Kid Approved and Mama’s Happy: A List of Indoor Games

2023 list of indoor games for 6-12 year olds that don't make parents bored

Looking for a list of indoor games you can enjoy that don’t make you fall asleep or itchy right away? Playing board games has multiple benefits including strengthening hand/eye coordination, fostering problem solving skills and good sportsmanship. According to Health Fitness Revolution, they can also elevate positive chemicals or hormones like oxytocin and endorphins in our bodies.

Skip the trial and error frustration with testing out games yourself! Here’s our List of 10 Indoor Games our kids repeatedly beg us to play and I can participate in without poking my eyes out. May the same be true for you and your fam!

One Quick Protip: Visit a Game Café to make your own best list of indoor games!

First, let me make a big shout-out to Game Cafes. They are becoming more and more popular in major cities as a place in house to try out board games for free and peruse a larger and/or more unique selection of options than Target or Walmart typically provide. Our local Colorado Spring’s favorite, Petrie’s, let’s you rent multiple games and take them home! Some cafe’s, like The Haunted Game Café in Fort Collins, have gone so far as to have coffee bars, snack menus, Game Tournaments or Theme Nights for the ueber Boardgame Nerd. Maybe not your thing, but not a bad social option for your soon to be teenagers?! 😂

Additionally, café staff can be super helpful recommending new options that will fit your family. They recommend based on past games you’ve enjoyed or other interests your family has. Don’t expect that kind of service at your local chain store provider.

With that said, here’s our Top 10 List of indoor games including appropriate player ages . . .

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1. Snail Sprint!

Prek and Above

Indoor game #1: Snail Game

Game objective: Covert betting: Which colored snail will win 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place? With 6 snails total, players roll two-coded dice and then decide how to implement their roll for the benefit of the three colored snails listed on their card.
This is a great game for laid back social moments where lots of family members (grandparents, uncles, older cousins and the three-old) can play, but full attention is not required—can I say that out loud?! 😂—while watching the token Thanksgiving football game. Yep never done this. Ever. I promise.

2. UNO Attack and Giant Uno

PRek and above

What 10 Top Indoor Game List couldn’t include UNO?!? UNO Attack and Giant UNO—both of these UNO versions stir up the classic UNO game.

Our kids end up giggling in anticipation for moments they’ll be “penalized” and have to push the UNO Attack Button. What is that?! Basically a “rush and roulette” auto-card-dealer machine that randomly delivers no cards to more cards than you ever wanted when you’re required to press the “draw” button.

Giant UNO is awkwardly funny. The cards are so ridiculously HUGE (8×11). You can’t help feeling a little silly when holding them. So make sure you invite your stiff Uncle Fred to play and see what new side of him you might discover 😊 

3. Code Names

Upper elementary and Above

Shout out to linguist-loving moms!! Code Game mixes Sequence partner play with Outburst. Four players needed.

Game objective: You’re working with your partner to get tic-tac-toe by guessing the terms your teammate possesses through one word verbal clues he/she gives to you. Played best with upper elementary kids and above due to the word association knowledge required.

***Playing with different generations of family can make this game very . . . . enlightening?! 😯😁 Players may discover definitions of terms or related word associations have shifted generationally or regionally. “Wait– a ‘thong’ is a ‘sandalGrandpa?!?”

4. Carcassonne

Elementary and above

Risk and Simcity is probably too complex for elementary family members: Carcassonne is a mix of these two games but with simpler rules and shorter play time. As a jigsaw puzzle fanatic, our 7-year old daughter loves playing this game: the board builds as you play.

Game Objective: Earn the most amount of points through strategic game board building and claim ownership of different entities as you play. Each square piece beckons players to connect rivers, pasture lands, roads and/or castles.

There are also Carcassonne kids versions, but honestly our 7-year old daughter prefers the adult version over the kiddie option. But don’t let me stop you! 😘

5. Imagine IF

elementary and above

Imagine IF—This one is such a great one to play with extended family or good friends once you’ve had a little history.  

Game objective: Earn the most points by standing in the majority vote for responses related to another player. Those agreeing with the majority vote earn 2 moves each round. First pawn to the finish line wins.

Ex. Imagine (insert family name) is a fruit. What would s/he be?

 1. An apple
 2. A pear
 3. A papaya 
 4. A kiwi 
 5. A lime
 6. A tomato

You can read into responses as much or as little as you want. And younger kids will find the questions as entertaining as you. **Sad day: This game has been discontinued from current production. Hoooowever, I’ve had so many great laughs around this game that my pipe dream is to create enough buyer activity that one day (angelic voices begin now) Buffalo Games will start making it again. For now, you can purchase a used version online pretty easily.

6. Skip-O

Elementary

This a great game even lower elementary ages. Kids work on counting up to twelve and learning to prioritize moves: usually once the game gets going there are multiple play options during a player’s turn. The most important move will always be using your Skippo card pile and making any move you can with new cards you acquire.

Game Objective: The person who depletes his or her Skippo pile first is the winner.

7. Sequence-Adult and many a kid version . . .

Prek and above

Game Objective: Be the first to get four in a row.

Similar to Connect Four but each player is limited to placing his/her tokens based the cards you possess and their corresponding space on the gameboard. There are many kid variations of Sequence ranging from animals, alphabet letters, states and capitals, dog breeds, math equations and Harry Potter characters.    

8. Domino Stacking and Domino Games

PreK and Above

An oldie but a goodie!! Create domino stacking courses as a family. Then video record the results when you start tipping the first domino! Simplify the adventures with younger kids by creating a course in the shape of their initials or combine dominos with other toys such as marble works, train sets, action figures etc. for mini-city creations.

Mexican Train or Chicken Foot are also common domino games that encourage number counting, adding and color identification. If you’re not familiar with Mexican Train or Chicken Foot, Cool Old Games provide clear game start-up, goals and rules.

***PRO TIP: Be sure to purchase a Double 15 Set of Dominos with different colored dots. It’s more user friendly, provides enough dominos for epic course stacking creations and extends game palay time if desired. The Double 15 Set also accommodates more players for Chicken Foot or Mexican Train.

9. Guesstures

Elementary

Game Objective: Act out all three prompt cards for you team before the timer/card holder machine sucks your cards away. The team with the most completed cards after 10 rounds wins.

A fast-paced game of charades with prompts already provided and set to a timer. Charades for Kids is also great. Each card has three prompts ranging in difficulty, the first prompt is also illustrated equipping non-readers to participate as well as older siblings.

10. BANG! or One Night: Ultimate Werewolf

Upper Elementary and above

If you’re familiar with the old school mafia game played with regular cards these are two souped-up versions of the classic summer camp endeavor. Both are who-done it games.

BANG! is a strategic race guessing game using a specialized card deck.

Game Objective: Participants must correctly identify the “outlaw” before the “sheriff”, innocent “towns-people” and the two-faced “renegade” are wiped out. Depending on the role you are dealt at the beginning of the game, your objective may vary. For example, if you end up holding the “outlaw” card, you are trying to shoot other players before someone uncovers your true role.

Each player is given a card identifying their “secret” role and the “powers” they can activate (ie. protect, shoot or gain valuable information) during each round of attack. Players can earn additional powers such as a horse to avoid closer range attack, healing medicine or extra lives.

Midnight Werewolf is similar in the base concept, but with different characters and powers. The added bonus of Midnight Werewolf? No referee narrator required. Werewolf provides a free Smartphone app you can download so no one has to miss-out on the fun. During Thanksgiving one year we replayed this game for 3+ hours with aunts, uncles and grandparents all on board. So give it a try!

Find the Game Board . . . don’t be bored!

That’s a wrap on the Top 10 List of Indoor Games for 6-12 year-olds and YOU can also enjoy. Again, don’t forget to see if there are any game cafes in your area so you try out games before you purchase. Just last week I realized our local library also carries specialized games you can test play during your visit-so no excuses for twiddling your thumbs the next time your kids ask you to play a game 🙂

I’ll be growing this list with quality games for all ages once a season. What board games do you enjoy as a family? I’d love to hear! Happy game exploring!

Still need other ideas for kicking boredom’s backside? Check out 7 Lasting Spring Traditions to Make your Family Thrive or 15-Cozy Screen-free Activities for Winter.

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