Family Games

Games to help parents with their children, adolescents, and family building.

This part of the Cranberry Mental Health Store is for family games.  These games foster parent-child interaction, and are excellent activities for families to work together on as a whole.  Simple game playing can be a great way to help individuals bond.  They can be fun ways t help a blended family learn to interact with and respect each other.  They are a great way to help with communication, expression and relationship building.

Today's technologies provide an excess of individual entertainment and activity.  Television, video games, iPods, smartphones and tablets are the most common modes of personal interest for most children and adolescents.  Add texting, instant messaging, on-line chat rooms, and social media sites like FaceBook, and the actual amount of personal interaction goes down dramatically.  And all of these are barriers to talking and playing with your child, adolescent, or family.  Not to mention your busy schedule as a parent and adult.

These family games are simple to play, so that even the youngest can participate.  The goal is NOT to foster competition.  The goal IS to have an activity that children and adolescents enjoy, while they talk.  Many children do not want to sit and discuss themselves or their problems.  (Many adults have difficulty with this!)  Having a game that serves as a distraction, and allows short comments and inquiries, allows kids to express themselves more easily.  During play, parents may want to ask questions about their child's life.  This should be done gently, and always allow the child to answer in their own way, or not at all.  Having a sense of control over their feeling and how to communicate them is important.

Very young children will need to have rules explained at the start of the game.  Take your time with this.  Most people are initially drawn to the newness and parts of the game which are attractive (by design).  Setting up the game, and covering rules may happen in parts.  Also, with very young children, playing by the official game rules may not be possible or desirable.  It is OK to play by your own rules, or even create a new game with the pieces of the intended game, as long as everyone knows the rules an sticks to them.  Many children struggling with personal issues will want to WIN, sometimes at all costs.  Remember, this activity is not to compete, but to get to know your child or adolescent.  Finding out that they are driven to win, or crushed if they lose, or if they cheat purposefully, will tell you something about where they are emotionally and give you ideas of what to talk about and how to help them.

These games are short in playing time, so that they may be completed (an ending is important).  They may be played several times, as many children relax and want to continue the interaction.  Many times these family game activities can be scheduled as regular events, which are usually looked forward to.  As an adult, your responsibility is to consider your child's needs, and to maintain fairness.  At first you might find that they need to win or control the situation.  But you might be surprised how skillful they can become when comfortable, and how insightful and expressive they are capable of being.

Very young children, or children with certain Learning Disabilities, may need assistance with reading or with math and numbers involved with playing these games.  Offer this help supportively, and let them struggle to try on their own if they want to.

Children enjoy playing games.  They can enjoy playing games with their parents and family with these activities.  These games provide a fun way to interact with your child and family that can minimize arguing and conflict.  They allow a way to treat children and adolescents as capable individuals, deserving respect for their skills and emotions.

Children with social skill problems can benefit greatly from this type of interaction, since the game rules help to guide behavior and consequences.  See the Store section on Special Games for Specific Disorders for activities designed to address emotional, behavioral, or social skill issues more directly.

The following games have been used for the above reasons over a long period of experience in psychology.  The items offered are for your information, and links to vendors are included if you are interested in purchasing an item on-line.  Feel free to search the Web, or your local stores, for these and other items to use in increasing interactions with your children and your family.  Have fun, and get involved with your child or adolescent.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please use the Contact Us page.

Just click on the game title, or the game picture, for a new window to purchase the item from our selected vendor.


Sorry! 2013 Edition Game

This classic game of luck, strategy, and determination is easy to grasp for children as young as 6 years old, yet it's fun for adults and older siblings too. By drawing cards, players move their game pieces around the board, hoping to eventually accumulate all their pieces at the final destination--home sweet home. Sorry is known as the game of "sweet revenge," since players can send each other's pawns back to the starting line, thus forcing one another to lose ground and begin all over again. This kind of frustration may be hard for children under age 8 to handle. In fact, young ones typically crumble into tears of outrage when their pawns are cavalierly sent back. The only recourse is to teach children how to plot their own revenge, which makes them feel as powerful as superheroes.



For generations, Mr Boddy has met his end at the hand of one of six legendary suspects in the classic detective game, CLUE. Professor Plum, Mrs. White, Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock, Miss Scarlett and Colonel Mustard are all here in Boddy Mansion. One of them has done away with Mr Boddy, but in which of the nine rooms (perhaps the Library, or Lounge, or Conservatory)? And which of the six weapons was used to commit this dastardly dead(the wrench, the rope, or maybe the trusty ol' lead pipe)? Collect the right clues, make the right deductions, to determne who? where? which weapon? and you will solve the mystery and win the game.

Connect 4

This is a great game for even very young children.

Candy Land

Candy Land - The Kingdom of Sweets Board Game

Playing cards thoughtfully designed for non-readers are coded with colorful squares matching the jeweled stepping-stone path or an occasional token matching one of the characters' symbols: draw a blue card, move to the nearest blue stepping-stone; draw a snowflake and earn a visit to Queen Frostine's iceberg. There are occasional pitfalls, too: land on the wrong square and you might be stuck in Molasses Swamp until a red card is drawn. With all these enticing, sugarcoated images (and King Kandy plainly visible at path's end), children can't help but be delighted by Candy Land. It's delicious! Instructions are in both Spanish and English. Candy Land is for two to four players) --Julie Ubben


Uno Card Game

See why this color coded card game is such a popular brand of family game.

Four suits of 25 cards each, plus the eight Wild cards

Earn points from other players when you go out first.  Points are scored by being the first to rid yourself of all the cards in your hand before your opponents.

Reach 500 points to win the standard game

Two-handed, partner, and tournament options for even more action

Includes 108-card deck plus instructions and scoring rules.


Bicycle Family Card Games
  • 9 Games Included: Rummy, Gin Rummy, Canasta, Crazy Eights, Hearts, Skat, War, Old Maid, and Go Fish!
  • Includes the most popular family-friendly games!
  • Large Playing Cards
  • In-Game Tutorial
  • 5 Fun 3D Game environments

Lincoln Logs

  • Build a classic cabin and more with this timeless product
  • 86 all-wood pieces, including richly stained logs and roof slats
  • A replica metal Frontiersman included
  • Classic Edition collectable tin
  • Recommended for ages 3+


Melissa & Doug 100-Piece Wood Blocks Set

With the Melissa & Doug Wood Blocks, you get 100 brightly colored blocks in a variety of versatile shapes. A set of wooden blocks provides an opportunity for a child to pass the hours constructing towers, castles, or dollhouses. Designed for children ages three and older, this set offers the opportunity for younger kids to practice their fine motor skills and experiment with the laws of physics while giving older kids an outlet for their creativity.