8 Games to Play with Kids

May 31, 2017

Who doesn't love playing games? Read on for some fun games that you'll enjoy as much as your kids.



If you're in need of some serious family time (and who isn't?) playing games with your little one is one of the best ways to connect. "Playing games as a family builds camaraderie and provides kids with a safe place in which to learn how to win and lose gracefully," according to certified parenting coach Sarah Hamaker.

Here are eight games to play with kids that will bring you closer as a family:

  1. Pitching Pennies
    Dr. Laurie Zelinger, a board-certified psychologist for children, recommends this game for free family fun. Simply give each child a roll of pennies and place a pot in the center of a table. Have each person in the family step back the same number of steps as their age (for example, a 6-year-old would step back six steps). Then, each player tries to throw their pennies into the pot. The player who can "pitch" the most pennies successfully into the pot wins!
  2. Steal the Lady's Bungalow (Steal the Bundle, Steal the Old Man's Pack)
    This game, as recommended by Hamaker, uses a deck of 52 cards. Deal each player four cards and turn four cards face-up in the center. Players take turns pairing cards with ones in the middle, their hand or the stack in front of another player. The players place their first pair of cards face-up in front of them. The game continues with each player either taking a card from the middle to make a new pair or adding a card to the top of their pile.

    Players can also "steal" the bungalow in front of another player with the same card as the top card on the other player's stack, placing the new stack on top of the old one. If a pair cannot be made, the player discards one card face up in the middle. A new round of four cards is dealt when each player plays all of his cards. The winner is the player with the highest bungalow when all the cards have been dealt and played. Here's a more detailed explanation.
  3. Hit the Penny
    Dr. Zelinger uses this two-person outdoor game in her psychology practice. Put a penny heads up on the crack of a sidewalk. Have each player stand on the next crack over (so each player is one sidewalk square away from each other). Use a ball to try to hit the penny. Award one point if the ball hits the penny and two points if it makes it flip. The player with the most points at the end is the winner.
  4. Go Fish
    This classic game is an old standby, but according to Hamaker, it's a great game for preschoolers.
  5. I Spy
    Dr. Zelinger recommends this game for waiting rooms, long lines and other times you might need to pass a few moments. One player chooses an object in the room or location. He then gives one or two clues about the object, saying "I spy with my little eye something blue." The other players then have to guess the object.
  6. Charades
    Another ageless favorite, as recommended by Hamaker, this game requires little setup -- except for writing out your own clues (younger kids can get help from their teammates).
  7. Telephone
    This game, also recommended by Hamaker, works well with older children who can read and write. All players write down one proper noun, one location and one verb and put the papers in a bowl. The bowl is passed around and everyone draws three slips of paper. One player starts the game by writing down a sentence using his three words. She then folds the piece of paper and passes it to the next person who writes another sentence with his three words. Repeat until the last person adds his sentence. Then, he unfolds the paper and reads the story.
  8. Guess the Object
    For the younger set, place various objects (food, small toys, etc.) in a brown paper bag. Each player has to guess the objects by touch only.

According to Dr. Zelinger, "So many families are so busy and playing games is a great bonding experience. These games to play with kids create wonderful family memories that will last a lifetime."

And try these 12 Board Games for Kids to Make Family Time Fun.

Rebecca Desfosse is a freelance writer specializing in parenting and family topics.

Tips and stories from parents and caregivers who’ve been there.

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