This was a fun topic to research. There are so many ways to spend time together that don’t require the internet or an actual game in a box. It’s definitely a skill we haven’t used as much as we should. We’d love to hear your favorites, but here’s a few to get your imaginations flowing.
A deck of cards is so versatile
There are so many games that only require a deck of cards. Poker has enjoyed a resurgence lately and it’s a great way to teach some basic math skills, as well as picking up on social cues. When was the last time you played Go Fish, Crazy Eights, or Old Maid? Hearts and Rummy can be fun team games and Slapjack is an old family favorite.
You can find a great list of card games on Delia Creates.
If you have dice or dominoes, you have even more games to play
Yahtzee and Farkle have been family favorites for years. With dominoes we usually play train or spinners. These are great ways to learn matching, basic math, and strategy. You can also stack them and watch them fall.
But there’s a lot of games you can play with a pencil and piece of paper
Tic, Tac, Toe is maybe the simplest, but we also like Hangman and Dots and Squares. When you’re done, you can have a paper plane build-off.
And really, you don’t need anything
I, Spy and Telephone are always good for a giggle. You can play Hide and Seek almost anywhere. You might need more room for Duck, Duck, Goose or Musical Chairs. Simon Says is easy to explain and easy to make silly. You can build a fort out of cushions and sheets or pretend the floor is lava.
But if you’re interested in our favorites that come in a box...
We like Checkers, Chess and Connect 4. Uno and Sorry are super fun for small groups. If you’ve got some time, Monopoly and Risk can fill a whole day. If you’ve got a thinker in the house, then we suggest Scrabble or Othello. And you can’t go wrong with Chutes and Ladders, Candy Land, or The Game of Life.
You’re only limited by your imagination
You could do a scavenger hunt. Have a stacking contest with different random objects. There are sciencey things you can do with things you probably have around the house. You can do a puzzle, draw together, and even make up your own game.
Here’s a list of 75 indoor games from Family Fun Twin Cities. That should keep most families busy for a while.
That’s our list. We know we didn’t even scratch the surface. What are your favorites? Are there games that are the best for fun and learning? What if you have a weird number of people, like seven? Is there anything you play when you only have a few minutes but need to distract the kids? Let us know in the comments and we’ll spread the word.