20 fun family games for kids of all ages

Try one of our favourite, time-tested family games for preschoolers to teens.

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Preschool

Candy Land (Milton Bradley)
This simple race-to-the-finish is one of the oldest and best-loved preschool games.

Harvest Time or Save the Princess (Family Pastimes)
Co-operative games foster a positive play experience, especially for young children who aren’t ready to face the emotional hurdle of losing; these are two of the best.

Nursery Rhyme Games (Hasbro)
Easy to learn, interactive and fast-paced, these are an excellent introduction to board games and suit a young child’s attention span.

School Age

The Amazing Labyrinth (Ravensburger)
This popular strategy game keeps kids on their toes, since a simple shift in the maze requires a major change in strategy.

Chess
The undisputed king of strategy games. Kids can start learning the basics as young as six, but they’ll spend the rest of their lives mastering the subtleties.

Guess Who (Milton Bradley)
Kids love asking questions and that’s what this deductive-reasoning game is all about. An instant success in the 1980s, it’s still a big favourite today.

Klutz Book of Classic Board Games
A compact, spiral-bound collection of 15 timeless board games—portable, varied and loads of fun.

Monopoly Junior (Parker Brothers)
An inspired adaptation of the all-time classic, this simplified version of Monopoly is totally in tune with younger kids, who get to go to the bathroom instead of jail.

Playing Cards
It’s amazing how much play value there is in a simple deck of cards. Don’t know the rules? Try The Best Card Games in the Galaxy by Klutz Press.

The Family Game of Visual Perception (Set Enterprises)
In this addictive game of perception and logic, kids really can outperform their parents.

Tweens/Teens

All Canadian Trivia Board Game (Outset Media)
There’s nothing trivial about this game, which challenges kids to learn new things about their country.

Clue (Parker Brothers)
Players love donning their detective caps and keeping track of the clues to solve the murder in this classic whodunit game.

Cranium (Cranium Inc.)
There’s something for everyone in this popular party game: word puzzles, trivia, charades and Pictionary-like challenges.

Magic the Gathering (Wizards of the Coast, Hasbro)
This patriarch of collectible card games is still going strong after 20 years.

Monopoly (Parker Brothers)
Without a doubt, the best board game ever! Whether you play the original, or one of the new themed sets, this real estate trading game is a sure winner.

Risk (Parker Brothers)
This classic battle game—a favourite of kids for nearly 40 years—has inspired many a multi-session marathon.

Rush Hour (ThinkFun)
This mind-challenging game works like a traditional sliding puzzle, but kids say it’s better because they like moving the miniature plastic cars and trucks to clear traffic jams.

Jenga (Parker Brothers)
Kids never seem to outgrow the thrill of building a tower of blocks, and with Jenga that thrill is built right into the game itself.

Scrabble (Parker Brothers)
Even with all the new word games available, this one is still the best.

Twister (Milton Bradley)
After almost 40 years, kids still enjoy the challenge of keeping their contorted bodies balanced over the play mat. But the best fun is the sheer silliness when tangled limbs collapse in a heap.

This article was originally published in September 2004.

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