Summer Board Games : The Best Games to Play This Summer
Summer is full of so many memory-making opportunities. While I often think of board games as an activity for cold winter & rainy spring days, board games are a perfect addition to your summer activities! What follows is an always-growing list of board games & other games that are perfect to play this summer.
Why are games so great to play in the summer?
•Summer often means groups! Games are wonderful group ice breaker activity.
•Summer means picnics, festivals, and other outside activities. Games help to pass the time and create bonds.
•Summer means HEAT! Gaming allows you to escape to the air conditioning.
•Prepare for Kindergarten & Prevent the Summer Slide by gaming!
Let’s explore some great Summer Board Games!
Great Summer Board Games for Groups!
Apples 2 Apples – The original kid-safe group game! Apples-to-Apples is not only a lot of fun, it’s a great game for practicing reading, thinking, debate, and public speaking skills!
Dungeons & Dragons – Every time I think I can’t find reasons to love D&D more, I play another campaign. Creative thinking, storytelling, handwriting, math…it’s all there. Great for creative thinkers and those who struggle with abstract thought too!
The Meme Game : Disney Version – Teens have always enjoyed pop culture, and The Meme Game is a literature & thinking game that appeals to that commonality. I like the Disney version the best because it’s safe for all levels, some other meme games can be more on the adult side.
Summer Board Games to Play Outside
YardZee – The popular dice-based math game of similar name is brought to life with this huge, yard-sized game!
Giant 4 in a Row – It may look like a simple game of connecting 4, but it’s also a great strategy & logic game too! Oh, and fun as heck.
Giant Wooden Toppling Tower – STEM lessons abound in this giant version of a popular game. TIP: If you or your child is sound sensitive, I recommend ear plugs or ear phones while playing.
Twister Ultimate – Is any childhood complete without Twister? I’m not sure but you won’t have to worry about it when you play this giant, family-sized version of Twister!
Flickin’ Chicken – It may be a silly game, but Flickin’ Chicken is in it’s own category of summer games. Players compete to flick their chicken to hit targets. So much physics!
Outdoor Checkers Set – No one can refuse a match of checkers. The set featured below uses a rug board and large plastic pieces, making it a good choice for outdoor storage and play.
Summer Board Games to Escape the Heat
Bananagrams – Bananagrams is a spelling game that each player plays on an individual basis, great for mixed level play.
Mysterium – Best when played with at least 4 players (though you can play 2 & 3 player versions too), Mysterium is a game of interpretation and communication appropriate for older kids, teens, and adults.
Unstable Unicorns – Unstable Unicorns is a riotous game! Use cute, but often nefarious, unicorns to decide the fate of your opponent.
Betrayal at House on the Hill – This is my all-time-favorite game ever! Betrayal at House on the Hill is a storytelling game involving murder, slightly gory horror, and is best for 3 or more older teen & adult players.
Bears Vs. Babies – Hilarious game of science! Science? Yes, science! Bears vs Babies is an excellent introduction to survival of the fittest and evolution.
Punderdome – In this game the best pun wins. This game was designed for 3+ players but it’s a piece of cake to adapt it for two players.
Take These Board Games on Summer Vacation!
Tile-Lock Scrabble – It’s the Scrabble we all know but in a travel-friendly version! Also good for kids who tend to drop & misplace tiles.
Mattel 3 Classic Card Game Tin (Uno, Phase 10, Snappy Dressers) – One of my fondest childhood memories is of warm summer nights spent at a rented beach house with my family, playing cards well into the night. These three card games, conveniently packaged in a metal tin, are classics everyone will love.
NiYa– I love NiYa for three reasons: 1. It’s packaged in a portable tin not much larger than a cell phone. 2. It’s a quick play game, perfect for rest stops. 3. Even very young kids can grasp the game mechanics. My youngest learned this game when she was 4.
Cardline – As you can see above, I’m a big fan of games that are packaged in tins. The Cardline series of games will introduce your child to big picture history in a unique manner.
Shadows in the Forest – Are you going camping this summer? Shadows in the Forest is a glow-in-the-dark game that’s perfect for nighttime playing.
Fluxx – There are dozens of versions of Fluxx that are super educational, but sometimes the original game is exactly what you need. Fluxx is a fast-play game that is friendly to most needs and ages.
Games to Prevent the Summer Slide
Prime Climb – Keep your kid’s math brain working this summer by playing Prime Climb!
Race to Infinity – Practice all of the basic math functions this summer by beating other people. Sounds legit, right?
Proof! – Mental Math is a skill necessary to functional adulting, and it’s a whole lot more fun to do when you play a game. That’s exactly what Proof does.
Scattergories – Perfect for groups, Scattergories is a game of creative thinking and word play.
Exit The Game: The Forgotten Island – I love the concept of escape rooms but they still freak me out a little. Also I’m really, really bad at puzzles. Get the experience of an escape room without having to actually go to one when you play the Exit The Game series. An affordable family night in and the reliable Thames & Kosmos quality.
Play on Words – This unique game can accommodate ANY party size! It can be played by 1 player, up to four players for regular play, & as teams for cooperative play!
Summer Board Games to Prepare for Kindergarten
Briarpatch I Spy Game – Reading, writing, and arithmetic are important skills, but observation skills shouldn’t be forgotten!
Stack Up – Peaceable Kingdom is well known for creating games that nurture the brain and the heart. Matching, fine motor control, patience, and STEM are all covered in Stack Up!
Tiny Polka Dot – Have you seen the baby mobiles designed to stimulate the brain with their simple patterns? That’s sort of what Tiny Polk Dot is like, only it’s a math game.
Let’s Feed the Very Hungry Caterpillar – Kids & parents love Eric Carle, and Let’s Feed the Very Hungry Caterpillar is a natural extension of that admiration.
Summer Games to Play When the Kids Are in Camp (2 player games)
Hoopla – Before Apples 2 Apples, before Cards Against Humanity, before Exploding Kittens, there was Cranium Hoopla!
Magic The Gathering – If you haven’t heard of Magic The Gathering, it’s kinda like if Pokémon and Dungeons & Dragons had a baby.
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What summer board games do YOU like? Add to the conversation by commenting below, joining our Facebook Group, or by following our Facebook Page.
Meg Grooms (she/her) is a decades-long secular homeschooler, mother of many, writer, Florida ex-pat, and all-around swell gal. Meg & her partner have raised their kids all over the USA, finally settling on Southern California. For now, anyhow.
Meg blogs about Gameschooling, Educational Gaming, and the Gaming Community at Homeschool Gameschool. Meg is available for speaking engagements, workshops, and gameschooling classes. If you’re interested in scheduling a workshop, review, ad space, or just saying hi –> Click here. Happy Gameschooling!