Everybody loves a good game!  In addition to quality family time, games can provide some surprising benefits including boosting language development, critical thinking, and social skills eg teamwork, learning to wait your turn and following rules.


When you think about it, playing games is a great way to get to know each other better too.   When the family’s together during ‘game time’, it creates a good opportunity to build each other’s character and confidence, practice skills of patience and tolerance, and is outrightly one of the best ways to unplug from technology.


We’ve put together our top 5 games that the whole family (and friends) can enjoy, and cleverly exercise the brain at the same time.


#1 Test Your Memory

If you play memory games at least thirty minutes every day, your concentration and focusing ability can improve.   There are quite a few different ways to play, and it’s easy to adjust for whatever age group you’re entertaining.


A regular memory game can be played with a simple stack of cards.  Any deck, whether it’s a traditional 52 playing card set or Uno, can be used, as long as they have a ‘pair’.  Shuffle them, lay them out face down in rows and take it in turns of turning two cards over at a time, so everyone can see.  The objective is to find a matching pair, at which time you put them aside and have another go.   The person with the most cards at the end wins… simple!


#2 Charades

A game of pantomimes, Charades can be lots of fun and could bring out a budding actor in the family.  Ask everyone to write down three titles each from movies, TV shows, songs or books, on separate pieces of paper and fold them so no-one can see.  Put them in a bowl and in turn, get each player to draw a slip from the bowl and act out the phrase showing only hand signals, body motions and facial expressions, but no spoken words.


Common signals are used to indicate certain elements, eg number of words or syllables, word length, sounds like, plurals, longer or shorter, and correct guess.  Perhaps show a helpful YouTube clip on these and other signals before you start, so everyone is on an even playing field.   And to make it more exciting and challenging, set a timer.  The winner is the person who figures out the most charades.


#3 Who am I ?

This game is quick and easy, and can be heaps of fun.  Each person gets 20 questions to find out “who they are”.  If you have a young family, you might like to use Disney characters, people they know or even animals or objects.  The questions must be able to be answered “yes” or “no”, eg “Am I a real person?”, not “Am I male or female?”.   Each time the answer is “no”, the next person gets to ask another question.   The person who guesses who they are first is the winner.


#4 Elimination

This is a good ‘thinking’ game for older members of the family or friends.   Select any category, eg types of cheese, car models, cities of the world, past prime ministers.  Set a timer for two minutes and get everyone to write down as many items in the category as they can.  When the two minutes are up, each person reads their list aloud.  All players must listen carefully to the person speaking and  cross out answers that they share in common.  The objective is to be the one to have items listed that no-one else has thought of.  If there are a few people with unique answers, the person with the most wins.


#5 “Watch Ya Mouth”

They say laughter is the best medicine.  This silly “guess what I’m saying” party game will have everyone rolling on the floor.  The aim of this game is to say things, but it’s much harder than it sounds.  You pop a mouth guard in and pick a card which has a random phrase on it, then you try to speak out the words well enough for your partner to understand.  If the mouth guard isn’t enough to stop you, the giggles surely will!  Mouth guards come with the game and are in two sizes so the whole family can join in.  Whilst you can play with just two, it’s more fun if there’s a group of you.  This game is readily available online or in stores where games can be purchased.


There are so many games you and your family, and friends, can learn to play.   Most don’t need to cost anything at all, however if you’re a board game and family time lover, you might like to check out these links below for some extra tips and ideas: