5 Family Board Games to Celebrate Summer
Summertime always brings up some pretty great memories for me. That 3-month hiatus from school was always filled with classic summer cliches. Swimming, summer camps, lemonade stands, staying up late, catching fireflies, hide and seek - the nostalgia is real. I like thinking about those times, and I like giving our kids a chance to make the same kind of memories.
With the help of my kids, I recently put together a list of our family’s favorite board games that remind us of summer. They’re some of our favorite games for family game night, and they’re chock-full of those summer cliches and that summertime nostalgia.
All of the games on this list can be played by our 6-year-old, and most of them can even be played by our 3-year-old. In fact, they both played a big role in ranking these games. I often like to defer to their opinions.
Playing board games like the ones on this list definitely brings back some of those great memories. The theme always play a big role in my enjoyment of games. I guess I simply like role playing with the kids and using our imaginations. And that’s a big part of why I like to group games together like this for special occasions too.
So if you’re planning on heading to the beach, having a sleepover, going camping, or sitting by the pool this summer - have fun setting that summertime mood with these great family games. And I suppose there’s nothing stopping you from pulling them out during the dead of winter either. There’s never really a wrong time to make lemonade.
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Published by Gen42 Games
Hive is a fantastic strategy game featuring bugs. Similar to chess - the different types of bugs have different ways to move. Also similar to chess, the goal is to trap your opponents monarch - only this time it’s a queen bee. Unlike chess however, Hive consists only of tiles, and they can spread out over the table in all sorts of patterns.
I don’t know about you, but bugs certainly makes me think of summer. One of the expansions of Hive even includes mosquitos. It’s a great summer theme, and the combination of that theme and its portability also easily makes it one of the best games to bring camping with the family.
4. Chill Out!
Published by Gamewright
Chill Out! is a lot like the classic Mancala, since you’re picking up pieces and going in a circle dropping them into trays. Only instead of colorful stones the pieces in Chill Out! are all little adorable ice cubes.
Our 3-year-old can even play this one with us, and she actually wins quite a bit. That’s because it’s elegantly designed and simple to understand. It’s one of those games that often leads to multiple plays in a session. It’s a good combination of luck and strategy for very young kids - and the theme of ice cubes and cold drinks is perfect for a hot summer day.
Published by Peaceable Kingdom
It doesn’t get much better for summer themes than running a lemonade stand. And we have always been huge fans of Peaceable Kingdom’s cooperative board games, because we often love to work together when we play.
The goal in Lemonade Shake Up! is to make different recipes of lemonade for your customers using dice to roll for the right ingredients. Like Yahtzee, you have 3 rolls to build the right recipe on your turn. As a team, you want to serve enough customers before you fail too many times. And, as an added summertime bonus, the actual recipes of the 3 lemonades are included for you to make yourself at home!
Published by HABA
Lumina is a fantastic game that really tests your memory. The theme this time is a classic summertime activity - hunting for lightning bugs. And, this being HABA, it’s definitely a very attractive game featuring adorable wooden game pieces.
Lumina tests your memory because you flip over cards in order to traverse the game board. But you can only move if your card matches a location you’re actually standing next to. The lightning bugs are scattered around the game board, and the first one to catch 5 wins. And, since it’s a memory game, of course my son beats me easily.
Published by Gamewright
Our 6-year-old was a big advocate for making Flashlights & Fireflies our number one summer-themed board game. He even went so far as to call it his favorite board game as of this moment.
There’s a lot of high quality summer action going on in this game. Rounds consist of catching fireflies (watch out for the mosquitos!), and playing a game of freeze tag in the woods. How great is that? Hiding your character in the woods is a pretty fun game mechanic too.
Being frozen in a round of hide and seek means you can’t take a step closer to home - and the first one to make it home wins. Our 3-year-old loves playing this one too, so it really makes for the perfect addition to a summer family game night.
Do you own any of the great board games on this list? What’s your favorite summertime game? Let us know in the comments!