Family Game Night…

We are totally a TV watching family…in moderation. Moonlighting  totally counts as educational television, right?!? Kidding aside, like most parents, I do my best to keep my children’s screen time (tv, ipad, tablet, etc.) to a healthy minimum. Truth be told, that’s not that incredibly hard (most of the time) and I believe that’s because we LOVE playing board games and such in the Willis household. Date night  or otherwise there’s usually a game of Jenga  going down in our home at least once a day. Even Evelyn has joined our Jenga family obsession. There’s nothing sweeter than her chubby little hands getting in on the action. When it’s her turn, Bruce and I have to push down on the top of the Jenga pile so the whole tower doesn’t fall. She’s not as delicate with removing the pieces…yet. Mabel has been a pretty good sport learning to be patient with her little sister while Evelyn works on her dexterity (with those stinking cute and kissable fat baby hands).

Games are a great way to engage with your entire family. Not only are they a fun way to connect with others, they also provide tremendous learning opportunities for our kids. The games themselves don’t need to be overly academic to be incredibly educational. Just by virtue of playing them, kids are learning important social and educational skills. Skills like waiting your turn (patience), communicating verbally, fostering the ability to focus, eye-hand coordination and lengthening their attention span just for starters.

The holidays are the perfect time to get some game time in with your #squad. Goodness knows with our little babes on their school holidays, we all will be looking for viable entertainment options. Particularly those that don’t revolve around a television or tablet. More about kids and our battles with screen time in an upcoming blog. But speaking of holidays, board games also make the perfect gift for your kids. They are also a fabulous budget-friendly gifting idea for families. So toss out that fruit cake you were planning on handing out to the Smith family and give the gift of Pie Face  instead. I hear Pie Face is all the rage these days. I think the anticipation of getting splatted in the face with whipped cream would do me in, however, this game sounds right up Action Mabel’s  alley.

Below are some of the top games that I know your family will enjoy.  I’ve included games for various ages as well.

Family fav--Candyland
Games are a great way to engage with your entire family...

Card Games: 

Super-size any regular card game with these GIANT playing cards . Sure to elicit lots of giggles. Uno  is an oldie but a goodie that we love playing at my house. This is a little tweak from traditional Go Fish, called Sushi Go . Some families love poker nights. This is still a little over my kiddos game playing level but I found this cool video  about teaching your kids poker that I think I may utilize in the future. I can see Mabes running the table with a lil family-friendly game of Texas hold’em. For those with little hands who struggle with holding cards there’s this playing card holder  that would be perfect for keeping those royal flushes from getting away from you. Mabel loves this ice cream memory game from the Land of Nod. I’ve also heard great reviews on Monopoly Deal , a card-based version of Monopoly that only takes 15 minutes to play.

Classic Board Games that stand the test of time:




Chutes and Ladders  

Pictionary **Comes with multiple levels of clues (adult & junior) so all can play!

Great for parties and groups:


Apples to Apples  and the junior version , too! 

More fun than a spelling test:


Scrabble or Scrabble Junior

And who could forget, Connect 4 ??

I could go on and on and on! Suffice to say, The Willis family is all-in for game time. Especially with cooler weather setting in, I want to have my stockpile for family game time ready! What are your favorite games to play with your family?  Please share in the comments below as I’m always game (ha!) for new suggestions and I know other readers would appreciate the scoop as well.


Emma xx

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Gail says:

Hi Emma! My kids love playing board games and we are always trying to find ones that they can all play since their ages vary. Clue and UNO are my favorites from childhood! My girls love the game Headbands. The kids wear a headband and choose a card to put on top, then they have to ask questions of the other players to try and guess what picture/character is on their card/headband. They also have a super-cute Disney version which makes it easier for my two year old to play with her big sisters. I love to see the aunts and uncles on a holiday wearing the headbands and playing the game with my kids…priceless! My girls also love ZINGO bingo.

Oh, and Moonlighting definitely qualifies as educational TV…you can learn problem solving and detective skills, right?! Maybe I will let my kids start watching my DVD’s!

Have a very happy Thanksgiving with your family and friends!

Emma Heming Willis says:

Hehe 😉 I’ll take a look at Headbands. Thank you!!!

Carli says:

Emma we are the same in our home, the kids have toys upstairs but we keep board games downstairs so we all play together.
We love frustration, shiver is also good, its like jenga but on a penguin so it shakes and shivers once u take a piece out.
We love mouse trap and game of life as this is very good for young imaginations xxx

Emma Heming Willis says:

Oh great!! Some good old classics in there that I totally forgot about. I’ll check out some of the others I haven’t heard of as well. Thanks!!

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