From card games to board games and dice games, you’ll also discover the best games from years past that you don’t want to miss. Because you don’t have to be new to be good.
The Best NEW Games for 2019
ThinkFun Heads Talk Tails Walk
Can you walk like a chicken while meowing like a cat? Match bodies with heads! But if you make a mismatch, everyone makes the mismatched animal’s sounds and motions! Hilarious! This is one of the best games I’ve seen for preschoolers.
Mudpuppy Llama Llama Fuzzy Puzzle
Not only is the artwork adorable but kids will love to feel these 42 chunky pieces with fuzzy accents.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: A Puzzle Adventure by Aleksandra Artymowska
Help Captain Nemo search for adventure and treasure. Each intricately illustrated page gives readers specific tasks. For example, you might be asked to find a diving helmet that is different from the others. Or find identical seashells. It’s so fun!
Where’s the Llama? by Paul Moran, illustrated by Gergely Forizs
A group of ten llamas in the Andes in Peru decide to see the world. Can you spot them in each of the world locations like Miami Beach, New York City’s modern art gallery, a fairground in Canada, a Cambodian jungle, an ice park in China, and more? Answers are in the back plus more things to spot. We love the artwork in this book!
Good Dog Memory Match
Isn’t this a charming matching game? Great for memory and focus.
When all the dogs and leashes get tangled, the object is to figure out which ball is at the end of which leash. WITHOUT touching…you can ONLY USE YOUR EYES. This is a very quick game which is good for waiting rooms and traveling.
If you like fast-paced fun, try to build the tallest stack in this game. Spread out the magnetic discs, roll the dice, then match the picture and the color. When you make a match, grab a disc and build your stack. Whoever has the tallest tower wins!
A fun avocado twist on the game of Snap for kids! It’s simple to learn and quick to play. Switch and smash quickly to win this new 2019 game.
We already love the math-skills, super-fun card game Rat-a-Tat Cat but now there’s a new version! Use the dice and the board to collect low cards (cats) while avoiding high cards (rats). Get the lowest score and you’re the winner!
Yeti or Not
Easy to learn and fun to play with counting skills, quick thinking, and visual dexterity! Kids help the Yeti find his friends, quickly count, and earn cards of other mythical creatures.
Sherlock Express is great for both thinking and visual discrimination because kids use the alibi clue cards to eliminate suspects and find the culprit. THINKING. So much thinking. For example, if your kids turn over an alibi card picture of the library, it means that any of the suspects with a library background are eliminated as the culprit.
Beagle or Bagel?
The subtitle is “the game of delicious optical illusions” and at first glance, you might be like my kids think it’s easy peasy. BUT… when you’re going fast and trying to win by quickly counting which image has the highest number (beagles or bagels), it’s harder than you think! Tons of fun and would make a great gift.
Wait, what? If you’re like me, you grew up with Twister. It’s back but with a twist– blindfolds. Luckily, this version has textured shapes so you’ll get to use your sense of touch to find the right shapes. Best for families and groups.
If you like cooperative card games, give this 2019 choice a whirl. You’ll be working on a team to complete a series of goals matching colors or numbers during a timed session of play.
Exit: The Catacombs of Horror
Parents of teens, you know how hard it is to find fun, wholesome activities to either do together or for them to do with friends. My kids want to do this with their friends but I think we’re going to try it as a family on Thanksgiving instead. The game takes place in the Catacombs of Paris. A team of up to four people need to solve the riddles and rescue your friend, who has disappeared in the gloomy crypts. I’m looking forward to this!
More Essential Games to Give as Gifts
Roll and Play
ages 18 months+
Honestly, you don’t find many games for this age group and this is the best interactive card game for toddlers and preschoolers I’ve seen. Roll the big colored dice, pick the matching color card, and do the action. There are 48 game cards in six age-appropriate categories.
Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game!
Preschoolers love to play this award-winning game. Parents and teachers love it because it builds color recognition and counting practice as well as fine motor practice. Use the squirrel Squeezers to put the colored acorns into their logs. The first person to fill up their log wins. (Full review here.) A best game for kids under five.
An award-winning cooperative game that includes many types of play: dramatic, communication, creative, interpretive, competitive, teamwork. It’s FUN and silly!
Yeti in My Spaghetti
What a blast! Start out with the noodles across the top of the bowl with the Yeti on top. Players take turns removing the noodles one-by-one without letting Yeti fall. If it falls, you’re out.
Have you played this addicting card game yet? It’s a blast, easy to play, and just right for your purse or suitcase. Your goal is to match any of the images on your cards to the card in the middle. The winner is the player who is out of cards first.
Race to recreate the pattern on the challenge card by bouncing balls into the grid. The first color to complete the pattern wins the card. Earn 3 cards to win the game. This game is one of the best family games for kids and parents to do together!! Review here.
We LOVE this card game — it’s our new family favorite!! Players call out the actions shown on the card (such as high-five or pound it) and if two players match with each other, you both do the action and discard the cards. First one out of cards WINS. It’s LOUD and HILARIOUS. Read my review here.
Tenzi is a SUPER FUN yet simple dice game that works for almost all ages (except the ages 0 – 3) which is why it’s one of our top recommendations (aka. the BEST) family night game. Be the first player to get all ten of your dice to show the same number. Full review here.
Blue Orange Maki Stack
Aren’t these wooden sushi pieces the best? Pick a card and race to build a matching stack using the sushi, soy sauce, and mat. My daughter and I often play this before bedtime and love it. We like that it takes about 10 – 15 minutes and makes us laugh. A great gift option for 2019. (Full review here.)
Help the Sleeping Queens wake up by waking them up with the Kings and be the first player to reach 50 points. Steal queens, put opponents queens back to sleep, and fight dragons. What will your kids’ favorite queens and kings be? This is a favorite card game that my kids play over and over!
Scrambled States of America
This card game gets regular play in our house. Not only is it fun to play but it gets kids more familiar with the United States.
RushHour Traffic Jam Logic Game
Not only does this game provide hours of strategy and problem solving but it’s FUN to accomplish these tricky puzzles. We are big fans.
We laugh so much during this game as we totally butcher words trying to figure them out. In fact, my daughter has started writing down the funny words we invent on accident.) To win a card, you correctly read the word around one of the colored circles. The player with the most cards wins.
My kids (and husband) like this game so much. To play, turn over one of the challenge cards. Try to match the formula in one of your 3 test tubes using the 6 colored balls. Move the molecule balls from tube to tube –but don’t touch! Read my full review here.
Qwixx – A Fast Family Dice Game
ages 8 +
Qwixx is a simple but fun strategy dice game where the more numbers you cross off, the more points you score. With no downtime between turns, you’ll have a chance to gain from each and every roll.
Word clues, spies, an assassin, and some deductive reasoning, this game is the total package — and one of the best games to play with a larger group of people.