3 Games You’ll Actually Enjoy Playing with Your Young Kids

published Apr 28, 2023
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Happy family at home in the couch playing classic table games
Credit: David Prado Perucha / Shutterstock

I have a confession: I’ve never been great at sitting down and playing with my kids. I know how important quality time with each of my children is, and I also know all too well how fast the Mommy, will you play with me? stage flies by (sniff!). But when it comes to actually sitting down and playing, I’m often too caught up in trying to be productive or feel that I’m too tired to engage in a meaningful way. 

But I’ve found a little secret that helps me say “yes” and then also be — and stay — completely present during playtime: games that I like playing just as much as my children do! (No offense, Candyland, but there are only so many times I can pass through Peppermint Forest before my eyes start to glaze over.) 

Games that spark conversation or offer other kinds of varied and surprising fun keep children happy and adults interested. They entice the entire family. Even my older kids are drawn to such games and play them with the little kids. They’re also winners because they don’t have to be played with adults; younger kids can play them on their own easily. Because they’re versatile and widely appealing, they have staying power and will be enjoyed for years to come. Talk about bang for your buck! 

Here are our family’s current favorites, enjoyed by all from the 40-something parents down to the 6- and 4-year-olds (and everyone in between).


I discovered Zingo when my kids were in speech therapy. The therapists loved to use it to help kids practice their articulation through naming the objects. My kids loved it so much, I got the game for the family and it’s been an old standby favorite since. This sturdy and colorful game is basically kid bingo. It’s cute and fun to watch how excited the kids get when they get a match, but the real magic is in the dispenser that spits out the small plastic cards with pictures on it. 

Using it is such a simple thrill — the sound, the feel, the look of it, everything. Even putting back cards that no one has matches for is satisfying. Over 26,000 5-star Amazon reviews agree it’s great. 

The Disney Princess Enchanted Cupcake Game

Okay, I know this doesn’t sound like a game any adult would jump for joy to play, but the Disney Princess Enchanted Cupcake Game is so fun. The object of the game is to finish your cupcakes, which are split up into pieces consisting of the liner, the cake, the frosting, and a topper. Players take turns drawing cards that tell you which cupcake part you can use. Ursula the Sea Witch’s cupcake is in the mix and if players build that villian cupcake first, it’s game over for everyone! The pieces are small and detailed and I feel like a kid again getting to put these tiny cupcakes together. 


Hedbanz will make you laugh from the get-go. One player wears a headband that has a little slot to put a card in, so that only the other players can see the card. The headband-wearer then asks yes or no questions to try to guess what the card is. Hedbanz builds thinking and language skills and I’ve never played it with my kids and not laughed heartily. There’s nothing rote about it. (Note that the game says it’s for ages 8+, but my younger children love playing it; just be prepared to be less strict with the rules.) 

Having a collection of games that both parent and child enjoy provides so many opportunities to create happy family memories. And isn’t that what it’s all about? 

Cubby: Eat. Live. Play. Families Together at Home.

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