2/10/2023 | By Donna Brody

Writer and grandmother Donna Brody has gathered a selection of multigenerational games, suitable for playing when families gather with grandparents and little ones.

As my seven grandchildren get older, it’s more of a challenge to find activities and games that will appeal to their variety of ages. Our youngest is turning 5 soon (please, slow down time!), and the oldest two will celebrate their 11th birthdays this year. But, when some or all seven gather at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, we look for activities that we can do together.

Playing games after dinner is much preferable to watching a movie. But, what multigenerational games can we play that will engage the “littles” and the “big kids” at the same time? We have some perennial favorites and a few new ones to add to the mix.

Our favorite multigenerational games when families gather at our house

Who doesn’t love a good Bingo game? There is a reason this game it still played weekly in some cities and towns and is a staple at many senior care facilities. My grandchildren have introduced me to a couple of new versions: Scary Bingo and Ocean Bingo. Instead of using cards with numbers under the letters that spell BINGO, these cards have pictures of scary characters or ocean creatures on them and on the caller’s board. This makes the game easier for little ones who don’t know letters and two digit numbers, but is challenging for all players because the creatures on the cards can be similar in size and shape. We like to include silly prizes or collect pocket change to award the winners.

grandparents playing a board game with their granddaughters

Another favorite among games when families gather is called LCR (Left, Center, Right). This is a dice game that does not require any reading skills and can have as many players as chairs that can fit around the table. Most people play this game with quarters, but I have played with adults using dollar bills, and just for fun using the poker chips that come with the game. Each player starts with three chips or quarters (or whatever denomination you choose). On a turn, the player rolls the three dice marked with the letters, L, C, and R. Depending on the roll, they pass a quarter to the player on their right, left, or to the center. The play continues until it’s down to the last two players who battle it out until only one player still has a chip or coin. That player wins the pot in the center of the table.

Related: Funny Games for Game Night

Just this past Christmas, my older grandchildren introduced me to a new game. Kluster can be played by many ages because no reading is required. The game pieces are simple: 24 magnets, a lanyard or string, and a travel bag. Players divide the magnets evenly among the players. It seems to work best with no more than four players at a time. The lanyard is spread out on the tabletop or floor, and players must simply place their magnets within the circle. Because of the strength of the magnetic pull, though, this is not as easy as it sounds. As you drop your magnet in the circle, it is likely to attract the magnets around it and you must stop and add the magnets you just collected to your pile. The person who places all their magnets successfully is the winner. We played this tournament-style, competing two by two with my grandsons, until we came up with the final winner. This game is so addictive I am purchasing one for my house.

Why and how to play Wordle

Finally, the popular New York Times Wordle game is now available as a boxed game. Unlike the Times version, which is only updated once per day, this game can be played as often and for as long as you like. In the boxed set, players are given erasable cards and markers and folded cardboard screens to block their answers from other players. The host/emcee chooses a five-letter word and writes it on a board. Then, players write their first guess and the host checks their answers individually. Players are given yellow or green clear tiles to place over correct letters in the puzzle, just like in the online puzzle. The first one to guess the word is the winner. One caution with this game is the erasable markers can get messy, and you need a cloth, dry marker eraser, or wet paper towels to clean the boards between games. Of course, this one is not for little ones who can’t read yet.

A family card game tip for younger players

Those little ones are usually thrilled to play old favorite card games like Old Maid and Go Fish. But, sometimes it can be a problem for them to hold all their cards in small fingers. I recently found a gadget that I can’t wait to try during our next card game. Little Hands Playing Card Holders is a piece of plastic shaped like a fan and can hold seven or eight cards at once.

Card and board games have truly stood the test of time, with multigenerational games extending the fun across the ages. It amazes me that my grandkids and I are playing some of the same ones I played with my siblings many years ago!

Donna Brody

Donna Brody is a former community college English instructor who retired to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. She enjoys freelance writing and has self published three romance novels. Besides writing and traveling with her husband, she keeps busy visiting her seven grandchildren.

Donna Brody headshot