Planning a family game night is one of the most fun ways to spend time with the whole family, regardless of your kids’ ages. If you’ve been searching for the best board games for kids, we have a full list broken down by different age groups. Whether your household needs a break from video games and screen time, or you’re just looking for something new to do on a weekend once the weather cools off, we’ve got you covered!
Pencil in family fun time!
Studies show that spending time with your family can reduce stress and anxiety and actually lengthen your life. Busy schedules can make it difficult to plan activities that will keep the whole family entertained, but Adventures From Scratch takes the hard work out of planning. This book comes loaded with dozens of unique activities that everyone will love. Enjoy the fun way of revealing your plans by scratching off the secret message.
The Six Best Board Games for Preschoolers
Young kids might seem like they don’t quite have the patience yet for gameplay, but there are some fantastic games for kids who are five years old and younger. The best part is that they are still fun for adults and older kids, so you can enjoy these with the whole family (even if you have a thirteen-year-old.)
1. Candy Land
Candy Land is a perfect classic board game to teach younger players how to play a racing game where pieces move around the board until you reach the finish line. There’s no reading required, and each card uses illustrations to show kids where to move on the board. There’s no counting or math either because you draw colors to find out where to move. Wind your pieces along the board to places in Candy Land, like the Candy Cane Forest and Gumdrop Mountain. Just beware you might crave some sugary treats after playing this game.
2. Go Fish Card Game
Go Fish isn’t technically a board game, but it’s a great option for the whole family, and younger kids can easily join in the fun. Use a regular deck of cards, or pick up a kid-friendly deck with colorful fish instead of numbers. Each person has a handful of cards and works to find pairs. They ask the other players for specific cards, and if they don’t have them, the player has to “go fish” and pick a random card from the center pile. The winner is crowned when they pair up all the cards in their hand. It’s a fun way to practice numbers with young kids, and the game is easy to learn.
3. Memory Game
Memory obviously helps whoever is playing flex their memory. It involves a set of pictures on cards. You lay them all out in a square pattern and take turns flipping two over at a time, trying to find a matching pair. It challenges the players to remember where they saw a certain picture. The game comes in hundreds of different themes. Pick Disney characters, animals, colors, methods of transportation, or any other categories that your children are interested in. Because each game is dealt in a unique order, it’s always a new layout and challenge.
Zingo is a simple, bingo-style game for younger kids. There are player cards that function just like a typical bingo card. The unique part of Zingo is the zinger that shoots out small plastic cards. As each tile comes out, kids match it with the pictures on their Zingo cards until they fill it up. The first player to fill the card will win.
5. Connect Four
Connect Four is another classic game that has been around for a long time. Two players sit facing each other with a board in the middle. Each has its own colored circles that they take turns dropping into the board to work up to a line of four in a row of the same color. It’s like an elevated version of Tik Tak Toe. Block the other person from getting their four before you. It’s a fun introduction to a bit of back-and-forth competition, but still simple enough for young children to easily understand the rules.
6. Mouse Trap
As one of the first three-dimensional board games, Mouse Trap has been a fun board game for families since the 1960s. Players cooperate to build a mouse trap as they move around the board. Once the trap is built, the players take turns trying to trap each other’s mouse-shaped pieces under the trap. It’s fun for kids to be able to build the trap as they move around the board.
The Twelve Best Board Games for Kids in Elementary School
Once kids reach the elementary school age group, the number of board games increases substantially. As they learn to read and understand strategies a bit more, they are able to play quite a few more game scenarios.
7. Guess Who
The two-player Guess Who game involves people sitting facing each other with a board filled with different characters in front of them. Using yes or no questions, the players work to narrow down the characters until they can figure out who the other player picked. Special editions now include fun characters from different movies or fictional universes, like Star Wars or Marvel.
If you want a hands-on game, Operation is one of the best. Players take turns using tiny little instruments to reach into the board and pull out little plastic pieces without touching the metal surrounding the opening. It’s a great way to work on your hand-eye coordination. There are fun word plays on the human body organs, so it’s a fun way to remember some of the most important parts of the body. It’s frustrating and fun, and your whole family is sure to laugh.
Checkers is a classic board game that’s been around for thousands of years. There are just black and white squares on the board, and players take turns moving their pieces around, hopping over opponents’ pieces to remove them from the board. The game goes until one player either doesn’t have any pieces left to play or cannot move their pieces due to being blocked, and then the other player wins. This game will never lose its popularity.
This cooperative game is a Whodunnit where players move around the board, gathering clues and working together to find out who took Mrs. Plumpert’s prized pot pie. Players are racing against a guilty fox who is trying to escape before you figure it out. This is a great non-competitive game that encourages teamwork and problem-solving for kids. Since its release, the game has won many awards, and families love it.
11. Chutes and Ladders
This game originated in Ancient India and was originally called Snakes and Ladders. Players roll dice and move along the board. On certain spaces along the board, there are ladders or slides. If you land on a ladder, you can climb up and advance quickly. But if you land on a chute, you are stuck sliding down and losing some ground. It’s a simple game and depends on the luck of the roll.
The game of revenge is a fun way to introduce a little competition to family game night. Two to four players race around the board, trying to land their color pieces in the home section without anyone else knocking them back to start. It’s lots of counting practice, and kids must devise a strategy to win the game. Just be prepared because people get pretty competitive playing this.
13. Rhino Hero
This game features a rhinoceros trying to climb a tall building despite being incredibly heavy. Players start the game with roof cards and they take turns adding walls and roofs to a building. Each roof card features different markings that tell players where to place the walls, and some have fun special actions to make the game even more challenging. It helps with motor skills, as the entire point is to keep things steady and not allow the building to collapse on your turn.
Similar to Rhino Hero, this game is all about balancing a tower. This tower is made up of small pieces of wood. Players take turns carefully pulling pieces out of a tower and adding them to the top of the tower without knocking it over. As the game progresses, finding a piece that is easy to move becomes harder and harder. There are giant versions of the game that are fun to play outside, and you can add funny challenges to the pieces to make the game even more interesting.
15. Sushi Go
Sushi Go is a card game that moves quickly and can be played in just 20 minutes. You battle against other players to score the most points by collecting sushi rolls or making a full set of sashimi. You have to make a quick decision at the beginning after seeing the first few rounds of cards. Decide quickly which to keep and which to pass. Hopefully, you don’t pass someone else exactly the card that they need to win.
Labyrinth is a puzzle-solving game. Take turns placing tiles and moving them to different rows to shift the paths on the board. Each player attempts to collect the treasures on the board and return to their home space. It’s a simple game for young children, but adults also love it. You’ll be constantly choosing if you want to open a path for yourself or block a path for your opponents. Choose correctly, or you might find yourself losing the game.
17. Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza
If you want a game that is sure to have the whole group laughing out loud, try Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza. This fast-paced card game is a race against your opponents to slap a match between a card and a spoken word. You’ll be surprised at how often your mind plays tricks on you, though. Each deck has a few fun cards that require some hilarious actions, including a narwhal, a groundhog, and a gorilla. The game is very easy to bring anywhere and will liven up any party.
A great two-player game is Battleship. The game comes with two boards, and each player has one. Place your ships onto the coordinates you choose, then take turns guessing where the other player put them. It’s a great game to teach kids how to use coordinates and find spots on the map. There is some strategy and logic involved as kids decide how to place their ships and how to guess the others.
The Eight Best Board Games for Kids in Middle School
Older kids can handle games that are a bit more complicated and have more rules. It’s a great way to have fun as a family, especially if you’ve got some good snacks and some awesome board games for pre-teens.
In many peoples’ opinions, the best classic board game is Monopoly. This board game challenges players to roll dice and travel around the board, purchasing properties and paying rent at other players’ properties. Be careful not to spend all your money and go bankrupt. There are hundreds of variations of the classic Monopoly as well, so you can purchase properties in fictional worlds from your favorite movies or television shows or even play the version that showcases dogs instead of properties. It’s a great conversation starter to discuss money and real estate, plus there are plenty of opportunities to practice math while having a blast.
20. Ticket to Ride
Ticket to Ride has been voted the best game by multiple magazines and websites. Players take turns building train routes across the United States and completing secret routes for points. You can play with up to five players, so it’s perfect for a family game night. It’s good to help with geography since you’re staring at maps the entire time, plus you will utilize your critical thinking skills. There are other versions, like Europe, New York City, and Africa, so you can choose a map that will be fun for your family. Grab the game and see what all the hype is about.
21. Disney Villainous
Villainous is a game featuring Disney villains where each player has a specific villain and is trying to complete a set of tasks. Players serve up actions that will slow the others down while racing to check things off their lists. It’s a fun way to keep Disney magic alive even as kids outgrow some of the animated classics. The games have collectible game pieces in each box. There are versions available with Star Wars and Marvel villains as well. Try the game and play as each villain to determine which is your favorite.
22. Throw Throw Burrito
Mix dodgeball with a card game, and that’s Throw Throw Burrito. Players sit around a table and put the two soft burritos on the table with the cards. Take turns working towards three-of-a-kind matches and challenge other players to duels where you run and dodge flying burritos while trying to throw them at your opponent. If you love this game, another version utilizes avocados instead of burritos. You probably won’t find another game that includes dueling with food.
23. Apples to Apples Party Game
Apples to Apple is a word association game, but you have to know your opponents at least a bit to have a shot at the title. Each turn players take turns being the judge. They read a green card with a characteristic of a person, place, or thing. The rest of the players look at the cards in their hands and choose the best match. The judge reads each of the cards and selects the one they believe is the best fit. It’s fun because the person judging may have a different idea than the people playing. Collect each green card that you win, and the first person to reach a certain number wins. It’s a fun party game.
There are dozens of variations of games involving dominoes. Most involve matching the numbers on the tiles and are great for counting and number sense. Sets of tiles come in different sizes, but the more dominoes you have, the longer your game will be. You can also play with larger groups, so dominoes is a great option if you have a big family or want to invite friends.
This whodunnit game is a classic board game. Each player takes turns rolling the dice and moving through the Clue mansion, making accusations of their fellow players to get clues on a murder weapon, the location, and the person responsible. Once someone thinks they’ve solved the crime, they make their final guess and check the case files. It’s an incredibly popular game and was even turned into a movie.
26. Code Names
Practice teamwork with a round of code names. Teams nominate one person to give clues, and they will try to get you to guess which words are point earners for your team out of a group by giving a clue. Tie your words together to see if you can get your team to guess multiple words. The team that gets them all first wins. Be careful, though. An assassin is hiding under one of the codenames, and if your team guesses that card, you immediately lose the round.
The Five Best Board Games for Kids in High School
Teenagers can be hard to please, but there are some fun board games that they will love playing with their friends or for a family game night.
The game of Risk is an ultimate strategy game. Move your pieces around the map conquering new countries and reducing the size of your opponent’s army. The game is easy to learn and can last hours, depending on how well your strategy pans out. The winner gets complete global domination, and it’s all done by rolling a pair of dice and hoping that you can out-roll the other players.
This cooperative strategy game can be played with two to four players. They work together to eradicate a global pandemic. The game cards determine how fast the virus is spreading, and the decisions you make as a group will determine if you can beat the game. You’ll figure out how to develop cures and keep the virus contained while you move around the board, clearing countries one at a time.
29. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle
This cooperative game is perfect for teenagers who are fans of the Harry Potter series. Seven phases of the game correlate with the seven books in the series. Players choose from Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Neville, each with unique talents and skills. They work to defeat villains together. Each round is more difficult than the last. The fun can last for hours if you choose to play all seven rounds at one time.
Gamers love Catan, and some groups gather weekly or monthly to play. Players in the game are settlers who build settlements, cities, and roads. Resource cards are used to complete tasks, and each turn, you roll dice to determine which resources you’ll receive. Game play continues until someone has ten victory points. If you enjoy Catan, the maker of the game has released expansion packs to allow more players and new elements into the original game.
31. 7 Wonders
This card-drafting game is for three to seven players, but there is a version of the game for two players as well. Each player receives a wonder card and takes turns constructing wonders, constructing buildings, and selling cards. There are three different ages in the game, and once it’s finished, you’ll add up points that were earned throughout, and whoever has the highest point total wins.
Final Thoughts on the Best Board Games for Kids and Family Game Night
Family-friendly activities are plentiful outside of your house, but sometimes it’s nice to hang out at home together and do something that doesn’t involve screens. Family game nights are the perfect solution. It gives everyone a chance to chat with each other, flex some of their brainy muscles, and laugh together. Try one or many of the options on our list of the best board games for kids and enjoy quality time as a family.
Frequently Asked Questions
Shop for the best board games for kids at your local toy stores, like Target, Walmart, or small game stores. You can also find great options online, some options available as virtual downloads.
The best board games for kids under the age of ten are simple board games and card games, like Chutes and Ladders, Sorry, Zingo, and Battleship.
The best board games for kids and adults to play together are cooperative games where you all work together to beat the game, like Pandemic or the Hogwarts Battle.
Spending family time together is important. Try some new things with the Adventures from Scratch book, which features dozens of activities that will allow you to try new things together.
The best board games for kids who are older are games that require more strategy. Catan is a popular option for teenagers. For bigger groups, Apples to Apples or Telestrations are great options.