Jenga is a really fun game to play with the kids for no other reason that they don’t make decisions like adults would make. They grab onto tiles that you never thought were possible, they pull with incredible force, and they are absolutely fearless in the face of certain Jenga-toppling probability. Even worse, they look at you like “no big deal” when they somehow pull off 99% of the moves that leave you scratching your head.
The Junior version of Settlers of Catan is a fun game for the family as it involves a little bit of a learning curve but not so much to discourage future game play. Any game that combines verbal and social skills – like trading resources – is a fun game to play with kids as you can see their understanding of such mechanics develop in real time. There are still some parts of the game that don’t make a ton of sense to me but it’s always fun to play with my kids.
This game is absolutely hysterical and one you may not have heard of yet. My wife, Sarah, bought it on a whim when she heard about it online and it never gets old! You’re essentially acting out a Mad Libs for the group consent of how many “stars” you get: pull a Who card, a What card, and spin a spinner for a How. Example: You’re a sloth on his way to the dentist in an ice storm. You act it out and the group decides how many stars you get out of three. It’s listed as a non-competitive game, but let’s be real, it gets competitive pretty fast.
This game really brings out the kid in me. I’m a huge fan of this game for several reasons: oversized board that takes up almost the whole room, cooperative game play, and very intricate artwork that makes it near impossible to memorize or find everything. You work together to get to the pigs picnic before they eat all your lunch. The best part of the game is when you have to search through the artwork to find certain items and place little magnifying glasses on them – definitely easier for the adults than the kids but it keeps me excited to play each time.
Scrabble Junior is a sleeper for competitive games between adults while kids also play. There’s a beginner side of the board and a more advanced side of the board, but I’ve mainly been on the beginner side. The beginner side already lays out all of the words that are possible so there is no making up the words you will use. Instead, there’s some strategy involved with where you’ll place your tiles when and how you’ll block the other players on their way to earning points. It will make more sense when you buy it but it’s pretty fun to play the “game within a game” with adults while kids also have fun learning their letters and how to spell.