Games and Toys Kids of Different Ages Can Enjoy Together

Despite my insistence in an earlier Facebook Live, I decided against titling this post ‘Minimal Screaming Toys and Games for Large Families’ because I thought it might affect Google search result traffic and Pinterest traffic. Sorry.

Ideally, if your whole family is stuck inside together, you can enjoy one another’s company. We’ve spent our evenings watching Mass, drawing, playing board or card games, watching a TV series (currently LegoMasters), playing old Sega games, or a family friendly movie. Addie and Byron tend to sleep in, so they’re still doing school work in the evenings, but usually we can pull them away from their laptops long enough to engage with everyone.

As an aside, we also are eating dinner together every night. That’s something we try to do most evenings anyway, but since Tony isn’t getting home late from work, and there’s no outside activities to rush off to, it can be a more leisurely mealtime. I mean, some kids still devour their food in two minutes and try to run away, but, the slow eaters tend to box them in at the table and make them stay a bit longer, if just to help clear a few dishes.

My five kids range in age from 9 to 17. Certainly, there are larger families with a wider age span than my brood, but I thought I would share some of the activities that we all enjoy doing together (outside TV, movies, or video games). There are some toys and games that really are fun for all ages and are worth the investment. Obviously this post is LITTERED with Amazon affiliate links (even though I’m not even sure if Amazon is shipping these items right now???). And of course, if you have any suggestions to add, please do so in the comments below.

1.Good quality art supplies, drawing books, and coloring books – In my humble opinion, it’s better to buy good quality supplies separately rather than pick up one of those discounted all in one deals that has all the different supplies you need, of typically inferior quality. Speaking from experience, everyone will just get really frustrated using those supplies. If you have all these items in one spot that every one can gather around, or in a few easy to transport containers, plan a family art night or afternoon. From finger painting to intricate coloring pages, everyone can enjoy sitting together and creating. Find some drawing prompts for inspiration, or agree to make art for a family member’s birthday.

2. In the same creative vein: Play-Doh- Homemade dough is fine too, along with a few simple tools. You don’t need any of the specialized sets. When all the kids were younger (2+ to 10), Playdough was a clear winner across the board for everyone. The mess potential meant I limited how often we got it out. My older kids eventually transitioned to air dry clay to make more complex designs, but they could all sit together and share tools. (We play with it less now only because the dough can be tough for Fulton and Teddy to manipulate. )

3.Legos – So long as you use official Lego bricks, you can pass out appropriately sized bricks to kids of all ages and then combine creations. (Duplo and regular bricks can work together!) Older kids can build sets together, or you can find some printable Lego challenge cards and see what everyone comes up with. My boys all like building creatures with the Hero Factory parts, and even when a set is too complex for the younger boys to assemble, they enjoy playing with the completed item (why make something just for display?). Even just creating unique minifigures with a bin of mishmashed pieces is fun.

4.Plastic army men – This admittedly goes over bigger with the boys than the girls, but setting up large elaborate battles with dozens (maybe even hundreds…I’ve lost count) of army men is something even my husband is game for most days. Teddy got a DDay battle set for Christmas, so right now we have lots of German vs American battles going on.

5.Guess Who? – Minimal reading, fast paced, funny. This is a game everyone likes to play and even with the boys physical limitation, they can typically play with little to no assistance.

6.Doll house – This is less a hit with my oldest son, but even younger boys like dollhouses. We had a second hand plastic dollhouse, and we were gifted lots of beautiful Playmobile doll house sets. When the kids were little, I set aside the tiniest pieces. Now when we have younger children over, the dollhouse is always a big hit and even Addie and Edie are happy to help set up elaborate rooms and scenes with the kids. Heck, I still love setting up the dollhouse and I’m known to have pretty strong feelings about where certain pieces of furniture belong.

7.Mad Libs – Who doesn’t love to laugh at a silly story? Older participants provide the complex vocabulary, younger family members contribute ‘poop’ and ‘butt’ whenever necessary. The kids might even learn some basic grammar. These are also great on car rides.

These are just seven that popped in my head. What would you add? Put it in a post! Write it down, then link it up below. Be sure to include a link back to this post so your readers can find the rest of the Quick Takes. I look forward to reading your posts!

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  1. All great suggestions! Definitely needed at this time of quarantine.

  2. I can vouch for the play-dough. I mixed up a batch of homemade stuff today, and my kids sat and played with it for at least an hour.

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