How to plan a game night that doesn’t suck! (free printable)

I wish I had pictures, but I remember the stories. My parents and their friends used to have these super competitive game nights playing Monopoly. They would dress up in their finest suits and dresses and play for hours, sometimes games could last days!

In our house, we love playing board games together, but find it hard to play certain games with the toddler running around. So it was time for me to come up with a plan to get everyone involved and really make it fun. I wanted something that we all could look forward to every week. Something that everyone could get involved and have a great time.





1. Create a Tradition

Pick a day and time that works best for your families schedule. Most days we choose to play around late afternoon before we start to whine down for the night. Choose to play once a week or once a month. Try to stay consistent and hype it up a few days before. I also like the idea of  starting at a young age so by the teens years it’s something ingrained in them.

2. Simplify Dinner

Plan an easy meal for the night. I like to start the crock pot in the morning and leave it or we like to order out now and then. I also set up simple snacks if we are playing hours before dinner. You don’t to be in the middle of a good game and have to make dinner. Keep it simple.




3. Choose the right games 

Pick 1 or 3 of your favorite games or create your own. Start earlier in the day if you choose several games or a game that may take a few hours to finish.Try to include the younger ones as well. Pick games that everyone can play or at least help out. Encourage the little ones by having them help you count, ask them a question, or include them in a physical activity like a race or handing out game pieces. I’ve included a free printable with a list of games by age group. With the holidays fast approaching print this list and keep it handy for great gift ideas. (Black Friday in November, and Targets yearly toy sales in January and July)


4. Change it up

Boards games are great, but sometimes you may want to try something a little different. I like tournament style because it keeps the night moving. Our kids age differences are pretty big so attention spans are different. While I’m playing with Peighton(10 years old) my husband Rick can keep Grey and Jace(3yrs and 2ys old) occupied with another game on their level. Then we switch according to the winner.

A few nights a month we try to put the little ones to bed early so my husband and I can spend time with Peighton playing other games that need a little more concentration and we won’t have to worry about someone jumping on the table or eat a game piece.

How to have a game night that doesn't suck!

Print out this scorecard to easily keep track of all your tournament games. In our house, the winner gets a simple trophy(I picked up one like this from Party City) to keep until we meet again. Add buzzers like these to answer questions. They also have animal noises that are just fun to play with. Adding different elements can keep it fresh and fun.




Whatever you do get the whole family involved. This is a chance for you to spend time enjoying each other and creating memories.





HOMEWORK- Schedule a game night today. Check schedules with everyone in your house and plan a game day/night today. Then decide on a game or two and put them in a convenient pace until the actual night. You don’t’ want to have to go searching for the supplies you need. Happy Planning!