When I was growing up, one of my most favorite things was family game night. We would all sit down around our kitchen table, fill up our ice cream float cups and play a mean game of Hearts.
Those were good times because of the way it pulled us all back in as a family. My husband also had a similar experiences in his family so we both were in agreement that we wanted to continue this tradition with our family.
As is common with childhood memories, you don't see the problems involved in making such activities happen. We quickly realized that the age difference between our oldest and youngest (7 years) posed a problem in finding a game that both could play and enjoy.
Some Great Answers
You knew I was going to have some answers, right? First off, a game we were introduced to this summer on our family vacation was a fun family game called Mexican Train Dominos. It was fun, several people could play at one time (which is good in a family of 7) and the dominos rules were easy to learn and follow. One note - the rules that came with our game were different than how we learned how to play. Here are our rules.
Along with our Mexican Train Dominoes game, we found Apples to Apples. This game too can be played by all of us at the same time and we liked that it came in a junior version that was still fun for the older kids.
Blokus is a great colored tile game that is easy for everyone to play. The cool thing about this game is that no matter your age it really works to exercise your critical thinking skills. It is fun to watch how smart your kiddos really are!
These are great Christmas gift ideas and birthday present ideas because they are inexpensive and they don't involve technology. Which means more time to talk and laugh together! What good Christmas gifts!
We have learned a new game called Mexican Train Dominoes. But we learned it differently than what the rules that came with the game say.
These are the Mexican Train Dominos rules we learned to play that seems to best suit our younger kiddos.
The Mexican Train Dominos start at double 12's. You can also purchase these dominos with actual numbers on them to replace the dots. This might work better if you have a young counter as you will see later on, they will need to be able to count the dots in their remaining tiles. To start - each person takes a set number of tiles (determined by the number of players) and the person who has the highest set of doubles starting with 12 begins. The next round starts with the next lower doubles. The play goes clockwise with each person starting their leg - looks like a spider - with the same number as the double or picking one tile which they can play if it is a playable. From there you play on your leg each turn with a couple of exceptions.
1st - Another playing option is when someone is unable to play on their leg even after they pick, you can play on it. They indicate that it is open for all players by placing one of the little trains that come in the game on their leg. We like to use M&M's because once you can play on your leg again, you can remove the train (or eat the M&M!) and other players cannot play on it.
2nd - If you have a tile that has the same number as the double that was used at the beginning of the game, you can start a Mexican Train. This is a leg started apart from the other legs and any person can play on it. Just one Mexican train per round.
A couple of side notes - playing a doubles tile requires a "proof" meaning you must also play another tile on it in that turn. You don't have to pick if you can't play but the next person to play must either play on the double or pick to try to. No one can resume play until the double has been proven. This requirement can thwart your prelaid plans. And don't get discouraged if you get stuck drawing tiles well into the game to get started. Because you have the potential to play up to 12 rounds (your choice), it seems most people will get the same chance.
To win the round, be the first to play all your tiles. Everyone adds up the total number or dots on their remaining tiles. The total is their score on that round. The winner of the game is the person who has the lowest total after all rounds are completed.
Mexican Train Dominos. Easy dominos rules and a fun family game! Great for family Christmas gifts!