Our Favorite Family Board Games

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family playing board game. The Omaha MomCompetition. Victory beat boxing. The sweet bragging rights you can hold over your siblings. Shared memories when something absolutely unbelievable happens in the game. The glue that holds together (or pushes apart) relatives who have not seen each other but one other time this year. Board games. We have all played them and many of us love them. My family and I sure do.

Our Favorite Family Board Games

In the world of board games, I wouldn’t consider myself an aficionado.  But I do enjoy board games more than the average bear. I appreciate how they spark bonding moments and how they stimulate your brain.  Heck, as a mom, I appreciate that I have an activity that isn’t screen time and that I don’t have to prepare anything for with my children.  We play a board game most days. Let me introduce you to a few games that will be fun for the whole family this holiday season. To make it super easy, there is a link to where you can buy them from the comfort of your own home.

Sleeping Queens

Ages: Packaging says 8+ (We started playing at 4)

Reading: None required, Optional
Math: Optional

A game with queens and knights and dragons and math? Oh my! This relatively simple card game will enchant your clan with the whimsical pictures and the story-line it tells as you fight to see who can collect the most queens and save them from opponents’ sleeping potions and dragons. There is even a built-in opportunity to learn addition and subtraction equations (which we used with our 5-year-old before kindergarten but is very easy to leave out). This game was designed by a child, and her father helped her get it into production.

Ticket to Ride: First Journey

Ages: Packaging says 8+ (We started at 6)

Reading: Helpful but not necessary

If you have played the adult version of Ticket to Ride, you will enjoy the Ticket to Ride: First Journey version. It takes the best of the original and preserves it- while making it simple enough for kids. The goal of the game is to build railroad routes across the United States by exchanging different colored cards for different colored trains. It involves some counting. Reading is helpful but not necessary as the game makers have added symbols to each city to make it easy to match the routes with their cities on the map. I can see the joy on my 7 year old’s face as I think about this game and the times she has beaten her daddy. You won’t regret investing in this one!

Ruckus Card Game

Ages: 5+ (You could start as young as 3)

Reading: None required, Optional

This game is one that you will enjoy playing and won’t grow old quickly. It isn’t too complicated for my 5-year-old to play and my 7-year-old and (bonus!) my husband and I really enjoy it as well. The goal of the game is to find matches but with the twist that you are supposed to take the other person’s pile of matches whenever you get a card that matches theirs. I thought this might mean many melt-downs but instead it has turned into a place of friendly, relatively equitable competition. It is fast-paced, chaotic and we have shared many laughs over it.

Animal Upon Animal

Ages: 4-99

Reading: None included

This game is unique. It comes with a collection of wooden animals that the players take turns stacking upon each other until one player is out of animals.  You don’t want to knock the stack over or it will set you back. While you are at it, if you want unique children’s games, check out the maker HABA.

It was difficult to pick as few games as I did. Here are some other games we have enjoyed: Sequence for Kids, Zingo!, Alphabet Bingo, Cupcake Game, Memory, Life Jr.

May your get-togethers with family and friends be filled with some stimulating competition!

What family board games would you add to the list?

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Jenny is a fifth generation Nebraskan. She is a true city girl and has lived in Omaha for 15 years of her life! She loves meeting new people and having real conversations. In her day job, she leads a Christian ministry -where she helps college students develop a meaningful relationship with Jesus. She has been married for over a decade and her husband and her have two amazing girls. In her free time, you will find Jenny navigating the new world of being a school mom, exploring area parks and trying to show up for people in a non-judgmental way (there may also be some reality tv involved).

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