With today’s busy lives, it can be hard to get your family together. If your schedules slow down a little in the summer months, take advantage by getting everybody together for a fun night at home. Don’t worry about calling a device time out for the night—instead, use your smartphone to enhance the evening. Keep reading for a few ideas on how to use technology to bring your family closer together.
Board games have long been a great way to spark interaction between family members—as opposed to, say, video games, most of which are so immersive as to turn everybody into virtual zombies. Even if you dropped your last board game off at Goodwill ages ago, you can still play a board game through an app on your computer, tablet, or smart TV. Most classic board game apps are inexpensive, super fun, and there’s less cleanup at the end of the night. Here are a few favorites:
Monopoly ($1.99 Android or $0.99 iOS)
Parcheesi (Free for Android: and iOS)
For something a little different, check out these games that take board games to a new level:
If you’re a fan of the Ellen DeGeneres show, then you’re already familiar with Heads Up! A little bit charades and a little bit Password, this game app challenges players to guess the words from a themed deck of cards (that appears on their phone, which they are holding against their forehead) based on partners’ clues. ($0.99 for Android and iOS).
A close cousin of Heads Up! Is Reverse Charades, where one person guesses a word while everyone surrounding him or her pantomimes the word in question. The Reverse Charades app is free, though it may not be long before you’ll want to upgrade the themed cards, which you can purchase individually or through a premium upgrade that unlocks all theme deck releases. (Free for Android and iOS)
Pictionary, Doodle Something, Win, Lose, or Draw—this is a game that goes by many names. All you really need to know for hours of family fun is where to get a sketch pad, a pencil, and a random word generator. Game Gal’s Word Generator will do the trick for no charge, though if there doesn’t happen to be a sketch pad and pencil somewhere in the house, you might want to check out Party Doodles for iOS or Doodle Party! for Android. Both are free apps that replace the sketch pad with a tablet touch screen.
If you like your family game nights with a touch of fatalism, Spaceteam just might be the app for you (Free for Android and iOS). A cooperative party game for two to eight players, Spaceteam basically consists of shouting random technobabble at your partners while they shout random technobabble at you—that is, until your spaceship explodes, either from your malfunctioning control panel or the exploding star that’s coming right at you. Oh well, at least you’ll go out on a high note, surrounded by loved ones!