Simple Ways to Give Family Game Night an Upgrade

You won't get any groans or eye rolls with these entertaining family game night ideas.

Published January 9, 2024
Family playing chess

Family game night is a fun and easygoing way to squeeze in some quality time with the people you love most. Getting the whole family together for an evening of gaming and laughter might be tough at times, but with the right tips and tools, you'll have a regular game night plan the entire family can manage.

Clear the table and round up the crew for a night of memories and bonding.

How to Make Family Game Night a Hit

You have a vision of the whole family gathered around the table and laughing but you aren't sure how to make it happen. You need easy-to-implement tips that make family game night exciting for everyone and make them look forward to the event.

Put It on the Schedule

As with many things, game night might not happen if you don't write it down. Talk about a day that works and get it on everyone's schedule to prevent any time constraints or missing family members. If the day you choose works, it could become a weekly or monthly event for your family.

Get Input From Everyone

Sometimes the reluctant members of your family are only dragging their feet on game night because they lack any control over the situation. Offer everyone the opportunity to add game ideas, snack suggestions, or evenings that best suit their schedule so there's inclusion for each member.

Make the Gaming Space Cozy

Family game night is all about staying in and keeping things casual. Create a cozy space where your family likes to play. Whether it's your family room, the dining room table, or a basement hang-out, you can make the space inviting with these ideas:

Brother and a sister playing in a homemade illuminated hut
  • Include a blanket for each person.
  • Light the space with lamps and other accent lighting.
  • Add cushions to hard chairs.
  • Use candles or diffusers to add a welcoming scent to the space.

Related: 60+ Fun Family Night Ideas You'll Want to Try 

Let Fate Decide the Game

There's excitement in mystery and surprise, so you can bring those elements to your family's game night. Use dice, a coin, or a jar full of paper suggestions to decide what game you'll play next. 

Quick Tip

You can always take a vote to see how each family member feels about playing the fate-decided game and move forward with the majority. 

Host a Game Night Tournament

Don't limit your quality time as a family to just one night. You can host an entire tournament over a few weeks to keep the fun going. With the added competitive angle, your family will be eager to bring their best to each game night and try their hardest to be the reigning champion of family time. 

Switch Up Hosts

Who says you have to feel the pressure of planning game night every week? Let the rest of the family take turns hosting the event, planning the snacks, and getting everyone around the table on time while you sit back and enjoy.

Related: 100+ Epic Things to Do at Home for Family Fun 

Add a Popcorn Machine to the Mix

If you pop the corn, they will come. Nothing quite beats the smell and taste of popcorn made in an actual popcorn machine, and it brings some nostalgic novelty to your game night. Gather the family around for a game night with the ultimate snack in hand.

Surprised boy looking at popcorn maker
Helpful Hack

If popcorn isn't your thing, you might try a snowcone machine or soft-serve ice cream maker.

Prepare Everyone's Favorite Snack

When the family is slow to gather around the table, all you need is a few snacks they can't resist. Make each family member's favorite snack for the evening and watch them all flock to the table with eagerness. 

Invite Other Families

If you have a small immediate family or you're just looking to add extra fun to the mix, invite other families to join in your regular game nights. This is a wonderful way to get to know other families in your circle and add new dynamics to your same old games. 

Play Music in the Background

Your family game night is so epic it deserves a soundtrack. Get the whole family involved in making a playlist of songs to play in the background of your gameplay. 

Take Game Night Outside

Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery to make a regular family activity a bit more thrilling. When the weather is nice, head outside under twinkling lights for a family game night in the fresh air. You might use your patio, a porch, or just a blanket on the lawn.

Family playing with puzzles on a terrace

Ultimate List of Games for Your Family's Night of Fun

Before your family game night is officially planned, you need to select the games you'll be enjoying for the evening. Try these family-friendly classics that are truly fun for every age.

Board & Card Games

Board and card games make gathering around the table for quality time effortless and full of competitive fun. Some of the games take a bit of time but they'll have the whole family embracing game night.

  • Apples to Apples
  • Clue
  • Blokus
  • Dutch Blitz
  • Farkle
  • Go Fish
  • Jenga
  • Life
  • Monopoly
  • Risk
  • Rummikub
  • Old Maid
  • Phase 10
  • Sequence
  • Skip-Bo
  • Sorry
  • Spot It
  • Trouble
  • Uno
  • Yahtzee
Need to Know

If your family is into video games, you can have a family game night in the living room gaming with one another instead of the standard board game night.

Active Games

If you're not the type of family to sit still around the table, some active games are in order. Try a few of these at your next game night.

  • Balloon Volleyball
  • Charades
  • Cornhole 
  • Dodgeball
  • Ladder Ball
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Twister
  • Three-legged Race
  • Wheelbarrow Race

Related: 12 Family Games You Can Play Without Needing Any Equipment

Trivia & Word Games

Word games make family game night easy no matter where you are. From the comfort of the sofa to a road trip, most of these games go where you go.

Related: 90s Board Games Families Still Love 

Level Up Your Family Game Night

The kids will beg for family night when you use these tips to make the experience memorable. Once you've transformed the ordinary gaming night into an evening fit for your family, you'll all look forward to the event every time it rolls around. 

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Simple Ways to Give Family Game Night an Upgrade