newer end, whimsical card games like Exploding Kittens, Unstable Unicorns, Bears vs. Babies and Artsy Fartsy use strategy and get the giggles going.
For tried and true games, you can't go wrong with Clue. There are junior versions for younger kids, as well as character-themed sets featuring Harry Potter, Scooby Doo, Ghostbusters and more. Make sure to get a copy of Taboo too, it's "the game of unspeakable" fun and makes for an energetic game night that will also get kids thinking about vocabulary. And, if your child is more into fantasy, there are various versions of the adventure game Catan showcasing pirates, barbarians, space rangers and more.
Don't underestimate a good deck of cards either. It's easy to get into a quiet and intense game of rummy, war, hearts, crazy 8s and more. Bonus, add a bit of competition by betting M&Ms, Skittles, carrot coins or anything else that works as currency in your house.
No matter the age of your kid(s), there's some sort of game and inside entertainment to be had. By starting young parents can establish game nights, a healthy family activity to bring everyone together. And, as the gaming culture grows, there are more and more options on the market to explore.