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July 22, 2022

Best gifts for family fun

By Angela Garretson

Everyone knows that quality family time is good for a child’s well-being, but a recent study shows that all that bonding can actually help them become more successful adults. For this reason, giving a gift the whole family can enjoy isn’t just a lot of fun, it’s also a way to strengthen connections. From playing board games or building a fort to whipping up a batch of homemade ice cream, there are plenty of excellent activities to bring everyone closer together.     

Best outdoor family games 

Best one-on-one outdoor family games


BSN Outdoor Tetherball Pole


This rubber-covered regulation-sized tetherball set provides hours of tetherball playtime. After installation, the galvanized steel pole reaches 10 feet tall. The permanent installation makes for a durable outdoor game. Sold by Amazon





GoSports Aluminum Frame Cornhole Set


Grab this lightweight aluminum cornhole set for endless fun in the yard. The three-foot by two-foot boards come with a carrying case and eight weather-resistant beanbags. Sold by Amazon





Joola Professional Indoor Table Tennis Table


This durable table tennis kit is great for two-player or single-player games. The entire table folds up neatly for easy storage. Locking wheels create a stable surface. Sold by Amazon




GoSports Giant Wooden 4 in a Row Game


A life-size game of Connect 4 offers a fun competition between two players. This jumbo-size game measures 32 inches tall and 3 feet wide, and it comes with a convenient carrying case. The wooden frame and plastic discs are sturdy. Sold by Amazon





Champion Sports Traditional Horseshoe Set


For a classic outdoor game in the yard, this high-quality horseshoe set is built to last. The steel horseshoes and stakes are durable, with chrome and brass plating that adds an elevated aesthetic. The set includes a rulebook and nylon carrying case. Sold by Amazon





GoSports Premium Metal Ladder Toss


The goalposts in this ladder toss set are made of powder-coated steel for a lightweight yet sturdy structure. The bolas are made of hard rubber, making them safer than regular golf balls. All materials fit inside a carrying case. Sold by Amazon





Team Magnus Incog Water Guns


Wield this eco-friendly water gun for long-range water fights outside. The casing is made of recyclable material and formed with ABS casting for increased durability. It can hold up to 40 ounces of water and spray water up to 32 feet away. Sold by Amazon


Best outdoor games for the whole family


Spikeball Pro Kit


For competitive players, this spikeball kit includes two balls, a ball pump, a carrying bag, and a serving marker. The net is 33% stronger than the regular kit, and the balls have added texture for more control on every hit. Sold by Amazon





Franklin Sports Rubber Kickball


Kickballs provide many game options for driveways, parks, and yards such as four square, dodgeball, and kickball. This two-ply rubber ball measures 10 inches in diameter and features a tacky texture that’s easy to grip. Choose between a red or yellow ball. Sold by Amazon





Baden Champions Badminton Set


This badminton set includes a bright neon net, three nylon shuttlecocks, four rackets, and a weather-resistant carrying case. The set accommodates games of up to four players. Sold by Amazon





Jenga Giant Genuine Hardwood Game


This oversized Jenga game is more exhilarating than the original size, making for a wild scene when the pieces collapse. Larger blocks make gameplay easier for adults. The game starts at 22 inches tall and can stack up to four feet tall during gameplay. Sold by Amazon





Bunch O Balloons Water Balloons - Zuru Slingshot


This bow-and-arrow-style slingshot is easy to grip and lets one person launch a balloon at a time. The kit includes 100 balloons and a device to help fill balloons with water and seal them quickly. Sold by Amazon





GoSports Six-Player Standard Croquet Set


Enjoy an easygoing lawn game with this six-player croquet set. The mallets have 28-inch handles, which are easy to grip for both adults and kids. The hardwood construction offers long life, and the storage bag is convenient for taking on the go.

Sold by Amazon




Baden Champions Bocce Ball Set


Regulation-size bocce balls make this set a worthwhile investment for serious players and beginners alike. The set includes four green and four red 90-millimeter bocce balls, one white 50-millimeter pallino, and a 5-foot measuring tape. It accommodates two to eight players. Sold by Amazon




Trained 10-Player Flag Football Set


Get competitive with a flag football set. It comes with enough flags for 10 players (two teams of five). The durable nylon belts have a D-ring closure and hold three flags. The kit comes with field marker cones and a carrying case. Sold by Amazon


Best outdoor family games for the pool



GoSports Splash Net Pro


Start a water volleyball tournament with this adjustable volleyball net built for the pool. The net can adapt to most in-ground pool sizes up to 25 feet, and the posts are weighted for security. It comes with two water volleyballs and a pump. Sold by Amazon




Chuchik Diving Toys, 30-Pack


Toss an assortment of toys into the pool and dive for treasures together. This set of diving toys includes 30 sinking toys of varying sizes and shapes, such as rings, dolphins, and fish. The toys are brightly colored and come with a mesh carrying bag.

Sold by Amazon





GoSports Splash Hoop Pro Swimming Pool Basketball Game


Shoot hoops from the pool with this water basketball set. The backboard measures 31 inches by 23 inches with a 14-inch rim. It comes with two balls and a pump. The water-weighted base holds steady on the side of in-ground pools. Sold by Amazon



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Family game night 

Party games




If they love table games like air hockey, this is a small and inexpensive option. Control the striker with a magnet under the table to hit the ball into the goal. It’s easy to play with two or tournament-style with a larger group. Sold by Amazon





Spot It!


In this frantic matching game, cards are covered in a variety of symbols, and any two cards always have exactly one symbol in common. Whoever can be the first to spot the match between their card and the center card, wins the round. Sold by Amazon







Telephone with pictures takes all the pressure off drawing well. The more players there are, the wackier the drawings become. While there is a way to play for points, it’s plenty of fun just to laugh at the bizarre creations. Sold by Amazon





Exploding Kittens Party Pack


All you have to do to win this card game is avoid drawing an exploding kitten card from the deck, but there’s a lot of chaos and luck involved. This party pack edition supports up to 10 players for quick, silly fun. Sold by Amazon





Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza 


In this twist on the classic card game of Slapjack, you chant the title of the game as everyone plays cards. When the chant matches the card played, don’t be the last one to slap the deck or you take the whole pile. Sold by Amazon





Throw Throw Burrito


As the name implies, this is a game of literally throwing plush burritos at each other while trying to collect matching sets of cards. The dodgeball element isn’t for everyone, but with the right group, it’s a hectic, refreshing game. Sold by Amazon







The 84 imaginatively illustrated cards are the heart of this creative game. A player gives a hint about their card so that some — but not all — of the other players guess the card. If none or all of the other players guess correctly, the score of the player giving the hint will suffer. Sold by Amazon







Players can light some candles and participate in a séance as they divine the ghost player’s exact cause of death. With over 100 beautifully illustrated cards, the ghost player will give the mediums “visions” to tell the story of their unfortunate demise.

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Strategy games



Ticket to Ride


Who doesn’t like trains? Players build a network of train routes across the U.S. to visit cities and complete their tickets. Though it’s easy to learn, this game has plenty of strategy and is filled with tense moments. Sold by Amazon






This award-winning puzzle game lets players build their own landscape and fill it with wildlife to make patterns and score points. Though it can be thinky, the rules are simple, making this a good game for cozy evenings. Sold by Amazon






Whether or not they own a bird field guide and enjoy identifying species in their backyard, this fowl-filled game features 170 different bird cards for a fun and strategic game. While it’s on the more complex side, the theme and artwork alone are worth it.

Sold by Amazon




The Quacks of Quedlinburg


Who hasn’t wanted to stir a bubbling cauldron full of potion ingredients? That’s exactly what “Quacks” is about, with players drawing ingredients from bags to push their potions to the max without letting their cauldrons explode in their faces. 

Sold by Amazon







With its chunky and colorful resin tiles, this satisfying puzzle game is ideal for an evening beside the fireplace. Though it can be cutthroat, it’s a fun experience for kids or adults and lets each player build a beautiful mosaic. Sold by Amazon







Create patterns of the brightly colored wooden tokens in this simple game that plays a bit like Scrabble without words. The simple rules mean young children can join in, but the game presents a challenge for everyone. Sold by Amazon



Team and cooperative games




This massive box holds a sprawling campaign filled with different scenarios, none of which require a game master. For a fantasy adventure that the family can enjoy over the course of months (or years), this bestselling game is a reliable choice. Sold by Amazon







In this team-versus-team game, players must give clues to get their teammates to guess a certain point on the scale from one concept to another — like “hot to cold” or “round to pointy.” This leads to countless arguments over anything from pop culture to everyday objects. Sold by Amazon




The Crew


Reminiscent of classic card games like Spades, this space-themed cooperative game has players playing cards to capture their personal goal cards — all without talking. Though it’s very affordable, The Crew contains several missions to bring players back again and again. Sold by Amazon






Two spymasters face off as they give clues to get their teammates to guess the right cards. The game ends when one team guesses all of their cards correctly unless someone accidentally chooses the assassin card and costs their team the round. Sold by Amazon





7 Wonders


Build an ancient empire in 30 minutes in this surprisingly deep strategy game. Each player has their own wonder, which they build alongside markets, scientific discoveries, and armies. Because everyone’s turns happen at the same time, there’s little downtime. Sold by Amazon





Terraforming Mars


Lead a megacorporation developing the surface of Mars to make it both habitable and profitable. The massive number of unique cards makes for countless combos and strategic choices as players research, produce, and build their way to victory. Sold by Amazon







Everyone runs their own little kingdom in this kid-friendly tile-laying game. The rules may be simple, but players face difficult decisions as they choose which tile to take and where to place it in their growing land. Sold by Amazon



Other top deals in this space

  • The hilarious mouthpiece guessing game, Speak Out
  • The classic game of building and resources, Catan
  • The Chameleon, a word game about spotting the player who’s out of the loop
  • The French countryside tile-laying game of Carcassonne 
  • Pandemic, a cooperative game of fending off four dangerous diseases as they spread across the globe

Indoor family activities 



Cuisinart 2-Quart Ice Cream Maker


Not only is ice cream-making fun for the whole family, but everyone also gets to enjoy the fruits of their labor. This model has a large spout to neatly add tasty ingredients and is ready in as little as 20 minutes. Sold by Amazon



Hawaiian Shaved Ice and Snow Cone Machine


Included in this set is an electric snow cone machine, two ice molds, three flavored syrups with bottle spouts, 25 cups, and 25 straws. Use this cool gift on a hot day or during a family movie night. Sold by Amazon




Cakes of Eden Complete Cake Pop Maker Kit


Whether it’s used for making a family treat or cake pops for their next party, this kit has all the tools and accessories, including a molding pan, cake pop stand, sticks, bags, decorating pen, cellophane bags, and a melting pot.  Sold by Amazon




Magic Tree House Boxed Set Books 1-28


They can experience a new adventure with the main characters Jack and Annie every night while engaging their mind with this boxed set of the Magic Tree House books. It comes with books 1 through 28, which are the ideal level for new readers. Sold by Amazon





National Geographic Science Magic Kit


Even those who dislike science will love performing these magic experiments that deliver mind-blowing results. This kit includes white gloves, a magic wand, materials to conduct 20 experiments, and an illustrated experiment guide for an additional 30 experiments they can perform with at-home supplies. Sold by Amazon





Discover With Dr. Cool NASA Lunar Telescope


Turn family night into a moon-viewing party with this high-quality lunar telescope. It’s easy to assemble and comes with a finderscope, low- and high-power eyepieces, a tripod, and a smooth mounting system. Sold by Amazon





Melissa & Doug Deluxe Puppet Theater


Let their imagination run free with this durable wooden puppet theater. It features a sturdy base that won’t tip, red curtains, a clock, and a chalkboard to introduce the show. All they need to add are some hand puppets for a fun family night. Sold by Amazon





Lego Star Wars: The Mandalorian The Razor Crest Building Kit


No one is ever too old for Legos, especially this Mandalorian Razor Crest kit. The whole family can work together on over 1,000 pieces, including four minifigures. When completed, it measures over 5 inches high, 15 inches long, and 11 inches wide.

Sold by Amazon





Kid Made Modern Arts & Crafts Supply Library


With this craft library, they can create anything they can imagine. It comes with 277 fuzzy sticks, 170 pom-poms, 60 felt pieces, 72 craft sticks, assorted sequins, 200 wooden beads, 102 googly eyes, scissors, glue, and more supplies in a convenient carrying case. Sold by Amazon





Creative Roots Paint Your Own Stepping Stones Multipack


Everyone in the family can paint their own stepping stone to represent them and add it to the garden or walkway. They can choose from several designs, including a butterfly, flower, hedgehog, turtle, ladybug, or heart. Sold by Amazon





Obuby Kids Fort Building Kit


This fort-building kit includes 75 sticks, 23 blue connector balls, and 22 green connector balls, allowing them to create a cave, rocket ship, princess castle, or anything else they can imagine. Just add a sheet and they have the ultimate fort. Sold by Amazon





ArmoGear Laser Tag, Set of 4


Turn off the lights in the house and gear up for an epic family laser tag battle. This set includes four laser tag guns and target vests with authentic features such as invisibility mode, night vision flashlight, and a 150-foot shooting range. Sold by Amazon





Best Choice Products 10-in-1 Combo Game Table Set


Enjoy a competitive family game night with this 10-in-1 table featuring interchangeable tops including slide hockey, foosball, shuffleboard, table tennis, chess, and bowling. Plus, all the tabletops can be stacked in between bases to save space. Sold by Amazon




Nebula Anker Capsule Smart Wi-Fi Mini Projector


Elevate their next family movie night with this mini projector. It features a powerful speaker and WiFi, so they can enjoy movies from their favorite streaming apps on a screen up to 100 inches. Sold by Amazon





Space World Play Tent


Whether they want to have a family game night in the tent or an indoor campout, this tent is up to the task. Even though they’re not outside, the space design allows kids to imagine the sky and planets above them. Sold by Amazon





Nostalgia Indoor Electric Stainless Steel S'mores Maker


They don’t have to have an outdoor fire to make s’mores. With this tabletop electric flameless heater, they can safely enjoy s’mores any night of the week. Plus, it comes with two roasting forks and a tray that’s easy to disassemble. Sold by Amazon


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Contributing authors: Katy Palmer, Peter McPherson, and Bre Richey 


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