10 Budget-Friendly Family Activities For Game Night

Keeping kids entertained can be a job all on its own. So, we are always looking for budget-friendly ways to keep the kids and the whole family entertained. This is where family game night comes into play. But, when it comes to a budget-friendly game night, the biggest question is where to begin? A big part of choosing the right family game for us is the price. But the second biggest thing is choosing a game that will keep everyone entertained. Since we have children ranging from 8 – 15, that can be difficult in a lot of cases. So, we have compiled a list of our favorite budget-friendly activities for game night. We hope you find at least one or two that you can enjoy on your next game night!

1. Jackbox

Our all-time favorite game of the year so far has been Jackbox.tv. This is a digital game that my oldest child told me about a few months ago. There are two really great perks to playing Jackbox as a family. The first one is that you can play from any device.

Since there are 7 of us, one of us will start it on the Xbox (since that is where we purchased the games originally). Then everyone grabs a phone, tablet or laptop in order to play. All you have to do is type in Jackbox.tv in your web browser and it will pop up.

You have an area to put in the 4 letter room code and another underneath it for whatever name you want to be that round. Sometimes we get a little crazy and come up with wacky names, which is a lot of fun. But it can make it a little more difficult to remember who is who when you do that.

The second perk is that they have 6 different party packs right now. Each party pack has 5 different games in it. So you can choose which party pack you would like to purchase, for a one time fee, and then you can play those games whenever you want to.

The party packs usually range from $20- $30. But, they do run a lot of specials and sales also. So we have been able to pick up 2 of the 4 party packs we have for discounted prices.

Some of the games aren’t as age-appropriate for much younger children because of context. But, each party pack has at least one or two options that will work well for everybody if you have younger children.

2. Heads Up

Heads Up is another game we have had for a while. This game is similar to charades, but with a twist. Each person gets a headband that can hold playing cards on the front of it. One person shuffles the prompt cards and puts a few of them face out in each other person’s headband.

Once you choose who is going first, the sand timer gets flipped over and everyone starts shouting clues at the person who is it. That person has to try and guess what the card on their headband says. Once you get it right, you throw that card out and everyone starts on the next prompt. For each card you get correct during the time limit, you collect a chip. The person with the most chips at the end of the game wins.

It’s a lot of fun because sometimes you have to act instead of use words, so it can get kind of silly. This is especially true if some of the younger children don’t know what the prompt is. We picked this game up on sale for $17, but it usually runs closer to $20.

3. Blokus

Blokus is a game that we randomly came across at a game store many years ago. This game looked like a lot of fun to us because it wasn’t too difficult to initially figure out. The game runs anywhere from $22 – $30 usually.

This is an easy shapes type of game with 4 different colors to choose from. Each player chooses a color and then gets all of their associated shapes. The first player lays down one of their colored shapes and then each person follows suit with their own color. The goal of the game is to get rid of all of your shapes first.

But the trick is that you have to lay each piece down touching another one of your colored pieces. This means that it’s also about strategy because the board is only so big. There have been times that we have ended the game in a draw because we all had pieces left. When that happens you each have to count how many pieces you have leftover and the person with the least amount left wins.

This is a really easy and fun game for game night, or any time really. Because you can stop and start and not lose your place, as long as you remember whose turn it was.

4. Cards

When you have a deck of cards, there are so many different options with regard to what games you can play. Not only are decks of cards pretty cheap but there are also plenty of designer decks of playing cards if you really want to get fancy. For us, any old playing card deck will do, so we like these playing cards that come with 12 decks of cards for less than $14.

Some of our favorite games to play with the family for game night are:

  • Gin
  • Heart
  • Rummy
  • Spades
  • War (only 2 player)

5. Pictionary

An old family classic family game night game is Pictionary. I remember playing this when we were kids, so it is has been around a little while. I don’t know how much it cost way back then, but now you can pick it up for around $20.

This game is pretty easy to play and can be age-appropriate for almost all ages. One person chooses to be it first and picks a prompt card. They then have a timer set to draw the prompt on their card. The goal of the audience is to guess what they are drawing. The more pictures the drawer is able to get the audience to guess in the allotted time, the more points they get.

Pictionary can be a lot of hilarious fun because not everybody is an artist.

6. Uno

Another great card game for family game night is Uno. This game was also around when I was a kid, so there is a little bit of nostalgia there. Today, you can easily find it in most stores where games are sold, or online, for $10 – $15.

Uno comes with a large deck of cards in which 7 are passed out to each player. The cards either have numbers and individual colors on them or can be a different action card. The point of this game is to put down a card of the same color or number as the card already laid down. Or you can play an action card.

If you can’t do any of that then you have to draw cards from the deck until you have a card to play. Once you get to the point where you only have 1 card left, you must yell out “UNO.” Whoever gets rid of all of their cards first is the winner. But this game can last a lot longer than you think because of all of the action cards, which makes it even more fun.

7. Apples to Apples

Apples to Apples can be a lot of fun for both adults and family game night. Since there are many different versions, you could potentially get some expansion packs to create more diversity. Depending upon which version, or expansion pack, you purchase and where, this game can range between $15 – $30.

Ultimately, it might be a bit easier for slightly older children to play. But, they also have a Junior version for younger children. The point is to match up adjectives and nouns for hilarious combinations.

Basically, whoever is drawing a card places a green apple card face up on the table. Then each other player has to place a red apple card from their deck that they think best matches or describes the word face down on the table. The judge will then shuffle the red apple cards and place them face up on the table. They then choose which card they think best matches the green apple card prompt and awards that person with the green apple card.

Whoever has the most green apple cards at the end of the game is the winner.

8. Clue

Clue is one of my all-time favorite games from childhood. But not everybody has loved it in my adult years. So, this is one of my go-to games for a family game night since a few of the kids actually enjoy playing it. You can pick this game up from a lot of different retailers, or online, for around $20.

There are 6 characters to choose from to start out. There are also 3 different sets of cards that need to be separated by weapon, person, and room. Have someone shuffle each set of cards and then randomly choose one (face down) from each pile to put it into an envelope in the center of the game board. That will be your culprit, weapon and room the murder occurred in.

Once you have done all of that, then the 3 decks of cards need to be shuffled together and passed out to each player. The weapons can be distributed to different rooms at the beginning of the game, just for fun. Each person will roll the die and move that many spaces until they get into a room. Once in a room, players have the option to guess who done it, with which weapon and be proved wrong by other players.

Whoever ends up guessing the correct murderer, weapon and room ultimately win the game. But it can take a lot longer than you think because there are secret passageways into other rooms and if you get chosen as a murderer, your game piece gets moved into that room.

9. The Voting Game

This is one of our favorite family night games to play. The Voting Game is not always age-appropriate, but there is an easy remedy to that. When we are playing with adults only, we use the whole deck. But, when we are playing as a family, we only use part of the deck that we have previously separated.

This game comes in a rectangular black box and has 3 different sets of cards. One set is numbered 1 – 10 with unique colors on each card. Each player chooses a number and puts it in front of them for everyone to see.

The second deck also has numbers 1 – 10, but they are all white and black. Whoever is dealing passes out the numerical cards associated with each player to every player. For example, if I were number 7 and the other players were numbers 1, 3, 8 & 9, then I would only have the black and white numbers 1, 3, 8 & 9 in my hand. These cards are used to choose which player you think most matches the prompt.

The third deck of cards is by far the largest because each card has a different scenario. For example, the reader might get a card that states “Who is most likely to help an old lady cross the street?” Then each player would choose from their black and white numbered cards who they think most resembles the prompt and places their choice face down in the middle of the table.

Once everyone has chosen, the reader picks up all of the cards, shuffles face down, and begins to call out the first number. Whoever’s number is drawn has to guess who chose them. The people to guess correctly for the round gets the prompt card.

The game is supposed to end once one player gets 5 prompt cards. But, depending on how many players we have and how long the game is taking, sometimes we shorten it to 3 cards instead.

It is a lot of fun because you just never know what people are going to say about you! The Voting Game can usually be picked up for somewhere between $20 – $25.

10. Puzzles

Puzzles are a great addition to any family game night. And, because you can pick them up as cheap as $1, they are an extremely budget-friendly way to keep kids entertained. In fact, we went on a splurge and purchased 14 different puzzles at the Dollar Tree a few weeks ago for variety. Some of the 100 – 250 piece puzzles are better choices for us to work on when we have the younger members of our family helping us. But, when it is just my spouse and I, sometimes we work on the harder 500 piece puzzles for a bigger challenge.

And if you really want to get crazy, there are some puzzles out there that have 2 puzzles mixed up in the same box. Those are some of our favorite options when we are all working on puzzles together because it can get a bit silly with mismatched puzzle pieces.

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Best Family Activities for Game Night Summary

Overall, there are so many great games out there for family game night. A lot of it will come down to how much you want to spend and which games best suit your family structure. But, ultimately our family’s favorite games currently are:

  1. Jackbox.tv
  2. Heads Up
  3. Blokus
  4. Cards
  5. Pictionary
  6. Uno
  7. Apples to Apples
  8. Clue
  9. The Voting Game
  10. Puzzles

No matter which games you choose to try, you just can’t help but have fun. And with these budget-friendly games, you can also keep more money in your wallet too.

What are some of your favorite budget-friendly games for your family game night?