Keeping the kids entertained can sometimes present a challenge.
Which toy should you choose? What skills does it teach them? Will they even like it?
Each child is different and so are their interests, which is exactly why we’ve included a mixture of choices for you on our list below. While we do highlight the best board games for kids based on their popularity and their overall quality, we realize that not every child may like some of them. Hence our decision to show you a mix of game genres!
We left the Jenga, Connect 4 and Candyland out because we wanted to highlight some of the newer “in” games, so let’s begin!
Before You Choose
Before you decide which are the best board games for kids, here are a few things to consider:
- Number of Players. Does the game require an even number of players or can you still play with an odd number? Will the players be playing individually or on teams?
You may want to get a family-friendly game that’s appropriate for everyone in the household, as well, from tots to teens and up.
- Type of Game. Some kids may want something hands-on and action-packed while other kids may prefer a game that requires some critical thinking.
Sometimes it’s a toss up. You get a game because you think they’d like it, but they already have something similar so it’s not that new and interesting. Then you could get a game that you think they’d hate, but once they open and start playing, super success!
You just never know!
- Players and Playing Time. It’s important to know how long the game will last, especially since kids tend to have shorter attention spans than adults.
If your child likes quick games, look for something that lasts around 30 minutes or less. That’s not to say that longer games can’t be fun for other kids. Just remember to check the average time required to finish the game to make sure it will work for the child (or children) who will be playing it.
Top 10 Board Games for Kids Table
Think About the Skills It Develops
Board games, while they’re fun and they help keep kids busy, serve your kids for much more important purposes. They help develop skills!
Here are the main ways that kids can benefit from board games:
- Motor Skills. Toddlers and preschoolers who are really working to perfect their fine motor skills can benefit from certain board games such as The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game (number 4 above).
- Visual Perception/Coordination. Hand-eye coordination games are great for younger kids! Bounce Off is perfect for this.
- Tactical/Strategic Skills. Build up their tactical and strategic skills with a game like Qwirkle.
- Speech/Language. Children who are fine-tuning pronunciation of words and letters will benefit from a variety of games. Just make sure the game is something that allows them to speak freely rather than concentrate silently. Spot It! is a good one!
- Having Fun. Sometimes it’s not about the strategy and they motor skills. It’s about having a good time and relaxing!
If you’re looking for a game full of laughs, then we included Pie Face! (number 10) just for you.
Game or Board Game?
So, we realize that some of our suggestions in the list of best kid’s board games above aren’t technically board games. Some are card games (Exploding Kittens), some have a life size board that you stand on (Twister) and others have a big dab of cream slapping you in the face (Pie Face!)
All of them fall under the board game category, so if you’re looking for a more traditional board game like Monopoly, then check out Ticket to Ride. We’ll talk more about it below.
Top 5 Best Board Games for Kids Reviews
Spot It! is a great for families, groups of friends or groups of siblings. Even groups of adults!
Skills it Develops: focus, visual perception, speech-language, fine motor.
Number of Players: 2-8
How To Play: There are 55 circular cards in the box and each one has different symbols printed on it. You need to be the first player to spot the common symbol on two or more cards.
It may sound easy, but there’s a lot of pressure on you when you want to be the first out of the group to spot it. The best part about this game as that you can play it in five different ways, so in some cases you win by getting rid of your cards and in others you win by collecting them.
It’s very versatile and easy to travel with and it comes in several versions!
Skills it Develops: strategic thinking, planning, geography.
Number of Players: 2-5
How To Play: Each player draws a destination ticket that that has the names of two cities they need to connect. There are other cities between these two and it can be a challenge to pass through them because other players may have already claimed them (which means that you’ll need to re-route). The longer the route, the better. You’ll earn more points
The longer the route, the more points the player earns. The game ends when the first player runs out of train pieces and then everyone’s points are tallied.
Skills it Develops: special recognition, planning skills and problem solving skills.
Number of Players: 2-4
How To Play: Each player gets some tiles with different shapes and colors on them. To play, you build lines and match the tiles based on either color or shape and score points for the number of tiles you are able to use on your turn.
This is the simple explanation, but playing it does provide a challenge! Standard playing time is around 45 minutes.
As we mentioned earlier, this is appropriate for younger kids (preschool age) who are still working on motor skills and basic color/shape skills.
Skills it Develops: color learning, strategic thinking, hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, pre-handwriting skills.
Number of Players: 2-4
How To Play: Be the first one to fill your log with acorns!
The acorns are on the tree-shaped board and you’ll spin the spinner to see which one to pick up. There’s a pair of squirrel squeezers that you’ll use to move the acorn (tricky for some younger players to use). The spinner had options to pick, steal or lose an acorn, so kids will have to be strategic about their choices!
While it’s a great little game, some find that it is way too easy for their kids. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, you could try Hoot Owl Hoot! (number 6) on our list above.
Despite the interesting name, Exploding Kittens has become wildly popular.
Skills it Develops: strategic skills
Number of Players: 2-5
How To Play: Start with the cards in the middle of the table. Each player draws a card and you keep going until someone draws the Exploding Kitten card The other cards in the pile help you move or avoid the exploding kitten, because you never know when you’re going to draw him! If the player hasn’t drawn a card that will save them (Defuse), then they’re out of the game.
This game isn’t for everyone, (the name kind of deters some people) but it’s actually quite fun and challenging. The artwork recalls the days of Ren and Stimpy!