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Top 5 Family Holiday Games

family holiday games the mind

Family holidays are a great way to spend quality time together, unwind, and enjoy some downtime - and what better way to spend that time than playing some board games? Whether it's a sunshine holiday, exploring a new city or surviving a camping trip, board games can travel with you and your family on any adventure. If you’re planning a family holiday and want to take a few games with you, then you will need to plan carefully. You obviously want it to be family friendly and enjoyable for all ages; you might have to involve everyone from young children to grandparents. If the game is coming with you you’ll also want it to be small and easy to transport, and ideally you don’t want it to take up too much room when you’re playing. With a huge number of games available today there are plenty of games which achieve these goals. Below are some classic suggestions of games to take on your next family holiday.


At over a decade old, the fast-paced card game Dobble should be a staple of any game collection. Suitable for all ages, Dobble consists of a deck of circular cards, each featuring various images, from everyday objects and animals to colorful shapes and symbols. Any two of the cards in the deck will have exactly one matching symbol. Players compete to be the first to spot the matching symbol between their card and the one in the center of the table.

Dobble is incredibly easy to learn, and just as fun to play. In my experience, even those who aren’t interested in games will develop a competitive spirit when playing. Gameplay takes roughly 15 minutes and can be played around a table, on a picnic blanket, or on the floor of an airport when your flight is delayed. The game comes in a small tin, and only relies on a single deck of cards making it easy to transport and quick to set up. If you want a family friendly card game to take on every family holiday, Dobble is one of the top choices.

Cockroach Poker

Cockroach Poker is a bluffing and deduction card game designed for 2 to 6 players, suitable for ages 8 and up. The deck contains cards of different types of creepy-crawlies, from cockroaches and scorpions to rats and bats. Rather than collect sets of cards, the aim of Cockroach Poker is to avoid collecting four of the same card. Gameplay is straightforward; on their turn, a player selects a card from their hand and passes it face-down to another player. The player receiving the card can either accept the card without looking at it and pass it to another player, or accuse the player who gave them the card of bluffing. If a player is caught bluffing or incorrectly guesses when a player is bluffing then they lose and have to take that card. The game continues with players taking turns passing cards and making accusations until one player has four cards of the same type in their hand, that player loses the game, and the remaining players are declared the winners.

Once again, Cockroach Poker is a game that relies on a single deck, making it easy to travel with and easy to play when you’re on the go. Likewise, with cartoonish artwork and straightforward gameplay it is a perfect family friendly game that combines strategy, social interaction, and a bit of luck to create an entertaining experience when you’re enjoying a family holiday.


Bananagrams is a fast-paced word game designed to test your word building skills. Each player starts with their own set of letter tiles and they must construct their own individual crossword grid, arranging them in any way they choose. The objective is to be the first player to use all of your letter tiles. When a player has used all of their tiles they yell “PEEL!” and every player then gets another tile that they must add to their word grid. Once all of the tiles have been used the first person to use all of their letters calls out “BANANAS!” and is declared Top Banana.

Bananagrams is a fun and addictive game that tests players' vocabulary, spelling, and ability to think quickly. It can be played with two to eight players and is suitable for children and adults, and only takes two minutes to set up. Since everyone has to construct their own word grid it can take up a little room so is best played at a table, but it is still an ideal game if you want to fill 20 minutes with some fun word play.

The Mind

The Mind is a unique cooperative card game that relies on collective gut instinct. Players work as a team to play cards numbered from 1 to 100 which have been shuffled and randomly distributed. The aim is to play the cards in ascending order without any form of communication - no talking, no gesturing, zero communication. It might sound impossible, but the game relies on working with other players, relying on intuition to create a sense of synchronization with your teammates. Players must carefully gauge the rhythm and timing of the game to anticipate when it is their turn to play the right card.

The premise may sound simple but The Mind does a brilliant job creating a sense of suspense. At first it can feel a little awkward sitting in silence playing cards one at a time, occasionally yelling when you make a mistake. But the game is easy to play, suitable and fun for players of all ages, and takes up the same amount of space as a regular deck of cards. Whether you’ve got some time to waste in an airport or want to unwind after an adventurous day out, The Mind offers some great laughs.

Sushi Go!

In Sushi Go! you strategically select and collect sets of sushi cards, with each set having different rules and different point values. The gameplay consists of three rounds, and at the beginning of each round, players are dealt a hand of cards. They choose one card to play and reveal it to other players. Then, they pass the remaining cards to the player on their left. This process continues until all the cards in the hand have been played. After three rounds, players tally up their scores based on the combinations of cards they collected. The player with the most points wins the game.

Sushi Go! is well known for its simple rules, quick gameplay, and adorable artwork. The balance of strategy and luck mean every game is different, and its simplicity allows it to be accessible to players of all ages and experience levels. As long as each player has a little space to lay down their cards it can be played on the go, and being a Gamewright game it comes in an easily transportable tin. Thus far I’ve yet to find a member of my family who doesn’t enjoy a quick game of Sushi Go! and it has become an essential item to take on any family holiday.

Editors note: This post was originally published on 28th June 2023. Updated on 8th May 2023 to improve the information available.