This post contains affiliate links. My family received review copies of some video games in consideration for the gift guide. All opinions are our own.
One of our favorite family activities is playing games together. Sometimes it’s a board game, other times we break out the Wii U for interactive video games. If you’re looking for some fun games that you can play together as a family (or separately when you need downtime), here are some kid-approved games that you can give your family this holiday season.
Fun Family Games For All Ages
Card & Board Games for the Family
If you have kids ages 8 and up, I recommend the card game Fluxx by Looney Labs. It’s a clever strategy game with rules you change, depending on the cards in your hand. It might take a couple of games to understand the quirky rules, but it’s a a fun and portable game for kids and adults.
Game of Life: This classic board game has been revamped to make it easier to set up and play. It’s one of my favorite board games. Where else can I earn a 100K paycheck as an artist? With a little help, Jaxson has been playing Game of Life with us since he was three. Also, he’s really good at playing the stock market. Both kids enjoy it so much, they are asking for a new version of the game: The Game of Life Money and Asset Board Game, Fame Edition.
I love playing Monopoly but it just takes too long. So we play Monopoly Junior instead. The game is simple enough for a preschooler and will hold their attention just long enough to finish the game.
For older kids and adults who are Star Wars fans, try Star Wars The Clone Wars Monopoly. Instead of buying Boardwalk you can buy Jabba the Hut’s place. Our kids have just started their Star Wars education so this is a fun way for them to learn about the different landmarks and characters.
I keep a set of Rory’s Story Cubes in the car. I pull them out whenever we know we’ll have a long wait at a restaurant or doctor’s visit. To play, just roll the dice and use the pictures to make up a story. Sometimes we go around and each person gets one die and the next person continues where the previous left off. The cubes are good for homeschooling or for writers who need a little inspiration.
When the kids get a little older, we plan on introducing them to the strategy card game Munchkin Deluxe. It’s a silly game filled with treasure, monsters, and magical items. Before we had kids, we’d spend hours playing Munchkin with our friends–it encourages silliness. Now there there’s different incarnations of Munchkin and add-ons: Munchkin Zombies, Munchkin Adventure Time, Munchkin Bites!, Munchkin Princesses and more!
Video Games For the Family
You can’t go wrong with any game from Ubisoft’s Just Dance franchise. We just grabbed a copy of the latest, Just Dance 2015 for our Wii U. We’ve been dancing to popular hits like “Let It Go” from Frozen and “Bang Bang” by Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj. There’s also classics for us geezers, such as “Walk This Way” by Run DMC and Aerosmith. We have the Wii U version, but had a chance to play it on the Xbox Kinect last month. No matter what console you have, you’ll have fun and burn off those extra holiday calories.
Don’t tell the kids, but Santa might bring them Nintendo’s newest game Super Smash Bros. (Wii U or 3DS). Play your favorite Nintendo characters in this fast action battle game. Will you play Mario, Kirby, Pikachu or Sonic? If you have the Wii U, you can expand game play with the amiibo figures. The best part is that you won’t need special equipment to use the NFC technology. Just tap it to your Wii U Gamepad to insert them in the game.
My kids saved their allowance and birthday money to purchase Skylanders Trap Team Starter Pack when it came out in early November. I love watching my kids play the game together. They learn how to work and communicate as a team when they play. Right now, Amazon has heavily discounted the game–we paid a lot more for it when it came out. Skylanders Trap Team is available for several different game consoles as well as different tablet versions.
This summer I got a sneak preview of LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (available on several platforms). We’ve played several games in the LEGO video game franchises and they’re always top notch. I expect no less from this one. The kids are big fans of Batman after watching The Lego Movie.
We played our first Poptropica game a couple of years ago, and even I became hooked. The cute characters appeal to all ages. While Poptropica Forgotten Islands (3DS) is a one player game, we huddle together over Sophia’s 3DS or Jaxson’s 2DS and work together to gather clues for this adventure game.
Sophia is obsessed with Pokemon, which means her little brother is too. With the new Pokémon Alpha Sapphire & Pokémon Omega Ruby, they can connect their Nintendo 3DS and 2DS so they can enter each other’s games. Sometimes they have Pokemon battles against each other. Other times they just walked around and visit. I love that Nintendo creates games that the kids can play by themselves or together.
When your kids beg for a dog and you’re not ready to get a new pet? Then it’s Ubisoft’s Petz Beach & Petz Countryside (3DS & 2DS) to the rescue! In both games, kids adopt virtual (yay) petz and can teach them new tricks using voice recognition. They can help other villagers and go on quests and missions. Jaxson is a little young for the game, since there’s a bit of reading involved, but he and I play together. Choose either a beach or countryside theme for your virtual pet and hopefully the kids won’t ask for a puppy any time soon.
Whew! You’re going to have lots of fun family time with those games. Better stock up before you get snowed in.