Family-Friendly Kids' Toys and Games

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Kids' and family toys are a must for any household with children. The old saying, "Families that play together, stay together," has a lot of truth.

Kids' and Family Toys Build Family Time

With our busy lives and many distractions, family time is especially important. There are a number of toys and games that can be shared by the whole family. Only the youngest babies and toddlers are likely to be left out of the action, and they can provide an enthusiastic audience for the activities of their parents and siblings.

Board games, arts and crafts projects, construction toys, action games, and radio controlled and model vehicles appeal to all ages and make excellent kids' and family toys. Whether a family prefers quiet indoor activities or vigorous outdoor activities, there is something in the toy or sporting goods store for every family.

Board Games

There are many board games that do not require reading skills. These games can be played by children as young as three or four years old. With some, the ability to recognize numbers, count to ten, and match symbols is required. In others, any required reading can be done by an adult playing the game. Many of the games


A two-person game, but checkers sets are inexpensive enough that multiple games can be played in parallel. Tournament play is possible.

Chinese Checkers

Two to six people can play this simple game that uses marbles to move across a board with a star-shaped configuration.


Two or more players can play dominoes. Ability to count to six and to match the number of dots on the dominoes is required. More players can be added to a game by combining more than one set of dominoes.


This classic board game requires the ability to count to six. An adult or older child can read the game play cards. Ability to count money is also helpful, but again a parent or older sibling can help.


This board game requires minimal reading. Children soon learn the names of the characters on the cards. However, families with kids six and older will probably enjoy this game most.

Trivial Pursuit Junior

Despite the "Junior" designation, everyone in the family can play this version of the game. Questions are designed to be accessible to kids 8 to 18, but many younger children, especially those with basic reading skills, will enjoy this game. Two to four players or teams can play this game.


This game is a graphical version of charades, in which a person or team attempts to draw an object or saying that has to be identified by other members of their team. Four people or teams can play this game. If younger children play, someone on the opposing team can read the clue card to them.

Card Games

Although all of the card games listed below can be played with conventional playing cards by young players, it will be easier for non-readers or early readers if a pictorial deck of cards, specifically designed for the each of the games is purchased. Some of the favorite card games that can be played by the whole family are:

  • Concentration
  • Old Maid
  • Go Fish

Arts and Crafts Activities

Painting and Drawing

Kids love to draw, color and paint with their parents. Painting and drawing can be done indoors or out. Consider setting up a still-life arrangement on the dining room table, or visiting a natural history museum to draw the stuffed animals in a diorama. Water colors, poster colors, and acrylics are good choices for painting projects. Pencil, pen, chalk, and charcoal are drawing media that can be used by the whole family.

Clay and Other Modeling Materials

Craft stores have a variety of modeling materials. Depending on whether you want projects to dry permanently or wish to re-use them can guide your choice. Make three dimensional models of family pets or sculpt beads and shapes for jewelry. Here are some possibilities for modeling projects:

  • Play-Doh or Super Dough
  • Crayola Model Magic
  • Instant Paper Màché
  • Polymer Clay

Miscellaneous Craft Materials

Keep a box of miscellaneous craft materials on hand for making your own kids' and family toys. Some items that are fun for everyone in the family are:

  • Popsicle sticks
  • Tag board or card stock
  • Feathers
  • Squares of felt
  • Buttons
  • Wood shapes
  • White glue
  • Scissors
  • Cardboard rolls from paper towels, etc.
  • Small cardboard boxes, such as shoe boxes or cereal boxes
  • Tape

Construction Toys

Construction toys provide hours of fun for kids and parents. Joint construction projects can go on for hours. Even the youngest toddler likes to knock down structures built from wooden blocks by a parent or older sibling. Here are some tried and true construction toys:

  • Building blocks of all sizes and shapes
  • Tinker Toys
  • Legos
  • K'NEX
  • Lincoln Logs

Indoor Action Games

Rainy days often call for action games that can be safely played indoors. Here are some indoor games the whole family can play:

  • Twister
  • Hullabaloo
  • Carroms
  • Bean-Bag Toss

Outdoor Action Games

There are simple outdoor games within the reach of all but the youngest family members. Try one of the following in your backyard or at the park:

  • Badminton
  • Volleyball
  • Croquet
  • Horseshoes

Kids' and Family Toys Summary

It's possible to find games and toys that will allow everyone to participate in wholesome family activities. Family activities teach teamwork and allow parents and kids an opportunity to communicate in a relaxed, fun environment.

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Family-Friendly Kids' Toys and Games