Need Some Family Time? 8 of the Best Family (No Screen) Games From Toddler to Tween

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I like talking to my kid. When my son was a toddler, I couldn’t get a word in during our conversations, but now as an 8-year-old, he doesn’t talk as openly as he once did. School, activities, and, yep, his favorite thing — screen time — keep his brain preoccupied. So, some days he stays on the quiet side. 

The best way I’ve found to keep connecting with my son is to let the fun of “game time” work its magic. When we play our favorite card or board game, my kid reveals his innermost feelings about friends, school, and pizza toppings. So, if you like talking with your kids, too, here’s a list of eight games that encourage laughter, family bonding, and a love of kittens. 

1Pop the Pig

Don’t let this pig in a chef’s outfit fool you, because he’s loved by millions of kids worldwide. Little hands love grabbing tiny colorful hamburgers, popping them in the pig’s mouth, and pushing down on his head to watch his belly grow. The giggles and anticipation mounts until his belly pops and a winner is proclaimed! This game is a great attention keeper and can be easily reset to be played again and again. 

2Don’t Break the Ice

This classic game for kids ages 3 and up brings all the excitement of Phillip the Penguin and his chilly ice blocks to your warm home. Phillip is ready to make an igloo, so use your small mallet to help him chop blocks, but don’t break the ice, or he’ll fall in the water! Kids love the repetitive motions this game requires. A little or a lot of block-tapping strategy comes into play, and the player who can keep Phillip from falling wins. 

3Life Jr.

This board game is based on the classic Hasbro game but with simpler choices to get you through this thing called life. Created for ages 5 and up, players move around the board in a car, boat, train, or plane, picking up action and destination cards while on a family vacation. With a shorter playtime than the original, the brilliance here is in the details. Kids love spinning for turns, handling fake cash, and the imaginative choices here get everyone talking.

4Throw Throw Burrito

This inventive dodgeball card game for kids 7 and up will get you and your crew up and moving. Throw Throw Burrito has players quickly placing down cards to find matches, but the battle begins if someone plays a burrito card. The good news is there’s no messy cleanup when cute and squishy burritos are hurled at players. This game can be fast-paced and should be played in an open area — not around that sentimental vase your grandmother gave you.

5Jenga

Have your kids ever been into stacking blocks? Mine too. So, let’s not forget the ultimate wooden block-stacking and block-crashing game. For ages 6 to 106, Jenga is easy to assemble so that you can cart it to the park or to the grandparents' house for some fun block-stacking bonding. Kids love trying to outwit their opponents with their keen moves, and if you’re looking for a game kiddos enjoy cleaning up, look no further. 

6Exploding Kittens

An award-winning card game for kids 7 and older, this one is hilarious and easy to learn. You can employ as much or as little strategy as you like while drawing cards and following their instructions. Fingers crossed you don’t pick an exploding kitten card because that card boots you out of the game. (Don’t worry, you don’t actually explode.) Parent tip: My 8-year-old loves this game more than milkshakes, and he’ll work it into casual conversation with family, friends, or anyone into kittens. 

7Disney Pictopia

Alright, Disney fans, this board game covers decades of movies, television shows, and even tests your theme park knowledge. With over 1,000 magical questions, this trivia game with a twist will leave your family stumped as to how you knew answers like Princess Sophia attended Rapunzel’s wedding. And make them guess how well they know you when the “guess my answer” cards are drawn. For kids ages 7 and up, this is a must for any family looking for the happiest board game on earth. 

8Kids Against Maturity

Similar to the popular adult game Cards Against Humanity, this kid-friendly version amusingly states, “Not for overprotective hovering parents.” However, parents are encouraged to hover and pull out cards they may not approve of. Created for the 10 and up crowd, this hysterical game uses a fill-in-the-blank format to get everyone talking. Be warned there’s a good deal of age-appropriate toilet humor, but know this game has won nine awards — none of which were poopy.

Tags: Activities for Kids, gifts, holiday season, parenting, Tweens/Teens

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Written By

Tonilyn Hornung

Tonilyn is an author and freelance writer who lives with her husband, young son, many furry friends, and never enough closet space. See Full Bio

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