April 17, 2017

Kacey Templin

9 Lesser-Known Games for Family Game Night

Topics: Creativity, STEM Education / Play, Learning Through Play

It's family game night again, but you've already played Life and Monopoly more times than you can count. You want to switch it up, but you're not sure which games your family will enjoy. Well never fear, ThinkFun has you covered! These lesser-known choices are both educational and are sure to be a hit the next time around. 


For Families with Pre-Schoolers


Zingo! by ThinkFun is a matching game for ages 4 and up that encourages children to match pictures with words on their challenge cards. The Zingo! Zinger dispenses tiles and each player matches the tiles to images on their card. The first player with a full card yells “Zingo!” to win. Pre-readers and early readers alike with enjoy learning vocabulary and word association with this fast-paced game.


Busytown - Eye Found It!

Another matching game, Busytown – Eye Found It! By Wonder Forge is a cooperative board game for preschoolers. The game board is over 6 feet long, and players race across Busytown while looking for hidden objects. You must make it to Picnic Island before Pig Will and Pig Won’t eat all of the food! If you’re looking to teach your preschooler the value of teamwork, this is the game to play!


Snug as a Bug in a Rug

Looking to teach your child counting, colors, and shapes? Try Snug as a Bug in a Rug by Peaceable Kingdom for family game night. Children don’t have to know how to read to play this game, and it helps develop association and social development skills. The challenge – get all the little bugs under the rug before the 3 stink bugs stink up the place. Take turns spinning and matching bugs before the stink bugs are sitting on top. When you find all the matches, you win!


For Families with Grade School Children

Zeus on the Loose

This is a great game to teach as your child learns about the ancient Greeks and Greek mythology. Created by Gamewright, this game involves strategic thinking along with addition and subtraction skills. Zeus has left Olympus and it’s your chance to take his place. As you play your cards, add up the numbers and climb the mythic mountain. If you reach the top with Zeus in hand, you win the game.



Dixit by Asmodee is a game that requires a lot of creativity. Players take turns playing the storytelling, telling a brief story based on a picture card. The other players must guess which card the storyteller used to create the tale, and the correct players earn points. This game inspires imaginations, and gets those creative juices flowing


Rat-a-Tat Cat

This game was a favorite with my family when I was younger, and it’s sure to be a hit with your family too! This simple, fast-paced game created by Gamewright can be enjoyed by both elementary school children and their parents. Get rid of the high cards and go for the lows cards, but make sure to keep a poker face while playing. There are chances to sneak peak, swap cards, or even make your opponent draw two. The player with the lowest score at the end is the winner. Children learn both strategy and math skills in this game that will keep you on your toes.


For Families with Older Kids

Escape the Room: Secret of Dr. Gravely’s Retreat

The second in ThinkFun’s Escape the Room line, this logic game is an escape room in a box. Designed for ages 13 and up, players are transported to the turn of the 20th century, where everyone is the lucky winner of a free stay at Foxcrest Retreat. Once you arrive, you find that things are not exactly as they seem. Everyone must use their problem-solving skills to escape before the time runs out!


Forbidden Island

Another winner by Gamewright, Forbidden Island is an award-winning game designed for ages 10 and up. Teams work together to collect treasures on the island before everyone is swallowed up by the sea. There are infinite possibilities generated by beautifully illustrated tiles and cards, and a unique set of instructions. If you’re looking for a little adventure this evening, check out this perilous paradise game!


Ticket To Ride

Ticket To Ride is a cross-country train adventure in which players collect and play matching train cards to claim railway routes connecting cities throughout North America. The longer the routes, the more points they earn. Created by Days of Wonder, this game throws in a little history and a lot of strategy. When you finish playing the first edition you can check out Ticket To Ride – Europe, Ticket To Ride – Asia, and many more!


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