Best Family Games to Play with Your Kids: Free Online Options
The hustle and bustle of modern life can make it difficult for families to stay connected. Whether it’s due to distance, time apart, or even lack of common interests, many parents struggle to spend quality time with their kids. This can be especially true for families that rely on virtual meeting tools like Zoom, FaceTime, or Skype. Kids often feel awkward or uncomfortable on video chats, making it difficult to engage them in conversation. Even in person, many kids struggle to open up to their parents. One way for parents to combat this is to join their kids for online games. Parents often think that the only way to reach their kids is to put the screens away. However, this is not always true. In fact, when used strategically, screens and online activities can serve as a powerful tool for connection.
Benefits of Playing Online Games Together
Online games offer a fun and engaging way for parents to nurture their relationships with their kids, particularly those who love to spend time online. In fact, studies have shown that playing online games together increases feelings of closeness between parents and kids. Online games also provide parents with a wide range of teachable moments, including many opportunities to encourage focus, practice teamwork, and develop problem-solving skills.
Best Free Online Games for Families
There are hundreds of online games available for families to play together, ranging from cards to trivia to virtual escape rooms. While many require a subscription or payment, there’s also an abundance of free options to choose from.
Let’s take a look at some of the best free online games for families:
This online version of the classic picture-guessing game allows players to create a virtual private room for up to 12 people. With straightforward rules and interactive gameplay, this is a smart choice for kids of all ages.
The official Jeopardy! app allows players to create custom games or choose from over 7,000 existing episodes, including options for kids, teens, and college-aged contestants. Private rooms are available.
Connect one-on-one with older kids and teens with this simple online version of the beloved board game Battleship. Players use a custom link to join the game, where they can compete in both Russian and Classic modes.
Perfect for groups, the Family Feud gameshow app offers private rooms and over 2,500 survey questions. Families can join forces against friends or divide themselves into teams such as kids vs. adults.
Designed to be played outdoors, Pokémon Go encourages families to work together to look for and battle virtual Pokémon that other players have left behind. This game is best played on a shared mobile device, like Acer’s lightweight and ultra-durable Enduro Urban tablets.
This popular car-racing game lets kids compete against their parents on courses inspired by locations from around the world. Families can play together virtually or in person, with up to seven players allowed in each race. A free Nintendo account is required.
One of the most basic online games, charades can be a fantastic way to engage kids on video calls. Players can act out a prompt from the charade generator, while their opponents call out guesses or type them in the chat.
Ideal for younger kids, this game challenges players to turn over themed cards two at a time to see how many matches they can get. Participants can join virtually via a private link or play together in person on a shared device.
This site offers online versions of 12 classic card and board games, including checkers, chess, hearts, and crazy eights. Players can also create custom rules for any game that can be played with a deck of cards.
This interactive crossword puzzle doesn’t need to be played in real time, making it ideal for families who live in different time zones. Players can check the gameboard or chat at any time to find updates from their opponents.
What to Consider When Playing Online Games
Picking the best online games for your family will depend largely on your personal preferences and interests. However, there are a few things you can keep in mind to help ensure a safe, positive, and productive experience. These include:
How many people will be playing and how old are the participants? Trivia games like Family Feud are popular with teens and large groups, while simple games like Memory are ideal for one-on-one time with younger kids.
Will the players be in the same location or connecting online? Scavenger hunt games like Pokémon Go can be great tools for in-person bonding, while asynchronous games like Words with Friends can help families connect from anywhere in the world.
Which device or devices will be used to play the game? Some devices are more compatible than others with certain games, settings, and playing styles. For example, the large display and 2K resolution of Acer’s Iconia Tab P10 make it great for shared gameplay, while the Enduro Urban tablets mentioned above are ideal for gaming outdoors.
Does the game have public or private game-play options? Select games include access to public chat rooms, which may be unmoderated. Stick to games that allow you to create and share private links for each session, such as Pictionary.
Are in-app purchases or other payments required at any point in the game? Even when advertised as free, some games require incremental payments to access new levels or special features. Check for hidden costs before you start to avoid disappointment or interrupted play.
No matter which online games you choose, the goal is to use them as a tool for connection. Technology is unavoidable in modern life, but with a little creativity parents can turn screentime into quality time with their kids. Happy gaming!
About Lisa Shettle: Lisa is a writer, editor, and content product manager with over 15 years of experience. She has a special interest in travel and tech writing, marketing, and AI. She is based in the United States.